Since the great majority of my work was done remotely, and the nature of my work was mostly independent, I didn’t have many chances to observe social interactions or to exert typical leadership skills within group works. However, I was able to perform some forms of leadership capabilities that made a difference in organizational tasks and projects.
My primary job at APFNet was to draft an executive summary of the report, “Forest restoration planning and practices in the Asia-Pacific region”, which is a guiding document for the next five-year strategic plan of the organization, as well as policy dialogue among member economies. My role was to extract the report’s quintessence and provide an overview of the forestry planning framework in the Asia-Pacific region before readers dive deep into the report itself. Therefore, I was expected to have a thorough understanding of all aspects mentioned in the report while identifying general tendencies of forestry conditions and planning strategies through comparisons and contrasts of different economies. Eventually, after two months of reading through the document and referring to other helpful resources from various international organizations and academic institutions, I identified generally six challenges of forestry planning in the Asia-Pacific region on managerial and operational levels. Therefore, the final product turned the report, based on economy-level case studies, into a governing document that summarized the overarching challenges that economies have been facing.
At INBAR, I was in charge of establishing a new database that recorded important information from its online webinar series, including the guest speakers’ info, contents of the Q&A sessions, and feedback from the audience. The database was beneficial for the organization to keep track of the participants and follow up with them. More importantly, the knowledge shared by experts can be documented and disseminated. When my supervisor gave me the task, she only outlined some expected benefits/outcomes of the database instead of giving me a specific structure. Therefore, I had to spend some time constructing the documentation framework by incorporating her expectations and the feasibility of my practices. The outcome of my effort was able to capture all the information my supervisor wanted through a well-managed database with three datasets combined. It was later proved helpful for the Communication Department to write news about the seminars and promote scientific knowledge about bamboo and rattan resources management, which is an area with many challenges and lacks public awareness. Clear and good management of both resources is expected to have great potentials in climate change mitigation by replacing the traditional energy system, developing renewable energy, and reducing carbon emissions.
Both tasks make me realize that leadership capability derives from the abilities to gather raw information and construct an overview of the scattered thoughts. This process requires logics of reasoning step by step. Leadership includes more than exerting power and making an influence on others directly and explicitly; it’s also about the ability to move beyond the challenge we’re dealing with and construct a bigger picture of our expectations and directions. Actions and efforts incited from this vision may be more powerful for individuals to influence others and contribute to the organization’s purposes and missions.