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Vietnam Today

Vietnamese global leaders 10-15 years away

Released at: 08:00, 12/03/2017

Vietnamese global leaders 10-15 years away

Photo: Khanh Chi

Singaporean study of 165 C-level executives across nine Asian markets reveals the key attributes of leadership success in the region.

by Hong Nhung

A study by the Human Capital Leadership Institute (HCLI) and Singapore’s National Centre of Excellence, in partnership with Tata Communications, reveals the interesting nuances of Asian leadership on the back of in-depth conversations with 165 C-level executives across nine countries in Asia.

“Leadership Mosaics Across Asia” is an in-depth study that provides insights into the similarities and differences in leadership characteristics across the continent, giving a detailed orientation into the region’s organizational cultures and providing leadership lessons.

The study reveals that while Vietnam’s business leaders are able and adept at dealing with volatile situations, their general lack of exposure to other cultures and approaches hampers their potential for global leadership. This may change as overseas-educated Vietnamese begin to return from overseas in greater numbers, but leaders interviewed still believe it will take ten to 15 years before high-potential Vietnamese emerge as global leaders.

One leader opined that Vietnam’s relatively young population lacks leadership experience in general, and before even considering global leadership the immediate challenge in many foreign companies is to develop local leaders for their Vietnam operations. Ultimately, while it may be some time before Vietnamese global leaders emerge and reach a critical mass, senior business and HR leaders should continually monitor high-potential individuals and consider the possibility of accelerating their development pathway.

These unique insights provide global businesses with rich perspectives on how best to navigate towards success in the region. Aside from Vietnam, other markets researched are China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

Ms. Su-Yen Wong, CEO of HCLI, said that the study uncovered different ways of leadership in Asian countries with honest insights that will advance leadership development in the region.

“Succession planning and the challenge of finding the ‘right’ Asian talent to step into senior roles for Asian operations has always been one of the top issues that keep CEOs awake at night, for both Asian conglomerates and multinational corporations (MNC’s) operating in Asia,” she said.

Speaking at the release of the research, Mr. Vinod Kumar, Managing Director and CEO of Tata Communications Group, said: “We appreciate the nuances of different styles of leadership, just as we value the diversity and color that this brings. We are honored therefore to be associated with the HCLI’s ‘Leadership Mosaics Across Asia’ study.”

“Technology and digital communications are changing the way in which business is conducted today,” he went on. “Business leaders are starting to build interconnected ecosystems and are collaborating across their industry platforms like never before. And at the heart of this digital transformation is the very real need for human connection and emotional intelligence. This HCLI study helps us deconstruct and understand myriad leadership styles across many geographies and cultures. For at the end of the day, all roads lead to leadership.”

“Taking the role of an emerging business leader in Vietnam is challenging and interesting at the same time,” said Ms. Tieu Yen Trinh, CEO of HR consultants Talentnet. “As a business decision-maker in the modern age, leadership is not just about managing a transition while maintaining business growth. In fact, leaders are urged to go the extra mile every day to connect people, develop resources, create a healthy working environment and, most importantly, drive business.”

“From my own experience as well as certain observations during the past 20 years while working with so many CEOs in Vietnam, the very first step to achieve these is to redefine the leadership style and find yourself the most appropriate one and ‘transform’ it to be more in line with the cross-cultural context and fast-paced development.”

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