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APR — JUN 2013 ISSUE 8

Exclusive Interview with Barry Posner Best-selling Co-author of The Leadership ChallengeÂŽ

Together, We Achieve Leadership for Millennials Shared Leadership - Towards a More Consultative Approach

shared leadership from silos to synergies

1 Halogen360

From the Executive Director’s Laptop


Teo Chee Hean Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Home Affairs; Co-ordinating Minister for National Security

Board of Directors

[Chairman] Lim Soon Hock Founder and Managing Director, PLAN-B ICAG Pte Ltd [Treasurer] Bill Padfield Chief Executive Officer, Dimension Data Asia Pacific Pte Ltd Chan Heng Wing Senior Advisor, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Non-Resident High Commissioner to the People’s Republic of Bangladesh Cho Pei Lin Managing Director, Asia PR Werkz Pte Ltd Martin Tan Co-Founder and Executive Director, Halogen Foundation Singapore Michael Palmer Partner, Quahe Woo & Palmer Soon Sze-Meng Regional Director of Cross-Border Business, APCEMEA Visa Worldwide Pte Ltd

Editorial Team [Editor] Jael Chng

[Sub-Editors] Faith Luo Jinghui Daphne Lee Pearlyn Yap [Designer] Peter Oh

When the word ‘Leader’ is mentioned, what image comes to your mind? Is it a strong, lone Indiana Jones figure that braves through the rain, cuts through the forest and saves the world? Or is it a team like Avengers or X-Men who combine their superpowers to conquer a challenge? Today’s problems are so complex that we can no longer rely on only one person for all the solutions. In our conversations with educators, ministers and corporate leaders, we see a shift from the previously prevailing style of authoritative leadership to that of shared leadership. Taking a cue from technology, we previously only worked with Microsoft Office documents. For revisions, we would save each version on the server. Now, with Google Documents, multiple persons can work on the same document concurrently and revert to old revisions on the same page. On flights, passengers could only watch one movie at a stipulated time, but we can now choose from a myriad of choices and watch selected movies at our own time. Likewise, leadership used to be a one-way street but now, it is a confluence of multiple paths to create a shared future. Suan Yeo, Head of Google Education, Asia-Pacific asked educators when he was in town: “Are you preparing your students for their future or on the basis of your past?” This statement struck a chord with us as it is a priority of Halogen. We want to future-proof our young leaders so that they are well-equipped to lead themselves and others well.

Contributors Barry Posner, Gary Miles, Juliana Ng, Kristin Loo, Muhd Zulhilmie, Pearl Pang, Sean Kong, Shirleen Ong, Su Mei Teh Halogen360 is a quarterly publication of Halogen Foundation Singapore. Halogen360 is distributed free to 2500 people, including ministers, partners, educators, volunteers, donors, and in the National Youth Council and *SCAPE. Copyright is held by Halogen Foundation Singapore. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. To provide comments or request free copies of this publication, please email singapore@ Printed by NuColour Pte Ltd

In this issue, we bring to you leadership perspectives from international leadership experts like Barry Posner, co-author of bestselling leadership book The Leadership Challenge® (Pg 11) and Gary Miles, Director of International Operations, Roffey Park Asia Pacific (Pg 5). You will also get to hear from Shirleen Ong, Principal of Methodist Girls’ School and Su Mei Teh from Google Singapore (Pg 7). Finally, flip over to Pg 10 to pick up useful tips on how you can enable others to act. As we transit towards an era and culture of shared leadership, it will not be about throwing the baby out with the bath water but to encourage creativity and agility while retaining the advantages of hierarchy. There is no single model of what it takes to succeed now and the future only looks to be even more volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. What we can do, is to simply embrace the cadence of change and prepare our youths and ourselves for #whatsnext.

For advertising or media enquiries, contact Jael at To find out more about Halogen and the programmes we offer, please visit our website at or scan this:

Martin Tan

Co-founder and Executive Director Halogen Foundation Singapore


One day, happy with my black leather wallet in hand, I browsed Popular bookstore and this book caught my eye: “Delivering Happiness—the path to profits, passion and purpose” by Tony Hsieh, CEO,, Inc. After the positive Zappos customer service experience, I was curious to get to know the story behind it. I got the book. It was both a #1 New York Times and #1 Wallstreet Journal bestseller. In it, Tony Hsieh told of his journey of shared leadership.

and email me... In particular, think about any employees that you think represent the Zappos culture well… Conversely, think about any employees that you think do not represent Zappos well... This is a very important document, as we will give the final version to all employees… your input is very important.” Through these examples and many others, it is clear that Hsieh actively shared his leadership. He included them in the process. He empowered them. In the book, Hsieh made it a point to share policies, practices, and include personal stories and perspectives from employees. For those who may be sceptical about this corporate fairy tale, you will be surprised by the stories that back the “theory” up.

their orientation time US$2,000 to quit if they did not fit in. In 2009, Zappos was acquired by Amazon in a deal valued at over US$1.2 billion. In 2011, they published “The Zappos Family Culture Book”** where they documented each employee’s idea about their culture and their core values. They welcome visitors to tour Zappos headquarters in Las Vegas to experience their culture first-hand. *** It almost seems too good to be true (as with all fairy tales). But with Hsieh’s expression of shared leadership, Zappos has built up great company culture aand is known for their excellent customer service. Is it a one-hit wonder? Maybe it is. But it should not stop us from aspiring.

“We believe that in general, the best ideas and decisions are made from the bottom up.”

* h t t p : / / w w w. b u s i n e s s w e e k . c o m / s m a l l b i z / content/may2009/sb20090512_831040.htm ** ***

Jael Chng champions relevant ways of communicating with young people at Halogen. She blogs, tweets, snaps photos, videos, posts on Facebook and writes for an online magazine.

–Tony Hsieh, CEO,

One of the examples he quoted is Zappos’s Communication Policy: “The best leaders are those that lead by example and are both team followers as well as team leaders. We believe that in general, the best ideas and decisions are made from the bottom up, meaning by those on the front lines that are closest to the issue and/or the customers. Ask yourself: How do you encourage more people to take the initiative? How do you encourage more people to take ownership? Do you instill a sense of team and family not just within your department, but across the entire company?”

Quoting Carmine Gallo from his article “Delivering Happiness the Zappos Way” on Bloomberg Businessweek*, “One night, he (Hsieh) and some vendors returned to a hotel room late. Someone in the group was craving pizza and was told room service had ended. As a joke, Hsieh suggested calling Zappos. You can probably guess the end of the story—even though Zappos doesn’t sell pizza, the customer service rep found a list of local pizza places that would deliver to the hotel”.

Another example is a memo that Hsieh sent out: “We’ve been working on a “Zappos Core Values” document, and the first draft of it is below. Please take the time to read it over

Today, the culture is famous. Hsieh worked hard to build a great team by focusing on company culture. They would actually pay new employees in

Shared Leadership— What Does It Look Like? Lessons from By Jael Chng


I was on a hunt for a wallet. I searched high and low for months. After many searches, I finally found “It”. It was a black leather wallet and was available at Knowing that a friend was coming back from the U.S, I quickly asked her if she could bring it back and she said yes. However, it was cutting close. The day the wallet would reach her place was the day before she left. That prompted me to write to Zappos to ask if they could make sure it reached her earlier. To my surprise, through the online customer service chat, they upgraded me to the “business class” package with such a positive attitude.


Leadership for Millennials The way you respected and listened to your seniors might not be the way your youths respect and listen to you now. What values appeal to youth, and how can you groom those same values in them so they can excel as leaders in their future workplaces? By Kristin Loo

81% of employees prefer these leadership styles: Democratic

Team involvement and decision making


Employees making decisions


Engaging and valuing employees


Provides clear foresight

The least preferred leadership style is the authoritative style where one would expect all directions given to be followed. However, 29% of employees say this is still the most common leadership style today.

• Fights fire and focuses on symptoms. • Delivers solutions that have been approved to the team


• Believes power comes from Position of Authority.


The Leadership Disconnect,, by Kelly Services

• Believes power is maximised by working in a team. • Seeks to uncover the root causes of the issue. • Facilitates brainstorming with the team.

3 differences between traditional and collaborative leaders:

Leaders of the future are collaborative leaders Traditional vs Collaborative Leaders: 8 Key Indicators, by Collaborative Lead Training Co, Sep12


Kristin Loo is an aspiring marketer exploring the world of design. She believes that everyone has the potential to be a good leader.

Future leaders will embrace inclusive management There is a redistribution of influence from traditional authority figures such as CEOs and prime ministers toward employees, peers and people with credentials.

Authority CEO Government officials Board of Directors

The traditional pyramid of authority is now joined by an inverted pyramid of community, where employees, consumers and social activists continually participate in peer-to-peer dialogue, resulting in a new diamond of influence.

Employees Consumers Social Activists

Crisis in Leadership, by Richard Edelman, 23 Jan 2013

Peer-to-peer dialogue

The most successful leaders are those who are liked. They are liked because they are good listeners, inspiring storytellers, passionate, team players, surprising, responsive, not complicated, authentic, adaptable, grateful, and transparent. 11 Simple Concepts to Become Better Leaders, today/post/article/20130128162711-15077789-11-simple-concepts-tobecome-a-better-leader?trk=mp-details-rc, by CEO Dave Kerpen


Employers look for leaders who can take a cross-disciplinary approach to project teamwork Many businesses are adopting a participating management style, which involves employees in decision making. –George DeMetropolis, University of Pheonix Faculty Member and Leadership Consultant What Skills will you need to Succeed in the Future? forward/careers/2012/09/what-skills-will-you-need-to-succeed-in-the-future. html, by Mary Barry, Sep 21 2012

60% of CEOs say creativity was their most sought after leadership ability Getting Fit to Lead,, by Michigan State University, Nov 2012


Shared Leadership – Towards a More Consultative Approach Thought from Gary Miles, Director of International Operations, Roffey Park Asia Pacific By Jael Chng, with Gary Miles

Singapore is in a period of transition. Looking at the reactions of Singaporeans over local issues such as the Population White Paper, we observe one thing: Instead of the traditional top-down leadership style, people are expecting leaders to exercise shared leadership. Buzz words like “trust”, “transparency”, “buy-in”, “collaboration” and “empowerment” are more emphasised. What were the factors that led to this change? As educators, how do we develop our youths to be proficient in practicing shared leadership? What are the crucial elements and skills? To share with us his views, we have a Human Resource Leadership expert, Gary Miles, from the international leadership institute, Roffey Park. Gary is a member of the Senior Management Team of Roffey Park, an internationally renowned leadership institute based in the UK and Singapore. With 65 years’ experience of leadership, organisational development, human resources and coaching, they provide executive education and research to many of the world’s leading companies and organisations. He has over 20 years of experience as a Human Resource (HR) Practitioner and Business Manager and specialises in HR Development including HR Business Partnering and Leadership Development. He has designed and delivered programmes in Singapore, Dubai, USA, Canada and Europe. Let us hear from Gary:

Leaders for Different Generations Over the last thirty or forty years, we have seen a shift in leadership styles. This is not only due to the distinct and successive generations that assumed their turn at the leadership role (from Boomers, to Generation X and now Generation Y), but also to the other changes in the organisation, business environment and nature of the workforce. The different generations not only embody different leadership styles, they have different expectations of their leadership.

Baby Boomers, due to their hierarchical, conservative and measured working style, are more likely to value a leadership style that is paternalistic and has authority vested in the wisdom of many years of experience. Generation X, leaning towards a fair, competent and collaborative working style and approach expect to be led by a competent leader who can set the pace and inspire them. Generation Y, being more challenging of authority, individualistic and ambitious with focus on self rather than organisational loyalty, value leaders who are driven and who recognise their needs. They are not impressed by corporate hierarchy and expect direct access to top management. The Evolving Leader The phenomena of the multi-generational workforce, with different generations working alongside each other, each requiring a different type of leader to guide and motivate, has caused a transformation in the nature of leadership. Organisational structures have evolved, from organisational hierarchies to flatter organisations. The dynamics of the business environment, where we have to deal with an everincreasing amount of change and ambiguity in our lives have also necessitated a different style of and approach towards leadership. Furthermore, where people now have to multitask and handle more than one area of work, and where they are over-stretched and pressurised, the command and control approach to leadership no longer works. Buy-ins from staff become more effective in moving the organisation towards a certain goal. There has thus been a distinct shift to a more consultative form of leadership where effective leaders engage their people and consult them before making decisions that have an impact on their staff and the organisation. Another noticeable change in leadership now is the greater emphasis on Servant Leadership, the kind of leadership embodied by Mahatma Gandhi. This type of leadership is


based more on humility and the genuine desire to be the stewards of the people and organisation, and to have a strong ethical interest and desire to serve communities at large, and not just the organisation. Leaders of the future will need to be even more flexible, resilient and comfortable with ambiguity and uncertainty given the speed of change in the work environment that we have to contend with. Dealing with the diversity of generations in the workforce will require high levels of tolerance, understanding and appreciation of diversity to ensure that the benefits of a the diverse workforce can be harnessed for greater organisational and economic success. Developing Leaders of the Future In seeking to prepare a new generation of leaders, our curriculum in leadership development will need to reflect the changes taking place in organisations and the need for a more collective mind-set. There is a need to educate the younger generation on the value that older workers bring to the table in terms of experience and wisdom. We need to unlearn skill sets that have, up to now, been emphasised in schools—telling and teaching—in favour of coaching skills that need to be developed and practised. There is also a need to develop the moral and ethical dimension to leadership. Self awareness continues to be an absolutely fundamental building block for any learning and development programme. Developing emotional intelligence will be crucial for the future generation of leaders, who due to social network sites, have taken a regressive step as far as social skills and human interaction are concerned. Both are exceptionally important for effective leadership. Above all, educators need to first experience organisations for themselves and to have conversations with modern day leaders to ask pertinent questions of them, such as what drives them and what are the difficulties and challenges they

“We need to unlearn skill sets that have, up to now been emphasised in schools – telling and teaching – in favour of coaching skills that need to be developed and practised.”

are facing. Secondments and shadowing of modern day leaders are also a good mode to learn the skill sets that make up the modern day leader which can then be shared in the classroom and incorporated into the curriculum. Leadership—The Unchanging Qualities One thing in an uncertain world that remains unchanging is that the fundamental qualities of a leader which allow them to command respect and following is the same now as it was centuries ago. In Roffey Park’s research we have found that visionary and engaging leadership appeal to everyone, regardless of what generation they belong to and regardless of the organisational structures prevailing. While leaders now need to be transformational, you cannot lead unless you have followers. Highlighted in the work of Kouzes and Posner, authors of “The Leadership Challenge”, followers admire leaders who are competent, honest, forwardlooking and inspiring.


Together, We Achieve Leadership today is not like it was before. Because of the environment we grow up in, each generation listens and responds differently from the one before them. Our expectations for school, work, and life, vary. As people who work with youth, how can we engage them? How can we ensure that our leadership practices are relevant and have a lasting impact? H360 offers insights from an educator, student, working professional, and youth developer. By Faith Luo Jinghui

H360: In school, whether with colleagues or students, how much responsibility should we share, and what does a shared leadership contribute to? Hear from Shirleen Ong, Principal of Methodist Girls’ School, on the longevity and lasting impact that shared leadership can bring.

Shirleen Ong, Principal of Methodist Girls’ School since 2007, is a member of the Executive Board, Academy of Principals. In 2012, she was awarded the Public Administration Medal—Silver, and the Long Service Medal.

Many of us grew up knowing of authoritarian leaders who were crystal clear about what needed to be done and how that should be done. Today, authoritarian leaders are seen as self-centred, non-consultative, and critical of differing opinions. However, they do get things done. In recent years, shared leadership has been increasingly pervasive. The leader is consultative and taps on the strengths of team members. He values the insights and experiences of his team, and every major decision is made with inputs from his team; of course, the decision made is usually not unexpected. He generates a sense of shared ownership of the decision taken. Having met both types of leaders, I appreciate that each type of leadership has its place and season. Unfortunately, the authoritarian leader who holds the key to almost everything, lacks relevance today. If the success of the organisation resides in one person, this success will erode when the leader leaves. When I was moving from the leadership of one school to another, I was told, “The success of the school that you have led will only be clear when you leave. If there is

continued success in the school after you leave, then, you have led well.” Indeed, I rejoice with the school each time I read or hear of its achievements. Thankfully, the success in the school has been sustained after I left. As a result of shared ownership, sustained learning persists. In today’s complex and dynamic world, shared leadership has the best chance of success. The community thrives when every member contributes of his talents and strengths: together they sharpen the focus of their vision, the direction of inquiry, the depth of the reflection, and they sustain their achievements. I appreciate this because I work with a Senior Management Team with a diversity of talents. A school is a community of different groups of people. The leader needs to draw on the talents, skills and professional expertise of others in the school, to drive it to success. Schools, more than any other organisation, must appreciate the strengths of each group of people and the potential within.

H360: Delegating responsibilities to adults can be relatively easy, partly because we expect them to have a sense of know-how. But how about giving ownership to youth? How much can we entrust young people with? Should we just do the job ourselves instead? A Halogen volunteer, 19-year-old Muhd Zulhilmie, shares with us his personal secondary school and junior college leadership experiences. Muhd Zulhilmie was a Peer Support Leader in secondary school and a Student Councillor in junior college. Currently 19 years old, he is serving National Service. A fun-loving guy, he loves fantasy novels (especially Wicked) and science. He also enjoys long strolls by the park and is an avid board gamer, but what he really loves most are his Saturdays with great company.

FEATURE 8 Having held different leadership positions since primary school all the way to junior college, I have gone through many different experiences and met many different types of colleagues and superiors. Naturally, as we grow older, we will be given more leadership opportunities and greater responsibilities. However, it was not so in my experience. In my personal experience, there was a dip in how much my peers and I were entrusted with when dealing with programmes in junior college, as compared to our involvement in secondary school. In secondary school as a Peer Support Leader, I felt that I was given much more responsibilities and held many important roles. My teachers trusted us with our own meetings and agendas, and only stepped in when we were really in need of help. They were open to our failures and guided us when we lost our sight of the goal. They gave us a sense of freedom which made me feel empowered and helped me mature. Consequently, I returned the favour by teaching what I learnt to my juniors. Now, I am invited back every once in awhile to lend a helping hand, which I thoroughly enjoy. In contrast, my leadership experience in junior college was a rather dull one. Being older and having tasted what I did in secondary school, I expected more opportunities as a Student Councillor at a higher level institution. However, most of the work was already done by teachers and we did not discuss new ideas much. Often, the seniors were called back to do the tasks. By just being told what to do, I felt I was unable to learn many new leadership skills. It only seemed to me that my teacher just wanted to avoid any form of possible failure and keep our reputation as clean as possible. The types of leadership experiences I had in secondary school and junior college varied differently due to the way my teachers treated me. While I understand the reasons my junior college teachers may have had, I valued my secondary school experience more because my teachers were willing to dare and try, and involve us even though we were young. It was very empowering. Hence, ironically, I felt more able and motivated in secondary school than when I was in junior college. There was a sense of ownership with the events that my peers and I organised because we built on our own ideas and consulted our teachers instead of being told what to do. That kind of leadership that was shared between student and teacher motivated me to take initiative, do better, and ultimately become a better leader.

H360: Beyond a concept, leadership is a practice that can be nurtured and practiced. How does leadership translate in the workplace, and how can you prepare your youth for it? Su Mei Teh, a Sales Operations Manager with Google, shares some key insights.

Su Mei Teh has worked mostly in professional services firms in both Singapore and Hong Kong during her 10-year career. She is a Sales Operations Manager with Google in Singapore, and supports the Google sales teams in business management and sales optimisation processes.

Over the years and across the corporations I have worked in, I see a shift towards shared leadership. I think the era of leading by fear is giving way to genuine leadership. I once encountered a leader who did not have the best interests of his staff. Despite good wages, the staff team simply was not happy. The sentiments of the staff was reflected by this line “I am better than this; I can find another place where I am respected and developed�. Not surprisingly, many people left. This leader may have been brilliant at making money as an individual. But with a high turnover rate, his organisation will find it hard to be sustainable in the long-term. Genuine leadership builds loyalty, respect and true followership. Currently, the concept of delegation and empowerment has been the best practice dominating professional workplaces. It is no surprise that this goes hand-in-hand with increasing competition (from employers). Most of the best and the brightest employees want to be challenged and empowered to make decisions in order to stay with their employers. From the employer’s point of view, they also have their expectations. For youths to lead in our global economy, they will need to possess the following critical mindsets, skills and competencies: 1) The art of communication is a key skill to possess. This is not just about being technically good at a language, but about phrasing questions or demands thoughtfully, managing communications between different stakeholders, and proper body language, which is effective in crossing all language barriers. 2) Adaptability is critical. We work in increasingly fastchanging global environments and constantly need to adapt to new cultural contexts, and even time zones. For example, I am currently in a job where I have to run time sensitive processes across timezones in the United States of America, Europe and Asia. I have once-a-week midnight video conferences with the rest of my teammates. Meanwhile, my company is also constantly upgrading our

9 OPINION IT systems such that I constantly have to master our new systems and workflows. 3) Every good leader takes accountability for the results of his/her actions, including the failures, and then learns from them. At a senior management conference I organised some years back, I realised to my horror that I had forgotten to load the CEO’s presentation on the presenting laptop. Thankfully, the audience preferred her speech without the slides. Afterwards, she expressed her slight dissatisfaction to me, and I made a note to ensure I shared responsibilities going forward, instead of trying to keep everything on my overflowing plate. Educators can replicate the shared leadership model in the workplace and be role models of genuine leadership by: • •

Empowering students to make decisions Not punishing failure excessively, so that students will have courage to take accountability for their actions and understand why they have failed. After that, give them opportunities to apply their learning in other occasions Train adaptability by using different formats for class assignments

If you want your youth to succeed in the workplace, I encourage you to train them to communicate, adapt, and take accountability as leaders who work well in teams.

H360: The same leadership principle applies from schools to workplaces, with peers and juniors or seniors—that is, share it. Sean Kong, Deputy Chief Executive Officer at Halogen Foundation Singapore, helps us understand the need to adapt leadership to be effective in our current world. Sean Kong is the Deputy CEO of Halogen Foundation Singapore. He has 5 years of experience in youth development training, and currently oversees training, research and curriculum development for youth and educator programmes. He also sits on National Youth Council’s SHINE Steering Committee and MOE’s Healthy Youth Committee (HYCOM).

Traditionally, leadership has always been about the sole figure providing direction, and giving all the answers to the most difficult of problems. The requirements of leadership has not changed over time, but in an increasingly complexed and fast-paced world, these same requirements have become increasingly difficult for one person to bear. To tackle these new and increased challenges, many corporations have migrated from the traditional

hierarchical leadership towards a more flattened shared leadership structure. Many Fortune 500 companies such as General Electric and Procter & Gamble have adopted such a leadership structure and culture in order to remain competitive. Shared leadership is about maximising the human resources in an organisation by empowering individuals to lead, especially in their areas of expertise. The concept of shared leadership, though a crucial workplace competency, is a hard one to grasp, and an even harder one to apply. Learning to work in a team is one of the fundamentals of shared leadership, and the nature of Co-Curricular Activities build in students the mindset of being a team player. Shared leadership however, is at a different level. Students need to feel confident to step out and lead others in what they are good at, while at the same time feel comfortable with being led by others in other areas. They need to get used to the idea of sharing responsibility and being interdependent on each other. Large-scale project management (like service learning projects) has been one of the more effective platforms in which we have seen students learn and exhibit elements of shared leadership. These students also go on to become more confident in learning to work with others. More organisations are ditching hierarchical leadership and adopting shared leadership. If shared leadership is the way to go for the future, then the following question is a befitting one to ask: How are we preparing our students for their future, where the work culture will increasingly be one of shared leadership? At Halogen, we believe shared leadership can be learnt and developed, and classrooms and school environments can be re-shaped to cultivate an environment conducive for learning shared leadership. By doing so, we build students who are confident about their own strengths, and effective future leaders who lead from their strengths.

Faith Luo Jinghui chose to join Halogen after attaining her degree from down under. At other times, her “itchy fingers” can be found holding a drawing pen or on music instruments.

Halogen conducts a shared leadership module for secondary and tertiary students. Find out more at www.halogen. sg. For enquiries, please contact Sean at


Enable Others to Act Fostering Collaboration and Strengthening Others Daniel Day-Lewis, in his Best Actor Oscar acceptance speech for the leading role in the Abraham Lincoln biopic, said, “I’d like to thank… our mighty team of co-conspirators. At the apex of that human pyramid, there are 3 men to whom I owe this and a great deal more”. Indeed the best actor needs everyone in the entire production crew to enable him to do his act and shine. Just like actors, leaders do not act alone. They too need their teams to work together in order to achieve shared goals. Yet, for many young leaders in school, their concept of leadership is to stand up front and/or do things all by their lonesome selves. No wonder many of the student leaders, when we first meet them, are reluctant to be leaders. Then again, there are also those who have felt that it is an esteemed honor to be given a position or title and so they have to do the work themselves. It is part of our work in Halogen to tell them that is not how it always has to work! James Kouzes and Barry Posner, authors of bestseller The Leadership Challenge®, found from over 30 years of research that no extraordinary achievement ever occurred without the active involvement and support of many people. Simply put, leaders cannot do it alone. Leadership is team effort; leaders have to Enable Others to Act. To do this, leaders have to commit to the following:

1. Foster collaboration by building trust and facilitating relationships.

By Pearl Pang

hotel group leads the ranks when it comes to providing the best overall guest experience. While strengthening others to make decisions and do tasks, we must be careful to match challenges with their competence so they feel confident enough to act, rather than having their morale lowered when they feel helpless and unable.

an e things we c Here are som t: Others to Ac do to Enable by

st to students fir Extend trust yourself. t ation abou sharing inform vities to building acti Conduct team ions which can help ract facilitate inte build trust. onships and ti nurture rela students. rtant tasks to Assign impo t will bu , just do-ers They are not longing be p, hi rs owne are feel a sense of ey ment when th and empower s. ake decision allowed to m challenged ts sufficiently Keep studen tasks that g by assignin and engaged capability. match their ces and cessary resour Provide the ne ents to perform stud coaching for ctively. fe ef s their task

2. Strengthen others by increasing selfdetermination and developing competence.

While collaboration simply means working together, the conditions to sustain it is far more exacting. What is needed is a climate of trust. We have often heard people say, “He’s got to earn my trust”. Yet, building trust requires leaders to first trust. Be willing to share your values, your dreams, your hopes. Be willing to share resources, to delegate, to listen, and to be influenced. Trust begets trust. But, let us be real. Sometimes, trust fails. When that happens, we just have to work at it again—from the top. You have to take the risk and demonstrate your trust in them all over again. Also, leaders must understand the paradox of power: you become more powerful when you give your own power away. Empowering others is about liberating them to use what skills and talent they already have, and expanding their opportunities to serve a common and meaningful purpose. This calls for providing choices and options instead of prescribing actions, just like how every single Ritz-Carlton employee is entrusted to spend up to $2,000 to make a single guest satisfied—without approval from their general manager. It is no wonder why this

As Kouzes and Posner say, “A grand dream doesn’t become a significant reality through the actions of a single person”. Daniel Day-Lewis deserves his Oscar. But it was not his effort alone. The whole production crew made it possible. It was the trust and the relationships, the competence and confidence. That was what enabled him to act. Pearl Pang is Halogen’s Chief of Staff – or “Stuff” as she puts it. She is passionate about young people and is actively involved in The Girls’ Brigade Singapore.

The Leadership Challenge® (TLC) is an international leadership development programme backed by 30 years of original research and data from over three million leaders. The Student Leadership Challenge® Certified Facilitator’s Training (SLCCFT) certifies you as a student trainer for the student edition of the programme. Halogen conducts these trainings for MOE educators at a special price. Find out more at For enquiries, please contact Sean at


What does a scholar and researcher of leadership for over 30 years have to say about his personal leadership? That he likes people. Yes, that he likes people. It is his genuine desire to discover people and their interests, that spurs him to understand them, enable them, and lead them. The most effective leadership stems from relationship. Barry Posner is the co-author of the bestselling The Leadership Challenge®. A highly distinguished educator, he has received several teaching and academic awards such as the President’s Distinguished Faculty Award and the School’s Extraordinary Faculty Award. He currently teaches at Leavey School of Business in Santa Clara University. Barry also conducts conferences and workshops, as well as consults for private sector organisations, around the globe. Notably, he has also been recognised as one of the Top 50 Leadership Coaches in America, and ranked among the 10 Most Influential Thinkers in the World by HR Magazine. Recently, we had the chance to interview Barry about leadership and his advice for fellow educators. Halogen360 (H360): In your 30+ years of leadership research, have you seen a shift in leadership styles? Across the globe, do you see this same difference across the East and the West? Barry Posner (BP): The world has changed, obviously; and so the context of leadership has changed but not the process. People still want to be treated with dignity and respect, want to envision a brighter future for themselves and their families, want to feel that what they are contributing is adding up to be part of something bigger than just a task, don’t want to be taken for granted, and the like. Indeed, the content of what people tell us they are doing when they are at their personal best as leaders has not changed over the past three decades, nor has it varied dramatically across the globe. In James Kouzes’ and my newest book, “Making Extraordinary Things Happen in Asia”, we make the point that people are people, and that effective leadership requires making a connection with people and building relationships. In many ways, the world, and especially the organisation of work, has gotten smaller in the past 30-plus years because we are more easily connected with one another, and with sources of information.

The Teacher-Leader Leadership Lessons From Bestselling Author of The Leadership Challenge®, Barry Posner

By Faith Luo Jinghui

PROFILE 12 H360: The world has been increasingly volatile, uncertain and ambiguous. What are the key skills that leaders need to have to navigate their people and organisations through these challenges? BP: It’s a question of scale and scope. Are students more difficult to teach today than they were 10, 20, or 30 years ago? Are teachers less, or more, prepared to face the challenges of teaching today than they were in the past? The challenges, and especially for leaders, are ever present. Progress is the consequence of leadership.

I’m also a fairly good coach—listening, and then helping them to figure out what’s important and what they could do to get started on being better, meet challenges or realise opportunities. And, I’m willing to catch them when they fall, so they know that they have a safety net, that any falls will have a soft landing, and that they will be able to pick themselves up and try all over again. 

One of the key skills these days is curiosity. Being curious about what’s going on; why and how.  Without curiosity, too many people just don’t develop a sense of “caring” about the way things are, or believe that they can do something to alter the status quo. We’ve asserted that the first truth about leadership is believing that each of us matters, and can make a difference. Otherwise, nothing happens, nothing changes.

H360: What is one piece of advice you would like to share with educators in Singapore? BP: That they are important role models when it comes to leadership. Apart from the content of their classes, their meta-goal should be to kindle the flame of learning within each student. As the educator Horace Mann says, “A teacher who is attempting to teach without inspiring the pupil with a desire to learn is hammering on cold iron”. 

H360: The Leadership Challenge® is extending its reach to a junior audience through new research and products. In your observation, what type of leaders do young leaders look up to? BP: When it comes to leadership—learning about what it means to be a leader and to lead others—research indicates “family” members as the most often cited source of both inspiration and example (and from both a positive and negative perspective). Aunt, uncle, grandparent, older sibling, and even Mom and Dad, are most frequently mentioned as the ones who have taught or “shown us” what it means to be a leader. The second most frequently mentioned role models are teachers and coaches. Think about what these two categories have in common. They are typically the people that we know and the ones who typically know us, in return. This finding reinforces the key notion about the importance of relationships when it comes to leadership. It also serves as a reminder that other people are watching us; all the time, so we’d better be prepared to be the kind of person that we’d hope that others will see us as!

Finally, I love celebrations; with delight I let people know just how great they are, and what they have accomplished.

The lifelong result of this will be humility—the understanding that none of us is all powerful and all knowing, that we have to keep an open mind and be interested in what is going on around us, and we have to listen to what other people have to say and share. Indeed, the smartest people I know are the ones who realize how much they still have to learn. H60: If there was one person you would invite to dinner, who would it be and why? BP: My dinner guests would be people like Nelson Mandela, Mahatmas Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and others who didn’t start their lives necessarily as leaders but came to discover the passion within themselves that propelled them to make a difference, typically at great personal sacrifice. I’d want to find out more about their inner dialogues, how they came to trust themselves, and persevere despite great opposition from others. Few of us are as tested as folks like these, but the questions are still the same: Why do you care? What keeps you from giving up? What keeps you from losing confidence?

“Apart from the content of their classes, (a teacher’s) metagoal should be to kindle the flame of learning within each student.”

H360: Enable Others to Act is one of the Five Exemplary Practices of Leadership®. Personally, how do you do that? BP: I like other people. Not much more complicated than that. I’m generally more interested in finding out what other people are doing, and what’s interesting to them, than I am talking about myself or my own interests. As I listen to what they are doing, along with their hopes and dreams, I think about what I can do to enable them to be even more successful. Mostly this is about making connections for them with sources of information, resources, and people from my network that they might otherwise not have access to.


Dare to Dream

National Young Leaders’ Day Women’s Edition 2013 By Juliana Ng

Stunning, confident and articulate, a panel of successful women took the stage to share their hopes and dreams to a crowd of enthusiastic young future leaders. Held at Kallang Theatre on 9 March 2013, National Young Leaders’ Day Women’s Edition (NYLDWE) is an annual event which aims to provide a platform for leaders to share life experiences and leadership lessons to young women participants. This year’s NYLD Women’s Edition saw a strong turnout of more than 500 students from 29 schools and organisations, and our speakers uncorked a geyser of inspiration upon the start of their sharing. Graced by Senior Minister of State for the Ministry of Law and Ministry of Education, Ms Indranee Rajah, the theme for this year’s NYLDWE was “Free to be”. “Freedom carries responsibility”, she reminded. She also challenged the crowd “How will we guard this freedom and not take it for granted? How can we use this freedom to dream, create and grow?”. To set the stage, our invited speakers shed light on how they had and would continue to use their freedom to create value in their daily lives. Rather than being subjugated in a male-dominated industry, Janice Wong, Founder of 2am:dessertbar, pursued her dreams and opened 2am:dessertbar in 2007 when she was 24. It was a risky investment for her to make, with an industry so saturated. Despite warnings from her father regarding the escalating costs involved, Janice continued to stick by her vision and was, against all odds crowned “Asia’s Best Pastry Chef” this year. “Success comes with failures, perseverance, leadership, teamwork and determination. Do not let factors like long hours and low pay hinder you from pursuing your dream”, she shared. However, what if you were to have a compromised vision, like Cassandra Chiu? At the age of seven, Cassandra was diagnosed with a degenerative eye condition called Stagardt’s. Despite her disability, she shared her determination to live a full life, disallowing her impairment to be a barrier to fulfilling her dreams. Not only did she obtain her Master of Social Science in Professional Counselling which would enable her to help others, she also founded The Safe Harbour, a counselling center

that helps to empower more individuals and families to tap into their potential. On stage with her guide dog, Esme, she urged the audience, “When there is a will, there is a way”. Cassandra received the Singapore Woman Award in 2012. Just like the two inspiring speakers mentioned above, Gina Romero, Managing Director of The Athena Network, also did not just believe in that adage, she lived it. Gina knew failure at its worst — homelessness, tragic car accidents, a failed relationship and failed businesses. Refusing to be victimised by failure, she reasoned, “Failing does not mean that you are a failure”. Her experience with failure shaped her to be the person she is today, and she encouraged us with the following message — “Failure is part of life. Do not be afraid of it”.

Right: A thankyou letter from a student participant from Dunman High.

Author and travel writer, Pamela Ho, also shared that “there is nothing more important than being true to yourself in what you are passionate about”. While most people would be happy to stay in their comfort zone, Pamela has, on the other hand, embarked on an arduous journey round the globe for nine months after her life hit rock bottom. Her journey, borne out of the hunger to rebuild her life, was encapsulated in a memoir entitled “Adventures of 2 Girls”, which is a true testament of one who turned her dreams into reality. The amalgam of determination and vision was thick in the air. Among this audience of young future leaders, who would travel, enter politics, heal or invent? I believe many who sat in Kallang Theatre left in a reflective mood on what they could do with the freedom bestowed upon them.

Juliana Ng, a Halogen volunteer, is a former flight stewardess. She enjoys travelling, and trying new cuisines and recipes. Her favourite hobby is practicing her knife skills with her new chef knife.


For Youths, By Youths Some of *SCAPE’s programmes are wholly run by youths. How do they do it? How can you get your students involved? By Ong Pei Yu

Noah’s Ark which survived the flood was built by volunteers, while Titanic, which sunk, was built by professionals. Volunteers don’t just do the work, they make it work. At *SCAPE, we strongly believe in the values and spirit of volunteering. Together with *SCAPE staff, volunteers make our various events and programmes happen. Based on each person’s interests, volunteers are delegated appropriate roles for particular projects. While these projects have staff overseeing them, youths are, as much as possible, empowered to brainstorm, make decisions, and carry out programmes to full scale. It is a great opportunity to meet like-minded people, develop personal networks, grow in skills, build portfolios, as well as make an impact on fellow Singaporeans. So what have volunteers co-created with *SCAPE? For our 2012 National Day event, *SCAPE Salutes Singapore, volunteers initiated, conceptualised and put their hands together to create a huge mosaic wall on which, youth’s well wishes for our nation were gathered and pinned. It represented thoughts of the young generation of Singaporeans, and was launched at *SCAPE concurrently with the National Day Parade. Besides that, one of our most popular interest group programmes, KPOP Dance Off, was conceptualised when a growing number of K-pop dancers started practicing at *SCAPE. This programme allows young

budding dancers to showcase their moves to an audience on a regular basis. Although initiated by staff at *SCAPE, KPOP Dance Off is now wholly managed by this group of young dancers — truly for youths, by youths. These enthusiastic dancers were so passionate about their interest that they cocreated a large scale dance event, The Vault 2, late last year. From conceptualisation to execution, the event was managed by these avid dancers. They designed a logo, managed publicity, vendors, logistics and more. Their roles were delegated according to their expertise, such as publicity being managed by the student with an academic background in marketing and design. A member of the committee, Nicholas, told us that the KPOP Dance Off allowed him to meet like-minded people and expand his choreography ideas. At *SCAPE, we believe in providing the opportunity and space for youth volunteers to conceptualise and develop their own ideas while having professionals guide and lead them in the right direction. To celebrate Earth Day, five Yishun Junior College students worked with renowned eco-designer Didier Ng to carry out upcycling workshops where people learn to convert discarded materials into useful products with increased value. Hands-on experiences allow youths to acquire positive work attitudes, work skills and knowledge that they would need in real-life situations. Ownership of events allow the youth to connect, be recognised and responsible for their work. This is an

LEFT: *SCAPE Salutes Singapore, a *SCAPE event made possible for youths, by youths. TOP RIGHT: Participants’ badges for The Vault 2 - KPOP Dance Off, featuring logo designed by committee members. BOTTOM RIGHT: Youths battled it out during The Vault 2 last year.

esteem-booster and a passion-driver. It is always gratifying to know when one has had a hand in making things happen! Kate, a current National Junior College student started her volunteer journey in hopes of completing her CIP (Community Involvement Programme) requirement but found volunteering at *SCAPE to be a different, thrilling and fulfilling experience. Volunteering at *SCAPE creates an opportunity to expand one’s social circle and work for a cause. After all, social affiliation is one of the most robust drivers for passion and satisfaction. Jaysellan, a member of our SHOW IT! Youth Arts Festival committee mentioned that *SCAPE is where youths are truly represented, whether it involves sports, arts, etc. A youth himself, he enjoys interacting and helping other youths realise their potential and talent. So, if you or your youths have ideas that you are pondering on, put them into action with us! Volunteer and build your dreams at *SCAPE. If you’re interested, email us at to cocreate events with us. Ong Pei Yu is a communications graduate who recently joined *SCAPE’s marketing team. She enjoys sports such as badminton and tennis, and hopes to open her own shop one day!

Halogen360 Issue 8 - Apr to Jun 2013  
Halogen360 Issue 8 - Apr to Jun 2013  

Read about shared leadership and how we can nurture it in our schools, businesses and more in Halogen Foundation Singapore's publication. Fi...