Career Advice Career Guidance and Counselling

Learn to lead from the front

Your last performance appraisal may have identified you as a good supervisor or manager, with the potential to keep moving higher, but that doesn't make you a great leader. There is a big difference between the two, which many fail to appreciate.

Good supervisors provide direction, motivation and on-the-spot guidance. Managers do that too, but also have to look further ahead to organise workloads and anticipate larger-scale problems. In both cases, experience in the role counts for a lot.

However, becoming an effective, perhaps inspirational, leader is a completely different adventure. The skills and style required result from a combination of natural disposition and later learning from personal mentors, and the example of recognised business leaders.

Two of the key skills are being able to communicate a vision and set clear goals. These abilities help staff see purpose in their work and commit more fully to achieving objectives.

Good leaders explain expectations and look to express, not impress. They make it a priority to keep people informed, seek feedback and listen to alternative points of view. They also stress the need for personal integrity, realising that strong relationships depend on trust, honesty and fairness, whatever the circumstances.

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