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A challenge for leaders to change established system

While our leaders have done well to encourage critical and contrarian views in recent times, they have to resolve some major challenges (How not to surround yourself with yes-men; March 5).

Many of our leaders were drawn from a few segments of society. These leaders may have worked together or been part of a well-designed system. Such an experience can promote a better relationship and teamwork, but it may also breed a negative sense of familiarity and convergence of thought processes.

There may also be a tendency to exclude those with different views from the group.

Our new generation of leaders also have to operate within a relatively well-established culture and system that have been shaped by highly regarded leaders over a long period. While today's leaders may be mindful that what worked in the past may not work in the future, it is not easy to break a system that has worked well and develop a new model to chart a new direction.

Nobody has a monopoly on wisdom. To overcome ingrained thoughts and practices, our leaders should continue to engage the public and seek feedback.

Experts and stakeholders could be encouraged to help improve the system by raising objections where necessary. Competent individuals could also be tapped to play devil's advocates and challenge proposed policies and initiatives.

Patrick Liew Siow Gian (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 12, 2017, with the headline 'A challenge for leaders to change established system'. Print Edition | Subscribe