Affin Bank Malaysia: Exercising management with care

Updated: Mar 23

INTERVIEW: In this second instalment of Chief of Staff Asia’s interview with Lim Kee Yeong from Affin Bank in Malaysia, the Executive Director of Enterprise Banking shares his approach to management and the value of his local HR team.

COS Asia: As a director with responsibility for hundreds of finance industry professionals, what is your management style?

Lim: No single style will fit all situations — that’s the mystery of leadership. I practice the participative-directive style. I seek ideas, but with a fair limit in time and scope. I will lay strategic directions and guide tactical approaches while looking for execution outcomes for improvements.

I like teamwork. But I also enjoy great sales outcomes from staff individually. I always tell new joiners that I will remember only two groups of team members: top performers and bottom performers — how the bank can reward the top guys and make them better, while for bottom performers, what can be improved are key questions to continually answer.

COS Asia: How many staff members do you manage?

Lim: The business has over 400 team members, contributing in their unique but collective ways.

COS Asia: Which is more challenging: managing your subordinates or your external clients?

Lim: I won’t use the term “challenging,” but “important,” instead. Both are equally challenging, but I find managing internal team members more important. If internal staff are managed well and taken care of, that team will handle the customers properly and naturally. As a leader, it is important to keep engaging the team and understanding their needs and wants for them to do their job well, and eventually gain better remuneration in return.

COS Asia: How closely do you work with your HR team? Which key parts of their job do you find yourself engaging with the most?

Lim: Training and staff grooming for succession purposes are the two areas I can add value to. Such efforts are coordinated with our HR team, making the overall outcome more meaningful to the business, the staff, and the organisation. We have a very supportive and proactive HR, or People Office, with ideas and initiatives for the global good and to serve the customers well.

This feature was extracted from Chief of Staff Asia's exclusive interview with Lim Kee Yeong, Executive Director for Enterprise Banking with Affin Bank in Malaysia. For further coverage please see any of the below links:

Lim Kee Yeong: Flying high during difficult times

Affin Bank Malaysia: Exercising management with care

Lim Kee Yeong: Life lessons from the banking world

Getting to know: Lim Kee Yeong, Affinbank's executive director of Enterprise Banking (March 24, 2022)

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