'Weak' leadership killing transformation efforts

Are Singapore organisations doing enough to develop strong digital leaders? How can HR help?

'Weak' leadership killing transformation efforts

Are Singapore organisations doing enough to develop digital leaders?

A new study found that Singaporean bosses are among least confident globally in their leadership teams to implement digital change.

Leaders cited lack of management support or interest and lack of change management experience as the main reasons holding back transformation efforts.

Top reasons for ‘failed’ digital strategies:

  • Leaders lack management support or interest (55%)
  • Lack of change management experience (47%)
  • Ineffective communication (39%)
  • Lack of technical know-how (39%)

While majority (78%) of Singaporean managers are confident their businesses have the right leadership team to implement digital change, Robert Half’s survey found that 17% of bosses are not confident. Seemingly small, the figure is well above the global average of 12%.

Among respondents, financial leaders were the most concerned about ‘weak’ digital leadership teams – 20% of CFOs saying they’re not confident of their leadership, compared to 11% of CIOs.

READ MORE: How to become a transformational leader

Strong digital leaders are more than their technical skill
The study emphasised that digital leadership goes beyond technical skills.

While there are prominent traits that underpin strong digital leadership, research suggested that different industries and job functions prioritise different skills and traits needed to lead an organisation into the digital future.

Singaporean CIOs identified these skills to successfully lead the IT function:

  • Technical know-how (67%)
  • Change management experience (56%)
  • Involvement of specialists in decision making (56%) as the

CFOs, by comparison, pointed out the following for finance leaders:

  • Communication skills (58%)
  • Technical know-how (58%)
  • Change management experience (56%)

“A strong digital leader is not necessarily the most technically skilled, or possessing the most extensive background in IT,” said Matthieu Imbert Bouchard, director at Robert Half Singapore.

“What makes a strong digital leader is fluid by its very nature. They must be able to effectively navigate uncertainty and change, as well as understand the impact of technology on their department – and our research suggests there is not a ‘one size fits all’ profile for this.

Bouchard shared with HRD some tips for effective digital leadership:

  • Should be able to respond to the organisation’s specific business context and optimise the human-technology relationship in order to navigate the organisation through a period of major change.
  • Can leverage data across ‘all tiers’ of the organisation through innovative digital strategies.
  •  Need to be able to bring relevant stakeholders on board to implement change.

READ MORE: How can HR destroy the ‘silo mentality’?

“Critical to this is developing a non-siloed working culture by driving different business functions to work together and create an organisational culture of collaboration, innovation and openness,” he said.

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