The Empathetic Leader

As Chief Marketing Officer at StarHub, Alumni Howie Lau leads the branding and marketing strategy of one of Singapore’s largest telcos. It is a challenging task given the dynamic and fast-paced nature of the industry and the diverse needs of his customers. What are some of the tools he keeps in his kit to motivate his team? Howie shares his experiences and views with us:

Howie Lau mike2I heard someone say once: “The beating will only stop when morale improves”. That is not a constructive way to lead. Nobody wakes up wanting to do badly at work. To bring out the best in people, a leader needs to set the environment for the team to perform.

For me, this is where empathy comes in. Empathy involves placing oneself in the position of others. This does not mean giving up one’s viewpoint. It is about finding a common ground to move forward. Used correctly, an empathetic leader can gain the respect and trust of his staff.

Empathy works in at least three areas – goal setting, understanding the business and leadership collaboration.

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The EE programme that keeps on giving

NUS Business School has been running Executive Education (EE) Programmes since 1981. Our programmes equip senior-level executives utilising a blend of case studies, business simulations and role plays, to prepare them for their next level of corporate advancement. To date, our internationally recognised programmes have attracted over 38,000 senior executives and managers.

Our programme ranks 32nd globally on the 2016 Financial Times Global MBA Rankings and 16th in the 2015 Financial Times ranking for customised programmes. It is also the only Singaporean university ranked for customised EE programmes, which are designed based on company specifications. Such programmes have been delivered for many blue-chip companies in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Jakarta, Manila, Colombo, Shanghai, Beijing, Tokyo, Sydney, Wellington and Bangalore.

EE outWe checked in with a group of participants who attended the recent Advanced Management Programme: Asia in Focus.This flagship programme runs across two weeks and was designed for senior and top executives to grow their management skills, broaden their perspectives on how to build their organisation’s competitive advantage in Asia, as well as interact with fellow leaders from other cultures and industries. We asked why they came and how the programme fared:

Nery Polim, HR Director of PT AKR Corporindo Tbk from Indonesia says she sent her team here based on its reputation for sound teaching, its diverse and international faculty, and the potential for networking. She had heard from friends in the industry that the studies learnt at the course are “applicable”, an important KPI for a HR director sending staff out for training. Its proximity and easy accessibility is another reason that they have sent staff here instead of to programmes further away.

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