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Amos Tay

Everything you need to know about being a leader in Singapore

BY AMOS TAY

Leadership in Singapore has recently gained a lot of attention, especially with the elder generation of leaders explicitly indicating that new leadership is imminent. A leader is someone who connects, is forward-looking, and transforms the organisation – public or private – as a whole. Here is everything you need to know about being a leader today from some of Singapore’s most powerful LinkedIn profiles this year.

Take risks and be unafraid of adversities
The difference between managers and leaders lies in taking risks. As DBS Bank’s CEO Piyush Gupta noted, it will pay off not just for the company but for the individual as well. The manager listens and follows, while the leader listens and challenges the status quo.

Another difference is how the individual deals with adversity – what Rosaline Koo, founder and CEO of revolutionary healthcare management tech ConneXionsAsia, had to deal with her whole professional life. Facing obstacles is part of the manager’s job, but overcoming them and learning from the experience is what leaders do.

Be an efficient communicator
Perhaps the most important difference between managers and leaders is how they interact with the team. Director of the FinTech & Innovation Group at the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Roy Teo strongly believes that to pioneer innovation and effectiveness, the leader not only has to encourage, but also "give the team space and opportunities to do this". Leaders know when not to micromanage but give breathing space to let their employees CREATE.

Being a leader means you inspire your coworkers to maximise their potential, but being a great leader requires you to do that and manage them. This cannot be done if you aren’t able to communicate with your team efficiently and effectively.

Therefore, it is necessary for a leader to communicate ideas and instructions clearly, but it is also essential to be a better listener. Communication is a two-way street, and to take the company forward, you have to hear from the people themselves – their views, ideas, aspirations – and taking the time to get to know them will help you better connect with your team in helping them maximise their potential.

Honour your core values
One thing that a leader should always stick by is his or her core values. When you lead with these values in mind, others will follow suit and respect you for what you believe in, rather than jeopardising your reputation and potentially tarnishing your own personal brand. Ensure you’re a leader who leads by example and action, not just with words.

Delegation
A leader’s job, more often than not, is to delegate work to his team rather than to micromanage every stage of the project. Capitalise on each team member’s strengths and trust your vision with them so as to free yourself with more important executive-level tasks at hand. Delegation is a key aspect of every leader’s job, hence it is crucial to get to know your team well and assemble the most effective people for the job – you don’t want to be wasting time settling trivial matters because personalities don’t match.

Creativity and intuition
In uncertain times, the team will always look to their leader for guidance. This is where you have to learn to trust your gut and think of innovative ways to deliver your company through tough times. Having confidence in yourself to lead can be as important as your team having confidence in you – in retrospect, this experience will not only be a lesson about business, but also one that reveals things about your team and yourself.

Commitment
Perhaps the most important thing a leader needs to do is to be committed to his or her job. This broad, all-encompassing term includes making certain sacrifices, standing by your vision, delivering quality work by deadlines, and taking care of your team. The latter includes allowing them to have a good work-life balance and taking time off for their own personal matters.

To be a great leader, you also need to understand that you have a life outside of work that is equally as important as your career, as does everyone else. Take care of your team and they will not only be more inclined to deliver better work, but will also respect you as their boss and team leader.

There are many ways to improve your leadership skills, such as learning from other leaders, taking a class or two, or even hiring a life coach. These methods won’t immediately make you a great leader overnight, but they can inspire you to reach your maximum potential and be a better leader than you were today.

As the saying goes, a manager says “Go”, but a leader says “Let’s go”. So let’s go and be a leader today.

The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by Singapore Business Review. The author was not remunerated for this article.

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Amos Tay

Amos Tay

Amos is a professional recruiter and career management keynote speaker with over 10 years of experience as an HR professional before joining as external HR consultant for talent agency Job Hatch. With unique insight of the supply chain & human resource industry, he won the Silver Award for Best Recruitment Consultant at the Human Resources Asia-Pacific Recruitment Awards 2016.

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