Fostering leadership at all levels in Singapore
A common misconception from the outside looking into the Singapore corporate world is that leadership is applicable only to the most senior or higher ranks. In any successful organisation in Singapore, this is furthest from the truth.
Singapore business leaders in today’s increasingly complex and dynamic economic environment are discovering that leadership is a collective endeavour and an on-going process that is dispersed throughout productive organisations.
Exercising leadership throughout the organisation enables effective leaders to make difficult and challenging decisions at all levels. Astute leaders encourage leadership behaviours among their team; even at lower levels of the organisation, allowing leaders to be present at every level and share accountability throughout while remove organisational barriers. This can also nurture greater degrees of responsibility, innovation, problem-solving capability and the motivation to succeed.
With this in mind, the importance of leadership skills training cannot be ignored. It can provide a framework to help prepare an organisation’s current and potential leaders for the myriad challenges that they will face both within the organisation and from the external market place, providing the organisation with a definite business advantage. Fostering superior leadership skills regardless of level and nurturing leadership training can be invaluable to businesses that recognise the best chance they have, not just to survive, but thrive, is skilled leadership.
Front Line Managers need leadership fundamentals which include clear communication skills and business acumen. Their immediate needs are to provide hands-on direction, mentoring and assigned training opportunities for their direct reports. It is critical that these Managers have access to on-demand, time-sensitive training to succeed in their multi-tasking roles.
Mid Level Managers are critical to an organisation’s success and need blended learning supported content from authoritative sources such as respected business and thought leaders and CEOs, along with performance support resources. Their learning must be targeted to their role of managing other managers and balanced with opportunities to learn new skills so they don’t feel stagnated. I find that giving mid level managers constant feedback and assigned mentors are invaluable learning components for these leaders at this stage in their careers.
According to Bersin & Associates in their Talent Management Factbook 2009, there is a 62 per cent lower turnover rate among high performing employees when companies have strategic leadership development programs in place.
Executive Level Managers – Leadership at this level requires skills in motivation, strategy and creating a culture of innovation. Executive coaching may seem to be a buzz word but the truth is that at this level, there needs to be an emphasis on more refined leadership skills which can be shared and collaborated amongst peers. Organisations will have a true advantage if they develop EQ (emotional intelligence) in their executive level leaders, who can be visionary in motivating their teams to perform at their optimum.
As Thomas J Watson Jr, former President of IBM once said, “I believe the real difference between success and failure in a corporation can be very often traced to the question of how well the organisation brings out the great energies and talents of its people.”
Leadership on all levels need to create and articulate effective and compelling organisational strategies where individuals should be reaching out to successful leaders across the organisation for advice and examples, replicating their successes.
Glenn Nott, Vice President and Managing Director, SkillSoft Asia Pacific