Women in leadership tend to face certain challenges in and out of the workplace. Jesaline Huang, director of Michael Page in Shenzhen, shares her journey and tips for women to grow as leaders.

What prompted your move into recruiting?

I started out as an intern during my second year at university and joined the industry upon graduation. 

Please describe a typical day

Specifically, there are 3 things I do daily: 

  1. Interview job applicants to identify their strengths and help plan their career by providing updated market information
  2. Meet clients and work with them to plan recruitment strategies, while identifying the qualifications and requirements needed for each vacancy
  3. Internal Management: Hire, train, mentor, coach, direct and retain consultants. As a team leader, I act as a coach and mentor, motivating the team to achieve results by providing constructive feedback

Please share with us your leadership journey so far

I became director at the age of 28 after being promoted from the manager and senior manager levels. I am also the top sales contributor in the region and am part of PageGroup’s Platinum Club, which recognises the business’ top performers. I currently manage the finance and financial service, technology, and sales and marketing teams in Shenzhen, China. Previously, I managed the human resources team.

What are some challenges that you face as a woman in leadership?

It is often not easy for a woman leader, especially one who is young, to be given credibility in a male-dominated world, as people can judge based on one’s gender and or the amount of grey hair present. However, I am able to win these sceptics over with the quality results I deliver and my fair and objective management style. 

Another challenge I face is balancing my time between work and family. What I do is to devote myself to both in the most efficient manner possible. I am 100 percent focused during work hours and equally so during family time. 

What do you enjoy most about being a leader?

Being a leader often means taking responsibility for your team, articulating compelling business visions for them to follow. You also need to set up business strategies for the team to implement and lead them to exceed the targets. While I enjoy those aspects of leadership, I am most drawn to developing others through coaching and motivating them to maximise their potential. 

Being a leader also means that I have the opportunity of becoming a role model for my daughter in the future. 

How can women grow as leaders both in and out of the workplace?

First, be accountable for your actions and take responsibility for your work. Celebrate your wins, but more importantly, get up quickly every time you fall down. Seek feedback from others and make effort to develop yourself positively. 

You also need to lead with empathy in and out of the workplace. Have a personal style with a strong personal brand. 

Finally, never sacrifice one key area of your life at the expense of another. This means you need to find the balance between the different roles that you may perform in life, such as a business woman, a wife, a mother and a daughter.

Click here to be inspired by stories of women and read about leadership tips, working across cultures and achieving work-life balance.

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