As a leader, the first step to failure is to let our egos go crazy because we are afraid of being usurped, affirms Jackson Aw, Founder and CEO of Mighty Jaxx, in this interview with Jerene Ang.
Q As the Mighty Jaxx team grows, what are your biggest leadership lessons?
I came from a creative background prior to founding the company, so managing work relationships was totally alien to me. Relationship dynamics are vastly different from where we are now as a team of 45, as compared to when we were much smaller with about 5 people – it is just not possible to be close to or understand every individual, even though you may want to.
As a leader, I instead try to be patient and show genuine care towards everyone and so far, it has worked out great. To add on, I try to communicate clearly in a very decisive way, in order to prevent any miscommunication, and to clearly convey my ideas efficiently.
Throughout the years, I have also learnt that it is important to always respond but not react. For example, if we encounter issues at work, it is very natural to play the blame game, and this will result in fractured relationships both internally and externally. In reality, we should try to take a step back, clear our heads and calm down, before going back down the process line to work out what went wrong.
Throughout the years, I have also learnt that it is important to always respond but not react.
I don’t think I’m a people manager as I am more focused on the strategic growth of the business, but I am fortunate to have very good colleagues who do that for me. I think it is important for me to have learnt to delegate and trust the people around me, simply because I am not, and cannot be an expert at everything. Doing so actually leaves me with more time to do what I do best – strategise and grow the company.
Q What are some evergreen leadership best practices?
I believe the best practices are interconnected: maintain clear communication, leave your door open, lend a listening ear, as well as build respect at all levels.
Q Given how rampantly leadership is being disrupted, how have you seen the needs from leaders change in the recent past?
I believe that people now more frequently request, or even demand, the opportunity and/or freedom to explore new channels at work that coincide with or run parallel with their own quest for personal development.
This freedom to explore, develop and attempt new strategies are ideally also part of a casual, comfortable environment that celebrates inclusion and empathy from both leaders and colleagues alike.
Q What does the mindset of a good leader look like to you?
I believe that a good leader has to always be forward-thinking and have that innate openness towards exploring new ideas.
If leaders let our egos go crazy because we are afraid of being usurped then it’s usually the first step to failure.
Another important point to note is how leaders need to be able to surround ourselves with better people in order to grow personally and professionally. If leaders let our egos go crazy because we are afraid of being usurped then it’s usually the first step to failure.
Personally, regardless of department, I have empowered and constantly encourage my colleagues to develop a sense of ownership and take responsibility for the work or projects they work on. I also encourage my leaders within the Mighty Jaxx team to lead by example, by allowing team members to work through their mistakes and not be afraid to share their own ideas as long as it helps move the work forward.
This interview was published in Human Resources Online’s January-February 2020 edition of the Singapore magazine and will soon be published in the Q1 edition of the Malaysia magazine.
Photo / provided