Five things we learned about… leadership development

  1. Build towards larger, long-term culture change.

Michael Vaz, Director of Learning and Development at Accorhotels Asia Pacific shared the example of placing beanbags – instead of chairs – on the floor during a learning & development session with leaders.

While people were self-conscious and wary at first, they slowly loosened up and tried them out. Beanbags might seem like a trivial matter, but the attitude towards them is representative of a person’s approach to innovative ideas.

“Culture change comes slowly, but small changes can help – plant the seed of belief [in the people you are grooming to be future leaders],” said Vaz.

2. Take care of your middle management

“We make sure that our leaders have the space to act as leaders – in particular, our middle management,” said Marie Petit, Chief HR Officer Asia Pacific, Socomec.

“We try to create that awareness around them, that they are they first and main entry point for their people to experience the company – when our employees see the company, they see it first through the eyes of their (middle) managers.

“So if those people are empowered and understand what the company’s vision is, and what is expected of them, they feel empowered. They are then the biggest leverage to make our people grow,” she added.

3. Look out for and nurture learning agility

Cynthia Lee Mai, Head of Talent & Learning, Asia Pacific & Japan at HP Inc, advised that it was important to pioritise learning agility and adaptability in the next generation of leaders – namely, how fast and quickly can they learn.

“We can’t predict what’s going to happen in the next two years, much less four or five, so it is important for our high-potential talent to be able to learn and adapt to changes,” she said.

“If we can help them now to build their resilience, and ability to handle stress and the fast pace of disruption, they’ll be equipped to take on whatever challenges are thrown at them in the future,” she added.

4. Provide a supportive environment for experimentation

Like Vaz, Mai noted that nurturing an innovative mind-set would be crucial for business survival in the age of disruption. Accordingly, she emphasised that this means encouraging potential leaders to try new projects and approaches without worrying too much about whether they work out or not.

“If we want people to experiment, but if we penalise failures or only talk about success stories, we are not encouraging curiosity,” she said.

“What we need to recognise and reward are the right behaviours,” she added.

5. Own your talent

Arthur Lam, People & Organization Lead, APAC at Syngenta pointed out that high-potential talent cannot be left to grow by themselves. Nor can their development be left to just their line managers.

After all, “if the person is a high-potential, they’ll probably outgrow the manager,” said Lam.

“Development of an organisation’s future leaders needs to involve senior management. The regional or global team need to own such talent; to watch their growth and understand where they are going.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *