Dr Austin Tay


What a January it has been! I have waited for at least the past five months to move from a hot climate to one filled with cold and rain. Finally, yes, I have arrived in the UK. Although this is not a surprise move, still it has not been an easy process. With emotions on tenterhooks (not knowing whether I will be able to fly and waiting earnestly for the results of the pre-departure Covid Test), I am only glad to have landed in Heathrow, London on the wee hours of 25 January.

In the winter, arriving in the UK can be daunting physically and mentally. While I was ready for both, human incompetence was one that I did not see coming. It was a long string of what can go wrong did go wrong. All best-laid plans somehow were just waylaid. One of the frequent phrases I hear is, “Welcome to the UK! Things do not happen fast. They take time.”

I reckon that what has been helpful is that I have now learned to not hold too high of an expectation here in the UK. After all, I am too used to things working slightly faster, but not necessarily always workable, in Asia. The frustrations I have experienced thus far will only make me feel worse than I am if I allow them to linger. So I am thankful that now I am getting into a routine, a pattern that I know I require to make this transition to the UK worthwhile.

I am still getting used to the time zone differences (Asia being 8 hours ahead of the UK and Central European Time is not the same as Greenwich Meridian Time!) However, I am grateful that I have swapped the smells and sounds of a busy Asian cosmopolitan city to a tranquil, slow-paced office space where I can see a beautiful break of the dawn and vast countryside. I am comfortable swapping my power suits for a bit of country flair – woollies and wellies.

It has been a long time since I have written something in this blog. For those who have followed me, apologies for this long silence.

So what have I been doing for the past two years?

It has been a very tough two years for many, and I have, like, many people have gone through lots of upheavals. But I am somewhat of an optimist. I know that while we are still going through lots of uncertainties in the world, one thing I know is that I have a choice. I can choose to dwell on the negatives or use the time I have to do something.

That was precisely what I did. 2020 to 2021 was filled with incredible work, which I am very grateful for. Thanks to technology (particularly ZOOM), I could still do my work using my laptop and a couple of fancy apps.

What I have learned in the past two years are:

  1. Unexpected things are going to happen
  2. Not to dismiss the real emotions that I experienced, I am only human
  3. Learn to step out of the realm of emotions and look at how to move forward (it is not easy, but a little step is a good start)
  4. Be thankful for help and opportunities
  5. Be tenacious and push on towards the goal I have set myself (I completed a professional coaching program within the stipulated time I set for myself)
  6. To let go of things and people who are not going to serve me as I continue to develop and grow
  7. Every day is a new opportunity to learn
  8. Self-care is as critical as my work

What I shared might resonate with some of you. To some, I might come across as a positive person. I instead considered myself pragmatic because I know that while it is ok to feel sad, frustrated, and the plethora of ’not so good emotions’, I see them as normal emotions that all of us need to go through. However, because these emotions are often related to a context or situation, the way to help ourselves is to move away from the context and towards the context and situation that will make you thrive. So it is ok to feel not so good. However, the way to prevent yourself from dwelling on the ’not so good is to move towards the feeling of good.

In this episode, I will discuss what a leader needs to do to improve team spirit or morale.  Self-assessment, re-engage, re-align and re-commit.


Ishaq, E., Bashir, S. and Khan, A.K. (2021), Paradoxical Leader Behaviors: Leader Personality and Follower Outcomes. Applied Psychology, 70: 342-357. https://doi.org/10.1111/apps.12233

Zhang, Y., & Liu, S.M. (2021). Balancing employees’ extrinsic requirements and intrinsic motivation: A paradoxical leader behaviour perspective. European Management Journal, Vol 40 (1), 127-136

Thuan, L.C. and Thanh, B.T. (2020), “Leader knowledge sharing behavior and follower creativity: the role of follower acquired knowledge and prosocial motivation”, Journal of Workplace Learning, Vol. 32 No. 6, pp. 457-471.

Jiang, J., Gao, A., & Yang, B. (2018, January 1). Employees’ Critical Thinking, Leaders’ Inspirational Motivation, and Voice Behavior: The Mediating Role of Voice Efficacy. Journal of Personnel Psychology, 17(1), 33–41.

In this episode, I discussed self-awareness. We hear this frequently in the workplace, but what should we be mindful of when it comes to self-awareness? I share some strategies to become more self-aware of yourself, your thoughts, perceptions, and how to work and create relationships with others effectively.

We all assume, and often we take our assumptions as truths. When we do so, we start to overthink and refuse to look at other alternative explanations which are evidence-based. In this podcast, I share four tips to help you to deal with your assumptions.

Please find the research mentioned in this episode below

  • Timms, C., Brough, P., & Graham, D. (2012). Burnt‐out but engaged: the co‐existence of psychological burnout and engagement. Journal of Educational Administration.
  • Freudenberger, H. (1974), “Staff burnout”, Journal of Social Issues, Vol. 30, pp. 159-64.
  • Maslach, C., Schaufeli, W.B. and Leiter, M.P. (2001), “Job burnout”, Annual Review of Psychology, Vol. 52, pp. 397-422.
  • Borman, W. C., & Motowidlo, S. J. (1993). Expanding the criterion domain to include elements of contextual performance. In N. Schmitt, W. C. Borman, & Associates (Eds.), Personnel selection in organizations: 71–98. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass
  • Wang, G. and Lee, P.D. (2009), “Psychological empowerment and job satisfaction: an analysis of interactive effects”, Group and Organization Management, Vol. 34, pp. 271-96.
  • Laschinger, H.K.S. and Finegan, J. (2005), “Using empowerment to build trust and respect in the workplace: a strategy for addressing the nursing shortage”, Nursing Economics, Vol. 231, pp. 6-13. Laschinger, H.K.S., Finegan, J., Shamian, H. and Wilk, P. (2004), “A longitudinal analysis of the impact of workplace empowerment on work satisfaction”, Journal of Organizational Behavior, Vol. 25, pp. 527-45.
  • May,D.R., Gilson, R.L. and Harter, L.M. (2004), “The psychological conditions of meaningfulness, safety and availability and the engagement of the human spirit at work”, Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, Vol. 77, pp. 11-37.

Being authentic can differ from one to another. I was confronted with the question of authenticity recently. Specifically, the questions were raised by those pursuing their studies and those working adults. I do not profess to have the answers, but the question did make me think about how I can be authentic.

To me, being authentic is to bring your genuine self regardless of the situation. As human beings, we are so caught up with how society and others want us to present ourselves that we lose the actual connection to ourselves, thus losing our authentic selves. We start to live by the rules of others and not take a moment to consider what we genuinely think, feel and want to say. One can argue that we become argumentative, pushy and obnoxious when we are authentic. That is precisely what I mean when we are too caught up with what others think of us. Then we will impose those views on ourselves, making us afraid to be authentic. Being authentic does not mean you do not have a discourse with others; I am suggesting that while you are entitled to share your genuine thoughts and feelings, you should never think that your thoughts and feelings are above those of others. While we present our authentic selves, we must also learn to accept others even when their thoughts and emotions differ.

I do not want to get into the debate of what is right and wrong in the eyes of society. Instead, I want to encourage those who are feeling not authentic to pause and ponder.

  • What do you want for yourself? (not what others want for you!). Be informed and not just take what is trending out in popular culture. We are all designed uniquely. Thus we are capable of our thoughts and emotions. We do not need to follow what the masses are doing.
  • Understanding what you want for yourself, what will you do to achieve that? What might come your way as you proceed towards what you want to achieve? You are the architect of your journey; never allow others to tell you otherwise. However, be warned that the trajectory can be bumpy as life is.
  • Surround yourself with kindred spirits. Never feel obliged to conform but question when in doubt. After all, we want to embrace our uniqueness and, at the same time, also embrace differences.
  • When you are in the habit of labelling yourself, think about why you do so. Would you always go to be what you labelled yourself? Human beings are adaptable; we can change ourselves, even though it might be uncomfortable.