Farah Nabilla: Learning as a Leader
Farah is on a leadership journey: starting out as a data entry analyst to her current role as a team leader apprentice for one of our client partners. A 2022 ASW Culture Champ awardee, Farah shares how she handles the challenges of managing different personalities in the team, what it takes to be a better leader, and her advice to discover your strongest self.
1. Hi Farah! Tell us a bit about yourself? Outside of work, what do you enjoy doing? What are your hobbies and interests?
Hello, I’m Farah Nabilla. You can also call me Bella. I am known as the quiet one, but I am friendly once you get to know me. I spend most of my time outside of work making my little one smile. I love strolling around the shopping malls and go food hunting. On rainy days, I prefer staying home watching Netflix or reading books to my toddler.
2. What was your career like before you joined ASW? How did you start at ASW?
Before I joined ASW, I was a student completing my Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resource Management. I started my career at ASW in October 2017 as a Data Entry Analyst processing payments in EMICS. Now, it has been more than 5 years since I joined ASW and I look forward to joining more ASW events in the future.
3. Can you tell us more about your role here at ASW? What’s a regular day like for you?
I am currently a team leader apprentice from BAS RTWSS. I’ve been assigned to handle a new hire team that processes payments. My regular day at work starts with checking emails, ensuring there are no overdue activities in my queue, and attending to enquiries from the team members. I make sure everyone on the team knows our goal and what we are doing. My main responsibility is to be there whenever my team needs me.
4. What do you enjoy most about your work as a team leader apprentice?
As a leader, I am dealing with people every day and that, to me, is the most enjoyable thing to experience. Since I studied HR, I’ve always wanted to work directly with people as my time previously was spent most on computers and catching up on my KPIs. I also love the fact that I am surrounded by people who are positive and very encouraging at work. From the managers, leaders, and team members, everyone is so supportive!
5. Transitioning to a leadership role has its unique set of challenges. What kind of adjustments did you have to make?
When I stepped into a leadership role, I had to adapt to some changes. I used to be an individual contributor, but now I’m a big team player. I have to set boundaries and professional distance between my friends to avoid bias and favouritism. More importantly, I have to be responsible for the behaviour and performance of every individual in my team instead of focusing on my own.
6. What are the challenges that you usually encounter in your work and how do you handle them?
I would say miscommunication is the greatest challenge that I’ve always encountered at work. To overcome this, I always seek clarification from reliable sources and make sure everyone is on the same track in achieving our goal. The other challenge is dealing with different personalities every day. Apart from using suitable approaches for each personality, I always practise transparency in every communication with them.
7. You mentioned that you have “suitable approaches” when dealing with different personalities. Can you give us an example?
When handling a team, not all team members will have the same thoughts and will always agree with you. For example, if I have to deal with a difficult team member, I will listen to them to know what’s the real issue behind the behaviour before taking any action. From there, I can give my honest feedback and suggest some action plans that might work for them.
8. Congratulations on your Culture Champ Award last year! Can you share with us how this came about and how you reacted to the news?
Honestly, I did not expect that I would receive an award and this came as a big surprise to me. But all I can say is, everyone around me has been extremely helpful in my journey here and I greatly appreciate this acknowledgement and recognition of my work.
As someone who started from the bottom, I always focus on getting better each day at work. I learn from mistakes and failures to improve myself. I take chances as an opportunity for me to grow in my career. More importantly, I keep a positive attitude and treat people around me with kindness so that I have a healthy relationship with everyone at work.
9. What lessons have you learned about being a leader?
To be a great leader, you have to be a good communicator and a good listener.
10. What do you consider your top 3 achievements (whether at ASW or in your personal life)?
Stepping out of my comfort zone at ASW, making friends with people from different levels, and maintaining work-life balance are what I consider as my top 3 achievements for now.
11. How do you achieve work-life balance?
I always set a daily goal on what to complete every day at work, and I make sure my day is productive; not just busy. Off work hours, I will have some time for myself and my son to spend together.
12. Is there a personal or professional goal that you’ve always wanted to accomplish?
To be more effective in people management.
13. Name one thing/aspect from your country that you’re proud to share with everyone.
Malaysia is a country with a multi-cultural society. Despite that, we embrace each other’s differences and live peacefully in harmony.
14. Thanks for your time! Before we go, what inspirational message or career advice would you like to share with your fellow ASW colleagues?
Surround yourself with people who support you, inspire you, and help you to grow into your happiest and strongest self. Always be patient as sometimes we have to go through the worst to get to the best. There is a quote by Michele Ruiz saying: “If people are doubting how far you can go, go so far that you can’t hear them anymore”.