Businesswoman Phuong Tran on What Makes a Leader

True leadership means taking responsibility for failure as well as success, says global business mogul PHUONG TRAN


True leadership means taking responsibility for failure as well as success. The two go hand in hand. Only when someone accepts there is no one else to blame, then and only then can he or she develop a plan to succeed. Instead of asking, “Who did this to me?” the question should be reframed as, “What did I do wrong?” This becomes the far more constructive self-help. As the saying goes, “It never gets easier, you get better.” It is a difficult truth. But taking ownership means accepting that you are the source of the problem. You are the only thing you can change or control. So, if there is a difficulty, own it. Never blame anyone else.

Have confidence that by changing yourself, you can change the environment, too. Leaders who do this are far more likely to inspire the kind of loyalty and trust that makes companies succeed. My father is a big advocate for John Maxwell’s five levels of leadership. He is a big believer in level three: people not only follow someone because they want to (i.e., the relationship they have with them, which is classified as level-two leadership), but also because of their track record. This is when companies really start to produce results.

At THP, we try to empower all team members to act as if they are the owners of the enterprise, as well: to take responsibility for their successes and mistakes; to stay authentic and retain their integrity. If they stay true to what they believe and are open about what is working or not working, then they can successfully address problems, drive results, and improve performance. Leaders and employees who can do this typically have an air of humility about them, which wins people over and inspires their loyalty. Staying humble and grounded becomes ever more difficult as people become more successful. They start to believe their own hype, a breeding ground for arrogance and the kind of hubris that leads to mistakes and a swift return to planet earth with a thump.

The reality is that while THP became very successful during the early part of the century, much of that had to do with what was happening in Vietnam as a whole. The economy was on fire and all companies were doing well. That is not to say my father would not have made a success of his life in different circumstances. He has the personality traits, which give him enormous drive. But he has always known that timing has played a big factor in his success as well. That and the hard work everyone puts into THP.

Extracted from Competing with Giants by Phuong Tran. Global businesswoman Phuong Tran will travel to Ireland to launch Talent Garden Dublin’s Innovation School on October 30 2018. Deputy CEO of THP Beverage Group, she was offered $2.6 billion in 2012 by Coca-Cola to sell her family-run company, but Tran and her father declined their offer and have since grown the business to over 16 counties including China, Australia and Canada. Phoung Tran is not only bringing her expertise to her ‘Competing with Giants’ talk on October 30, but she will join the faculty at the Innovation School to share her knowledge with Talent Garden’s Innovation School students across Europe in the coming months.

Love Sign up to our MAILING LIST now for a roundup of the latest career advice, networking events and interviews.

No Comments Yet

Comments are closed