Leader's Digest #66 (August 2022)

Page 1

DIGEST LEADERS AUGUST 2022ISSUE 66 X CROSS-CULTURALFACTORFLUENCY Critical Thinking PROBLEM SOLVING Initiative LearningContinuous BuildingOthers QUANTITATIVEFLUENCY SOCIAL Intelligence Collaboration ManagementPROJECT LEADERSHIP Relationship Building Creative Thinking Writing

DIGEST LEADERS 2 Issue 66 I August 2022 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. Editor-in-Chief Fang Tze Chiang Editor Diana Marie Capel Graphic Designers Awang Ismail bin Awang Hambali Abdul Rani Haji Adenan Publication Team Contents ISSUE 66 I AUGUST 2022 06 08 BOOK REVIEW THE X FACTOR: A QUEST FOR EXCELLENCE 17 PREVENT A MIDLIFE CRISIS SIX SERIOUS CHALLENGES OF HYBRID WORK AND HOW TO OVERCOME THEM Content Partners: Read this issue and past issues online Scanleadinstitute.com.my/atleaders-digesttheQRcodebelowforquickeraccess: * Read our online version to access the hyperlinks to other reference articles made by the author. 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: corporate@leadinstitute.com.my ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY10 14 WORK-LIFE HARMONY: BRIDGING THE EMPLOYEE-EMPLOYER DISCONNECT CENTER for ASIA LEADERSHIP 04 IS YOUR COMMUNICATION ALL ABOUT YOU? LEADERSHIP AND FACILITATION ARE A GREAT PARTNERSHIP 12

DIGEST LEADERS 3Issue 66 I August 2022

There is a saying that the ‘X-Factor’ of every thriving organization is in the ‘people’. Why it is important for the State Civil Service to stand out?

From the Editorial Desk



With countries undergoing lockdowns and uncertainty looming, the last two years saw the world come to a standstill with digital disruption and remote working. Thus, the period was also not without pain in the workforce; pandemic fatigue and specialized labour scarcities were all part of our vocabulary in the “New Normal”. Change, agility and resilience became inevitable in everything. Indeed, each employee’s change journey throughout that period and particularly in moving forward is unique to each of us because of the environment we are in. We are all different.

When people describe someone, they often mention their qualities or rather one with the ‘X-Factor’. One of these qualities is something elusive they can’t explain. That indescribable quality is known as the ‘X-Factor’. In other words, it is a set of unique qualities that differentiate this person from everyone else. Their mastery stuns us. They seem to see things the rest of us don’t see, and they can do things that defy explanation. Whenever they are expressing their ‘X-Factor’, we see the effortless joy. What ‘X-Factor’ should you look for in top employees?



DIGEST LEADERS 4 Issue 66 I August 2022

It’s a typical workday. You rush from meeting to meeting (and yes, you can rush virtually too). Send a few emails and text messages and talk with a team member to update them on things you think they need to know. You then rush to your next meeting. Sound familiar? I’ll admit I’ve been guilty of doing this.

Effective Communication

It’s a classic case of ‘dump and run’ in action. You have information in your head that you think someone needs to know. Naturally, you want to share it with them, delegate the task or get the issue moving. When you’re rushing, you’ll likely rush the conversation too. You’ll say what matters to you but have little time to hear the other person. You feel better because you feel like you’ve communicated, and if it’s task-related, you feel good because it’s off your plate and on someone else’s plate. However, the person on the receiving end can feel bewildered, annoyed, frustrated and disengaged.

We all know the criticality of good communication, and it’s something that sets good leaders apart. So, do you know whether your communication hits the Goodmark?

Research across more than 330 000 leaders, peers and team members found that communication is one of the skills that most significantly impact whether a leader succeeds or not.

communication is more than just being an effective orator or a good listener. In fact, there are many considerations. Let’s start with the five communication levels, moving from least effective to most Startingeffective.atlevel 1 (and the least effective) is DUMPING. This is a one-way conversation. You’re seeking an audience for your voice, and you are thinking (either subconsciously or consciously), ‘It’s all about me’. You focus on getting your idea or issue heard or the information you need to share disseminated. You aren’t interested in conversation or debate.

Source: Vector image is from freepik.com by @storyset

Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman, who conducted the research, provided participants with 16 competencies and asked them to rate the top four essential competencies for roles at different levels of organisational hierarchy. Being able to ‘communicate powerfully and prolifically’ came in at number five. Interestingly, the top competency was ‘inspires and motivates’, and I’d suggest that you can’t do that if you don’t communicate well.

The next level is DEBATING. At level 2, it’s a contest of words and ideas between the people talking. Each person seeks to ‘win’ the conversation or have the ‘last word’. When you are involved in this type of conversation, you are less concerned with listening and more concerned with getting your point across. As this helpful Korn Ferry article reminds us, our brain isn’t naturally good at listening. Our brain uses heuristics (essentially mentally short-cuts) to save the brain’s processing capacity, and so it can decide swiftly. This comes into play when we are communicating too. As the other person is talking, you focus on formulating your response. You may jump ahead and assume what they will say next. You can make assumptions about their intent and be easily Communicatingdistracted.

• have the same level of comprehension and understanding of the topic and the language used

Even better is level 4, which is SENSE MAKING.

Through such a dialogue, each person seeks insight, knowledge and more profound understanding as they make sense of what’s happening and how they are interpreting what’s happening.

Remember the wise words of George Bernard Shaw, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place”. So if you aren’t sure if your communication has landed or if the conversation has been helpful, engaging and effective, then the best thing to do is to check in and ask.

at level 1 may save you time in the short term, while level 2 can be interesting if you like a rigorous debate with little care for the outcome. However, neither are good strategies to pursue if you want a healthy organisational culture, sustainable results, and sound decision-making. At a minimum, you want to strive for level 3, which is CLARIFYING. This is where the conversation is much more about the ‘we’, rather than the ‘me’. The conversation is more curious and less judgemental. Both parties are curious, open to learning, and seeking ideas and answers. This is critical because so much of what is said is not heard, and we can easily misunderstand what the other person is saying. For a conversation to proceed in a manner where both parties walk away with the same level of comprehension, many things need to go right. Both parties need to:

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.


A conversation of this nature is open-hearted and open-minded. It involves both parties pushing their thinking into new territory. It’s recognising the impact that context has on what you are saying and how it is interpreted. It’s accepting the role that emotions play in how words are heard.

• speak clearly and precisely • provide all the information needed in the conversation to ensure clarity

Of course, moving up the levels of communication isn’t easy. There may be times when you move up and down the scale depending on who you are conversing with and how you are feeling. As with all skills, it takes time, practice and a desire to improve. It’s also essential if you want to be more influential and to step up and progress.

DIGEST LEADERS 5Issue 66 I August 2022

• pay attention and not be distracted

All those elements are rarely present throughout an entire conversation, so asking questions and clarifying what you’ve heard is crucial. It is easy to misinterpret, miss keywords and then end up with a hazy recollection of what was said.

At level 5, you are embracing a much more inclusive communication approach.

The most effective and yet, most challenging to master is level 5 – ADAPTING. It’s hard to admit you don’t have all the answers and that your knowledge and ideas are imperfect. Being comfortable with admitting you don’t know is a sign of leadership. Conversations of this nature are about exploring possibilities and making decisions conscious of context, the imperfect nature of how we decide and an acceptance that as the leader, you don’t have the licence on being right.

Coupled with the challenges of Covid and the fact that the hotel and restaurant business is always a tough business, the company buckled under this pressure. The business blew up its finances and this friend ended up having to sell his stake in the company and today works for someone else. Having lost his home, family and life- savings, he now lives with his sister at the ‘tender’ age of 56. What happened? In retrospect, a midlife crisis.

Is A Midlife Crisis Inevitable For All of Us?

Is a midlife crisis inevitable? If not, how do we prevent them? While these questions seems complicated and quite personal, Harvard Professor Arthur C Brooks believes that almost all midlife meltdowns can be prevented with just two simple mindset shifts.

Source: Photo by Norbert Kundrak

on Unsplash


A close friend of mine ran a successful business. He owned/ran a boutique hotel together with a chain of restaurants. He no longer does. The main reason was that he had (what he in retrospect now realises) a midlife crisis that led to him slowly removing himself from active involvement in his family affairs (which consequently led to a divorce) and investing his funds in frivolous business ventures which went bust.

This update is for those of us in our 40’s, 50’s and even 60’s. It starts with a story…

DIGEST LEADERS 6 Issue 66 I August 2022

Prevent a Midlife Crisis SHER

Scientists had previously thought that midlife crises were a normal part of the aging process. They have recently changed their tune and Brooks believes that a ‘crisis’ is not our unavoidable fate. To avoid crashing into regret and mortality and making poor considered decisions when we hit midlife, Brooks insists that we need to make two small but profound changes to our mindset.


Apparently, this process of pruning is key to avoiding a midlife crisis too. Early in life, success usually comes from addition, i.e. more money, more responsibility, more relationships, more possessions. Life in early adulthood is like filling up an empty canvas. By midlife, however, that canvas is pretty full, and more brushstrokes make the painting worse, not better. We need to change our life objectives by stepping away from unnecessary duties and responsibilities and make more time to think, read and reconnect spiritually – the work we need to do to reengineer ourselves.


Focus on Subtraction, not Addition According to Brooks, the good life is often gained by subtraction rather than addition. He advocates we adopt a tool called the ‘reverse bucket list’ to figure out what commitments, stressors, and miscellaneous other junk we need to remove from our schedules and brains.

Still skeptical? There are multiple studies today showing that certain important skills from emotional intelligence to some types of creativity actually get better as we age. It is also relevant here to point out that the average age entrepreneurs who go on to run successful businesses started their business was at 47 – probably due to the fact that the skills and experience gained in your younger years make you a more formidable leader. The same applies to people who make significant ascensions up the corporate ladder to become C-suite executives. So, the message here is focus on what you are gaining as you age instead of obsessing over what you are losing.


While these two mindset shifts may seem easy enough in theory, we all know that focusing on the positive and saying no more often can actually be fiendishly difficult in real life. But we need to persist with these two mindset shifts.

Summary Whether or not you opt for some formalised approach to grappling with middle age; the truth is that middle age will inevitably grapple with you. Knowing a bit of the psychology of how successful people transition away from youth and into a flourishing middle adulthood could help boost your peace of mind and maybe even your career.

SHAWN SHER Shawn is the founder and chief executive of LS Human Capital.

Focus on Gains, not Losses Aging is inevitable. As you get older, you are going to lose physical strength and speed and eventually some mental flexibility too (although science has also found that these mental slowdowns actually happen much later than we commonly expect). Understandably, this sets off feelings of panic in many people. I can relate to this. I recently attempted to resuscitate my tennis playing days and started playing aggressively (almost daily) again. Initially, I was doing well and was making progress. Then, inexplicably the knee started acting up before I developed tennis elbow. Ignoring this initial pain signs as nothing more than part of the process of getting better, i.e. growing pains, I ignored the pain signs until my elbow finally buckled and I couldn’t even lift a cup at one stage. A visit to the doctor confirmed my fears. It was not part of my development into a better tennis player. I was no longer 25 and my body needed rest. According to Brooks however, this feelings of despair we may feel at our weakened muscles and faltering memory are unnecessary and that we should be focusing on the other half of the equation. Some skills may get worse with age, but lots of other important ones get better. Stagnation, which can lead to a crisis, happens when you try to fight against time, whether you are desperately trying not to look older or struggling against changes to your skills and strengths. Generativity comes from accepting your age and recognising the new aptitudes and abilities that naturally develop in your 40’s and get stronger through your 50’s and 60’s. These includes the growing ability to see patterns clearly, teach others, and explain complex ideas – what psychologists call ‘crystallised intelligence.’


DIGEST LEADERS 8 Issue 66 I August 2022

Six Serious Challenges Of Hybrid Work And How To Overcome Them BY WILLIAM ARRUDA Source: Vector image

Things are starting to get back to normal—whatever that is. But it’s not the pre-covid normal. Moving forward, the world of work will be more flexible, more ambiguous, and a lot more complicated too. That’s because the hybrid environment includes lots of challenges that were not part of the workplace that we were used to before March 2020 (which feels like another lifetime ago) nor is it exactly like the all-virtual workplace we were thrown into. This new paradigm has a lot of implications for how you build your personal brand and achieve your career goals. Here are the six most concerning challenges, along with how to minimize them. is from


freepik.com by @pikisuperstar

This article was originally published on forbes.com

First impressions are far more likely to be virtual. People will meet the bits-and-bytes version of you first (in fact, that may be the only version of you they ever meet). That means you need to actively manage your digital brand so you can wow the people who are checking you out. To build a stellar digital first impression, first get a handle on your actual brand, and then translate it for the virtual world so that when a colleague or client meets you online, they’ll be meeting the closest thing possible to the real, authentic, amazing you. First impressions are crucial, and they don’t come with a do-over.

It’s clear that team connection and cohesion suffered when we all went virtual at the flip of a switch. And even in the WFA environment, it will be rare for the whole team to be together most of time. That means those little informal connection points, talking about what you did over the weekend, a quick chat in the coffee room, a head popping in your cubical to say hi!— those are all gone. Counteract the humanity deficit by building in human connection activities to the work that you do online, especially in Zoom meetings. Make it a deliberate act to reach out to just say hello to each of your colleagues every week.

Feedback is hard to come by in the WFA world. That’s because most of those opportunities for immediate impromptu feedback have been eliminated or weakened. The boss who stops by your office and says, “Nice job summing up that complex client problem in that meeting” has basically disappeared in a workforce that’s distributed. Yet regular feedback is critical to helping you stay on track and course correct as necessary. You can’t wait for your annual review to learn about things you could be doing better or hear about what impresses your supervisor. To get regular feedback, overtly seek it out. Ask for honest feedback, use anonymous feedback tools to obtain insight and take action on what you learn.


WILLIAM ARRUDA William Arruda is the bestselling author of the definitive books on personal branding: Digital YOU, Career Distinction and Ditch. Dare. Do! And he’s the creative energy behind Reach Personal Branding and CareerBlast.TV – two groundbreaking organizations committed to expanding the visibility, availability, and value of personal branding across the globe.

If you’re mostly WFH, you’re invisible. This means you need strategies to visibly demonstrate the value you deliver. One way to achieve this is with social media. Become a digital brand ambassador for your company by sharing company content with your connections. Include all the people you seek to influence in your connections and followers.

Let’s face it, building relationships with others is far easier, more productive, and enjoyable in person. But that’s not always possible in the hybrid world. To get as close as you can to the old days of real-world relationship building, make every inperson opportunity matter more. Even if you only make it into the office a few times a year, you can forge stronger relationships by focusing on your colleagues and clients 100% of the time when you’re together. When you have real-world connection opportunities, don’t schedule things that keep you isolated. Each time you attend a company learning program, prioritize connecting with the other participants as being equally important to the learning. If you attend a company offsite, don’t spend it on your phone. Don’t squander real-world human connection opportunities.

Meetings have always been one of the most powerful ways to demonstrate value and get noticed by people who count. But in the hybrid world of work, putting the spotlight on your best traits in meetings is much harder. That’s because you need to manage what’s happening with people in the bricks-and-mortar meeting room and with those who are participating remotely—and you might be participating remotely, too. The key is to make everyone feel like you’re speaking to them individually, regardless of where they are, while engaging everyone in the conversation. Those who are not present in the meeting room will have a greater challenge staying engaged and focused, so spend a little extra time with them. This shows you’re savvy about techniques for WFA (Working From Anywhere).




The hybrid WFA environment makes it tempting to stay in the shadows. But if you give in and fall back, your career will certainly suffer. Implement these tips to keep yourself—and your personal brand—visible and valuable.



DIGEST LEADERS 9Issue 66 I August 2022

DIGEST LEADERS 10 Issue 66 I August 2022 Photo Source: The Star

The Right Honourable Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri (Dr) Abang Haji Abdul Rahman Zohari Bin Tun Datuk Abang Haji Openg Premier of Sarawak | 29 March 2022 “

Sarawak would also develop master plans on developing smart cities that would consider environmental sustainability related to urbanisation, with Kuching Smart City Master Plan being the first that had been developed with low carbon mobility and smart city infrastructure. the Premier of Sarawak, Sarawak is committed towards preservation of six million hectares of land as permanent forests and one million hectares as Totally Protected Areas (TPAs).

Today, as

DIGEST LEADERS 11Issue 66 I August 2022

you have my word that

Sarawak plans to prioritise its environmental sustainability and align its development path with its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the state will pursue a balanced economic growth by adopting a responsible approach towards the development of its natural resources.

They are adept at creating the space for those around them to share their ideas and perspectives and focus on unifying rather than dividing.

Leadership and Facilitation are a Great Partnership

Leadership isn’t a solo venture

A great facilitator knows how to draw out the ideas and thoughts of others and balance competing and diverse perspectives. They pay attention to what is going on around them. They notice what’s said and unsaid, what’s glossed over or ignored. They can ensure that everyone involved feels heard and valued during discussions.

One word that isn’t likely to arise is that of a facilitator. Yet, so much of leadership – outstanding leadership –requires good facilitation.

What characteristics spring to mind when you think of the word ‘leader’? Perhaps character traits such as decisive and visionary or skills such as great communicator and negotiator or something else.

DIGEST LEADERS 12 Issue 66 I August 2022

When leaders apply facilitation skills to their leadership, they recognise that leadership isn’t a solo venture. They know they can’t progress and succeed alone. Consequently, they focus on ensuring clarity for each team member on their role and contribution. They draw people into the conversation to involve the right people at the right time.


Source: Illustration vector created by freepik Why are Facilitation Skills Important in Leadership?

As Author Max De Pree wrote

• Are you surfacing ideas or shutting down conversations?

• Are you open to different perspectives or holding fixed views?

Make others feel heard

In team meetings and discussions, the leader ensures that people feel heard, recognising the positive impact this has on team engagement.

When a person feels heard, they feel like they matter to you. They feel that their point of view has been considered and you are genuinely interested in what they have to say. Being heard doesn’t mean you need to agree with the other person’s perspective. It means you are fully present when the person is talking to you. You focus on them and ignore distractions. You demonstrate interest by asking questions and clarifying before sharing your ideas or providing a solution. You listen empathetically and with compassion because you seek to understand what they need in a non-judgemental manner.

As Sam Kaner wrote in the Facilitator’s Guide to Participatory Decision-Making: “The facilitator’s job is to support everyone to do their best thinking. To do this, the facilitator encourages full participation, promotes mutual understanding, and cultivates shared Theresponsibility”.sameapplies to leaders.

Leadership is much more an art, a belief, a condition of the heart, than a set of things to do.

• Are you creating safe spaces to share and learn?

Embrace the wisdom in the room Facilitators know they don’t have all the answers. They accept that the wisdom is in the room. So, their role isn’t about directing the conversation and telling people what the answer must be. Instead, they embrace their role in guiding conversations and helping surface the answers, thoughts, and perspectives of others.


DIGEST LEADERS 13Issue 66 I August 2022

• Do you find ways to uncover the wisdom that is in the room?

Leaders who facilitate conversations spend time creating a psychologically safe space to share. They ensure everyone feels comfortable contributing ideas and challenging existing constructs and dominant Theyparadigms.also actively facilitate diverse perspectives. They welcome collaboration and discussion across teams, business units, and geographic boundaries, knowing that it will help secure better organisational outcomes. Challenge yourself and consider:

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.

• Do you facilitate conversations or chair meetings?

Like all leadership skills, facilitation is a skill that is teachable, learnable and observable. So, how would you rate your facilitation skills? If your answer to that is ‘not sure’, ‘low’ or ‘could be better’, then you know where you need to direct your learning.

DIGEST LEADERS 14 Issue 66 I August 2022

The gap widens up as the recession looms Organisations that demand a full return-to-office arrangement against their employees’ wishes can expect an increase in disengagement and possibly even the rate of attrition. However, with the looming global recession, 1 in 3 workers who plan to resign for a better working environment now has another factor to consider before doing so. Since the bloom of the Great Resignation, employees and job seekers have been holding the cards in the talent war, with much help from the timely recovery of the economy. However, with the news of recession — also predicted to strike countries like Singapore and UK — the dynamics will once again be disrupted, shifting back in favour of the employers.

The discrepancy in work expectations has long been a lingering problem between employees and employers.


Employers may expect to have the upper hand again when it comes to choosing working arrangements. In spite of that, employee satisfaction is still a vital factor to consider if they want to retain and recruit the best talents. This is especially true, seeing that 78% of employees feel burnt out at work and only 54% are satisfied with their work-life harmony.

To make matters worse, the COVID-19 pandemic struck and forced organisations to send employees to work from home. This “new” working arrangement found its own supporter base, prompting one in three employees to expect to work remotely permanently. And now as it is slowly subsiding, the employee-employer disconnect is heightened when the time comes to return to the office — or not. Work flexibility is still favoured by the majority of employees, with 76% wanting the freedom to choose where they work and 94% preferring to have flexible working hours. On the other hand, research also reports that 68% of executives want to work in the office most or all of the time. However, this hasn’t been followed up with a clear, transparent return-to-office policy from the executives — a phenomenon also known as the ‘shybrid’ practice.

With jobs being a means of improving one’s standard of living, chasing their dreams, and planning for a comfortable retirement, it’s natural for employees to expect good benefits and career progression. On the other hand, senior executives have high-level KPIs to achieve which are somehow tied to business growth — and that usually would mean that employees need to go the extra mile.

Bridging DisconnectEmployee-Employerthe

Creating an Organisationwide Balanced Working Environment

And, as a result, it is not clear if senior executives would lean towards employees’ preferences — or barge ahead with their own wishes. What will happen if this continues?


Challenges in promoting greater work-life harmony while working from home

3. Balance — Having clear boundaries between work and personal life, so that employees can excel and have the best of both worlds.

A tailored approach is needed as certain cohorts are at risk of lower work-life harmony

32% of employees with high work-life harmony satisfaction are reportedly more engaged and willing to recommend their workplace to Withothers.that being said, it goes without saying that improving work-life harmony is a crucial aspect that organisations need to place high on the priority list. However, what it entails is different for every employee.

Employers can better accommodate their workforce by grouping the latter in several different cohorts according to their needs, age range, gender, and other defining factors — all while paying attention to the varying levels of employee engagement and harmony satisfaction, and burnout levels.

However, work-life harmony is not the sole responsibility of the organisation. Employees also play a huge part in it — it’s their life, after all. So, this gap needs to be bridged with a relevant, tailored approach.

1. Time — Be it for a break or settling personal matters, employees want to be able to take some time for themselves or loved ones.

Work-life harmony is one of the key factors in bridging employee-employer disconnect, yet both organisations and the workforce face a number of challenges trying to achieve it.

To begin with, 31% of employees find it difficult to draw the line between professional work and personal life. And even though flexiwork is favoured by more than half of respondents, it is a privilege that 17% of them cannot enjoy due to the very nature of their work.

The state of work-life harmony in Singapore

2. Family — It is important that the organisation also cares for the well-being of employees’ families.

The report shows that 15% of Millennials are dissatisfied with their state of work-life harmony, followed by 13% of Gen X, and only 8% of Boomers. Meanwhile, Gen X (83%), women (80%) and caregivers (80%) are at the highest risk of burnout. With this data, then, different strategies can be implemented for these cohorts.

DIGEST LEADERS 15Issue 66 I August 2022

How employees perceive worklife harmony

Work resources and facilities also need more attention, as 13% are held back by the lack of the right hardware and 3% by software.

The National Work-Life Harmony Study was conducted in March 2022, based on a survey of more than 3,300 respondents across 10 industries. From the study, we found that work-life harmony is directly correlated to employee engagement.

Other keywords extracted from survey responses include hours, leave, need, flexibility, and more. This shows that work-life harmony is a complex and diverse matter which can vary greatly from one person to another.

Having an understanding of the employee cohorts that are at-risk and in greater need of work-life harmony is the first fundamental step; but what are the possible interventions that organisations can undertake?

Taken from the respondents of the nationwide study, below are the top three keywords from answers to the question “What does work-life harmony mean to you?”:

And lastly, the absence of supervisor support is also a stumbling block faced by 7% of employees.

Fortunately, this is not a dead end. Organisations can initiate work-life harmony strategies and bridge the disconnect by empowering managers.

Managers play a key role in bridging the disconnect

Empowering managers to be champions of work-life harmony Between maintaining team performance, taking their own workload and OKRs, and nurturing their team members’ work-life harmony, managers have a lot to juggle. While they are more than capable of analysing business data, analysing people data requires a different approach in which they may not have enough experience — especially if they do not have much experience in human resources or people management. That is why HR should provide ample support to managers so that they are not alone when it comes to improving employee engagement, creating work-life harmony, and closing the disconnect gap. However, we do realise that this is easier said than done. Empowering managers comes with its own set of challenges. As many as 42% of HR administrators stated that they find it difficult to include team managers in the process to take action. And it is not due to a lack of intention or participation from either side. On the contrary, there simply aren’t enough resources. Organisations should empower managers to have autonomy, but not leave them in the dark without providing any support. They need to be equipped and trained with the right tools and resources. Hence, they are able to empower their team members, engage with them effectively and compassionately, and — most importantly — take the right actions to drive meaningful change.

DIGEST LEADERS 16 Issue 66 I August 2022

With or without a recession, low-quality employee engagement and work-life harmony can drive employees and employers apart. The wider the gap, the tougher it will get to bridge the disconnect. And this is where team managers come in. Each team has different responsibilities, dynamics, interpersonal relationships, as well as engagement and satisfaction levels. With all these nuances, organisations need people who have localised context about each team and individual employees to take on the role of bridging the Managersdisconnect.areclosely involved with their team members and, at the same time, responsible and aware of the importance of business growth. This allows them to engage with the workforce on a more personal level, understand their side of the story, communicate the business vision and strategy, and progressively close the gap.

Employees’ expectations toward work-life harmony strategies

Dr. Yvonne Tan is the Lead People Scientist at EngageRocket. She has 10 years of experience in organisational psychology research and people analytics across APAC, ANZ, UAE and UK. In her free time, she likes to go museum hopping and cooking.


Of all these five top initiatives, employee support schemes have the greatest impact. Other initiatives such as teambonding activities, family-friendly outings, and health and wellness programs also play a part in improving the overall employee experience and employee engagement. However, it is unfortunate that these schemes are adopted the least by organisations.

When enquired about the initiatives that would help improve their work-life harmony, 61% of employees say that enhanced leave benefits are crucial, 56% opt for employee support schemes and flexible work arrangements, 55% management support, and 43% scheme communication.

that all winners, from famous athletes to successful CEOs, seem to possess? Journalist and author George Plimpton in this book set out to find that elusive quality--which he calls the ‘X-Factor’- that all winners, from famous athletes to successful CEOs, seem to possess. In the first section of this book, he narrates the story of his loss at horseshoes to then-President George Bush which prompted him to prepare for a promised rematch by investigating the ‘X-Factor’, aka the will to win, the winner’s instinct, etc. In his quest, Plimpton asks superstars like Bill Russell and Billie Jean King, famous coaches, the chairman of American Express, sports doctors, and M & A king Henry Kravis, and puts the same question in his interviews with all of them: What is it that allows an individual, or a team, to outperform competitors who are no less gifted, mentally and physically? What ingredients bring success when one is competing against others at least as accomplished as Theironeself?responses range from motivational rage to new-age meditation, and Plimpton slowly pieces together a definition of this mysterious winning quality. Plimpton contends that the winning factors include focus, toughness, persistence and a suspension of the intellect. Go ahead. Take a read.


DIGEST LEADERS 17Issue 66 I August 2022

DIANA MARIE 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.

The X Factor: A Quest




ForestSarawakDepartment A BetweenCollaboration MALAYSIA In Conjunction With 20 August 2022 - Simunjan: A meaningful weekend getaway for the Leadership Institute and the Forest Department of Sarawak. Approximately 100 volunteers spent the day planting 1,500 tree saplings, comprised of the native Sarawakian Forest species at the Sabal Forest Landscape Restoration Center. The tree planting activity on Saturday morning began with an opening speech by YBrs Mr. Fang Tze Chiang Leadership Institute’s Acting Chief Executive Officer, followed by the welcoming remarks by YBrs Mr. Jack anak Liam, the Forest Department’s Deputy Director. According to Mr. Jack Anak Liam, the State of Sarawak has allocated 7 million hectares for forest conservation and, further highlights that the Post Covid Development Strategy (PCDS) 2030 targets to plant 200,000 hectares of trees, particularly in degraded forest areas. In other words, he commends that the tree planting activity such as this contributes simultaneously toward the environmental sustainability objectives for Sarawak, Malaysia and globally. YBrs Mr. Fang Tze Chiang, expressed his confidence that this collaborative effort will contribute to a better and healthier environment for the well-being and quality of life of Sarawakians.

Mr. Jack and Mr. Fang collectively congratulated all participants for their efforts and contribution.

DIGEST LEADERS 19Issue 66 I August 2022

Building Leaders to Make a Difference to our Society and State leadershipinstitute_scs SCSleadershipinstitute Leadership_scs LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE OF SARAWAK CIVIL SERVICE KM20, JALAN KUCHING SERIAN,SEMENGGOK, 93250 KUCHING, SARAWAK. 082-625166 info@leadinstitute.com.my082-625766 www.leadinstitute.com.my LOVE, DEVOTION, SENSE OF ATTACHMENT, AND LOYALTY TOWARDS STATE AND COUNTRY.

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.