I had the opportunity to attend CAREhER’s #summersummit: Women Leading Sustainable Change in Kaohsiung last weekend. Feeling re-invigorated after what has amounted to a multi-month international move.
The panel segment featured three leaders from very different industries; Tiffany Chou’s post has more details. What they had in common was leading their companies with an empathetic awareness for sustainable growth. These principles uniquely meet the challenges of an era where organizations are facing macroeconomic headwinds, the need to communicate and work with those different from you, labor shortages/mismatches, and digital transformation.
Some of the takeaways I had in my notes were:
- Take care of ourselves to be able to take care of others
- That way, when things get bad, you can calm down when others can’t and have the clarity of mind to think and look at the numbers and data to find alternative paths
- Everyone should figure out what you don’t like doing and plot your career path as such
- The ability to administrate, communicate, and dream big are critical for our times
- Leading is 不是征服,而是臣服. Help others succeed
- Be guided by gratitude
- If people are mad at your company, you’ve done something wrong even though you worked hard and were well-intentioned and need to face it and figure it out
- There’s no such thing as growth without discomfort
- Give people a sense of security: provide the ability to earn a decent living, create belonging and psychological safety, and foster a sense of pride in where they work. The dividends from this will be reflected in the way employees treat customers and society.
On the surface, these may sound like cliches, but seeing women in male-dominated industries using this style of leadership to succeed in the face of daunting structural challenges is not. Winning with this people-empowering leadership style flies in the face of stereotypes of East Asia and this pervasive attitude globally of grinding employees down and treating them as expendable.
I also wanted to share because English-language coverage about Taiwan and its work environment tends to skew negative. That coverage isn’t inaccurate, but it’s also true that modern leadership and change is happening here. No place or people should be beholden to a single story. Few places face that challenge of defining our own complex narrative like Taiwan.
Lastly, thank you Tiffany Chou for your warm welcome. I’ve gotten so much support from so many women the last few weeks that’s made what could have been a hard transition back to Taiwan so warm and seamless.