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The past two years with the team have not only gifted Wani Azahar a fresh pair of eyes on what HR is all about, but also birthed passion in two drivers of the industry – leadership and culture to which she’ll keep close as she embarks on her new career adventure.

Leadership

Referencing back to one of the very first interviews I had to do – an interview with Tacy Byham, global CEO of Development Dimensions International (DDI) – it tackled the issue of why first-time leaders might fail.

In that interview, she said: “They’re lighting a fire underneath their people to get them going, manage their work, get all that done. When instead, they should be spending the time to light the fire inside of their people.”

Not to sound too cheesy, but this very sentence ignited the passion of HR in me. Agreeing with her completely, I’ve been lucky enough to experience a leadership style that sparked development, fuelled progress and burned away negativity. Similar to how that quote stuck with me through these years, the lessons gained under such leadership only had positive impacts – a growing business (yay them!) and a lifelong value that’s now close to my heart (yay me!).

Culture

Of course, this is very much linked to culture – specifically, how progressive and successful businesses empower staff to reach bigger goals. An advocate of empowering his staff, Jethro Xu, assistant VP of TO THE NEW, shared: “The biggest benefit is how client satisfaction definitely increased. When the team is able to execute work which they are proud of, and feel responsible for, the overall quality of the work improved. And when the clients are happy, not only do they award us bigger projects, they refer us to new clients.”

Personally, time and again, I’ve been allowed to take ownership of my projects. While some might not have been great successes, there were those that definitely made it to the list of “proudest moments”.

Through this process, I experienced first-hand failure and setbacks, but more importantly learnt how to develop relevant solutions. In fact, these very setbacks contributed to the success of the projects that followed after.

What I love about this team? It is the culture that doesn’t point the blaming finger, but instead joins hands to identify the challenges and work towards a solution – together.

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