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Meritocracy and incorruptibility key anchors for leadership development in Singapore: Chan Chun Sing

Meritocracy and incorruptibility key anchors for leadership development in Singapore: Chan Chun Sing

Minister-in-charge of the Public Service Chan Chun Sing speaking at the 8th Singapore-China forum on leadership. (Photo: PSD)

SINGAPORE: Developing highly capable leaders anchored on core values like meritocracy and incorruptibility is a focal area of leadership development in Singapore, said Minister-in-charge of the Public Service Chan Chun Sing on Friday (Oct 29). 

Speaking at the 8th Singapore-China forum on leadership, Mr Chan, who is also Education Minister, shared the three areas of focus for leadership development in Singapore. 

Developing highly capable leaders anchored on core values is one of them, he noted. 

“Just like our Chinese counterpart, we strongly believe that values (and) their role in shaping governance cannot be overstated,” said Mr Chan in his keynote address.

“Selecting and developing not just the most capable, but also the most committed individuals for leadership, remains our topmost priority.” 

Singapore’s experience with managing the COVID-19 pandemic shows that “it is not just about the technical accuracy of our responses”, but whether the people trust the Government to “do what it takes to protect the public good” even in the midst of uncertainty, said the Education Minister. 

“Therefore, leaders must be anchored on core values, such as meritocracy and incorruptibility, and always putting the public interest above self,” he continued.  

“In an uncertain world, values become even more important, because leadership effectiveness depends on trust. These values do not change. These are the values we look out for when selecting our leaders and leadership team, and we continue to reinforce them along our leadership journey.”

Fostering greater diversity in Singapore’s “leadership collective” is also needed to build resilience, said Mr Chan. 

“The collective strength of our team matters more in an uncertain world. We need to develop resilient leadership teams with a good mix of skills, traits, competencies, experiences and personal networks.” 

In Singapore’s public service, leaders are exposed to “different domains”, including policy, operations, mobilisation and communications, he noted. 

Beyond rotating them to different Government agencies, these individuals are also exposed to the private and people sectors to “gain knowledge and build networks”, said Mr Chan. 

He added that leaders should move beyond “doing for our people” to “doing with our people”, and to “do more and do better together” while managing heightened expectations.

“We consult the public and solicit views, allowing the Government to be more responsive to citizen needs. This also allows us to benefit from alternative ideas and suggestions as we co-create and co-deliver services with businesses and the community,” said Mr Chan. 

“As the role of the government becomes more complex, we will need to align and tap on the wider collective across public, people, private sectors, to develop more sustainable and more holistic policies and approaches.” 

Mr Chan is also Singapore’s new co-chairman of the forum. Executive vice minister of the Central Organisation Department of the Communist Party of China Jiang Xinzhi co-chaired the forum with him. 

The forum, first hosted by China in 2009, is a platform for political leaders and senior officials of Singapore and China to “discuss and exchange experiences on common challenges related to leadership development”, said the Public Service Division in a statement. 

Source: CNA/hw(rw)

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