In Conversation with Han Li June - Associate Director of Hay Group
HeadHunt Issue 166 (13 NoV 2014)
In Conversation with
Han Li June
What is the one trait that you think has led to your career success?
Having superiors who have provided growth opportunities and believed in my potential more than I did was critical. A trait I inherited from them is resilience. With adversity, I learnt that it is important to have faith that eventually you will gather sufficient resolve and experience, and succeed at what you persevere.
Describe your leadership style.
A large part of what we do has impact on real people and society. As a project director and supervisor, I spend time drawing out their aspirations and what is meaningful for them and aligning their strengths to the larger outcomes of our fi rm. It’s a type of leadership style we call coaching/visionary
Diverse and self-managing teams are very effective for the complexity that accompanies management consulting work. Through a democratic style, I facilitate the collision of ideas and eventual integration that results in creative solutions. This wouldn’t have been possible if I hadn’t been working with people from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines. I can be fairly intense and directive at crunch times. These are times when self-control and awareness needs to kick in. So when I hear “June, your mind is working overtime for anyone else to follow!’ that’s when I need to put a stop to achievement overdrive.
What do you look for in young leaders?
Young leaders who are self-driven but at the same time are able to bring people along with them, who are not adverse to risks and don’t take themselves too seriously. In our business, it is critical to have the ability to manage client relationships.
What drives your motivation at work?
I head the Education Sector business and lead senior leadership and organizational change projects. These are immensely meaningful for me. For education work, we have been involved in projects that have direct impact on curriculum delivery and quality of teaching. This is fulfilling for the team and me given that children spend a significant part of their time in school/childcare. Education delivery is at an inflexion point hence we are privileged to be part of this.
For leadership and change work, we often partner with organizations that are undergoing transformation. Apart from articulating the destination, the larger part of the work involves bringing people on a journey that can be fairly ambiguous. Working with senior client teams to forge a new way forward and providing them support is rewarding.
How do you balance the demands of work with family/personal life?
The firm believes in encouraging a healthy balance between work and personal responsibilities. I have been on flexible time arrangement since my children’s birth. Work certainly eats into off-time but being able to spend some afternoons with the children in the week is worth the mental shuttling. Being in touch with my parents and knowing that they are coping well also provides me much assurance that the arrangement is sustainable.
“The customer is always right.” Thoughts?
That is correct from the perspective that they own the issues and hence we must understand and empathize with their underlying concerns. In consulting, we are often asked for an objective and professional point of view. The view we offer may not always align with the client’s initial diagnosis but always offers new insights to looking at their issues. The client reserves the right to shape the view.