Eric Stryson at AmCham HR Committee

Eric Stryson presents views on leadership, stimulates discussion


GIFT’s Global Young Leaders Programme (YLP) emphasizes three key aspects of leadership: KnowledgeCommunication and Empathy. This week Eric Stryson, YLP Programme Manager at GIFT, shared views on these points at the American Chamber of Commerce HR Committee’s monthly breakfast meeting in Hong Kong. His talk focused on why it is critical that current and future leaders cultivate such qualities, particularly in the current times of intense economic uncertainty, and referenced the GIFT team’s experiences working with participants on past YLP's.

Unlike conventional power-point presentations, Stryson’s comments were meant to stimulate discussion and draw ideas from the other participants. The group, which consisted of AmCham representatives from a wide variety of global companies as well as local consultancies, was challenged to think in new ways about the current economic environment and what it indicates for effective leadership. The ensuing debate was lively and had to be cut short due to time constraints. Participants raised issues such as how leaders act in difficult situations, differences between older and younger leaders and how to integrate new business imperatives such as ethics and environmental challenges into leadership rhetoric.

Effective leaders must continue to expand their sphere of knowledge about the world and around issues of significance, also remaining aware of areas where they have a personal lack of knowledge. Communication is a skill that continues to be an area of critical significance for leaders and as multicultural business accelerates it is even more important that leaders be able to have their message understood at various different levels and also be able to understand what others are saying. Finally, empathy or the ability to see and feel issues from other perspectives, is something that leaders cannot afford to neglect, both externally in engaging with an ever widening group of stakeholders and also internally so that managers can understand the challenges and opportunities faced by others in the organization.