Category Archives: Leadership

Leadership strengths make a difference

Looking back and forth, thinking it through from Earth all the way to Mars and back, head-wrecking issues that HR and any organization face have their weakness with the right leadership of those that are given the privilege of managing other people. So many issues would never have materialised only if the manager knows and lives leadership. Although leadership is no longer a secret ingredient (it’s probably the most talked about thing of the century among any organization), a lot of the managers only know but don’t really live and practice leadership as it is supposed to.

Ok, leadership isn’t just a rigid list of items in a recipe; no matter how much it has been talked about, it’s still a very abstract concept. Interpretation of what resonates good leadership are subjective and isn’t mathematical. However, I’ve been taught to believe that the fundamentals of leadership can still be drawn out, in a sense wide enough to umbrella all of those subjectively different interpretation. Just as AIESEC has collectively put it:


Leadership is about knowing oneself in relations to other people, about empowering others, and about being part of the solutions by upholding, breathing in & out responsible and optimistic attitudes towards creating solutions for surrounding problems.

Taking the contexts of how ones are authorised and privileged to manage and supposedly lead others, leadership would clearly make a difference. Strong leadership at all hierarchical levels almost mean a lot of HR-driven processes become obsolete, because then HR need not constantly be a law-maker and a policeman to introduce and remind people of people-related processes and take not so popular actions to ensure compliance. Those processes would exist in their best natural forms – the managers/leaders take the best care of their employees, which would results in high retention, engagement, motivated and empowered workforce, and thus high performing organization – a utopia that every entity dreams of.

My take on this, as an early HR professional, as well as a member/alumni of AIESEC, a specialist organization in leadership, is that: leadership and people managerial responsibility isn’t something that employers might as well as give away, to any Tom, Dick and Harry, and definitely something cheap. Impactful things, potentially giving high returns, are expensive. Organizations should be ready to invest in vigorous processes to develop someone from the inside or head-hunt external talents to take on leadership positions and to pay competent leaders/managers the money that they deserve, because their ability will collectively turn around the effectiveness of their workforce and the profitability of their business.

Share This:

About Cambodia on “From Third World to First”

It’s been a long but very interesting reading. It’s been inspiring and eye-opening. There are lessons about leadership, about relationship, about politics, about purposefulness, about confidence …. all of which I find incredibly empowering.

In addition to all above, here’s a short extract that I found really captivating and moving – definitely one of my favorite parts of the book.

“[…] I prefer to remember Cambodia as the oasis of peace and prosperity in the war-torn Indochina of the 1960s. Choo and I made our first visit to Phnom Penh, its capital, in 1962. Prince Norodom Sihanouk personally greeted us at the airport and had dancers in traditional costume scatter flower petals on the red carpet as we walked to the car after I had inspected a guard of honor. Phnom Penh was like a French provincial town, quiet and peaceful with wide boulevards reminiscent of the Champs Elysees in Paris lined with trees and flanked by side roads also shaded by trees. There was even a monumental archway, a Khmer version of the Arc de Triomphe, at the center of a major crossroads, the Place de e’independence. We stayed at the Palais du Gouvernement, formerly the residence of the French governor general, by the Mekong River. Sihanouk himself lived in the old palace. He entertained us to dinner in grand style, then flew us in his personal Russian aircraft to see Angkor Wat.

Sihanouk was an extraordinary personality, highly intelligent and full of energy and joie de vivre. He had the airs and graces of an educated French gentleman, with allt he accompanying gestures and mannerisms, and spoken English the French way. Medium in height, a little rotund, he had a broad face with flared nostrils like the stone carvings on the temples around Angkor Wat. He was an excellent host who made each visit a memorable and enjoyable occasion. His banquets of French haute cuisine, with the French wines and beautiful cutlery to match, were a treat. I remember going to his palace in the provincial of Batambang, driving up to a raised entrance typical of driveways in French chateaux. As we arrived, short Cambodian guards, looking dwarfed by their thigh-high gleaming black Napolenonic boots with helmets to match, saluted with glinting swords. The reception and banquet halls were luxuriously furnished and air-conditioned. There was a Western and a Cambodian orchestra. Foreign diplomats were in attendance. It was a royal occasion.

The prince was mercurial, hypersensitive to criticism. He would answer every press article that was in any way critical. Politics for him was the press and publicity. When he was overthrown in the 1970 coup he said that he sought refuge in Beijing because he feared for his life. I believe that had he returned to Cambodia then, no soldier would have dared to shoot him on arrival at the airport. He was their god-king. He had kept Cambodia an oasis of peace and plenty in a troubled, war-ravaged Indochina by maintaining a precarious balance between the communists and the West. He sought the friendship and protection of the Chinese while he kept his ties with the West through France. When he stayed in Beijing instead of returning to defy the coup makers, the old Cambodia was destroyed.

I met him again when he came to Singapore in September 1981 for talks on forming a coalition with the Khmer Rouge. It was a changed Shihanouk. He had gone back to Phnom Penh and been a captive of the Khmer Rouge. He had been through a harrowing time; many of his children and grandchildren had been killed by Pol Pot, and he himself was in fear for his life. The old bouncy Sihanouk had been destroyed. He laughter, the high-pitched shill voice when he got excited, his gestures—all were more muted. He was a living tragedy, a symbol of what had happened to his country and his people. The Chinese had rescued him just before the Vietnamese captured Phnom Penh at the beginning of 1979. He appeared before the UN Security Council to speak against the Vietnamese invasion, and he became the international symbol of Cambodian resistance. For a long time he was unforgiving and adamant against a coalition government with the Khmer Rouge.

After the Khmer Rouge occupied Phnom Penh, the Cambodians, or Kampucheans as they called themselves during Pol Pot’s regime, were not active in the region. A senior minister, Ieng Sary, visited me in March 1977. He was soft-spoken, round-faced, and chubby; he looked the softest, kindest person, one who would look after babies tenderly. He was the brother-in-law and trusted aide of the infamous Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge leader who had slaughtered from 1 to 2 million Cambodians out of the a population of 7 million, including most of the educated, Cambodia’s brightest and best. He made no reference to this genocide and I decided against questing him. He was bound to deny, as their Khmer rouge broadcasts did, that it ever took place. Ieng Sary was realistic. He wanted trade—barter trade. He needed spare parts for factories, pumps for irrigation, and outboard motors for their finishing boats. In exchange, he offered fish from the Tonle Sap, Cambodia’s famous inland lake which flooded every year and produced excellent fish. The barter trade did not flourish (they had problems with logistics), so we had little trade or anything else to do with them.

Relations between Vietnam and Cambodia deteriorated with border clashes. Vietnam attached Cambodia in 1978 and captured it in January 1979. Thereafter, Cambodia existed in my consciousness only through our activities in and out of the UN to garner votes to block the Vietnamese puppet government from taking over Cambodia’s UN seat, and through our support for Cambodian resistance forces operating from the Thai-Cambodian border.

Sihanouk’s son, Prince Ranariddh, I had met several times between 1981 and 1991. His father had placed him in charge of the royalist forces near the Thai border with Cambodia. Ranariddh resembled his father in voice, mannerisms, facial expression, and body language. He was darker-complexioned and smaller, more equable in temperament and less swayed by the mood of the moment, but otherwise much in the same mold. He had his father’s fluency in French and had taught law in Lyon University before he took over the leadership of the royalist forces.

When I inspected their training camp in northeast Thailand in the 1980s I noted that it was not well organized and lacked military spirit. It was the best Ranariddh could do because, like him, his generals and officers spent more time in Bangkok than in the camp. As we were supporting them with weapons and radio equipment, I felt disappointed. After the 1991 settlement, the big aid donors took over. Ranariddh became the first prime minister (with Hun Sen as second prime minister) when his party won the 1993 UN-organized election. When we met in Singapore that August, I warned him that the coalition was a precarious arrangement. The military, police, and administration belonged to Hun Sen. If he wanted to survive, Ranariddh had to win over a part of Hun Sen’s army and police officers and some of the provincial governors. Being called the first prime minister and having his man appointed dense minister were of little value when the officers and troops were loyal to Hun Sen. He probably did not take my words to heart. He might have believed that his royal blood would assure him the support of the people, that he would be irreplaceable.

I met Hun Sen in Singapore in December that same year. He was a totally different character, a tough survivor of the Khmer Rouge, a prime minister appointed by the Vietnamese in the 1980s but agile enough to distance himself from them and be acceptable to the Americans and West Europeans. He left an impression of strength and ruthlessness. He understood power, that it came from the barrel of the gun, which he was determined to hold. Once the Khmer Rouge was on the decline, and Ranariddh could no longer team up with them to challenge him, Hun Sen ousted him in 1997 and took complete control, while remaining nominally second prime minister. Sihanouk had become king again after the 1993 election, but his poor health and frequent absences from Cambodia for cancer treatment in Beijing had taken him of the cockpit of power now occupied completely by Hun Sen and his army.

Cambodia is like a porcelain vase that has been smashed into myriads of shards. To put them together will be a slow and laborious task. As with all the mended porcelain, it cannot withstand much pressure. Pol Pot had killed 90 percent of Cambodia’s intelligentsia and trained personnel. The country now lacks a coherent administration. The people have been accustomed to lawless conditions for so long that they are no longer law-abiding. Only the gun is feared.

The people of Cambodia are the losers. The country is crushed, its educated class decimated, its economy devastated. Hun Sen’s coup caused Cambodia’s admission into ASEAN to be postponed. It was eventually admitted in April 1999 because no country wanted to spend US$2 billion for another UN operation to hold fair elections. Cambodia had had 27 years of war since Lon Nol’s 1970 coup. Its present leaders are the products of bitter, relentless struggles in which opponents were either eliminated or neutralized. They are utterly merciless and ruthless, without humane feelings. History has been cruel to the Cambodians.]

Page 324-328, “From Third World to First” by LKY


Share This:


July 1st, 2013: MCP, MC, Conferences, ICs, IPMs,…. are all now in the past. The past 4 years was more than just a responsibility; it was a privilege. I thought I was someone outstanding until I joined AIESEC and saw how big the world really is and how small I actually was. It was that realization that keeps pushing me to strive to be always better. 

I am so thankful for everything and everyone that has crossed my path over the years. Thanks for making me a better person, for allowing me to finally have done something that I am and will always be proud of! Thanks for the opportunities, for the passion, for the network, and for all the wonderful things that have happened to me. I really have lived a really great university life. :’)

As I’m opening a new chapter, my wish for this amazing organization is for it to endlessly advance, continuing to enable more and more young Cambodians to live the experience as great or even greater than the one I had the privilege to live.

So that was something I reflected on, as I was closing my AIESEC experience. Via this post, I would like to paint a clearer picture of how my whole AIESEC experience looked like. Of course, this is no detailed account of everything that happened and that I got to experience through AIESEC, because that would be endless; it’s just a recap of the major things I did.

December 2008
A friend of mine, Chetra, told me about a group of Europeans coming to PUC to promote a leadership and international experience opportunity. And I submitted my application.

Jan 10, 2009
Having joined the Leadership Tournament (the AIESEC Assessment Centre) and been selected as one of the five people, I was officially the Local Committee President of the first AIESEC local chapter in Cambodia – AIESEC Phnom Penh.

This was my team – the first ever Local Committee Executive Board of AIESEC Cambodia.
This was my team – the first ever Local Committee Executive Board of AIESEC Cambodia.

March – August, 2009

Following a series of training and induction activities by the founding team from AIESEC UK, from March until August 2009, my team and I worked mainly to recruit and induct new members in our local committee, as well as helping to expand AIESEC into other universities including Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, Institute of Foreign Languages, University of Puthisastra, National University of Management, and Royal University of Laws and Economics.

August 2009
Because of a scholarship to study in Europe for one year, I made the decision to leave my responsibility in AIESEC behind. Studying abroad was then a dream that I could not throw away.

September 2010
I joined my first AIESEC conference in Siem Reap (it was then called, AIESEC Cambodia Summer Conference 2010), and I met so many new faces. Though feeling somehow disconnected from the organization and from the new people in the organization, I was really intrigued by the idea of being on the national board of AIESEC Cambodia, just as my friends – Chetra (my LCVP TM) and Tong (the first LCP of AIESEC IFL). I was inspired.

Summer Conference 2010
Summer Conference 2010

January 2011
Following the decision, I submitted my MCVP application and went, for the first time,  to facilitate an AIESEC conference (National Congress 2011). By the end of the conference, I got the news, being selected as an MC manager of TM, which was upgraded to be the MCVP TM & OGX.

Fellow Cambodian members who were also applying and got selected as MCVP of AIESEC Cambodia 2011-2012

March 2011
I made an investment and joined my first-ever AIESEC international conference – Asia Pacific Exchange and Leadership Development Seminar 2011 in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam. What a great and eye-opening experience.

Cambodian delegates on the conference’s Global Village, with a delegate from Canada and another from Brazil (who went on to be the President of AIESEC International 2014-15)

June 10, 2011

My term as an MCVP TM & OGX officially started, in a team of 6 people, from 4 different countries – Cambodia, the Philippines, Indonesia and New Zealand.

A photo taken on our first team trip to Bangkok, Thailand

August 2011
AIESEC International Congress 2011, Nairobi, Kenya: It was one of the biggest conferences I have ever attended, with more than 600 delegates from more than 100 countries, and also my very first time in a new continent, Africa. It was a surreal experience.

4 out of 5 delegates from AIESEC Cambodia

January 07, 2012

Following an extremely difficult decision, I finally had the gut to apply to the first Cambodia president of AIESEC Cambodia. I was officially elected on January 7, 2012, to lead AIESEC Cambodia Session 2012-2013.

February 2012
AIESEC International President Meeting (IPM) is probably the most prestigious annual conference of the organization, where only presidents and president elects are the delegates. It was my absolute honor to join, and IPM 2012 in Hungary was probably the best AIESEC conference I have ever attended. And for the first time, AIESEC Cambodia became the full member of AIESEC International.

It was a privilege to meet and get to know these amazing, big-hearted people!

July 01, 2012

My term as MCP of AIESEC Cambodia finally started. I had 7 amazing individuals to work alongside me.

Always proud to say, we were a team of 4 different nationalities – Cambodian, Ukrainian, Hong Kong Chinese, Malaysian/Bruneian/Singaporean!

August 2012
Following a lot of hard work and strong commitment to responsible leadership, AIESEC Cambodia was awarded the UBS Regional Excellence Award for Asia Pacific 2012, at the AIESEC International Congress 2012, Moscow, Russia. It was my absolute honor to accept this award on everyone’s behalf.


October 2012
I was invited by a good and kind-hearted MCP friend to chair a national conference of about 200 members in Taiwan. It was a great learning and I felt really touched and inspired.

What a wonderful group of people I worked with to deliver the conference!
What a wonderful group of people I worked with to deliver the conference!

February 2013

After such a long struggle, I finally found my successor – an amazing and brave young lady from AIESEC Indonesia. But unfortunately because of the visa issue, she didn’t manage to make it to IPM 2013 in Serbia.

Dancing to represent Cambodia with the support of my beloved friends from Asia Pacific!
Dancing to represent Cambodia with the support of my beloved friends from Asia Pacific!

April 2013

It was my first time, facilitating an AIESEC international conference (SEA Congress). It was another great experience, an amazing one to bring my AIESEC experience to a close.

With the faci team!
With the faci team!

June 30, 2013

My AIESEC journey came to an official end. What a wonderful experience! We all made it through a lot of ups and downs and it all ended with nostalgia and a certain sense of achievements.

May 2014
After more than half a year, I made the decision to quit my job and to go for an exchange (something I have always wanted to do) and I started applying. And just recently, I got the news about a job offer at the Electrolux office in Singapore. I’m finally matched and going on the program that I was working so hard to enable for other Cambodians. Hopefully, things will go well for my visa application and I can actually realize my exchange.electrolux-logo

Share This:

Extraordinary Leadership to Anticipate!

The time has come for the hero to rise. Since its independence from the colonization of Cambodia under the French, no national leaders have seemed to be internationally and historically recognized as the one with the outstanding world-class leadership – the leadership that is non-deluding, selfless, powerful, transformational, revolutionary, and any adjective that the ideal leadership for Cambodia encompasses.

Cambodia was growing well under the leadership of King Norodom Sihanouk during the 1950s but only to fall very miserably under one of the darkest regimes this country’s history has ever seen during the 1970s.

Then, a new leader arose, Hun Sen, with the help of the Vietnamese, managed to overthrow the very dark regime of the Khmer Rouge in the late 1970s and brought Cambodia up to light again. However, his leadership hasn’t been proven amazing enough, with him and his elite group having about 3 decades to lead the entire nation. With all the favorable conditions, more than 30 years after its “rebirth”, Cambodia remains one of the poorest countries in the world. That leadership, I would say, is an OK one, if a not bad one.

I do hope I live to see the rise of an extraordinary leadership, the leadership that would vow the world, and that would bring Cambodia on its road to enjoy the power, the prosperity, and the glory that it once had. I’m excited to see, whose name would immediately trigger in people’s heads when Cambodia is talked about, would be always respected, would always be glorified and thought of with gratitude and admiration even hundreds of years after his/her living.

I hope he/she was already born. I hope his/her life has been blessed with all the righteous surroundings where his/her talent are being optimized towards its fullest potential and where great love, commitment, bravery, vision, selflessness and willingness to make necessary sacrifices for this country has been been nurtured. I hope to see the rise of THE EXTRAORDINARY leadership that Cambodia and millions of its people have been dying for.

Share This:

Something Very Practical I Learnt from Obama’s Remarks at YSEALI Town Hall

I was among the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative 2014’s 103 delegates, as well as the 400 participants of the Town Hall Meeting with President Obama. The overall remarks from him were empowering and relevant to me on many different levels and like a fellow delegate from the Philippines put it, it was really interesting to see him wear multiple hats – hats of a father, of a husband, of a once-a-young-person, and of today’s leader. I am going to share what in particular I found relevant, which I, as well as you all, can digest for personal application.


Dream to make impact, rather than to make money or to earn a title, because dreams that involve impacts on others can really take off. Continue reading Something Very Practical I Learnt from Obama’s Remarks at YSEALI Town Hall

Share This:

Have We Failed Enough?

I was chatting around this topic with a couple of my friends last night, and it got me to realize that one of the problems of Cambodia today is many young people don’t fail enough. That’s why we are not very competitive. That’s why we are less experienced. That’s why our cognitive ability is still relatively low.

I think, generally, we are really afraid of failing. We failed once; we failed twice, and when we failed the third time, our world stops moving. We are a failure, we are useless and we will never succeed in life. And I am talking from my personal experience. A lot of people might see me as being successful, doing well at school and having the privilege that many could only wish they had, but the question is, am I successful? Is my life determined by those few successes?

Continue reading Have We Failed Enough?

Share This:

Promise of Leadership

This evening I spent my evening watching for the second time a Cambodian-directed and an Oscar-nominated film, the Missing Picture. I was surprised I still managed to enjoy it (although at certain point I felt the movie was quite long, including redundant pieces). But anyway, that’s not what ignited in my head an urge to write this post.

One plot in the movie triggered a compelling thought inside my head. In the movie, the Khmer people was promised by the regime an equal, much more developed Cambodia for everyone – the country with the stability and the development as a result of hard work and selfless devotion of its people. Everyone was promised that as long as they followed the regime and committed themselves to doing whatever were asked of them, one day Cambodia would become rich and its people would be there to enjoy its glory. This got me to think of how similar this promise is to what is happening now in Cambodia. Where I was working, the shareholders/the owners have asked their staff to work really hard for the success of their company pretty much the same way the regime promised to the entire Khmer population then. Because the company hasn’t been making any profit yet and still losing a lot of money, everyone at the company has been asked to understand and, despite limited salary and ongoing pressure to perform more than their normal scope of responsibility requires them to, to keep going with their heads remaining positive for the bright future of the school. They have been asking, convincing, and obliging their employees to work hard under the current condition, with the reasons that those employees would be all well rewarded when the company becomes big and profitable.

These are two different things, of course, but the analogy between the two is very provocative. If I have the chance to debate them on this practice, a strong argument and example that might as well allow me to win the debate is probably this particular analogy. It’s an easy promise to make and but there’s nothing clear to guarantee employees like us would get the diamond and goals that we hope to get at the end of the day. In the end, how much profit is big enough profit for the company to share with their employees? Will the extra money to further inject into expanding the business in the future be considered a profit or just another expense item? Since there’s no such clarity that is bounded by any legal documents, employees are at a great disadvantage and that “promise” can be greatly endangered in cases of any hiccups happening along the way there, towards those promises being fulfilled.

In the case of Pol Pot Regime, millions did not even get to see a tip of the promised development and lifestyle of the Cambodian citizens; along the way, they were murdered and exploited to death.

I believe such is not happening at just this company; I believe this is the reality of many companies that are starting up and are hiring. They know best how to protect their business interests; and for us, as employees, we should also try to know best how to protect our interests and demand in favor of our interests. Professionalism and our personal security should not be gambled too much on emotion and human relationship and sentiment, because when conflicts or anything potentially harmful to the bosses, only rules (no sentiment involved) will be spoken of.

Share This:

How Did the Way Things Are Now Get to Be?

We are of the same nationality, born and raised in the same society and country. The fact that those politicians have done grave wrongdoings, have lived like leeches to feed on the well-beings of others, have contributed to a regime that is full of injustice, corruption, wealth disparity, and individual misuse and exploitation of collective resources does not make them any less human of you are. It does not make you any better person than them. If your fate were reversed, if fate had brought you to be where they were, I believe you would most likely turn as corrupt, as evil, as inconsiderate, as blood-sucking, and as inhumane.

If everybody in this society is pretty much the same, why is it such? What do we need to fix so that the future is written differently? Do we need to fix education? I think so, but I don’t think it is the only thing to fix. Many of those corrupt government officials, many of the powerful, who have for years been feeding this ugly regime, have got great education, got degrees abroad in highly developed societies.

In my opinion, it all is highly sophisticated. It’s not just education to bear the responsibility. It’s not just the Ministry of Education playing a role in reforming the future. 4 years of higher education, started at the age of 20, can’t be enough, can’t be that effective to reform the whole system encoded in a person’s head, in their thinking process, in their perspective of the world, in their approaches towards lives and others, which have taken their past 20 years to develop and shape.

I think, every single factor that plays a part in shaping cognitive development and growth of a person  needs to be thoroughly examined, including how a child is raised at early stage, both at home, at a daycare centre, and at school. All the contributing factors need to be designed to build a well-rounded person who values fairness, respect and compassion towards others, unity, love for environment and its ecology, etc. and rejects extreme selfishness, corruption, unethical acts, such as human trafficking, human right violation, corruption, and exploitation of various forms. The whole system must be coded to values the right and reject the wrongs.

Share This:

Wrong Things Managers do!

Entering my new job, working in a new place, meeting a different group of people from my usual circle, coupled with my experience working in teams and around leadership, it’s clearer than ever now, some of wrong things that a lot of leaders like to do, which is quite toxic to their workforce and the entire organization. Let me take you through the 6 things with real examples from my current workplace:

1. Failing to create the needed culture that would bind the entire organization together: Where I’m working now, everyone is a separate individual without any common understanding towards each other. Everyone seems to just care about their own business, not really working for anything in common. I do my job; you do your job. People simply don’t care to care about what others are doing, and they hardly know about what others, other than themselves, are doing. This may be considered as a culture, which is the combination of many different cultures adopted by different individuals. The atmosphere is simply very dry: people don’t seem to care about each other; no-one seems to even give a shit when the boss is finishing his term and has to go back to his country in a week or so; no-one talks about any celebration, and everyone, including myself of course, can’t wait to go home when the clock strikes 5pm.

2. Distancing himself/herself too much from the employees; simply not involved and engaged: “I am your leader; I am the boss, and nothing besides work, about you, is my business.” My current boss is the type that comes to the office and goes straight into his working room, where he sits alone and would not come out unless he needs to actually go home or go outside for a meeting. It’s simply not in his habit to go around the office, saying hi and trying to build connection with people that work for him. After I having worked for almost 2 months, my boss seems to show no trace of interest over how I am doing, if I like my job, if I need any help. I myself, although feeling the need to be friendly, am always quite reluctant to take the first step and be the friendly type first, feeling concerned that the boss might not like it and see my behavior as being rude. Anyhow, I believe a good leader should be the one to start, to set the culture. If the leader is not the one to take the initiatives, followers/employees should never be blamed for not doing it either.

3. Not communicating: I really don’t like it when I was not told what is right and what is wrong in advance but I am expected to simply do it and get blamed if not having done it right. I was the newest member to this place and very few things were actually told to me. All that was given at the start was a big pile of employment contracts and pages of internal rules and policies to sign and maybe read. I wish my leader would take some time talking and setting expectations with me, not just for me to understand how he likes his employees to behave but also for him to understand what my needs and difficulties are. That would have given me a much better start of my work.

4. Not creating opportunities for employees, not prioritizing his/her people’s development: This place is simply not right for people like me, and I guess for anyone that aspires for a thriving career, aspires to work and continuously able to see own career advancement. I started as the head of Logistics and if I were to take this workplace as where my career lies, I honestly think I would be the head of logistics forever. That’s the easiest trap one can possibly fall into. The other day I went through some documents trying to grasp the working history of some employees here but yes, of years working for this organization, they have been holding the same position. Where is the opportunity to grow, where is the excitement? I enter as the head of logistics, why would I ever stay if I know that in 5, 10, 15 years’ time, I will still be the head of logistics?

5. Being a lonely man in the workplace: I’m pretty sure no-one in the organization really knows their boss – what he likes, what he dislikes, how much he loves his family, what was his previous job, what is his life motivation, what will be his next step after a two-year post here… He doesn’t tell and no-one seems to bother to ask. Personal life is simply out of question. It’s totally ok to not bring personal life into work or during working hours, but when there’s nothing prepared or planned at all outside working hours, our working life is simply too lonely. Actually my boss seems to be blending well with his expat friends, but I’m disappointed if it’s in his true intention to not try and mingle with the locals. I know that he’s been living in Cambodia for about 2 years now, and I highly doubt if he has made any good Cambodian friends.

6. Having little trust and hope for his/her employees: I was talking with a few people and we have a common understanding that most expats that work in Cambodia really put themselves on the level that is higher than Cambodians, looking down on the country and its people, seeing us as no-where near them, in terms of ability, skills, understanding, intelligence, etc. I hate it when they do that or unconsciously show it through their way of working, the working styles and behaviors. I do admit that they had much more advanced environments to grow in, the education that they went through is much better than ours and it’s natural that our typical workforce is not as good as theirs. However, please don’t act as if there’s no hope for us. I would appreciate their faith and their belief in us, not judging and easily giving up hope on us because of certain things that happen.

And let me tell you the effects of all these happenings, of all these allowed to happen by the leader. Clearly, ambitious and good people would not stay. Leaving this organization would definitely be the easiest decision I had to make, if I was not broke and in great need for something short-term to earn money. No-one, who is potential, who has vision and sees far into the future, who enjoys life and wants to also enjoy work,.. would stay.  Some that have been here for a while and could develop something would simply fly away once their wings are strong enough. And the organization that is unable to maintain good talents would never be able to realize or go even close to realizing its potential. No doubt the last guy before me quit and just the other day, one of the staff asked me about corporate working environments and showed her keen interest to explore it.

It’s actually quite sad to see this, the organization that aims to do amazing things and has funds far much more than many other places. If only these huge funds and amazing vision could reach its potential and, in the most efficient way, produce the results that would greatly impact Cambodia.

Share This: