Earlier, we found out that only 14% of employees were happy with their development opportunites. It turns out that executives are frustrated with their leadership development programmes too.

According to the latest study in the Real World Leadership report series by the Hay Group division of Korn Ferry, 55% of Asia Pacific respondents judged the return on their leadership development spending investment as only "fair", "poor", or "very poor".

Echoing the regional findings, in Singapore, 60% of local respondents rated the return on these investments as "fair", "poor", or "very poor".

The survey garnered more than 7,500 responses from across the globe with responses from APAC business and HR leaders generally mirroring answers from other parts of the world.

Interestingly, the study also found that executives across APAC may be their own biggest barrier to achieving leadership development success.

Respondents - many of whom were executives - cited a "lack of executive sponsorship" as the largest barrier to successful implementation of leadership development programmes. This was followed by "lack of alignment between stakeholders", and "lack of budget".

Zooming in on Singapore, 35% of respondents cited a "lack of alignment between stakeholders" as the top barrier to successful implementation, while 31% of them pointed out to "lack of executive sponsorship" as the second biggest barrier.

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“We understand that executives are incredibly busy with business issues, but a focus on development – for themselves and for emerging leaders across their organisation – is how successful implementation of organisational strategy can be realised,” said Dato’ Tharuma Rajah, managing principal, Korn Ferry Hay Group.

The survey also revealed that 50% of Asia Pacific respondents say they would scrap half or more of their current approach to developing leaders, if they were to start over on their leadership programmes.

The largest percentage of respondents in APAC said their most important leadership development priority was developing leaders to drive strategic change, and filling gaps in your leadership pipeline.

In the Lion City, 28% of respondents ranked developing leaders to drive strategic change as their top priority, and the same number (28%) ranked filling gaps in your leadership pipeline as their second priority.

In APAC, the levels at which leadership development could be most improved to meet the strategic agenda were found to be senior executive, followed by mid-level leaders, and C-suite.

In Singapore 30% of respondents ranked the senior executive level as the most in need of imporvement, and 28% of them ranked the C-suite level as the second most in need of improvement.

READ MORE: Study: Lack of focus on developing soft skills of employees in Singapore

However, only 17% of those in APAC and 14% of those in Singapore were confident they had the right leadership capabilities in place to execute their strategy.

To make things worse, only 17% of those in APAC and 11% of those in Singapore were confident that their leadership team demonstrated the behaviors needed to successfully deliver on strategic business priorities.

“The best thought-out business strategy will fail miserably if the leaders within an organisation don’t have the skills to make it come to fruition,” Dennis Baltzley, senior client partner and global head of leadership development solutions, Korn Ferry Hay Group, said.

He added: e“Effective leadership development is the key to helping leaders have the right knowledge and experiences necessary to drive change.”

“Many leadership development initiatives fail because they are simply a series of programmes instead of a comprehensive approach that ties directly back into the business strategy,” Rajah added.

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