Close to 1,400 managers across Singapore, Hong Kong and China were asked to rate their line leaders - and at least one in every four respondents said their leaders are ineffective at connecting with them on a personal and emotional level.

In Singapore, this dissatisfaction was expressed by 32% of responding managers, while in Hong Kong, this dissatisfaction (30%) tied with managers rating their leaders ineffective at giving praise and recognition, as well as setting clear expectations (30% each).

The findings from Roffey Park's latest research on Working in Asia also pointed to leaders in China considered ineffective as empowering employees to make decisions (25% of respondents).

roffey park - ineffectiveness of managers


This inability of a significant minority of leaders to connect with their teams at an emotional level pointed to a larger gap in leaders' inability to navigate today's business environment.

Managing change was the number one challenge listed out among responses from more than 1,900 leaders and managers - 42% in China, 35% in Singapore and 34% in Hong Kong.

Employee engagement and morale was a significant challenge, second ranked in Singapore and Hong Kong (29% and 33% respectively), while Chinese managers were more likely to be concerned with developing effective reams (35%).

Leadership challenges across levels of seniority:

roffey park - leadership challenges


These concerns were prevalent among HR managers as well - in Singapore, 36% of HR managers said managing change is the number one leadership gap in their organisation.

In Hong Kong and China, more than one in three HR managers, however, said skills to encourage creativity and innovation was the number leadership face their company faced (38% and 33% respectively).

That said, improving employee engagement, central to successful change efforts, was considered a gap across Singapore (31%), Hong Kong (35%), and China (25%).

roffey park - leadership skill gaps rated by HR


On the flipside, HR managers in Singapore were least worried about their leaders being able to manage across cultures and time zones, with just 17% rating their leaders ineffective at this skill.

In Hong Kong, managing a multi-generational workforce seemed to a leadership skill relatively prevalent, with less than one in five HR managers calling out their leaders for it (19%).

In comparison, fostering a close relationship with HR was the least area of concern in terms of leadership gaps witnessed by HR managers in China (12%).

Lead image: 123RF