Chief Executive Officer
Standard Chartered Bank Brunei
What are some of the steps one can take to prepare him or herself to be a better leader?
Leadership cuts across the many different facets of life – business, politics, sports and others. People often debate whether leadership comes from birth or acquired over time and I think it is a bit of both. People are born with a degree of leadership embedded in their inherent character and personality, but it is the life experience that would hone this further to a varying degree depending on one’s upbringing and development. In business, the quest to continuously improve leadership starts from the basics – employ sound logic, believe in what the team sets out to do, collaborate, focus on achieving results, and have the courage to try non-conventional things. From time to time, joining suitable courses for leadership development may also be useful and so is finding inspirations from well-known leaders from all walks of life.
What is your advice to leaders facing adversity, especially in the current economic environment?
The word resilience would be the first that comes to mind – no pain no gain. We also need to be able to think more strategically to understand what influences the economic environment, both positives and negatives, and endeavour to find ways to anticipate better or turn them around into opportunities. The global environment is getting significantly more dynamic with technological advancements and globalisation, so in order to succeed every business leader must be able to scan the horizon effectively and become highly adaptive to the fastchanging landscape.
In your opinion, what differentiates a good leader from a great one?
Good leaders are people who are typically collaborative and receptive to the ideas and views of others. They are able to establish an acute understanding of their company’s capabilities and potential by talking to and listening to their employees, customers and stakeholders. They also learn from their successes as well as their failures. However, great leaders I think are those who, on top of all the qualities above, also had a strong sense of values and a clear vision for their organisations. They not only talk about their ethical values, they live by those values. They would continually foster a climate of trust – from what they said, to how they listened, to how they acted on what they learned. And through their vision, they can establish the atmosphere of commitment, teamwork, and energy that characterises successful companies.
Tell us a story of a leader has influenced you the most.
I studied International Politics and one of the world leaders I have always admired growing up is Mr. Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore. I think he is the epitome of leadership where his extraordinary vision and unwavering values transformed Singapore from the small city-state with minimal natural resources in the independence time into the economic powerhouse that it is today.