Leaders across Asia fear the emerging generation of business executives lack the experience and skills essential for effective leadership. Nearly 75% of current leaders say successors aren’t fully equipped to ascend corporate ranks.
In a global survey of more than 3,000 executives by Corporate Executive Board (CEB), nearly 75% questioned their successors’ readiness to move into a leadership role.
The research revealed a leadership gap between Asia’s current and future stars that will require immediate attention if aggressive business goals are to be realised.
According to the findings, the leadership gap is due in part to the fact that the next generation of leaders is made up of relatively young, inexperienced employees. While they have achieved rapid career advancement, many lack the fundamentals required to succeed in the transition from operational to leadership responsibility.
On average this group has six fewer years of experience than their counterparts in other global regions, and is likely to have moved up through a series of opportunistic career moves, hopping from company to company and promotion to promotion.
Tom Monahan, CEO and chairman CEB, said “Current leadership questions whether the next generation has the years and diversity of experience required to succeed.”
Monahan said the concerns of senior leaders are well-founded given that the next generation continues to ascend the corporate ladder without seeing the long-term effects of their business decisions, or having learned critical skills commonly gained through years on the job.
According to Monahan, if companies across Asia want to achieve long-term business goals they must bolster executive development and narrow the leadership gap.
Christopher Luxford, President and Country Head of Aegis Australia, said one way to develop senior leaders is to get them thinking and acting like ‘mini CEOs’.
“To me making them become a good leader is helping them think as a leader, helping them to ratchet up their thought leadership level to a point beyond their peers in the marketplace. That helps us from a competitive advantage level, and helps them from a career development level,” Luxford said.
After identifying the people with the right skills and nature for the top jobs, he added it’s imperative to see them develop broad business skills such as financial control, people management, product development and good customer interaction.
Also, they should be assisted in developing their five year goals, and have opportunities to consult with other senior leaders in their industry.