Leader's Digest #65 (July 2022)

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LEADERS ISSUE 65

JULY 2022

DIGEST


LEADERS DIGEST

Publication Team Editor-in-Chief Fang Tze Chiang 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.

Contents

ISSUE 65 I JULY 2022

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Human-Led Videos Better for Learning & Development Projects

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Where Will You Give the Gift of Time?

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How Much Time Do You Spend In Virtual Meetings?

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Leading with Purpose in the Era of Sustainability

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Digital Age Leadership Mandates New Mindset, Not New Skills

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The Comfort Crisis

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Read this issue and past issues online at leadinstitute.com.my/ leaders-digest Scan the QR code below for quicker access:

Flags, Football, and the Folly of Judging Others

LET US KNOW

If you are encouraged or provoked by any item in the LEADERS DIGEST, we would appreciate if you share your thoughts with us. Here’s how to reach us: Email: diana@leadinstitute.com.my

Content Partners:

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 It feels good but is it good? The more our eyes see what we are used to seeing; the more we hear what we are used to hearing; and so on, the more we create perception habits. Our brain starts to create neural pathways for these feelgood exposures that are repeated and therefore embedded into our mental operating system. And then our operating system gets an alarm signal. Something is different! Something has changed. This is not what I am used to feeling. Oh, oh. No, no. What’s going on?! The comfort zone has been compromised. There are intruders. Like invaders from another galaxy who are making it all uncomfortable, unpleasant, awkward, strange, just plain unacceptable. Why? Because our operating system for this newness has not been created. We have all felt it. We all know what it looks like. And many of us have tried to create entire mechanisms for it called: restructuring, change management and the like. Comfort zones is what the brain likes best. When we are used to something, it requires less energy to deal with it. It becomes all more efficient as we can do something with ‘our eyes closed’. Imagine walking into you house today and the furniture is rearranged. The fridge is in the living room and your bed is facing the other way. You

want to get something from the fridge, and it takes longer. You go to bed and your body cannot adjust to the new direction you are sleeping in. Day after day, your senses get used to the new layout. A new mental operating system for the ‘change’ is being developed. It can take a few days or a few weeks depending on the flexibility of your mind, then your brain. And finally, it’s as new normal that you can navigate in. And what if you come back the next day after having mastered your ‘new’ home and there is another change? Well, the first changes are full of effort, full of negative emotions. But as you get trained in change management, you become not just more flexible but also more resilient and more open to change. Why? Because your brain has learned to quickly re-adapt. Reconfigure itself. Comfort zones need to be disrupted for us to grow, mature and be ready for the new, complex, unexpected and unknown. Unless you are more interested in living with the old, the simple, the expected and the known, as you are back home today, make one little change. Then live with it, embrace it, and let it nourish you differently.

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HUMAN-LED VIDEOS BETTER FOR LEARNING & DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS Source: Photo by Sam McGhee @ unsplash

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Are Human-Led Videos Better for Learning and Development Projects? Read more to find out! Video-based learning is already a critical tool in the online and digital learning arenas. Whether you’re opting for an instructor-led format, or offering ‘offline’ e-learning, videos have a profound impact on how learners engage with the material. Does adding the ‘human touch’ to your video learning library offer extra benefits? Let’s take a look. Why Video is a Powerful Format Videos are very engaging to the human eye, and can impart a lot of information in far less time than it would take to consume otherwise. From capturing real on-site work issues visually, to demonstrating an unsafe scenario in the workplace, it’s far easier to mentally ‘digest’ visual media than teasing it out of other presentation formats. Additionally, video engages a range of our senses, and can even leverage memories and shared experiences to help learners engage more with the material. Today, we can even create interactable videos, adding another layer to the learning experience.

What ‘sticks’ more? Hearing someone tell you there’s a new rule, or a new way to get something done, or actually seeing and experiencing the change for yourself? Of course, not all video is created equally. No one wants to listen to people drone on at length, with an unchanging, unchallenging background, after all. To really grab attention, video-based learning materials must be attention-grabbing, compelling, and have a clear, easy-to-digest message. Putting the Human back in Learning However, pre-recorded video can still suffer from a problem inherent in all e-learning formats- the lack of a human connection. There’s a reason many corporate environments like to leverage ‘brainstorming’ sessions as a means to introduce creative problem solving. Humans are naturally

social creatures. We’ve also evolved to communicate with each other in more ways than just vocally. Experts suggest up to two thirds of our communication takes place through nonverbal communication skills- think body language and facial expression. Some scholars even believe we instinctively place more credence on non-verbal communication, although it’s a difficult arena to study. In a live, instructor-led video environment, that’s easy to emulate. Provided you have a skilled communicator leading the session, who’s engaged and enthusiastic about the material, you have your human element on-hand. But what happens when you can’t use live, instructor-led sessions?

With recent developments in artificial intelligence technologies, there is now also the option to use ‘virtual humans’ in corporate training video production. Often cheaper (and occasionally more engaging) than ‘talking head’ pre-recorded videos, it opens up another dimension of ‘human’-led learning opportunities. Making it easier for your learners to engage with the subject matter is always a win, and ensuring that you have that critical non-verbal communication in play in your training videos adds another opportunity for creative engagement. While not every video in your learning arsenal needs to be human-led, ensuring that you have a backbone of human-led video content provides a smart anchor framework for your course or training series, and encourages the learner to ‘see themself’ in the lessons you’re trying to teach.

LEADERONOMICS

This article is published by the editors of Leaderonomics.com with the consent of the guest author.

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HOW MUCH TIME DO YOU SPEND IN VIRTUAL MEETINGS? BY JACOB MORGAN

Source: pch.vector on Freepik.com

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How can you make the most of your time spent in virtual meetings? Here are a few suggestions:

Make the Most of Your Time Spent in Virtual Meetings Over the last few years, we’ve all seen virtual meetings increase. But how much time a day do you spend on Zoom, Teams, or Google Meet calls? I polled my followers, and of the 2,800 respondents, 37% say they’re in virtual meetings for two to four hours a day, followed by 28% in the five to seven hour category. 19% of respondents are in virtual meetings for one to two hours a day, and 16% have lost count. That seems to match the national average of about 30% of weekly work time spent in meetings. If it seems like you’re in more virtual meetings now than you were in in-person meetings before the pandemic, that’s likely true. The average time workers spend in online meetings per week jumped from 14.2 hours to 21.5 hours over the past two years.

Infographic by Leaderonomics: How to Optimise Your Time in Virtual Meetings

• Make an agenda and stick to it. This is Meetings 101, but it’s crucial to help everyone be prepared and stay on task.

That may seem like a lot of time to spend meeting with people virtually every day, but most of the comments on my poll were positive.

• Use email when possible. Just because it’s generally easier to hop on a meeting virtually than it is in person doesn’t mean that is always the solution. Use other collaboration methods besides just meetings.

For people in meeting-heavy jobs, being able to meet virtually increases flexibility and productivity. You likely spend less time going off on tangents or getting distracted after the meeting.

• Chat with co-workers through other channels. Use the company intranet, Slack channels, or virtual happy hours to catch up with remote co-workers so meetings can be dedicated to productive work. We’re all experiencing a learning curve as we continually adjust to virtual meetings. But with the right planning and attitude, it’s something we can benefit from, no matter how much time we spend on Zoom each week.

JACOB MORGAN

Jacob Morgan is one of the world’s leading authorities on leadership, the future of work, and employee experience. He is a best-selling author (most recently of The Future Leader), keynote speaker, and futurist who advises business leaders and organisations around the world. For more information, please visit thefutureorganization.com

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DIGITAL AGE LEADERSHIP MANDATES NEW MINDSET, NOT NEW SKILLS BY RAJ GROVER

The desired change in leadership though well recognised and appreciated is sadly being addressed with the same wisdom that demands change but refuses to be the change. The wisdom that invests in skilling and reskilling; leaving the core permanently unaddressed. In my interactions with corporate boards and promoters I hear lot of conversation around changing the culture, business reinvention, digital infusion but no serious action on leadership renovation. Corporate world is deeply infested with conventional leadership practices. The disconnect between transformational goals and the leadership stereotypes are deeply responsible for sustained failure to reinvent and repivot. According to a research by Brandon Hall Group only 10 percent of organisations have aligned leadership programs with competencies required in the Digital Age. Discover 8 simple insights that could change the leader in you.

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Eight Simple Leadership Insights in the Digital Age 1

Digital Age follows the Holacracy Model-

no one is the boss, all are leaders. Holacracy aims to distribute the authority of decisionmaking and innovation through teams that govern and lead themselves. No classical hierarchical system where authority and decision-making are concentrated at the top. Leaders key role is enabling the interchangeability of role play and learning the art of being led while leading.

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empowerment”. Today’s leader practices “managed empowerment. Progress no longer hinges on a leader’s approval of every action. Such micromanaging alienates talent, impedes innovation, and cedes ground to more agile competitors.

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Leaders learn to hire and engage people

smarter than themselves. Leaders today need a team with diverse core skills and competencies, intrapreneurial approach to business and a mindset that deals with agility, autonomy and innovation. Identifying, influencing and engaging such talent is now the leaders responsibility and not the human resource department.

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Today’s talent works for leaders not

organisations. Leaders ability to connect, collaborate and communicate defines retention. Talented teams come with their own set of ego’s and idiosyncrasies. It is the leaders job to overlook the non-critical ones and harness the talent within. Learn to explore not exploit.

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Strategic Thinking is not the prerogative of

top leadership. Democratise. Strategic thinking is the art of collecting nuggets of information and piecing the puzzles to foresee trends. These nuggets of wisdom can be found anywhere and everywhere- more so at the operational and customer enabling side of the business. Strategic thinking is not the prerogative of top leadership, democratise and see the strategic shift in your business.

Modern leaders practice “managed

A leader’s success is measured by

innovation, not execution. The leader’s mission is empowering innovation. Business survival hinges on innovation and agility. Leaders must learn to recognise trends, identify opportunities, and embrace promising ideas.

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Training digital leaders requires new

mindsets, not just skill sets. The traditional leadership development practices are incompatible with the modern team. These skills no longer fit the contemporary workplace. It needs a whole new mindset, a transformational shift. Skills enable actions while mindsets provide context for those actions.

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The informal-incognito Leader is

omnipresent and ambidextrous. It’s imperative to develop leaders at all levels of an organisation. Informal leaders shape the progress of teams despite formal titles or designation. In a recent survey, 91 percent of respondents agreed that these informal leaders can be more effective than formal leaders.

RAJ GROVER

Raj is a global CEO and entrepreneur turned thought leader and mentor working alongside promoters, business leaders, corporate boards and startups. Raj helps incubate and accelerate managements vision for exponential growth through personally designed and practised thought leadership principles on strategy, business innovation, market creation and digital transformation.

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Fluency in English is critical to adapting to changing times. Whether you like it or not, to acquire new technology or new knowledge you must have (a good command of) English to understand what is going on throughout the world hope we can produce Sarawakians who are conversant in both English and Malay, as well as being equipped with knowledge to keep up with the latest changes in the world.

The Right Honourable Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri (Dr) Abang Haji Abdul Rahman Zohari bin Tun Datuk Abang Haji Openg Premier of Sarawak 7 June 2022

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Source: Illustration by storyset on storyset.com

FLAGS, FOOTBALL , AND THE FOLLY OF JUDGING OTHERS BY JULIET FUNT

Purposefully Reframe Your Bad Judgment Every season that my three boys play flag football, we cross our fingers and hope each of them will get a “good” coach. For us, that’s defined as a coach who stays calm and positive and who’s there to prioritize fun and learning over winning. In our minds, that’s the simple truth of what a good coach is. A bad coach on the other hand, is a much more colorful type of sporting guide. We’ve seen grown men throw their hats down at earnest errors made by children, shame and blame their own kids, and flagrantly play the exceptional players at every opportunity while the other team members walk the sidelines. These coaches often can’t control their tempers, their disappointments, or their mouths. If my boys did not love the sport so much, the risk of such treatment wouldn’t be worth it.

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This article is not about football. It’s about what happens to my husband and I at the moment we observe one of these bad coaches in action. Last month the Texans, a team with some fabulous female players, beat the Saints (all the flag teams have NFL team names). The Saints coach, lost in anger, screamed at and berated his team. He then capped his tirade with this misogynist punchline: “And,” he shouted, “there are GIRLS on that team!” The moms of those dedicated female players almost flayed him alive, but our quiet wrath was just as bad. Judgment filled my husband and me. And like judgment tends to do, it served us. How better and smarter we must be, our distorted thinking whispered to us, than this poor man to so clearly see the error of his ways. These are the secret lifts that judgment gives us, and it’s a diabolical lure.


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Ironically, that same week we had been speaking to our kids about the concept of judgment. We were trying to discern the difference between judgment and evaluation, between our consideration of others or their actions (which protects and informs us) and the thoughts we have that create separation and bolster our egos. Illustration by storyset

We decided that “good judgment” gives you information, but you feel curious and neutral while gathering it. And “bad judgment” (being judgy and righteous) is a mental attack on the person, not the action, making them lower in your eyes and elevating yourself by comparison. We found we all had weaknesses for the second kind, and those tendencies blossomed during football practice. Back at the field, our attempts to clamp down our judginess and amp up our neutral curiosity proved effective and simple. Each time we watched a coach let his inner child run the show, we would take ourselves through a mental stack of notecards with different prompts challenging and softening our viewpoint. Some of the frames we tried included the following:

• I am blaming him for something he was never taught. • When we are perfect, we get to evaluate him. • His coach and his coach’s coach likely modeled this same behavior. • He’s a volunteer, and there’s a lot of pressure during games. • I need to consider what I’m getting out of judging him.

This approach helped us slow down our reactions and broaden our perspectives, and we found it’s useful in the realm of work, marriage, and friendships too. Like so many applications of taking a simple minute to think, these moments slowed us down enough to coax awaken our better selves and led to clear thinking. You may have this same tendency to rush to judgment. At work, judgment is an easy gear to slip into. Whether it’s the caustic boss, the apathetic young person, or the cubicle neighbor who guiltlessly brings a tuna sandwich for all to smell, most of us have felt the urge to judge. The harder life has become over the past two years, the more that urge to judge may have grown. Too many of us have fallen into the habit of judging everyone around us—for their mask-wearing (or not), their vaccinations (or not), and their sneezing properly into their elbow Draculastyle (or not). We’ve judged the lockdowns and the lack of lockdowns and the politicians and protestors until we ended up consummately right and consummately alone. In any circumstance, we can either lean into judgment (which separates us from others) or lean into purposeful reframing, making our minds gentler and more open each time we try. They say people teach the things they need to learn, and this is clearly the case for me. But I know I have lots of company. What I also know is that if we talk about these subtle slips of integrity and kindness, we can catch them one moment at a time and strive for a better outlook together.

JULIET FUNT

Juliet Funt is the founder and CEO at JFG (Juliet Funt Group), which is a consulting and training firm built upon the popular teaching of CEO Juliet Funt, author of A Minute to Think.

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But it doesn’t stop there. Hidden beneath the surface is a raft of time-wasting activities typically dressed up as collaboration and necessary processes. For example: 1. Running a consultation process when you already know what you want the outcome to be. You are only looking for an endorsement of your idea.

Where Will You Give the Gift of Time? BY MICHELLE GIBBINGS

Stop Wasting Time on Unrewarding Activities to Boost Productivity We all know that time is finite, and once it passes by, you can’t get it back. During the COVID-19 enforced lockdowns, we discovered the benefits of a slower pace, and yet a typical lament is that there is never enough time in the day. As the pace of life picks up again, time seems to fly by even faster. Various studies suggest we waste up to three hours a day and almost 70% of people waste time at work. A further study found that business owners waste about 30% of their working days on low value or no value activities. Wasting time is subjective. Surfing the net may seem a waste of time to one person and an excellent way to relax for another. What you see as low-value work may be necessary for someone else. Like everything, there are differing perspectives. There are also many commonalities in what people view as the biggest time wasters: poorly run meetings, overly bureaucratic processes, and unnecessary rework.

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2. Seeking feedback from people because you feel you should (or because you’ve been told to), but once you have their input, you pay no attention to it, and it doesn’t change the original plan. 3. Undertaking a recruitment process when you already have a preferred candidate in mind. You may tell yourself that you are diligent as you want to check who else is out there, but the reality is you have already made up your mind. 4. Organising a tender process or asking for quotes when you have already decided who you want to work with. Perhaps your internal processes dictate that you need to get a minimum number of quotes, but if the process is weighted in favour of one party, then you already know what the outcome will be. 5. Running team-building activities and not being prepared to follow through on commitments, and holding people to account for the culture the team has agreed to create. If you aren’t playing your part, then it’s not likely the team will either. 6. Always running late for events and meetings, and constantly behind on deliverables. When you keep people waiting and ‘on hold,’ you effectively say, ‘I am more important, and my time is more valuable than yours.’ 7. Asking to review documents and provide input and then either not responding, not offering timely feedback or offering feedback that is substandard and unhelpful.


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I am sure you can add to the list, and I’d love to hear your suggestions. What would you add to that list? Interestingly, in all those cases, you aren’t just wasting the time of the people involved; you are also wasting your time. In many situations, time that extends over days, weeks, or even months. So, you have a choice. Waste time or flip your approach, get deliberate about how you spend your time and make it purposeful and productive. Here are some ideas to get you started: • Look at your diary for the week ahead. I mean really look at it. Critically examine how much time you spend on value-adding tasks and which activities or meetings you don’t need to do. For each item, ask yourself: Does this activity advance the goals that the team and I have set? Will it lead to positive and progressive outcomes? • Challenge your mindset to find ways to make the activity worthwhile. If you adhere to a process that you need to follow for governance and diligence purposes, rather than do it because you ‘have to’, do it because you ‘want to’. Flipping the activity in this way can give the task more purpose and relevance. • Be open to a different outcome. If you start the process with a preconceived result in mind, you will shut yourself off to new ideas and possibilities. Instead, approach the process with curiosity and wonder about what could be. • Be open to shifting the status quo. If something has always been done in a certain way, ask ‘why’. Do you need to do that task or process? What’s the worst thing that could happen if you (insert task you are doing) don’t do it? For example, what’s the worst thing that could happen if you don’t attend that meeting or run that process? Determining the worst outcome may show that the impact isn’t all that bad, and having time back in your day is a higher benefit.

• Make ‘respect’ an essential leadership quality that you embrace. Respect matters in all its forms, and one of those is respecting each other’s time. When you respect your teammates, direct reports, and colleagues, you show them they matter. Respect elevates the culture and creates an environment where good progress happens. • When a process adds no value, be willing to challenge and be ready to say ‘no’ if you need to. • Be open to the fact that a process or activity that you don’t see as adding value may be critical for someone else and their work. So, have an open mind, always be curious and consider the interconnections and dependencies in your work.

In a world where there never feels like there is enough time, let’s give each other the gift of time when we can and when we should. The respected former CEO of Intel, Andy Grove, once said:

“Just as you would not permit a fellow employee to steal a piece of office equipment, you shouldn’t let anyone walk away with the time of his fellow managers.”

MICHELLE GIBBINGS

Michelle Gibbings is a workplace expert and the award-winning author of three books. Her latest book is ‘Bad Boss: What to do if you work for one, manage one or are one’. www.michellegibbings.com.

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Social ­– How does your company impact society both internally and externally? Are you providing fair wages to your employees? Is your company benefiting the greater community? Governance ­ – How is your company led? Do your company policies make a positive difference?

The Importance of ESG in 2022

LEADING WITH PURPOSE IN THE ERA OF SUSTAINABILITY BY ELYA NURIN

Leaders are Responsible for Making a Positive Change Dear CEOs, what really matters to your company? According to Robin Nuttall, expert partner at McKinsey & Company, 70 percent of employees seek purpose at work. Employees find a sense of purpose when their work makes a positive difference that aligns with the company’s purpose. However, the purpose of your company should not only resonate with your team, but with society. With sustainable investing becoming a mainstream strategy as younger generations advocate for social change, your company is now expected to have a greater purpose that benefits the broader society and fulfils ESG criteria.

First – What is ESG?

Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors are a set of criteria that is considered by stakeholders in their decision-making process. How is your company perceived by ESG stakeholders? Environmental – Does your company contribute any harm to the environment (e.g., excessive waste, pollution, carbon emission)? Is it making any efforts to minimise its damage to the environment?

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It is important now more than ever for companies to raise their game in sustainability efforts. Not only have many countries including Malaysia introduced mandates for companies to provide ESG reports, but more people are growing concerned about social issues like climate change, inequality, and data security. Hence, stakeholders feel a sense of responsibility in their investment and spending decisions, which is why there is a huge interest for ESG reports. Particularly from millennials, who believe that their investment and spending decisions can result in social change. Millennials and Gen Z alike push for positive social impact, which makes it even more important for companies to fulfil ESG criteria as the younger generations start becoming primary stakeholders. Why is the younger generation today significantly more interested in ESG than previous generations? Simply put, millennials and Gen Z have more resources. Not only do they have more buying power, but they also have easier access to learn about social issues through social media. It gives them a global perspective and shapes their mindset towards them. The younger generation is more aware of the serious threats posed by social issues. Although they are committed to make a change on an individual level, they believe that social issues stem from problems within the structures and policies of organisations. For millennials and Gen Z especially, inequality is a major systemic issue. A huge percentage of younger workers would leave their jobs for a better workplace experience. Many of them feel discriminated against by the government and businesses, including their own workplace.


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Alongside inequality, climate change is a huge concern because of its prominent and lasting effects on the community. In recent years, the younger generation has become concerned about the working conditions and environmental impacts of fast fashion. While they try to minimise personal consumption of fast-fashion brands, they acknowledge that it doesn’t make much of an impact besides reducing their own carbon footprint. Thus, they intend to hold leaders accountable for making a significant change for the improvement of the community’s wellbeing.

If your company is looking to make a change in an impactful way, consider signing up and being part of the Malaysia Leadership Summit 2022. The Summit, part of the Asian Leadership Series, is organised by Leaderonomics in partnership with Together We Can Change The World, a non-profit organisation dedicated to improving the wellbeing of women and children in Southeast Asia.

Improve Your ESG Performance

ESG stakeholders want to enter into relationships with organisations that will make a positive social impact. So, how can you appeal your company to ESG stakeholders? Establish your company’s greater purpose. Your company’s purpose needs to be more than just creating a successful business. It needs to be about being the positive change society needs. Your company should strive for success, but what’s more meaningful to your employees and customers is what you do with that success. In a recent study, employees who received bonuses in the form of donations to charity reported higher job satisfaction than employees who did not. Making a positive social impact leads to happier employees. At the same time, reporting such donations shows stakeholders your company’s efforts to contribute to positive social change. Therefore, fulfilling the ‘social’ criteria that ESG stakeholders are looking for.

The Summit, themed ‘The Future of Work: Innovation, Influence, Inspire’, is about inspiring and empowering leaders across organisations to make a difference. Global leaders will share their insights on how to activate and grow your leadership. All proceeds obtained from the ticket sales of the Summit will be given to community initiatives, NGOs, and social causes in Southeast Asia. You will not only help your employees grow and develop their leadership skills but also make a huge difference to communities.

Act Now

There is a strong demand for companies to act on social issues particularly by the younger generation. By 2025, millennials and Gen Z who are invested in ESG initiatives will comprise most of the workforce. Ensuring your company is driven by community values is of utmost importance. Failing to address them will put your company at a huge risk. ELYA NURIN

Elya is a strong-willed individual who is dedicated to empowering others. She values creative expression and developing genuine connections with people. Through her interests, she aspires to help people in one way or another. She is currently undergoing an internship with the editorial team at Leaderonomics while pursuing a degree in Psychology.

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Book Review

“Most people today rarely step outside their comfort zones. We are living progressively sheltered, sterile, temperature-controlled, overfed, under-challenged, safety-netted lives,” he writes. In many ways, we’re more comfortable than ever before. The premise of the book is that the things in life that we take advantage of to make our lives easier and more comfortable are causing many of the physical and mental problems that we are seeing more of in our society. In this gripping investigation, awardwinning journalist Michael Easter seeks out off-the-grid visionaries, disruptive genius researchers, and mind-body conditioning trailblazers who are unlocking the life-enhancing secrets of a counterintuitive solution: discomfort. Along the way, Easter uncovers a blueprint for leveraging the power of discomfort that will dramatically improve our health and happiness, and perhaps even help us understand what it means to be human. The Comfort Crisis is a bold call to break out of your comfort zone and explore the wild within yourself. It’s not comfortable at first, but according to Easter, this is how creativity gets activated. It turns out discomfort can prevent conditions ranging from obesity and heart disease to depression and anxiety. “New research shows that depression, anxiety, and feeling like you don’t belong can be linked to being untested,” he writes. He prescribes misogi, which is essentially getting out of one’s comfort zone for an extended period. The Comfort Crisis challenges the of comfort in our lives and the author shares his experiences once he decided to step away from it.

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Lesson 1:

Challenging yourself and going through life’s hardships unsheltered will help you grow

We are currently living in a life of utmost comfort. We have constant access to food, shelter, entertainment of all sorts, and whatnot. Our ancestors were always on the go and had little access to comfort. And yet, they were so much happier than us. They were living in the present and appreciated the smallest things. He came back stronger, more focused, and with fewer worries on his mind. As such, the author advises that everyone should try to ditch their physical comfort zone. Instead, we should aim to expose ourselves to our own rites of passage or build our physical endurance. By doing so, one will discover new emotions and build strength from the core. Studies suggest that going through such experiences can enhance health levels as well. The key is to find a balance between comfort and challenging situations, if you get out of your shelter a bit. You will also learn to appreciate everything you have on another level.

Lesson 2:

Being by yourself in nature can help you connect with yourself and feel less lonely

Something as simple as enjoying the natural world can tame the mind chatter and give a moment of complete silence, which is something we get to experience quite rare nowadays. Allowing your mind, body, and spirit to sync and deepen your connection with yourself can help you strengthen your sense of identity and feel good about being by yourself.

Lesson 3:

Ditch the unnecessary comforts in your life and embrace a rather traditional lifestyle

When you’re hungry, chances are you go to the fridge to grab something, or even better, order it from the comfort of your own home. The same goes for when you feel tired, you can easily go to your house and find your bed, or perhaps when you feel bored, chances are you’ll grab your phone and splurge on the many apps it has. But could our sheltered, temperature-controlled, overfed, underchallenged lives actually be the leading cause of many our most urgent physical and mental health issues? All these things have caused us to detach from things that truly make us happy like human connections, being in nature, effort, and perseverance. Studies suggest that going through such experiences can enhance health levels as well. The key is to find a balance between comfort and challenging situations. You will also learn to appreciate everything you have on another level.

“DO HARD THINGS and the rest of life gets easier” - Michael Easter -

DIANA MARIE CAPEL

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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“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way. ” - John Maxwell -

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