Developing Future-Fluent Asian Leaders: Leadership Myths We Must Debunk

Developing Future-Fluent Asian Leaders – Myths We Must Debunk

As health and economic impacts surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic continue to change on a daily basis, organizations are scrambling to pull together their best people as ‘guides’ to lead the way to a prosperous future.

Human resources and leadership functions are under immense pressure not only to develop leaders to deal with the here-and-now challenges, but also to proactively prepare organizations for the recovery. All the while, there remain leadership myths and misconceptions around development that must be debunked in order to energize the function.

“To develop leaders in Asia we need to be mindful of simple things like context, language, pace, learning styles, and cultural differences, and sometimes it is hard for global organizations to appreciate the differences.” – Sonal Paprocki, VP Human Resources, Asia-Pacific, NBCUniversal

The research team at the Center for Creative Leadership rolled out a survey to 248 HR leaders across Asia. The results contained in this paper reveal the leadership development challenges faced most frequently, and the biggest leadership myths around development that must be dealt with in order to prepare the next cadre of Asian leaders to take on perhaps the hardest challenge of their professional journey.

Debunking 7 Leadership Myths About Leaders in Asia

For HR leaders, the first step to creating future-fluent Asian leaders is to acknowledge and debunk the following 7 leadership myths that surround them: 

  1. Asian leaders are harder to develop to take on senior global leadership roles. 
  2. Leadership development efforts should primarily focus on top-level executives. 
  3. Organizations can have one uniform approach to developing leaders across different regions, countries, and contexts. 
  4. Just attending leadership development courses will make you a better leader.
  5. HR teams can lead and execute a leadership development agenda without getting buy-in from senior teams and board members. 
  6. Effective leadership development can happen irrespective of the organization’s culture. 
  7. Online/digital learning is less effective than classroom learning. 

None of these statements are necessarily true — they’re just myths about leadership in Asia. 

The Biggest Challenges Around Development Facing HR Leaders in Asia 

HR leaders in Asia face specific stalls that need to be addressed head-on. What specifically is impeding their success? Our research team polled CHROs on their most critical challenges in leadership development in Asia. These following are what they reported as most holding back their leadership development initiatives: 

  • 26% budgetary constraints 
  • 27% lack of senior business leader support 
  • 37% lack of Learning & Development culture 
  • 37% ROI hard to establish 
  • 40% changing future workforce needs
  • 48% linking critical skills with business requirements 
  • 48% converting classroom learning to behavioral changes at work

Read the full white paper for a detailed assessment of the leadership myths that impact Asian leaders and how HR can debunk these myths, as well as exclusive research, unique takeaways, and insights — including the 5 paradoxes of leadership development in Asia. 

This report was created in partnership with ADP, a leading global technology company providing human capital management (HCM) solutions. 

Download White Paper

Download this white paper to learn the myths around leadership development in Asia and steps to take to prepare your talent for the future.

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August 26, 2020
About the Author(s)
Sunil Puri
Sunil is the Senior Director and Head of Asia-Pacific Research, Innovation, and Product Development at CCL, where he leads and manages research teams and initiatives in APAC and ASEAN/South Asia. He holds an MTech in Energy Studies from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, and an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.

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