Becoming A Leader 101

On June 30, 2021, IBCWE had the opportunity to be a moderator in 2021 SheHacks Indonesia to explore the experience of being a female leader in the technology and finance industry from Tessa Wijaya, Chief Operations Officer Co-Founder Xendit, and also research and the current situation in Indonesia regarding female leaders from Dwi Yuliawati-Faiz, Head of Programs UN Women Indonesia.

In this activity, Tessa Wijaya shared several ways to become a good leader. 

Lead from the front

Be a visible and engaged leader. Once in a while helping the teamwork to find out what they are doing, what problems they are facing, and what things can be improved so the leaders can develop better strategic steps.

Be specific, set smart goals

It is important for the leader to always be clear about their goals and how to achieve them so the team does not have to experience confusion when translating them into their work. 


A concise target that focuses on only one area of achievement. The goal should be immediately understood by anyone who reads or hears the goal.

Clear metrics to track progress and identify when to achieve goals.

Goals must be realistic considering resources, time, and other instruments.

Goals must be valuable and important not only to the leader but also to the team, the organization, and perhaps the wider community.

A clear target time to achieve goals in order to be able to do things that have been planned properly. 

Culture is everything

Office culture is the character and personality of an organization. Leaders must be able to build positive values, traditions, beliefs, interactions, and attitudes within the company so it becomes a positive culture. Where the culture will influence and encourage the way of working and how workers interact internally and externally. The resulting impact of a positive culture is workers and customers.

Have empathy

A leader must be able to imagine himself in the situation or condition of someone in his team or organization so they can understand the perspectives, opinions, or points of view of team members. But many people think that good leaders always have to use logic, not feelings. It takes both of them to make a good decision. 

“As a female leader, just because you have empathy doesn't mean you're not logical. That is not true. By understanding what our interlocutor wants, we can get to the finish line faster, we can close the dispute better, we will meet at the meeting point faster too,” said Tessa Widjaya.

Thinking logically means thinking based on data or facts while thinking using feelings means understanding the different views of each team member and that is also a fact. When the two are combined, the policies will have more impact.

Vulnerability in leadership is important

As a leader, you do not have to be perfect all the time. It is okay not to know everything, occasionally asking for opinions or. Ask for help from team members. By pointing out these vulnerabilities, it allows for a more open dialogue and willingness to engage with team members.

“To be a good leader, you have to keep learning, you have to be open, you have to have the courage to ask other people and learn from others,” said Tessa Widjaya. 


As a leader, you have to listen a lot to others, listen to feedback, listen to available information to be taken into consideration when making decisions. 


If a leader only moves alone, the impact will be minimal. But if the leader can teach and develop team members to be empowered to do what the leader does. With the power of many people, will make more impact. 


As a leader, inspiring others and uplifting is the best way to get support for a mission. Use practical ways to make it easier for team members to understand in describing or solving a problem, then motivate them to do the work boldly and take responsibility for the work results. That way, leaders will inspire through empowerment, not just through command and control.



Question and Answer Session



How can work environment or social factors shape a leader's character in women?


Social and work environment factors play a big role in shaping leadership qualities. Gender bias and stereotypes that exist because of socio-culture will affect the system in the work environment.

A non-women-friendly work environment, makes most women feel less confident, feel they have to work harder, or feel burnout.

The social processes they go through to climb the career ladder to succeed in occupying this leadership become an additional factor in the formation of their leadership character.



Do you have a special method for disseminating the culture of your organization or company?


Leaders need to realize that the first method for disseminating organizational culture is to new employees. Leaders must be careful to ensure that the socialization process does not go unnoticed. Instead, it needs to be studied, understood, planned, and structured. There are three stages to follow:

Also known as the anticipatory socialization stage. Start during the interview stage of potential workers. It is good for them to be introduced to the organizational culture to see their reactions such as enthusiasm, values, attitudes, and certain behaviors. Make sure the description given is not exaggerated.

Also known as the meeting stage. Happened in the first few weeks. New workers will examine the organizational culture that was previously described by being felt firsthand.

Also known as the metamorphosis stage is when new employees understand the organization and begin to identify themselves within the organization. If they get a positive culture, they will be a contributor in achieving organizational goals. Conversely, if they get a negative culture, they will not survive in that position.

If the turnover rate is high, the leader needs to review various factors including the culture that exists in the organization.

And it is different if there is a desired cultural change in a company, the first target in socializing it is the Managerial Level, Human Resources Department, current workers, then new workers.



Looking at the future, how is the optimism in seeing Indonesian women can go global thanks to their leadership abilities?


The potential is there but it must be supported by many parties such as family, partners, friends, organizations, or companies. It is worth noting that there are many different situations that women face that require adjustment so that they can survive in the workforce.

For example, start learning to reduce gender bias, bring in more female leaders who can be role models, have women-friendly practices or policies.

Currently, we have Mrs. Sri Mulyani who served as Managing Director of the World Bank Group, Mrs. Sonita Lontoh who currently serves as Global Head of Marketing (CMO) HP - an American technology company, Mrs. Catharina Widjaja who currently serves as Director of PT Gajak Tunggal – the largest tire manufacturer in Southeast Asia.

They are women who are academically qualified and dare to break through barriers. We need to have many role models so that we can inspire and change a culture.



How do you deal with the words of a coworker who doesn't like having a female lead?


You don't have to put everything in your heart because later it can make you drop. Be picky about the response, maybe there is something that can be a good criticism and motivate you to develop yourself and work better. So, you can show it through performance or through opinions based on data or facts.



How to deal with colleagues whose positions are lower, but in terms of age and working time are more senior so that they feel more 'understanding'?


Don't treat him as a subordinate but more like an ordinary coworker. Where communication is two-way, you and he can both give opinions and ask questions.

Try to always give clear reasons for your opinion on something, the goals you want to achieve, your strategy. That way, he will understand your way of thinking.

Focus on the result, not how he gets the job done. Everyone has a different way of doing things. Let it be, as long as the results can be achieved well.

Build a work environment that respects each other so that over time he will appreciate your leadership instead of you dominating firmly that you are the leader and he is the subordinate.



In some environments, there is still a stereotype that women are not suitable to work in certain fields, for example, STEM. How to deal with it?


We have to listen to the right people, not all the negative talk from other people, we immediately fall. When the opportunity arises, take it. When given the opportunity, do your best. You can look for mentors, role models, or champions to help or motivate you.

If you try and work smart. So, you can definitely work in any field you want!


Watch the replay on the 2021 SheHacks Youtube Channel Youtube



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