Agile leadership is important to bring the best out of staff, to accommodate stakeholders’ views, and to enhance customer experience for the success of an organisation. This was expressed by Jonathan Yap, Executive Director, Group Internal Audit, DBS Bank, Singapore during a public talk organised by WOU’s School of Business & Administration at the main campus today. About 60 people attended, including Vice Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye and WOU Sdn Bhd Chairman Dato’ Seri Stephen Yeap.
Yap spoke on changing industry landscape and the growth of non-financial services like Facebook, Uber, Alibaba and Airbnb which are innovatively expanding and enriching customer experience. “Leadership agility is about being nimble, proactive, accountable, able to adapt to changes, and to make things happen. The ability to be agile fundamentally is also linked to emotional intelligence (EQ), which enables you to understand people and react or adapt to their thinking.” He listed four components of Leadership Agility namely self-leadership agility; stakeholder agility; creative agility; and context-setting agility. He said self-leadership agility is the ability to secure, solicit and use wisely the feedbacks given. “You need to act on the feedbacks generated. If you have a staff leaving your workplace, in order to improve the situation you need to understand why he/she is leaving. Often times you have exit interviews, but no actions taken after that.”
Creative agility, Yap remarked, is the ability to be creative as individuals, to ask lots of questions. He warned of dictator leadership that tends to instil fear, causing individuals to clam up to avoid getting into trouble. “Even though you think you are right, you will become wrong psychologically. You feel you can’t challenge your superiors, so you pull back, become quiet.” He said an insightful and creative leader questions underlying assumptions and is focused on strategic outcomes.