Invest in leadership management, says expert

Organisations in Singapore are struggling to fill leadership positions and one expert says it’s time to invest in internal candidates

“It is a proven fact that investing in leadership development can boost business growth,” said Samuel Egerton, regional director, Asia at AchieveForum.

Yet, despite all the studies done on leadership development, organisations in the APAC region still do not have it as part of their HR practices.

“The global talent shortage is at its highest in seven years, but is remarkably evident in the Asia Pacific region,” he told HRD.

Countries such as Japan, India, Taiwan, Singapore, and Hong Kong were top in the Asian region showing dismal numbers in terms of talent shortage.

But Egerton said that filling leadership positions shouldn’t be difficult, that organisations need to create programmes internally to cultivate leaders.

“It is critical for organisations to be as strategic about their leadership talent pipeline as they are about their assets, finances, business models and market strategies,” he said.

“With a mindset that skilled human capital is an integral asset, organisations should therefore be managing their leaders as an investment, not an expense.”

Though he conceded that training leaders could take up a lot of time and resources and that there is the underlying threat that trained staff could leave and take their newly-learned skills with them, he emphasised that investing in leaders “is important for sustaining performance, innovation, productivity growth and maintaining a talent pipeline – and especially so if the employee stays”.

Above all this, Egerton said one major advantage of promoting from within is the motivation it brings to the company’s employees.

They will be motivated “to stay and do well because there are clear growth opportunities, encouraging employees to work harder and stay focused on their performance,” he said.

Be mindful of your succession planning as well, he advised.

This is especially critical nowadays because more and more individuals in leadership positions are reaching retirement age.

“A forward-looking initiative that prepares the company for either an unexpected or planned departure of a leader, a succession plan helps keep the talent pipeline full and the company thriving,” he said.  


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