A good leader needs to 'rock the boat', says Carrie Lam

PUBLISHED : Friday, 02 November, 2012, 12:38pm
UPDATED : Friday, 02 November, 2012, 7:14pm

 A good leader needs to “rock the boat” sometimes, Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor told a women’s leadership conference on Friday morning.

“Trying to get everyone to like you is actually a sign of mediocrity,” said Lam, who was the morning guest speaker at the Women of Influence Conference and Awards at the Four Seasons Hotel.

Her comments came after a tumultuous first four months for the city’s new administration, when many policy moves sparked criticism from the public.

Lam, however, said she thinks Hong Kong people still believe in the government despite the recent opposition and discontent.

As the only woman in the top tier of government officials, Lam said that being mission-driven, pragmatic and people-oriented are key parts of how she defines successful leadership.

“My mission for the next five years is the alleviation of poverty,” said Lam. She will focus her energies on setting up a commission on poverty and establishing the city’s first official poverty line, Lam said.

A pragmatic approach is crucial, she said, in ensuring the government delivers on its promises. Leaders must also be “compassionate, even emotional” about people, she said.

The chief secretary acknowledged that the balance between work and the rest of her life needs to improve.

“I hope you don’t make the same mistake I did,” she said, addressing an audience of mainly women. “I’ve put too much into my career.”

“I’ve failed in this aspect. Never become too consumed by your career that you have left nothing for yourself and your family.”

Lam acknowledged that the past four months have been difficult, especially as her husband and sons were not in Hong Kong. She looks forward to having quality time with her family in December, when she will get a “well-earned leave”.