Building The Fourth-Generation Leadership

by Patrick Liew on October 31, 2016

I commend Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for his clear and conscientious approach to effective succession. The mark of a great leader is the ability to groom a greater number of better leaders to achieve sustainable success.
However, I trust that he will not be overly-focused on timing for his succession. He will instead be more focused on finding and grooming the right leaders and alternative leaders in case of unforeseen circumstances.

It’s also important to ensure that they are able to assume key roles and responsibilities both in the near term as well as in the future.

In the past, some of the leaders have chosen not to continue in key positions or have even left the political arena. Contingency plans should be put in place to ensure that there are adequate numbers of quality leaders that can take over the batons and carry on the race.

I’m confident that the PM will ensure that these leaders are well prepared, including being given enough opportunity to learn the rope, latitude to develop the necessary experience and expertise, and the space to build a team and connect to major stakeholders at various key levels of the government, economy and society.

In addition, these leaders should be given the platform to strengthen their political wisdom, including their moral intelligence, emotional intelligence, social and cultural intelligence, creative and innovative intelligence, and verbal-linguistic intelligence to persuade and influence our people.

These skills require substantial exposures and experiences to be developed. It takes time to make these skills a vital and integral part of their leadership toolkits.

The PM has a relatively short runway to help leaders cultivate these skills. He may need more time to assess their willingness to do the job and ability to achieve desired results.

Considering that the PM has planned to step down as the PM by the next election, he may have to appoint at least one of the leaders to assume a Deputy Prime Minister’s position or do the job of a coordinating Minister in the near future.

However, such an initiative may cause unintended consequences, including intrapersonal and interpersonal challenges. I trust the PM will stay in the cabinet long enough to help resolve these potential challenges.

At the end of the day, there’s no perfect solution and every decision will carry a degree of downsides.

The people of Singapore will have to exercise patience. We need to be peace-makers and do our part to maintain peace.

We should be proactive in supporting and helping the appointed leaders while offering useful feedback to help them improve and achieve better results.

The prosperity and progress of our nation in the next lap may not just be dependent on the fourth-generational leadership but also on how we as one united people can connect, collaborate and co-create solutions with the new team of leaders.


I hope this message will find a place in your heart.

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

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