11th HR Leaders Asia 2022: Mah Sing Group’s Janan Goh speaks about leadership and accountability

We are getting closer to the 11th HR Leaders Asia 2022 and we are more than excited to present to you the confounding thought leaders who will grace the event with their eye-opening and inspiring insight regarding the HR industry. Today, we conversed with Mah Sing Group’s Head of Talent Management, Janan Goh who has more than 20 years of experience in the industry, specializing in talent development, acquisition and experience with multinationals. In this spotlight interview, Janan shares his outlooks regarding leadership, accountability, HR industry and even fatherhood. 

Rockbird Media: You have been in the HR industry for about 20 years now. Do you still have leadership qualities you are continuing to work on? Can you share one and what do you do to accomplish that?

Yes, as I am a staunch believer in the theory by Dr. Carol Dweck on Growth Mindset. This is also considered a future skill and it is a pity that not more leaders have adopted it. It used to be known as lifelong learning. To help me practice this and keep it in mind, I try to also help others to adopt it and promote this widely. If you follow me on LinkedIn, you would know that I would strongly advocate such practice among my network circle. Over the last two years at Mah Sing, this is a training that has also been developed to help instill this mindset.

Rockbird Media: In your bio, it was mentioned that you’re a father of two. Relating your fatherhood to your career, what’s Janan Goh like as a father and as an HR leader at the same time?

Well, there is a part where this is similar and a part where it has to be differentiated. What is similar is that whether I am a dad at home or a HR Leader at work, my goal is to develop the person/individual to the best possible version of him/her. That means taking time to understand their strengths, guide them through challenges, and practice situational leadership when necessary. Situational leadership, in brief, is knowing to apply which style in which situation. There will be times, when you need, for instance to be a coach, times when you need to empower, times to delegate and certain periods to be directive (especially if someone is really new to a task/role).

Rockbird Media: From your perspective, how important is accountability in the workplace?

Accountability is within the ambit of trust. If you are accountable, you gain more trust. Alternatively, think of it like a piggy bank. The more trust you gain, the more deposits you make, and people will believe that you are reliable. Hence, accountability expectations will be lesser over time because people believe in your past demonstrations of strong accountability. Take an employee who is habitually late for work and tries to hide it from his leader. With this lack of accountability, upon discovering this, a leader would expect the employee to, first thing upon arrival at the office, to report to the leader. Whereas if an employee is normally an hour early to work, the leader gains trust in the employee and will not micro-manage this aspect. This is a good example of situational leadership at work.

Rockbird Media: What is your message to all the aspiring HR leaders in Malaysia?

To all aspiring HR leaders, I would say, have a good balance of people, strategic and Digital skills. People skills mean that your stakeholder management must be strong. You will be dealing with all kinds and types of people. You need to not just win hearts but win minds too; Strategic means that you must know what can be achieved in the short term, i.e. tactical, and what needs to be planned to be achieved in the mid-long term. Over time, you need to be flexible and adaptive too – as well as Situational but keeping the end in mind, helps you chart the course toward your ‘North Star’. Digital Skills – this is something that you must start to learn and be exposed to. Digitalisation should be seen as a friend, not a foe. It is a tool, not necessarily a substitute. Today’s demands in HR would mean that unless you are equipped with some form of digitalisation, you would not be able to scale up in your efficiency and manage today’s (and tomorrow’s) challenges. 

For more of Janan Goh, we gladly welcome you at the 11th HR Leaders Asia 2022 on August 24th at Intercontinental Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 


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Rockbird media is an international business media company that produces B2B events and offers business solutions.