Share Tweet Share This is an interview with Benjamin Loh, Founder & Principal Trainer at Speaker’s Flare Training & Consultancy, based in Singapore. Benjamin is a Gen Y and in his own words, he describes what he thinks, what influences him, how he views his career and what he expects from employers. Check outwww.benjaminloh.sg for more insights! Benjamin, what do you consider typical characteristics of your generation? The danger of providing “typical characteristics” like these leads to stereotyping and “boxing” Gen Ys into fixed molds. Yet, I like to think that there are a few “common denominators” within my generation. One, we are like our past generations and we all look for the same ingredients in a fulfilling career – autonomy, mastery and purpose. But, we tend to be more expressive and “take charge” when it comes to making our expectations known. We’ve grown up in times we experience gratification from instantaneity, so we can be eager at times while being unrealistic and impatient with others. We look towards inspirational and personal leadership rather than positional power alone, so congruence is a big thing for most of us because we want to see you live and lead your own life in a manner that inspires us to see what’s possible. What do you expect from corporate leadership in today’s business world? Conscious leadership. Not just the usual corporate speak about how “talents are our best assets” that is repeated ad nausem. But truly, seeing that each person walking through the door of your organization has his family, parents, loved ones, dreams, history and future in your hands to shape and mould. That your staff are not mere inputs but more so, the very force that takes your organization to the next level. If more corporate leaders can be cognizant of that and really relate to their staff as fellow beings, there will be a lot of hope and immense inspiration for people in my generation. Benjamin Loh, Founder & Principal Trainer at Speaker’s Flare Training & Consultancy, based in Singapore. What engages you most in the workplace and makes you go the extra mile? Knowing I’ve made a positive difference. As an Executive Public Speaking Coach and Corporate Speaker, when I engage a new client, my commitment is always to ensure that the client grows and evolves on multiple levels. Nothing satisfies me more when a client comes to me and tells me, “Ben, I’ve gotten more than I thought I had expected from working with you. You allowed me to see a different side of myself and that has made all the difference.” What kind of development opportunities do you expect to be offered by your employer? I’m self-employed but I think opportunities are everywhere. Employers can take the lead by engaging their employees in an open and forward-looking discussion on what are the developmental opportunities available and also encourage cross-disciplinary learning. An accountant needs not just learn about the latest regulatory changes but can also immerse in an one-day yoga retreat to experience mindfulness and learn how to manage inner flux! Development has always been a holistic concept so let the natural progression guide the provision of developmental paths rather than just be fixated on what “should be”. What is your preferred way to communicate in the workplace? Anything – phone call, email, text, instant message on Facebook. So long the message gets across, it works. What are the priorities during this phase of your life? Learning and making the wisest mistakes I can make so as to give me a head start vis-à-vis my peers. Also, I believe that the time in our twenties is the best time to take risks as we have energy in abundance and have relatively little to lose. How do you balance your personal and professional life? Frankly, I’m still learning this and I reckon I’ll continue to do so for the rest of my life. I think what has been working out for me is scheduling “downtime” where I just unwind in extended periods of silences or spend time with my other half for a good meal. Knowing when and what to say “no” to is also extremely key as it allows me to draw the lines clearly between my personal and professional life so there are little spillovers. When do you experience “flow” – the mental state in which a person is fully immersed in an activitiy and is so focused that she loses track of time? When I’m in the thick of working with an executive client. I get most consumed in the moment when I see my client getting waves and waves of realization as a result of his own curiosity and seeking. A second possibility is when I’m in “creation mode” – letting my best knowledge, experiences and conversations take shape into information products. Perhaps, that appeals to the geek in me. Please complete this sentence: For me, my job is… … my vehicle to offer my best gifts to the world. What do you wish your colleagues from other generations would know about Gen Y? We are very much like you. We have core needs that don’t quite deviate from yours – it’s just that the way we express ourselves and get things done may be different. But we still do desire the same outcomes as you. So don’t be too quick to judge or assume and give us the benefit of doubt (and this goes to my generation, too). Focus on what’s similar instead of getting distracted and repelled by how we are different from you. In all, harness our “differences” as “distinctive assets” since we are more, together. Thank you, Benjamin, for these valuable insights!