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The Imperative of Self-leadership in Today's Corporate World

In a captivating address delivered on October 14, 2023 at the Hiking Library, a unique event organized by the Singapore Mentorship Committee (SMC), Martin Hayes, a distinguished professional with over 36 years of experience, shared invaluable insights that resonate with today's corporate ethos. Drawing from his illustrious journey, which includes roles as Deputy Chairman of the Singapore International Chamber of Commerce, Former President of Bosch SEA, Former Chairman of the EU-ASEAN Business Council, and more, Martin delved into the intricate theme of self-leadership in times of turmoil.

The Oxygen Mask Principle of Leadership -

Drawing an analogy from the familiar flight safety instruction, Martin highlighted the importance of self-leadership. Just as passengers are advised to secure their oxygen masks before assisting others, leaders must first understand and lead themselves before guiding their teams. As Martin aptly put it, "You can't pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself first."

The Power of Feedback –

In the corporate realm, feedback is the mirror that reflects our strengths and areas needing improvement. The Johari Window, a psychological tool example given by Martin, is designed to help individuals gain self-awareness and understand their blind spots. Recognizing and addressing these can be pivotal for personal and professional growth. Martin emphasized, "Feedback is the breakfast of champions. It's how we grow."

Seizing Opportunities and Adapting –

Martin's personal journey from engineering to leadership roles underscores the importance of adaptability. Career paths aren't always linear. They're shaped by opportunities that come our way and our willingness to step out of our comfort zones. "Life throws curveballs, and it's up to us to catch them or dodge," Martin remarked.

Decoding Personalities with Bioenergetics –

Understanding team members and colleagues is crucial in leadership. Martin introduced bioenergetics, a method of discerning someone's personality based on their physical form. "People are like books; sometimes, you can judge them by their cover," he quipped.


The Comfort Zone Conundrum -

Many professionals face the comfort zone trap, becoming risk-averse and hindering organizational growth. Recognizing this state and actively seeking feedback can be the key to breaking out of this stagnation. Martin advised, "Comfort zones are where dreams go to die. Push your boundaries."

Navigating Cultural Nuances -

Martin's experiences across Europe and Asia highlighted the differences in work culture and communication styles. "When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Adaptability is the key to global success," he shared.


Singapore: A Double-Edged Sword –

While Singapore offers efficiency, cleanliness, and ample networking opportunities, it also comes with a high cost of living, making it a challenging environment for some professionals. "Singapore is a land of opportunities, but it's also a test of resilience," Martin observed. This duality serves as a metaphor for the broader business landscape, where opportunities and challenges coexist.

In conclusion, the corporate world is ever-evolving, and adaptability remains a key trait for success. Whether it's understanding oneself better, embracing feedback, or navigating cultural differences, the journey to effective leadership is continuous and filled with learning opportunities.

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