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“Beyond Technical Training: Why the Need for "Unconditionally Strong" Leaders”

Updated: Mar 9

The leadership landscape is evolving, especially as younger generations crave more than managers dishing out tasks. They yearn for guides. In my experience, many of us grew up with a leadership model favoring sheer technical competence, not holistic mentorship. But that isn't enough anymore. This is where I see the power of "unconditional strength" in leadership.


What does that even mean?

Rooted Resilience: Not about never stumbling, but about bouncing back and demonstrating how failure transforms into experience. This builds trust far more than hiding one's struggles (Edmondson, 2019).


Vulnerability as Strength: Admitting flaws or seeking input isn't weakness, but creates authentic connection. It gives permission for younger team members to learn out loud.


Emotional Awareness: Noticing frustration in ourselves and in our team members escalating before anyone has a chance to lash out. Recognizing when personal biases seep into decision-making. These skills are core to inclusive leadership, vital in diverse workforces. I’m big on pulling people into a room and nipping issues in the bud. I’ve learned the hard way never to let a problem sit for tomorrow.


Values over Bottom-Line: Unconditional strength comes through in actions driven by a clear moral compass, even when tempting shortcuts exist. This inspires genuine loyalty, as teams know their work holds deeper meaning. Values-over-bottom-line is a very important one to me at work. While I’m obsessed with revenue-generation, I’m even more insistent that we hold each other to high standards, deliver work that we are proud of, and always “give to get” whether for clients or one another.


These are insights and best-practices I’ve applied after doing five senior roles, two of which I flopped at. Then I arose with values renewed and ready to try again. Now leaders at The Doing Well Centre are coached on the same skills. See doingwellcentre.com.


Mindfulness: The Inner Work, for Outward Impact on Others

These are ways that mindfulness serves leaders:

Self-Observation: Mindfulness practice trains us to see our inner workings. Am I reactive? Judgmental? This internal “inventory” is the first step to change.


Breaking Old Habits: Recognizing autopilot leadership fueled by ego or outdated ideas. Mindfulness creates space for those smarter choices based on values.


Ripple Effect: When leaders model pausing under stress, or seeking honest feedback, it spreads. A new workplace culture where emotional maturity isn't ridiculed, but valued, can take root.


Mentoring Through It All

Mindful strength translates directly into guidance for younger generations by giving them:

Psychological Safety: Teams need room to stumble without fear, with leaders framing it aslearning. This is only possible when those leaders themselves embrace their own learning path.


Focus, not Frenzy: Busy is not a badge of honor. Mindful leaders set a standard for prioritization, which teaches more than any time-management workshop.


Purpose beyond Perks: Younger workers want jobs linked to something bigger. Through their own mindful awareness, leaders can ignite this in their teams, ensuring long-term dedication.


I dare say I apply every word that I’ve written here in my current role as the Vice Chair and Head of APAC of a transactions, capital markets crisis and ESG advisory firm, which I operate alongside The Doing Well Centre (doingwellcentre.com). Mindfulness won't solve every leadership gap. But it’s a foundational skill for today’s leaders - a form of service to others. Asian leaders, particularly men, need to shift our perception that inner work makes us "soft". It's the hard, essential path to creating workplaces with the moral inspiration younger charges want so that they can show up and do their best work.


Discuss: Is your leadership journey missing any of these elements?



Follow The Mindful Singaporean Uncle, a series curated by The Doing Well Centre, on Instagram, Facebook, Threads and LinkedIn.


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