Since school, Yan Ling has always been passionate about engineering and solving problems. Joining Schindler Singapore in 2018, with a Bachelor’s in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, and experience at a previous engineering company, she was breaking the mold.
As the first female service leader for some time, and first female manager her new team ever had, she knew it would be a challenging journey. Nevertheless, she looked forward to the responsibility.
“In the interview, I was told the team would challenge me as they were not used to having a female leading them. But I knew I could do it and was ready for the challenge, because I love knowing that we’re providing a safe ride for our passengers,” she tells us.
So, how did she approach her new team?
“I started by being there for them when they needed me. I listened. But I also focused on providing challenging opportunities. I gained their trust and we bonded strongly, behind a common goal of delivering great results and excellent customer service,” she enthuses.
Yan Ling may not be physically as strong or as fast as some of her male colleagues, but the team recognize individual strengths and needs. “The team know my expectations and also my boundaries,” she adds.
Who has been there to help her when she needed it?
Yan Ling immediately recounts a clearly difficult and life changing experience…
“I was given the opportunity to participate in the Schindler Career Development Program (SCDP) qualification and had to travel to Hong Kong for the final assessment. I had a fever the previous night but decided to carry on anyway as it was a major opportunity for me.
When I heard that I was not selected, I was devastated and broke down. I felt like I had let everyone down. I lost all confidence and couldn’t even stand in front of my colleagues to give a simple presentation.
My boss at the time, Damien Durand, really supported me throughout this distressing period. He taught me how to gather myself and bounce back stronger. He truly listens to everyone and is always there for the team, as he was for me. Undoubtedly, he inspired me to be a good leader.”
What advice would Yan Ling give to others who might want to follow a dream, but lack confidence to do so?
“If you fail don’t be afraid to try again. There are lots of steps on the road to success – you must be brave to take the first one. After I failed the SCDP assessment, I was ashamed, but I didn’t need to be as everyone has their own pace of growth.
It’s also important to talk to people around you. In our culture, not everyone is comfortable sharing how they feel, so finding the right people is essential. My previous boss, Damien, was good at setting individual expectations and creating an open culture, without the need to guess how people were feeling. He also does not judge anyone and focuses on bringing the best out of everyone.” she says.
Adding another piece of advice for people who are leading a team: “Take care of the team, they will take care of the customers and results.”
How does Yan Ling enjoy spending her free time?
She smiles and says: “I love trekking. But with Covid, we haven’t been able to do so much. So instead, being at home more, I discovered online shopping – which I love! It’s so convenient. But mostly, I really enjoy just spending time with my family, doing fun things, or just being together.”