Acknowledgments from HR managers

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International Bosses Day isn’t usually celebrated, but it probably should, as leaders often have the toughest jobs. We at HRO love a good party So we spoke to two HR managers to get their thoughts on what makes a good leader. TL; DR The best bosses:

  1. Inspire and support colleagues
  2. Demonstrate empathy and agility
  3. Are inclusive (for example, taking into account time zone differences when setting up meetings)

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Carollyn Toh, Director of Human Resources, Asia Pacific, Willis Towers Watson

Q Uncovering the Secrets to Us – What Makes Your Boss a Good Leader?

A good leader should inspire and support his colleagues. As bosses, it’s important that leaders also establish a real connection and trust with people.

An example is Kristy banas who was recently appointed Director of Human Resources at Willis Towers Watson (WTW).

Early in her leadership, she surveyed all HR colleagues around the world to solicit our feedback which would be used to help identify future HR priorities. This demonstrated her willingness to listen by adopting a participatory leadership style to ensure she understands the support her teams need.

Another great quality of Kristy is her inclusiveness. As a global company operating in different time zones, Kristy hosted two town halls, one of which was held in our Asia-Pacific time zone to ensure colleagues in that region could join a right moment. She is very attentive and respectful of jet lag which helps make that authentic and inclusive connection.

Q How has your boss helped you become a better version of yourself?

My manager, Eloise Martin, Senior Director, Global Human Resources, has a company-wide mindset. His leadership style influenced me in the partnership I have with our internal stakeholders.

At WTW, we find opportunities by leveraging HR solutions to support our business stakeholders so that they can also build successful teams and make WTW the best place to work. I am now making a conscious effort to apply this mindset in my leadership journey.

Q As a leader, what is the quality (or message) that you make sure to instill in your team, whatever their function or profile?

Always keep in mind that we work as a team and not as individuals. We have a “Ways of Working” WTW where we collaborate with colleagues from different parts of HR (such as with HR business partners, segment talent advisors, centers of excellence, HR service delivery and so on. name a few) to provide solutions to our customers.


Stanley Tok, Deputy Director or HR, M1

Q Uncovering the Secrets to Us – What Makes Your Boss a Good Leader?

I have worked with dozens of leaders and have observed that the essentials of good leadership have evolved over time. Today that would be empathy and agility – traits that our management team, led by our CEO, Mann, embodies.

What makes our CEO a good leader is his foresight to think ahead and recognize that it is a continuous journey of discovery; what works today will not necessarily work tomorrow. This forces M1 to constantly build and position its talent base in order to seize the opportunities that arise.

Another important trait is its ability to empathize with our frontline teams grappling with multiple business priorities and changing circumstances such as those caused by COVID-19 and digitization.

aditi november 2021 stanley tok m1 bosses

Q How has your boss helped you become a better version of yourself?

Our CEO believes in giving employees the chance to share their perspectives and ideas in order to have different perspectives and a superior solution. Mann also gives his teams the space to develop their solutions so that they take ownership of their solutions and are in the best position to adjust them accordingly.

Q As a leader, what is the quality (or message) that you make sure to instill in your team, whatever their function or profile?

One message we want every M1 employee to know is that they are not alone. Our team embarked on a massive transformation amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with nearly 1,500 people in all functions coming together to achieve a unified goal. It wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the whole team.

Visionary leadership is a great start, but we also recognize that one person may not have all the answers and that’s why we surround ourselves with knowledgeable colleagues who support each other and work together to deliver exceptional services and offerings.


Main photo / 123RF


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