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Building Trust, Through Engaged Leadership

This Mother’s Day, we asked mum-of-two Rebecca Lee for her insights as a female leader in the Home Team.
CRA Rebecca Lee 01
GRAPHIC: Home Team News

The word “trust” came up many times throughout our interview with Rebecca Lee, Senior Assistant Director of Policy and Planning at the Casino Regulatory Authority (CRA).    

Having joined the Home Team from the private sector to find more meaning in her job  and taken on her first supervisory role, Rebecca has learnt many important lessons – above all, that trust is a cornerstone of good leadership. 

She shares what it takes to build high-performing teams while balancing her own work and family commitments. 

CRA Rebecca Lee 02
PHOTO: Joash Tan

Share with us your first supervisory experience and what you learnt from it.
That’d be my role as a Team Leader with CRA’s Inspection & Compliance Division, overseeing a group of officers in conducting inspections of casino operations, assessing casino operators’ applications for regulatory approvals, and investigating disputes related to gaming and potential non-compliances. 

The experience taught me many things, chiefly: how not to lead! I’d equated producing good results with good leadership and expected everything else – the engagement level and motivation among team members – to fall automatically into place, and had neglected the need to connect with them, and involve them in decision-making.

How have you changed your supervisory style? 
I’ve come to recognise the importance of situational leadership, as there is no one-size-fits-all approach. 

Also, the key to effective leadership is trust. When there’s trust and psychological safety, officers are more open to sharing their views, raising questions and participating. They’ll also feel comfortable providing feedback, and a feedback loop is critical to knowing how I’m performing as a supervisor.

Part of establishing trust involves getting to know my officers holistically, as individuals, rather than as co-workers only. Everyone brings a part of themselves to work and understanding their aspirations helps me to see more clearly what I can do to help them develop and succeed.
 
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PHOTO: Joash Tan

Who are the leaders you draw inspiration from?
I try to identify and adopt the strengths of the people I’ve worked with, like the first Director I worked under when I joined CRA. Her values and work ethic definitely rubbed off on me, and one lesson from her has stayed with me – how to stay true to our values and do the right thing, even if it may prove to be an unpopular decision.

I also draw inspiration from my two young children. There are many lessons that they’ve taught me, such as how to show empathy, think out of the box and simply stay positive!

Having gone through the Home Team Academy’s Step-Beyond Civilian Milestone Programme, what was your main takeaway?
Besides getting a better understanding of my personal and professional strengths, I also learnt that it can be more effective for us as leaders to build on our strengths, rather than try to work around our weaknesses. This is counter-intuitive for many people and not easy to put into practice, but I’m trying hard to do so.

Another lesson that stayed with me from the discussions about the desired qualities of Home Team leaders, is about leading by moral authority. Leaders who are honest, show humility and respect, celebrate differences and make hard decisions are an inspiration, and these are qualities that I’m trying to develop.  

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PHOTO: Joash Tan

What advice do you have for female officers who are new to being leaders?
Develop your ability to show empathy and connect, as this helps us build quality relationships and establish trust with people. When there’s a high level of trust in the team, people will put their best foot forward to achieve the team’s objectives.  

Secondly, don’t be afraid to “let go.” Empower your team members and learn to delegate. It’s crucial to remember that we don’t have to do everything ourselves. There’s a saying – “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Recognise that while you may be able to accomplish a lot by yourself, you can do much more with a great team.  

Finally, learn to make time for yourself. Self-care is increasingly more important, especially given the work-from-home arrangements in recent years. We need to reconsider our priorities, make time for ourselves to recharge, set boundaries and love ourselves more!


Home Team Leadership Series
This leadership series features Home Team leaders who have attended leadership programmes organised by the Home Team Academy (HTA). As the Corporate University of the Home Team, HTA delivers leading edge training and learning opportunities for Home Team leaders, trainers and officers. This includes a suite of leadership programmes for Home Team leaders at different stages of their career. Follow HTA’s LinkedIn page and learn more about the Home Team’s Training and Learning Initiatives.

Written by

Lynn Ng

Published

6 May 2022

Topics
Thought Leadership
CRA
HTA
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