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#LeadershipLessons: Why we should embrace uncertainty that comes with new assignments

Embracing uncertainty and creating balance – these are the biggest lessons Emily Razaqi, Vice President, Site Operations at Amgen Singapore Manufacturing, has picked up over her 15 years at the organisation.

Q In your 15 years at Amgen, what are the biggest lessons you have learned?

I have been fortunate to work with outstanding teams across several roles in my 15 years at Amgen—including two international assignments.

One lesson I learnt is to embrace the uncertainty that comes with taking on new assignments. For example, after ten years in operations, I had the opportunity to move into R&D working in cardiovascular health. This gave me an important appreciation for the key business drivers and ways of working in a completely different part of our business. This helped expand my ability to think more broadly about business strategy.

Another lesson is creating balance for myself so that I can be mentally and physically at my best and available to my team. This is difficult to juggle particularly as a working mother, but it is important to be a role model and strive for balance — and let my team know I want the same for them.

Q What are some leadership best practices that have proved evergreen, despite the situation, location, or remit?

The first is a focus on building the best team — getting to know your team and understanding how to best support from a servant leadership approach.

The second is ensuring our team is inclusive and diverse so that we bring the best and most advanced thinking to our business.

Lastly, go to where the work is. This firsthand experience (e.g seeing our medicines in the hands of our patients and our products being manufactured) is important in understanding the opportunities, building credibility with employees and ensuring leaders have a pulse on the key challenges.

Q Given how rampantly leadership is being disrupted, how have you seen the needs from leaders change in the recent past ‐ what are we demanding from them, that we didn't previously?

In an increasingly complex and dynamic world, we are asking leaders to be more comfortable steering through ambiguity and taking in a broader set of inputs to help formulate their approach.

Q What does the mindset of a good leader look like to you?

A strong leader needs to inspire, instil calm in challenging times, build and develop their team and be increasingly comfortable making decisions in a highly dynamic environment. Giving exposure to diverse cross-functional opportunities to employees can provide a breadth of experience and the ability to operate when you are not the subject matter expert. Increasingly, we need leaders with strong emotional intelligence and are able to work across generations, cultures and disciplines.

This case study 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.

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