"When we keep throwing instructions, we won't develop their personal growth. When they know how to build themselves, they will [recognise] themselves as someone with the awareness to build a team under them." - Indra Sutanto, Head of Brand & Digital Marketing at LINE Bank.
According to the Vice President of Brand & Ad Solutions of POPS Worldwide, John Xavier, today's career goals are very different from what it was back in the day. Today's talents are motivated more than ever to advance their careers. If your startup isn't ahead of the curve by helping them to develop their skills and realise their goals, your plans of scaling up could be at risk.
"When I started my career … the values that I bring from my family is when you get a job, you need to work there," John says. "To prove yourself, work for a longer period. Stability [was] more important."
If you want to know the universal magic pill to keep your team together, there isn't one. Dr Chusin Mateechaipong, Marketing Director of Bitkub and Academy Director of Bitkub Academy says that learning what they need doesn't start with an order: "I think that it's essential to get to listen and serve your team. Unblock your team and coach them."
In this edition of Middle Matters, we speak with three leaders playing an active role in developing and growing their companies' future leaders. Join us as they share the messy yet fulfilling experience you can expect when nurturing your startup's growth and how you can get in on it too.
Bring a Roadmap
After spending five of his formative years being driven by one KPI to another, Indra realised he was stuck in a vicious cycle of boredom. His answer was to take a sabbatical for a spiritual journey of self-discovery so he could re-learn what being a leader should be.
"Back then, I really [associated] management being about 'Ok, let's do this and let's keep fighting for the KPI’," he explained. His time away gave him the clarity to see that motivation begins when your team has a shared vision:
"We have first to align our purpose to make that happen. The key is with self-awareness."
Indra's sabbatical isn't an outlier - especially in hypergrowth. John weighs in on today's talent: "If you don't define a role for them, they just leave. And for them, at that particular age group, their opportunities are insane."
It is then essential to give clarity about what their personal roadmap looks like.
"If you can give them a clear sense of direction about what six months or one year from now about what growth looks like and the challenges they will face … and if all the parameters [for them] are ticked, they will stick."
This rings true by how many of his younger talents continue to stand by him from his current to even his past organisations.
Prepare for a Bumpy Ride
"Learning has to be very dynamic. We cannot plan a very straight journey or career path. So [the point is that we] have to build a lot of experience seeing a lot of failures, mistakes, and ups and downs."
Having a shared purpose is what binds a team with a group of diverse people despite their difference in ideas and experiences. Indra shares that because everyone is different, so is their unique path filled with ups and downs to reach their goals.
As such, he doesn't subscribe to boxing someone's capabilities in a job description to dictate what and how their tasks should be done. Instead, he lets their key objectives be their guide. "Beyond that, you have to map out every single month or week what you have to do to make this happen," he says. His requirement is that they go above the ordinary:
"I'm not trying to put a lot of boundaries beyond their tasks, but please - astonish me!"
Giving autonomy to how your talents get there is something that Dr Chusin also advocates for. "I love to empower teams because it allows them to think on their own," he shares. "When I empower a team to challenge me, I also challenge them."
"In this environment, we are not boss and subordinate. We are people who are working to do something better and better. That's how I coach."
Creating this ground for vulnerability breeds a thriving culture of creativity and innovation. Brene Brown also reinforces this by speaking about how it is a powerful way to support trust for a positive team culture.
"How can we become one ship and one body with the organisation itself? A business contains people. So without the people itself, it doesn't count as a business." - Indra Sutanto.
Indra, John and Dr Chusin have shown that with a shared purpose and the right environment, your talents have the capacity to creatively solve problems and share in the excitement of steering your business' journey forward.
- When was the last time you checked in on your direct report's personal goals and motivations? Are they on the right track?
- Are there any areas of the work where your team members are having a challenging time? What questions can you ask them in your next meeting to help them develop their own solutions?
- We might feel reluctant to delegate sometimes. Think back to a time when you had similar thoughts or feelings. What reasons can you think of that make you feel that way? What benefits of delegation can help negate these reasons?