Andrew Sija


Leadership in the 21st Century demands a great leader who is inclusive in leveraging knowledge, insights and perspectives in diverse workplaces which can make organizations capture a competitive advantage from changing demographics across the workplace and in the marketplace. It needs a leader to take on the opportunity, new way and understanding of what to do and how to do things differently. To be a great leader in public service, organizations would need to invest in developing them. Despite investing significant resources in the training and development of leaders for their competencies, quality, efficiency and improving organization’s performance, many leaders often feel unprepared to be inclusive. The aim of this study, therefore, is to examine how inclusive leadership challenges foster employee work engagement. Three key leadership challenges (personal leadership, managing and motivating, building and leading a team) were successfully identified by Centre for Creative Leadership (CCL) and measured as significant toward employee work engagement in the selected public sectors in Malaysia. A quantitative study was conducted, and hypotheses were tested on a sample of 240 employees in four divisions using Pearson correlation and Multiple Regressions analysis. The result shows that inclusive leadership challenges were positively associated with work engagement, personal leadership challenges with the unstandardized coefficients Beta value of 0.316 followed by building and leading team challenge with Beta value of 0.206 were supported and stronger predictors in influencing employees’ work engagement in the public sector. This study shows that greater concerns from the employees in the public sector on the quality of the leadership in the 21st Century currently bring daily to work practice. Inclusive leadership is crucial for employee engagement, commitment and performance. This study also contributes both theoretical and empirical value to the public sector in formulating proper strategies for having great leaders to fostering inclusiveness in employees’ work engagement.


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