Pursuing Leadership Success for the Greater Good

20 Dec 2019
Phua Chun Yat
Senior Assistant Director, Office of Organisational Transformation
AMKFSC Community Services Ltd
General experience of Sun Ray

Transitioning to a new social service agency has been interesting and exciting. I remember the first moments I stepped into AMKFSC where my colleagues were exceedingly warm and made me feel at home immediately. Within just a few weeks, I was engaged in conversations regarding the setting up of a new centre (later known as the Centre for Collaborative Practice) that would look into areas such as Training and Development, Research, Thought Leadership and Partnerships across different sectors.

It was mind-blowing for me because a social service agency was actually thinking about how it could contribute towards the larger social service sector instead of taking a more insular approach. I was just surprised by how progressive the agency was (and still is!) and how privileged I was to be part of the process.
What really helped me during this period of transition was the group of middle management staff who were my classmates back in university. They eased me into the agency by bringing me out for meals, allowing me to attend meetings with them, and teaching me how to navigate internal systems. Many times, we talked about our dreams and aspirations and how we can achieve them by working closely together. These conversations gave birth to many new ideas that have since been implemented.

The Sun Ray scheme is very generous and intentional about leadership development. Since I joined the scheme three years back, I have been to several local and overseas trainings, which allowed me to develop critical insights and perspectives on leadership. My Talent Manager would continually look out for interesting courses to ensure that I grow professionally in terms of breadth and depth. This year, I am immensely blessed to be awarded a scholarship to do a Masters in Major Programme Management at the University of Oxford. This would allow me to gain the necessary skill sets to implement key projects that have immoderate social and financial impact.

That said, I think there are certain expectations of Sun Rayz, in that they need to be high-performing, well-connected and fast-moving. I think these are legitimate expectations given how the scheme is supposed to develop leaders. I try to meet these expectations as well as I can, and I am still a work-in-progress. I share my weaknesses and acknowledge my mistakes as authentically as I can so I can receive support and guidance just like anyone else in the agency. I think being vulnerable is important for me to grow as a person and a professional.

I believe being adaptive is critical. Being in a structurally and culturally different environment after each posting requires one to have a keen and humble learning posture, because each organisation is unique and special. So I believe it is important to relearn and unlearn continually.