12th HR Leaders Asia: Farrer Park Hospital’s Dr. Timothy Low on Leadership and the Importance of Communication

Today’s Spotlight Interview is with Farrer Park Hospital’s CEO and one of the members of its Board of Directors, Dr. Timothy Low. With over 30 years of experience in both public and private sectors, he is also an established leader with accomplishments in overseeing start-up ventures and operational turnarounds. Read more to learn about the CEO and his insights from his career journey. 

Amidst his experiences, Dr. Low has garnered many awards from various institutions such as, “50 Most Talented Healthcare Leaders of Asia”, “Hospital Management Asia Excellence Award”, “Best CEO of the Year”, “Icons of Healthcare”, “Most Media Savvy Personality” and more. The CEO is no doubt a truly passionate leader because of his number one principle that he has set that makes him do his best in the industry. His role as a CEO is more than a job for him. “Of course, professionalism and to provide leadership must be met. But knowing that excelling at what I do results in positive outcomes for the hospital and our patients, this is something that motivates and challenges me very much.” That is the reason Dr. Low is open to speak about leadership principles. Also, he perceives that everyone is a leader in their own sphere. In responding to COVID-19 controls previously imposed , many adjustments had to be made by the medical team and support staff. Rising the challenge meant that they could not simply follow their personal drum beats. It was a collective effort made possible by individual leadership according to Dr. Low. Leadership at every level is what helps organizations succeed. 

When questioned about the connection between empathy and leadership, the CEO drew an analogy – “Leadership would be the eyes and empathy would be the heart. A person requires  capable vision and a heart that pumps blood constantly. You can depend on foresight, to lay out a roadmap, to connect with understanding leadership and empathy. This connection might be difficult to achieve but is essential” Dr. Low defines having this connection as inspired leadership, a form of working towards servant leadership which entails – believing that leaders are here not to be served but to serve. Perhaps like in an orchestra, when you can be seen as not just a conductor but also a lover of music, then you can raise the chances of producing euphonious sounds as a maestro. 

Even at the top position as CEO, Dr. Low continuously discovers new skills for himself. One of his examples is learning to communicate in ever better ways. What interests him is relating – accounts containing lessons that his staff at Farrer Park Hospital can embrace when he emails them a message every week as part of building a culture of openness and the approachability of management. On his social media platforms, Dr. Low tends to be candid with a dash of humor. “All accounts of everyday experience can be useful to drive home concepts that resonate” The sense of developing one’s soft skills at work cannot be underestimated. 

Ending the conversation, Dr. Low offers one of his guiding principles to all the leaders and aspiring leaders in the medical field by quoting a phrase from his book, The Triangulation of Success: “‘People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.’ So as leaders, it’s important for those we lead to know that we care and to get this across because it is of utmost importance.”

For more of Dr. Timothy Low, catch him as one of the panelists for the Closing Panel at the 12th HR Leaders Asia at Marina Bay Sands on March 9th, 2023. 

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