September 2023
Issue Map
An empty office rolling chair.
TD Magazine

Local Leadership Crisis

Friday, September 1, 2023

Who's going to fill critical roles in local US governments?

Elected officials in the US are responsible for allocating more than 2 trillion in taxpayer dollars annually; however, local government leaders believe there's a scarcity of competent leadership among their ranks. That's according to 2023 State of Local Government Leadership Pipeline, a report from Government Leadership Solutions, a certified consulting firm assisting local governments in developing leaders and culture.


"Local government leaders have raised the alarm about the lack of readily available leaders within their ranks, posing a significant threat to effective community services," explains Maria Church, CEO and founder of Government Leadership Solutions. "Our findings indicate that only 25 percent of respondents rated their leadership pipeline as good or excellent, while a mere 29 percent allocated budgetary resources toward leadership development. This is just the tip of the iceberg."

Forty-two percent of the 232 local government leaders who responded to the study said they worry that a lack of leadership could cause a "crisis" for local government. With $2 trillion at stake across the US each year, it's easy to understand why respondents want those decisions in competent hands.

The Government Leadership Solutions report suggests that local governments establish organizational culture to identify the best possible leadership. The firm's analysis identified four distinct segments that transcend different types of local government:

  • Change seekers who believe their organization lacks strong leadership
  • Achievers who believe their organization has strong leadership
  • Culturists who believe a strong culture is necessary to develop strong leaders
  • Guardians who believe younger people aren't interested in local government

"Effective workplace cultures are indispensable for local governments to leverage their investment in leadership development, without which they will fail to attract or retain the leaders essential for their success," Church says.

About the Author

Bobby Lewis is a writer for ATD; [email protected].

Be the first to comment
Sign In to Post a Comment
Sorry! Something went wrong on our end. Please try again later.