Business leaders can build great things in their organisations through leveraging networks, embracing diversity and most important, through serendipitous connections that build genuine and lasting trust within their organisations, says Stephanie Ping, co-founder & CEO of WORQ, a hyper-localized community workspace.
WORQ was founded in March 2017 with a vision of helping individuals achieve greater results by working together. It aims to bring new opportunities to businesses and entrepreneurs by fostering meaningful connections for its members and the surrounding community.
Graduated from Stanford University with a B.A. in Economics and M.S. in Management Science & Engineering, Stephanie’s experience with Stanford’s entrepreneurship community played a significant role in shaping her vision for WORQ’s entrepreneurial community.
Having been conferred an award by the Malaysian Venture Capital Association’s Outstanding Female Entrepreneur of 2019, Stephanie is an experienced business leader during these pandemic times. To date, she has led WORQ in achieving 5 prestigious awards, including the coworker member’s choice awards for two consecutive years.
“It is our organisation’s mission to create the largest and most productive coworking community in Malaysia & moving forward, South East Asia,” she says.
Stephanie says there are several critical principles that leaders can adopt to ensure their organisation doesn’t succumb to being a toxic place that hinders productivity and contributes to high turnover.
See something, say something
A key leadership trait is to create a culture of openness in the workplace. I strongly believe in voicing out your thoughts and concerns, and never being limited by organisational hierarchy. Problems and conflicts in the workplace happen mostly because there is no open channel of communication for staff to voice their thoughts or concerns.
As a result, things fester and relationships turn sour, creating a toxic environment. From time to time, I speak with the ground team to hear them out. Never downplay a team member’s concerns or trivialise problems. Talking to your team can reduce anxiety and restore a sense of safety, but it can also restore trust.
Leading by example
The two qualities of a strong leader are compassion and humility. When you are able to recognise, own up to, and then correct personal mistakes, you send a strong message to everyone in the team and the organisation as a whole. But kind words alone are not enough – you need to follow up with action. There’s nothing more disappointing for victims than opening up and then finding that nothing changes as a result. So make sure you have a solid strategy for dealing with different types of behaviour and that you address the structural issues that led to the behaviour.
“I sincerely believe in practising what you preach and this applies within the organisation as well. Taking a community-building approach helps foster inter-department collaboration, a curated environment with the right ingredients to drive innovation. As they say, teamwork makes the dream work!”