Research

Research: The Emerging Leader 2016

Building a sustainable leadership pipeline is often cited as one of the key concerns of senior business leaders in Singapore, as globalisation and increased business complexity place higher demands on the need for experienced leaders.

Yet despite this fact, many organisations still struggle to identify and develop leadership potential. Why is this?

Developing leaders to drive strategic change and filling gaps in your leadership pipeline were ranked the 1st and 2nd most important leadership development priorities in organisations according to Korn Ferry’s 2015 global survey on leadership development.

In an effort to better understand this problem, we decided to ask some people to share their thoughts... But rather than asking senior business leaders to share what they are doing to identify and develop leadership potential, we decided to take a slightly different approach by asking emerging leaders to share their leadership journey.

Key Findings

One of the most concerning findings from this report comes from the 34% of respondents who cited that they were recruited into a leadership role. This leads us to believe that at least one third of organisations do not have a sufficient leadership pipeline, and are forced to recruit from outside. There is also sufficient evidence to support the notion that many organisations do not have a valid competency matrix, and promote based on technical expertise rather than leadership potential.

  • Leaders are not being properly prepared for the transition to a leadership role, with an astounding 84% of respondents citing that they had either ‘no understanding’, or only a basic understanding of what was required of a leader. This was further supported by:
    • 68% of respondents who cited that their organisation used a sink or swim approach and gave them no transitional support, or was only somewhat supportive and provided basic guidelines.
    • 70% of respondents who cited that their manager used a sink or swim approach and gave them no transitional support’, or was only ‘somewhat supportive and provided occasional advice.
  • Based on the above findings it is quite clear that many organisations do not have a structured development program to help individual contributors transition to a leadership role. It also leads us to believe that many organisations do not place enough importance on developing others as a key performance indicator of leaders.
  • Matrix organisations and cross functional teams are also providing additional challenges for emerging leaders, with 72% citing that they had indirect reports. This was further supported by:
    • 64% of respondents who cited that leading people who do not report to me was either a very difficult or somewhat difficult leadership challenge.
  • 77% of respondents cited that managing the expectations of their team was a very difficult or somewhat difficult leadership challenge, whereas 66% of respondents cited that managing performance expectations was either very difficult or somewhat difficult. This was further supported by:
    • 73% of respondents who cited that managing the expectations of their team was either a critical or somewhat important leadership development area.
    • 75% of respondents who cited that managing performance expectations was either critical or somewhat important leadership development area.

Click here to download the full report

Quotes

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