Leader's Digest #59 (January 2022)

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Publication Team Editor-in-Chief Ismail Said Editor Diana Marie Capel Graphic Designers Awang Ismail bin Awang Hambali Abdul Rani Haji Adenan

* Read our online version to access the hyperlinks to other reference articles made by the author.










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Leader’s Digest is a monthly publication by the Leadership Institute of Sarawak Civil Service, dedicated to advancing civil service leadership and to inspire our Sarawak Civil Service (SCS) leaders with contemporary leadership principles. It features a range of content contributed by our strategic partners and panel of advisors from renowned global institutions as well as established corporations that we are affiliated with. Occasionally, we have guest contributions from our pool of subject matter experts as well as from our own employees. The views expressed in the articles published are not necessarily those of Leadership Institute of Sarawak Civil Service Sdn. Bhd. (292980-T). No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without the publisher’s permission in writing.

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From the

Editorial Desk Neither here, nor there. Imagine you wake up and women no longer exist. You will only be surrounded by other men, and the femaleness only represented as babies, as infants, as kids and as teenagers. But as soon as they are in the transition phase to becoming a woman, they disappear. This could be a Netflix series or a movie by itself! A woman is in as many places and situations as men are and as much as the biological, as their role in procreation, they also cannot do it all alone. Therefore, a woman without a man and a man without a woman, will lead to the same dysfunction, disintegration, and ‘evaporation’ of the human race. Let’s bring this to another level. Women have been gifted with nurturing, a special emotional engine and tank for sympathy, care, dedication, focus, discipline, and sustainability. And a universal differentiator between men and women, is that women have a much higher threshold for pain: emotional and physical challenges are met with more resilience and stamina than the majority of men . https://nypost.com/2019/01/11/women-have-a-higherpain-threshold-than-men-study/ If you are a male reading this, are you frowning with this last sentence or admiring what a woman, daughter, mother adds to the living equation? If you are frowning, would you like to feel what it requires to go through pregnancy, birth and nurturing the baby? Maybe not. If you are admiring this, then you are also admiring some qualities of leadership. It is leadership within the interplay between body, mind, and spirit. All of them designing mindset. From the brain development perspective, the brain areas of both men and women are the same yet there are some neurotransmitters and hormonal differences that give women a heightened sense for gathering and keeping people together in harmony. The hippocampus takes up more space in a woman’s brain, an area responsible for long-term memory and learning. Serotonin also differs in the sexes and therefore mood fluctuations are different in each. https://dana.org/article/cerebrum-sex-differences-in-thebrain/

It is also a fact that girls mature earlier than boys on a psycho-emotional level and sensorially, girls’ auditory cortex (hearing and listening skills) are earlier fine-tuned than that of boys. Yes, that is why we must shout at boys! https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-athletesway/201312/scientists-identify-why-girls-often-maturefaster-boys From the social perspective, conditioning plays a pivotal role in the development, status and opportunities and limitations of women, yet taking those criteria out of the equation, there are some very powerful dimensions that women have proven to have more of, no matter their upbringing in the world. One is about ethics, morale and integrity (EMI). Furthermore, deviant behaviour is found more in men, as they generally have a less of an ability to perceive happy facial emotions automatically than women. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25695659/ And men have more testosterone that brings out more aggressive and risk-taking behaviour. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3693622/ EMI drives this urge to conquer, to own, do dominate; to either go to battle or not. Historically, battles and wars have been predominantly the conflict between men. Women have not gone into battle as often as men, because while men prepare and go to battle more, women just stayed back to take care of the people and things men leave behind while going to fight. https://www.inverse.com/article/48291-men-women-fightwar-study “Behind a great man is a great woman!” The Port Arthur News, from February 1946. This was headed - “Meryll Frost - ‘Most courageous athlete of 1945’”: “As he received his trophy, the plucky quarterback unfolded the story of how he ‘came back’. brings the team relevance of men and women to light. In other words, the statement makes one bring out the power and possibilities of the other. And if we turn the statement around: “Behind a great woman is a great man!”, how would this look like and where can we get more examples in real life? Next time you stop at these road-side stalls you will see that it is mostly the females that run the show – while the men are… “supervising”, or? Talent spotting and the value of women should be assessed based on the bigger picture of the world we want to live and grow in the future.

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Leadership in 2022 and Beyond BY BERNARD LEE

In the December 2020 issue of Leader’s Digest, I shared my thoughts in an article entitled Leadership in 2021 and Beyond. To be an effective leader in 2021 and beyond, we need to have the Leadership PATCH (purposeful, authentic, trustworthy, compassionate and humble). 12 months have since passed by us and we now step into 2022. As the world is trying to get back on its feet, we are seemingly hit by waves of adversities one after another - from COVID mutations to floods, maintaining employee health and wellness to balancing the books. Needless to say, these challenges have contributed to higher levels of anxiety and stress in all of us. As leaders, we must be defiant and continue to lead - especially during these difficult times. Leading in times of crisis (like now) calls for Leadership FOCUS. In 2022 and beyond, I believe leaders must lead with fervency, being open-handed and committed, with undivided attention and a servant-heart.

1. Fervent Leaders in 2022 and beyond must be fervent. Fervency is often used as an adjective to describe followers. It speaks of the tenacity and resilience of someone in their pursuit of something (in our context, it would be, the calling and pursuit of their role as a leader). Leaders must be fervent followers of their purpose, values and vision. Leaders must remain true to their purpose - their reason for existence. Being fervent in their purpose means intentionally living out their purpose. When leaders live out their purpose, it brings a renewed sense of energy and inner contentment that is unexplainable. Take for example my recent conversation with Ahmad (not his real name). We had just concluded a leadership workshop focusing on discovering your purpose. In our follow-up one-onone conversation, he was elated and lost for words when trying to describe how he was able to live-out his purpose that week. His facial expression was priceless and words could not encapsulate the emotions (excitement and energy) of how he was feeling. Purpose brought Ahmad that inner joy that was priceless. 4 Issue 59 I January 2022

Leaders must also be in sync with their values. Being fervent in their values means not compromising what they believe in. Imagine watching your favourite TV programme and having the audio and video not synchronised. It is frustrating and confusing when leaders don’t walk the talk (and talk the walk). When their behaviours (actions) and their words are consistent, leaders build credibility and reliability with the people they lead. This allows people to develop trust in their leader. And trust is the greatest currency of a leader. Leaders must be forward-looking in their vision. Being fervent in vision means not giving up when the going gets tough but rather passionately pursuing - as how a runner would run his/her race to win. Vision speaks of the future and something for people to look forward to. It brings a sense of hope and a potential that has not yet been experienced.

2. Open-handed Leaders in 2022 and beyond must be open-handed. Open-handedness speaks of generosity. Being generous reminds leaders we are a connected community at-large, to be grateful for what we have, and give to others who are in need. Leaders must remember that it’s not about “me” but “WE”. The past 2 years have convinced the world to see that we are a connected community at-large. Closer to home, the recent flood situation in our nation has been devastating. While it is sad for events like these to remind us of the connected community we are all part of, leaders must commit to memory and grow from the lessons learnt. Being open-handed means not just thinking of our own backyard, but the willingness to make sacrifices for the sake of others (the community at-large). Leaders have an attitude of gratitude (Maxwell). Leaders recognise their own journey, the bittersweet taste of success and failures, and those who have journeyed with them. Grateful leaders are humble to recognise the reason they can stand tall is partly because they are standing on shoulders of past giants people who have gone before them and laid the foundation for them to build. And now, they are responsible to build on that foundation so the next generation can continue the building. Leaders give to others, including the least deserving. Without being discriminatory, leaders create opportunities for people regardless of their background. They offer a chance for others to become a better version of themselves - to step out of their comfort zones and live out their purpose. Casey’s story is one of many who are impacting the lives of people around the world.


4. Undivided Attention

Casey Crawford is co-founder and CEO of Movement Mortgage (retail mortgage lender in the United States). He is a Super Bowl (American Football) champion, recipient of the John Maxwell Transformation Award, and featured in news media such as CNBC, Bloomberg and Fox News. Casey believes the success of a business is not in what it receives from the community (revenue and profits), but rather, how much it can give. The desire to bring life and hope to others led Casey to form the Movement Foundation. They have invested USD260 million of company profits in schools, communities and non-profits around the world. The Movement Schools (network of tuition-free public schools) was established to provide world-class academics and character education in underserved communities.

3. Committed Leaders in 2022 and beyond must be committed. A committed leader is a one who is wholeheartedly devoted to the call of leadership. They realise leadership is a privilege and not a position. It may come with a position, but committed leaders understand leadership is influence. The responsibility that comes with the role is enormous and humbling. Bob Chapman, Chairman of Barry-Wehmiller says, “leadership is a privilege and responsibility to influence and shape the lives of people. It’s all about the people”. A committed leader is a leader who grows in competence. They recognise they are the lid to the people and organisations they are leading. For people and organisations to grow, they themselves must first grow. They understand what got them here, won’t get them there. Not relying on past successes, leaders continue to invest in their own development for the future. In other words, leaders are intentionally and consistently growing themselves. A committed leader is a leader who counts the cost. Ask any successful leader, and they will share the pains and sacrifices they have made to be where they are today. Living a life of discipline is key. The fastest man on earth (100-meter world record holder), Usain Bolt explains, running the race is the easy part. The tough(er) parts are in the training. Committed leaders understand, you either pay now and play later, or play now and pay later. Eitherway, you will need to pay. But if you pay now, and play later - the play compounds (vice-versa).

Leaders in 2022 and beyond must have undivided attention. In our post pandemic modern world, attractions and distractions are present at almost every corner. Attractions could be in the form of new opportunities, areas to improve revenue streams, to reduce cost or improve shareholder value. Distractions could be concerns around economic recovery, survival of the business, fear of another outbreak and the list goes on. Be it a new business opportunity or career path, leaders must give their undivided attention to leading and not be distracted nor attracted by the things around. Leaders must keep the main thing the main thing. What is the main thing for a leader? I believe it is to lead - that is, to influence others and impact the lives of people positively. Be the authentic leader who enables people to bring the best version of themselves everyday. Hubert Joly, became “CEO in Training” at Best Buy and delivered a 263% increase in shareholder return, five consecutive years of sales growth and doubled online sales. He says, “We achieved this turnaround by pursuing a noble purpose, and treating profit as an outcome, not a goal. This is what I believe is at the heart of business”. Hubert kept the main thing, the main thing. By leading with purpose, he was able to bring the best out of people, who in turn, delivered the desired results.

5. Servant-Heart Leaders in 2022 and beyond must have a servant heart. The heart of leadership is to serve others. Servant leadership is no longer a theoretical concept but a differentiating factor for people and organisations to thrive in 2022 and beyond. There is no secret to being a servant leader. It is about placing the needs of others above your own. It is about valuing people and seeking to add value to them. It is about honouring commitments made and having integrity in leadership. Treating people as people, and not a resource. Casey Crawford, Bob Chapman and Hubert Joly are some of the many leaders we have in our world today having the Leadership PATCH and Leadership FOCUS. They are far from “perfect” but they seek to bring change and make a difference in our world today by becoming a better leader and helping others become a better leader. I pray and hope we will strive to be that better leader in 2022 and beyond - Purposeful. Authentic. Trustworthy. Compassionate. Humble. Fervent. Open-handed. Committed. Undivided Attention. Servant Heart.

Bernard Lee

Bernard is the Founder of Invigorate Consulting, a firm seeking to connect people and organisations to their purpose. He has over 20 years of management consulting and corporate experience with global organisations. He is also a seasoned facilitator.

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THE ROLE OF WOMEN IN OUR SOCIETY “The environment is important in developing the state and the country. We need the expertise and women have deepened their knowledge in their respective fields and contributed their efforts and energy to the environment, which is important for future generations. Secondly, Sarawak has its own unique culture. We are a role model to others, in being multicultural and multiracial. Women play a key role in defending our unique culture. Let us build Sarawak together. Let us build women together. Sarawak will be in good hands”. Datuk Patinggi (Dr) Abang Haji Abdul Rahman Zohari Bin Tun Datuk Abang Haji Openg Chief Minister of Sarawak 19 September 2019

Image source: http://blog.sarawakyes.com/

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Women In Leadership - Encouraging Talented Women And Closing The Gap Of Inequality At a leadership event in Paris, former United States President, Barack Obama, offered some interesting thoughts on a hot leadership topic – who makes better leaders, women or men? According to Obama, the world needs more women in leadership positions “because men seem to be having some problems these days”, adding – “Not to generalise, but women seem to have a better capacity than men do, partly because of their socialisation”.

We might as well ask which of the sexes makes better drivers, or which makes better cooks. Of course, on the micro level, it depends on the individual. Some women are far better drivers than some men; similarly, some men will cook up amazing dishes compared to some women. Having said that, there continues to be a glaring gap in leadership when it comes to the number of women in lead roles compared to men. What’s more, research seems to back up the opinion of Barack Obama and many others, that the world could do with having more women in leadership roles. Surveys conducted by leadership development firm, Zenger Folkman, showed that while women in America have been

“ When it comes to the ‘Who is better?’ question, there are some drawbacks: it’s a question that creates unnecessary division and encourages sweeping generalisations. ”

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contributing significantly to the nation’s gross domestic profit, they have been conspicuous by their relative absence in the boardroom.



Folkman’s study of over 60,000 leaders across America and internationally found that women are considered to be more effective leaders than men. On effective leadership, Zenger Folkman president, Joe Folkman observes, “A great leader can connect with people, and we find that as leaders progress in an organisation, their ability to empathise and understand people is absolutely critical for a senior executive. If a leader doesn’t do that, they don’t get the kind of engagement and commitment from employees.”

Why women?

One of the areas in which women, in general, outperform men is emotional intelligence and the ability to attract strong peer groups, whether it be in their workforce teams or wider communities. According to Barack Obama, it is women’s ability and willingness to ask the right questions that, in part, accounts for their capacity for success in leadership roles. For example, women leaders often place a strong emphasis on empowering those around them: not only are they interested in their own success, they also have a powerful desire to lift everyone else in turn. Women are also (generally speaking) better organisers than men, which means that they have a stronger ability to inspire everyone to pull their weight in the same direction to achieve shared goals. Here in Malaysia, there is still much work to be done in getting more women into leadership roles. However, there has been some great progress made which continues to shine a light on the importance of women leadership and how closing the inequality gap can make a huge difference to the nation’s productivity, progress and overall well-being.

In conclusion

Traditionally, leadership has been centred on ‘The Great Man’ model, which began to erode during the Second World War when women were needed to fill in for men as they headed off to battle. It was during this time that the capability, resourcefulness and agility of women in the workplace was truly noticed, and rightly so. Since that period, the advancement of women in leadership roles – slow as it’s been – has increasingly demonstrated the futility of leaving women on the sidelines. When organisations truly embrace the leadership potential of women, everything improves. Engagement soars, efficiency increases, inequality decreases, and the organisation as a whole becomes more emotionally intelligent and socially aware. When the views of world leaders align with research data, as business leaders we cannot afford to ignore the message that this sends: If our businesses, communities and our nations are to thrive, we must not only do more to encourage talented women into leadership roles, but we must also act faster to ensure we close this gap of inequality. By doing so, it will benefit everyone and make us stronger.

In an insightful article by Johan Merican and Shareen Ghani, they write, “The importance of advancing women at work and in leadership is that it is good for everyone (both men and women). Malaysia will not emerge a high-income nation if we do not optimise half the population, especially when the fairer sex is emerging as the more educated cohort.”


Roshan is the Founder and CEO of the Leaderonomics Group. He believes that everyone can be a leader and “make a dent in the universe”, in their own special ways. He is constantly featured on TV, radio and numerous publications sharing the Science of Building Leaders and on leadership development.

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How to Ensure Your College Years Are Put To Good Use

Amongst other things, do not forget to have fun! Going to college is a privilege that comes at a price, so it is important to make sure one makes good use of it. Those are the years when one can experiment, explore, and gain valuable skills. Of course, the main focus for most is preparing for a future career. But it should be done in a wellrounded and balanced way. Here are some tips on how to use this experience to the maximum.

Explore the Resources Available One of the major benefits of college is the number of resources it gives. You gain access to libraries and online platforms as well as the opportunity to learn from experts. It is crucial to make the most of it. Learn about all benefits your campus offers, like facilities and courses. Visit guest lectures and extracurricular events. And if you worry that you won’t have time due to the course load, there is always a way out. It comes down to time management and tasks prioritisation. Of course, there are lots of assignments to do. But sometimes it is great to know that there are experts that will help at request - for example, professional academic writing service. If you are wondering “Can experts at WritePaper help me out with my writing?” the answer is yes, sure they can. Whether you need help proofreading, editing, or getting advice on how to do it properly. You can get essay samples written by professionals that will inspire you and give a better understanding of best practices you can use in your essay. It is another valuable resource to consider as well as a learning opportunity. Getting advice from those who have expertise in the field is always a great idea.

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Balance Out Your Curriculum This one is closely related to the previous point. Do not narrow down the subjects you’ll take. Of course, if you are in STEM, the majority of courses will be technical and scientific. But you can also take some humanities. For those in the humanities, it is vice versa. The reason is simple - no discipline or profession exists in a vacuum. You’ll need both soft and hard skills anyway, so it is good to expand your reach and worldview while it is easy. Also, consider learning a new language. It will give a competitive advantage for any profession. Try to absorb as much external common knowledge as possible especially if it is out of your comfort zone. It helps to be a wellrounded person as well as illustrates you as a go-getter and a person who is always thirsty for learning something new. College is a perfect time to expand your worldview and be open to completely new ideas. Develop Skills Integral to Any Career Getting career-specific skills is amazing but it is better to balance them out. College is an outstanding opportunity to develop skills that are integral to any career you’ll go for, such as: • Communication; • Time management; • Research and analytical thinking; • Storytelling; • Organisation; • Budgeting; • Strong study and work ethics/habits; • Responsibility and commitment, etc. Do not treat your college time as an exercise in getting credits. It is a great chance to try out different things. There will be no better time for experimenting with everything, from your looks to your professional field.

Establish Relationships With Professors One of the amazing ways to develop your communication skills is to establish great working relationships with professors and college staff. Communication is a highly valuable skill that employers look for in almost any professional. So becoming a better communicator will prepare you for the work in the future - it is directly linked to networking and collaboration. Communication does not end with peers. One of the valuable opportunities is to establish fruitful relationships with professors, mentors, or members of your college staff. You can utilise office hours for that as well as digital communication options, like email.

A recent study called the Strada-Gallup Alumni survey questioned more than 100,000 college graduates to figure out how their experience influenced their further lives. Surprisingly, further life satisfaction had nothing to do with the prestige of the university they went to. The main three factors that promoted future well-being were strong relationships with a mentor, taking part in sustained college projects, and working closely in a campus organisation. All of them can be simplified down to communication, commitment, and engagement. Communication skills also prove your integrity and initiative/motivation to work on yourself and relationships with others. Basically, these skills are attributed to the leadership one wants to develop.

If such an opportunity is available, do not rush into a major unless you are 100% sure about it. First of all, it exhibits such qualities as patience, determination, and critical thinking. Those qualities are highly valued by employers. It illustrates that you’ve thought about such a big decision deeply and made an analytical and wise decision.

Use Available Career Services Explore what the career centre of the university has to offer and use it to your advantage. Look into different opportunities, like internships or exchange programs.

For example, one can go for an internship to get real-life experience in the field and decide whether it is something they want to devote their life to. Also, consider having a minor as well, so you do not focus on only one thing.

Another tip is to never miss job fairs and alumni events. They are great for networking as many positions are filled in through recommendations even before posting an opening for it. And you can also learn about some options that you might have had no idea about.

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All of that can give you a better understanding of what kind of career you want to break into. You’ll learn more about what goes into it and what are essential attributes, skills, and experiences needed for that. In its essence, it is a way to get guidelines to pursue the career of your dreams and prepare for the industry while in college. Be Mindful of Finances Students live on a budget. Well, most of them. So it is high time to learn financial literacy. Starting from tracking expenses and up to getting your first credit card. Here are some factors to consider: • Start planning your budget; • Track your earnings and spending; • Use all the available student discounts for transportation,

Get To Know Yourself Behind all this studying it is crucial to pay attention to personal development. Learn something new about yourself, get out of your comfort zone, and meet new people. Be aware of your goals and motivations. Remember why you are studying specific things and how they can help you. Learn the difference between financial success, reputation, and happiness because those three are not the same thing. Figure out what brings fulfilment to you - maybe it is exploring new concepts, helping others, or bringing ideas to life. Make healthy habits and routines, like regular exercises, sleep patterns, and a well-balanced diet. You’ll thank yourself for that in 10 years. And if something does not go as planned - learn from your mistakes.

travel, or entertainment; • Start paying out your college loan as soon as possible so the interest is smaller; • Apply to scholarships every year. It is easy to lose control over finances for some students as it might be the first time they live on their own and take full responsibility for their lives. One can use different techniques or tools like smartphone apps for that. Practising finance management will help to develop responsibility traits as well as the ability to prioritise things. It is a great exercise to analyse the needs, resources, and make a smart judgement on what to invest your resources to. How people treat their finances says a lot about their character.

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Conclusion To make the most out of college, do not treat it as a one-line road to success. Experiment and explore the opportunities. Find out what works for you, do not narrow down your knowledge, and connect to others. And, of course, do not forget to have fun. One of the main opportunities a college gives is to build a character, develop skills, and prepare for a future career. The earlier one starts, the better it is. Get out of your comfort zone and dive into leadership-driven content. LEADERONOMICS

This article is published by the editors of Leaderonomics.com


Book Review


Honest Conversations Brown explains that kindness comes from clarity, and unkindness comes from withholding, avoiding, or tempering information. You have to say what you mean. Being honest doesn’t mean being cruel or unkind, but it does mean being critical and offering clear areas where improvement is needed. Understanding how the people around you are feeling is imperative to being able to respond appropriately, and implement policies and changes that will help with overall wellbeing. Shame When we feel like we haven’t achieved our goals or lived up to expectations, we often look at our self-worth and feel that we’re not good enough. Brown takes a different approach to shame, and argues that there are more healthy ways of dealing with it. Ways to deal with shame in healthy and progressive ways is to be open about it. We all have bad days at work. There are some days that we wish we could forget. Maybe it’s a botched presentation, an awkward meeting, or a big mistake. A good leader won’t ignore these experiences; they will make a connection and display empathy.

Dare to Lead by Brene Brown is a counternarrative about modern workplace culture, that offers vulnerability, trust, values, and resilience as the most crucial leadership qualities. It looks at what makes us human, and offers a gentler approach to getting what we need from others. It’s not forceful or aggressive, and Brown shows us that being vulnerable is the bravest thing we can do. Listed below are some of the ideas Brown wrote in her book. Vulnerability Being courageous and brave is about taking the opposite view of the narrative we’ve been given about traditional leadership. She asserts that a true leader is the first person who owns up to vulnerability. Brown’s research has shown that being brave and courageous can’t happen without feeling vulnerable. Acting out of bravery means that we’re always going to feel vulnerable because we’re risking something, be it our safety or reputation. Vulnerability and trust are a series of negotiations rather than an existing agreement. Building trust and exposing vulnerability are processes that happen over time.

What Are Your Values? Dealing with vulnerability takes practice and persistence. Another skill of daring to lead, is identifying and honing in on core values, so that you can be more resilient. Having a solid sense of values is essential, because when things get tough, they force us to focus on what really matters. If company values are “honesty” and “wellbeing,” these could translate into open communication, critical feedback. Understanding core values allows everyone to self-evaluate and consider whether our actions align with what’s important to an organization. Braving Often, we want to appear strong, or we find it difficult to honestly critique other people because we’re afraid of hurting their feelings. Boundary-setting is vital for everyone. It allows us to say “no,” and know when we’re pushing other people’s boundaries. Reliability means that everyone is governed by sticking to deadlines and fulfilling their roles and duties. If someone can prove that they’re reliable, this garners trust. When we aren’t reliable, we have to be held accountable for our actions, apologize when needed, and aim to rectify mistakes. Rather than being judgemental, be curious. Ask questions, find out why someone acted in the way they did. Don’t jump to conclusions.


Diana Marie is a team member at the Leadership Institute of Sarawak Civil Service attached with Corporate Affairs who found love in reading and writing whilst discovering inspiration in Leadership that Makes a Difference.

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7 Ways Business Leaders Can Speed Up Employee Onboarding

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Onboarding Matters!

Being able to utilise the best talents for your business doesn’t end once you hire the right people. Employee onboarding is just as important as the recruitment process. The former acclimate newly hired employees to their roles and the company’s philosophies. In fact, the quality of your employee onboarding process can make or break the success of your business. According to studies, only 12% of employees find their employer’s onboarding process effective. Since most employees think that a business’s onboarding process requires improvement, do you know how to improve and expedite yours? What can your internal team do to ensure that your new hires become an asset to the business and not a liability? This article can provide answers. Here are seven ways business leaders can speed up the employee onboarding process: 1. Complete Digital Onboarding Before The Employee Reports On The First Day

A common practice most businesses follow when onboarding an employee is to have them report to the office to sign documents for the entire day. Representatives from the HR department will use this day to explain the content of the offer letter, contract, and other related matters and have the employee sign the documents. Instead of spending an entire day for document signing, use technology and complete digital onboarding before the employee reports to the office. Keep in touch with the employee once they’re hired and have them fill out forms for their payroll, tax forms, and benefits paperwork using online apps and software. Most importantly, send out a copy of your company handbook and have the employee sign the document beforehand. Aside from expediting the document signing, this will also give the employee a chance to know more

about your business. And if they do have questions, your HR can address them before the employee reports to the office. The advent of technology saves the employee and your team a lot of time from going through countless documents on the first day. This will definitely speed up your onboarding process. 2. Outline Clear Role Expectations

Giving a title to a new hire isn’t often enough for them to fully understand their role in the company. Sure, you might hire someone to work as a finance officer, but what does the role really require? What responsibilities will the new hire have once they work in your business? One of the first steps to speed up your onboarding process is to set clear role expectations with the new hire. When the new hire fully understands what their role is and how their role contributes to the business’s success, it’ll be easier for them to move forward with the onboarding. Plus, setting expectations early will minimise friction and turnover. Take note of the following tips in order to effectively set goals with the new hire: •

Inform the employee about the safety protocols observed by the company. For example, if you’re a manufacturing business, the employee should know how to use the machines and what safety gear to use when working. Outline role expectations with the employee. This means that you should carefully explain what the employee is expected at work. For instance, if they’re going to work as a finance officer, they should be aware of their daily responsibilities and short- and long-term goals as an employee in the finance department. Ensure that the employee fully understands and can uphold the quality standards implemented by the company. Allow them to ask questions about these standards before letting them work.

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3. Organise All Onboarding Documents

Your team will use numerous documents after hiring a new employee. In general, your HR team will have to present an offer letter, a contract, and a copy of the employee handbook to the new hires. You might also need to provide the employee with their job description and performance plan, along with your company’s mission statement and strategic plan.

Before the employee reports in your office, have your team set a schedule for the first week. This ensures the efficacy and productivity of your HR team as they don’t have to regularly pause their tasks to give out tasks to the new hire, hence speeding up the onboarding process. Ideally, the employee’s schedule for the first week should include a variety of activities to allow them to know their colleagues and what it feels like to work with their team. Don’t forget to set up one-on-one sessions with the new hire and their managers, so both parties can manage their expectations and start building a healthy relationship. 5. Give The New Hire A ‘Buddy’

Working in a new company with new people will require a lot of adjustment. This is especially true if the newly hired employee has never experienced working in your company’s industry. They’ll likely have tons of questions as they start working. To speed up your onboarding process, prioritise organising all the documents involved. Ideally, it’s best to keep all documents in an online management platform to reduce errors and save time and effort from going through countless folders and drawers. By using an online management platform, you can put all the onboarding documents in one place and print them whenever necessary. This will prevent you from collecting stacks of paper that end up being crumbled and ensure that all new employees receive consistent materials. 4. Set A Schedule For The First Week

Aside from making sure that all the necessary paperwork is prepared before the employee reports for work, it’s also important for your team to provide the best experience to the new hire. The hiring market is very competitive, and your new employee will likely look for other (better) employers if they find your onboarding process uninteresting or unsatisfactory.

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One way to speed up your employee onboarding process is to set up a buddy system for the new hire. It’s best to assign a tenured employee to help the new hire learn the ropes about the company. For example, if you recently hired staff to join your accounting department, assign one of your best accountants to work with that new employee. This will make it easier for the new hire to learn about their role and the company culture faster. And because their ‘buddy’ will actually have firsthand experience in the same department, work-related questions raised by the new hire can be addressed ASAP. For instance, if the new hire is curious about the best practices about their role in their respective teams, they can easily acquire answers from their buddy. This will significantly accelerate the new hire’s ability to learn.


Learning the culture and working environment of a company requires a lot of time and doesn’t happen after a couple of months. Research shows that some companies extend their onboarding for one year—and there are plenty of reasons why you should do the same.

Does the new hire find your onboarding process welcoming, or do they think it’s very confusing? Are they happy with the ‘buddy’ system, or are they expecting to see more mentorship programs? Do they want their team managers to be more involved in the onboarding process? You’ll have answers to all of these questions when you ask for feedback from the new hire.

If you want to speed up your company’s onboarding process, aim to extend training beyond initial onboarding. After you present necessary documents and endorse the new hire to their teams and managers, ensure that they have access to all the tools they need to learn and drive results for the business.

And with the feedback you get, make sure that you use it to actually improve your processes. One of the biggest mistakes businesses make is to ask for feedback and then throw the information they get out the window.

6. Extend Training Beyond Initial Onboarding

Aside from making sure that the new hire has easy access to company documents essential for their positions, don’t forget to include them in lunch-and-learn sessions, skills assessments, and certification courses. If available, have them watch structured training videos, as well. Providing ongoing training for at least a year is an excellent way to ensure that the new hire gets to learn everything they need about their positions fast. Plus, this also boosts their morale, which can improve their productivity and retention rates. 7. Ask And Use Feedback

With the number of elements and processes involved, not every business can implement a flawless employee onboarding process one time. Often, the business has to go through several trials and errors to develop a highlyeffective onboarding process. Another way to speed up and improve your onboarding process is to regularly ask for feedback from the new hires. They have first-hand experience with your business’s onboarding process and are the best persons to ask whether your existing practices are effective or require improvement.

Onboarding Matters

The length of your onboarding process can affect your company’s daily operations and its long-term success. Even if you hired the best talents, spending too much time to acclimate them to your company’s culture and working environment would prevent you from getting ROI fast. With that in mind, prioritise improving your existing onboarding process by implementing all of the tips presented in this article. Effective onboarding can get your new hires up to speed, allowing them to contribute to the success, growth, and profitability of your business ASAP. LEADERONOMICS

This article is published by the editors of Leaderonomics.com

Issue 59 I January 2022



Why Giving Back Makes You A Better Business Leader BY SUNIL KUMAR

Leading By Example Giving back to the community is one of the most important ways we can show our teams, and those in the community, what they mean to us. It’s about building relationships, having respect for the place we live, making improvements to other people’s lives and taking care of others. Getting involved in charitable activities brings leaders closer together with their teams. Connection with local communities run deep within our culture, and a good leader should be passionate about delivering meaningful responses to the needs of worthwhile causes. It’s important for others in the community to help influence the community to thrive and provide a support system to those who really need it.

“ ‘People’ are the reason to do everything. Giving back is not just about what the business can do for the community, but it’s also about how you can inspire to support, guide, train and benefit the people that work with you. ” Aligning with our core values If we create a giving presence, we immediately attract good will and good people. Being a good human being is just as important in business as it is in your personal life. It shows the world that you have good intentions and are doing the right thing as a team for your clients and community, and that you take care of people. It builds trust in the community, and within your company.

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Running events that teams feel strongly about promotes engagement and a sense of spirit. Living by core values should be reflected in your actions and should lead you to achieving your vision and mission effectively through daily or weekly focus. Bringing them to life gives them meaning and they truly become a part of your business philosophy, representing who you are, what you stand for and where you’re going. The community will recognise this, and your teams will see that you understand what is best for them, for the business and for the community. Why do it? Find an organisation that will make an impact; strengthen relationships, build your abilities to support others, and assist you in promoting your charitable needs. In our business, we created a foundation that would benefit the community where we immediately live, as well as for teams and team members. Engaging in this way gives your teams and business a higher sense of purpose, other than just being in it for ‘ourselves’. If we can give back, we should. It improves a sense of responsibility, makes us fulfilled as human beings and widens our prospective for life and business. Stepping outside our own ‘importance’ (although of course it’s important to practice self-care and love) and focusing on making sure others around you are ‘ok’, tells your clients, your family, and friends you want to better the lives of those who might not be in a position to do so themselves.


I remember one of my high-performing team members sent me an email, objecting strongly to being asked to be involved in an event we were running, stating, “I do my own charity and help where I can, so I should be exempt…” In this situation, you have to decide what to do as a leader. As I believed participation in these activities is part of the culture of the business, and part of the package of being a team member, I had to stand my ground. I told her it is great to do things on the side, but it’s an important part of the business message to help and that I wanted her to be involved. She was a little upset, but I talked to her a couple of years later and she understood why I did that and appreciated and acknowledged that was the right thing as a leader. Mostly, people are inspired in our company to be involved, as the majority consider our philosophy to contribute back to the community a worthwhile way of life. They see the positive impact firsthand, as their kids go to the schools we contribute to, or they have friends and families who are in a small and helpful way impacted by our incentives. At the end of the day, we are making a very positive contribution to the community where our kids grow and become part of the community themselves. Finding meaning Becoming involved in community support brings many new and amazing people to your doorstep. Those people will be carers. There is so much negativity going on around the world, if you can add hope and inspire others to do better by giving back it will be remembered for a lifetime and most importantly it will fill you with gratitude and inner peace. Working on something which benefits the wider community and helps people to see beyond themselves broadens your mind and what you think is possible for you and your business.

As a result of the above, at least three very important big businesses have had meetings with myself and my teams to see how they can start their own organisational charities. Additionally, 30-40 different business have contributed to raise funds for our initiatives. Inspire-be inspired Business leaders have a unique opportunity to truly make a difference in the world around them and to the lives of others. I’m able to impact and position our company in a separate light rather than just Real Estate. Giving helps you grow as a person, gives you knowledge and awareness and widens your perspective. To give back is truly the greatest gift of all to receive. Community assistance is vital, and it is our hope that other businesses join the effort to give back and make a difference where it is most needed.

“ The greatest inspiration for in my life, is my mother, a woman of great knowledge and wisdom. She taught me to always stay humble and be grateful for everything in life, treat everyone with love and respect, listen more that you talk, always stand by the people who stand by you, and above all, give back.”

In times of fear and strain, leading others by providing your skills, connections, time, energy, and focus, you can not only lead by example, but you will create and motivate others to becoming leaders by helping them become involved in work with a purpose. I have spent many years inspiring people around me through: • social media, • on the ground conversations, • getting involved in some way in every charitable activity we have been involved in, and • promoting inspiring stories or books that capture my attention on how to do better, be better and provide better.


Sunil Kumar, author of From the Ground Up, 7 principles for building a business fast, CEO and founder of Reliance Real Estate, is the recipient of numerous awards for his role in making Reliance the fastest growing real estate company in Australia and New Zealand. Philosopher; inspirer; best-life enthusiast, Sunil is humbly dedicated to making all lives around him, happy bigger and brighter.

Issue 59 I January 2022




It was the year that I was expecting my third child. I had climbed my way up to become the Brand Manager of an MNC, from a Sr Executive. I was single when I joined the MNC, got married had two children and was about to have the third. Things were super rosy and I had breezed through life, getting the jobs that I wanted. The promotions to came by working hard and proving my worth, especially by managing several incidents well. The company was on a retrenchment drive as the economy was on a downturn, oil & gas prices were rising and in a controlled price market, volume was the key driver. It was also a time when there were too many stories of children being mishandled both by their domestic maids and childcare homes, which had me concerned.

company to boot. So I confidently applied for Public Relations and Brand Managerial jobs at large corporations. During these job interviews, what crossed me out as a capable Manager, were these questions... “Oh you have a two month old baby? Are you nursing? This job requires long hours and frequent travel...” and I can see the interview going south the moment these questions were uttered! What made it worse was that these questions mostly came from the women! It didn’t matter that I had gotten married, had two children, whom I nursed, while I got promoted from a Sr Executive to a Manager, in a job that was demanding, in an MNC with frequent travel. All they saw was – TWO MONTH OLD BABY! WHACK! That was when I hit the glass ceiling – HARD!

I had the knack of fighting for a balanced work life – which had been one of the organisations’ core values too. There was also especially for me, an opportunity to leave with a compensation package. I had an opportunity to work for a small company to hone my Research skills and enabled me to have more time to supervise my young children better. Things unfortunately went sour fast with that organisation. But I thought to myself - I was from a reputable MNC and have the necessary experience from a Broadcasting

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It took me a good six months to finally land a job, with another MNC as the Corporate Communications Manager, with the first foreign Islamic Bank in Malaysia. Since then, I had seen several more Glass Ceiling manifestation and learned how to manoeuvre them. The Glass Ceiling that I had hit throughout the next phases of my career, thought me several key survival skills.


Past Glories Belong In The Past It didn’t matter what glorified achievements one has, you still have to prove your worth all over again, each and every time. It’s true whether you move to a different organisation, or stay in the same organisation and promoted or moved to a different unit. Past glories serve to enrich your experiences, knowledge and skills, not to bask or laze in. This has been true in each of the eight organisations that I have had the pleasure to work for. Adapt to Thrive Things will never be as one expects it. Adapting to the different needs will ensure that you not only rise in your experiences but become valuable to the organisation. In one of the organisations I worked for – I was transferred from Corporate Communications to Customer Care. It was like chalk and cheese, whilst had vast experience in the former, I had zero experience in the latter. Having a mindset to thrive – I was promoted a few years later. Believe in Your Capabilities No matter the disbelievers, always just aim to do your best and to do better than before. Compete with yourself, always! There will always be a way to do it, leverage on your past experience and dig deep!

Find your Mentor This is the most important aspect of getting ahead – and it doesn’t have to be another female lead! Find a mentor that can especially give you the in-roads, a heads-up so that you can hold your head above the swells. Build Your Circle of Trust Like attract like – increase your vibrations to attract that positive supportive colleagues, peers, subordinates to have a pulse in the organisations. While it is good to have your head in the clouds, you need to have a firm grip on the ground. Feed-back from all levels are essential to manage a large team. When one loses grip on both, it is time to go. Have Faith Most of all – one needs to have faith. Even though you have done everything to break and rise above the glass ceiling, at the end of the day, life happens. When all hell breaks loose – maintain your faith that tomorrow is another day and when you hit rock bottom, the only way to go is up!

After I successfully turned around Customer Care – I was tasked to handle Call Centre, which is as complicated as can be for those uninitiated! And I had to resolve a thick wad of audit issues to boot! By this time I had learned to leverage and build a team I could trust – believed that I can turn it around with the support of my capable team. Learn New Things, Innovate The only way to do this is to read and experiment, talk to people and have a curious exploring mind. Look for the next new thing, find out whether it’s practical for you. Managing Customer Care by email was getting passe – it was slow, lengthy and draining. I set up a team to handle quick fix, simple complaints via Social Media and out-sourced – keeping the team relevant

Anneliza Zainal

Chief Corporate Services Officer at Seterra Healthcare Services Sdn. Bhd.

Issue 59 I January 2022



DEVELOPING A BETTER QUALIT Y OF LIFE FOR ALL Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg reminded all Sarawakians to improve their livelihoods and economic standing by seizing the opportunities created from the Sarawak government initiatives. Only Sarawakians could take better care of Sarawak, because only Sarawakians would understand the way Sarawakians live and the future that they want.

“One of the efforts done by the state government is, firstly, to develop our economy based on the resources we have and we add value to them through the latest knowledge. Secondly, for us to produce Sarawakians who have the skills and expertise in specific knowledge area that can help increase (those values). And thirdly, we have an economy where the products will be exported and produced for open market”. Datuk Patinggi (Dr) Abang Haji Abdul Rahman Zohari Bin Tun Datuk Abang Haji Openg Chief Minister of Sarawak 17 September 2021


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Water supply, water and electricity

Digital and telecommunications infrastructure


Image source: GPS Manifesto 2021 Issue 59 I January 2022


“Leaders must understand the organization’s culture and recognize their responsibility in creating, or changing it. Leadership culture is the way things get done in an organization, and it’s directly connected to leaders’ beliefs, both conscious and unconscious.” Ismail Said CEO Leadership Institute of Sarawak Civil Service

Leadership Institute of Sarawak Civil Service KM20, Jalan Kuching Serian, Semenggok, 93250 Kuching, Sarawak. Telephone : +6082-625166 Fax : +6082-625966 E-mail : info@leadinstitute.com.my leadershipinstitute_scs



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