Career Advice Career Guidance and Counselling

Communication sets the tone

There are many aspects to effective leadership, but one of the most important is being able to communicate a clear vision and specific goals to colleagues, business partners and other stakeholders. That sets the tone and direction, and lets everyone know where they stand in terms of expectations, commitments and deliverables.

This is a vital skill not just for those at the top of an organisation. It applies equally to anyone running a department or supervising even one or two other people.

Good leadership starts with knowing how to deal with individuals. It grows from seemingly small acts or gestures, such as showing an interest in others and a willingness to offer advice or a helping hand. Sometimes, just noticing accomplishments or taking a few seconds to say "thank you" for a job well done are all it takes to win loyalty and inspire colleagues to greater efforts.

The best leaders also learn to show trust. They know when to leave staff to get on with the job and, generally, will intervene only when guidance is needed or bigger problems occur.

This approach helps to foster team spirit and allows individuals to exercise initiative. In this way, each person can properly share in the responsibilities and feel a real part of the success of the team.

Lancy Chui, managing director Manpower Hong Kong, Macau and Vietnam operations