Nga Vuong, as described by her colleagues, is a direct and determined female director. As Managing Director, she successfully led RGF Executive Search Vietnam with two offices in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. (RGF Executive Search is a Japanese company under Recruit Holdings — the fourth largest global corporation in Human Resources and Technology). Subsequently, she became Head of Learning and Development and managed the corporation’s regional Southeast-Asian employees.
Now, she has transitioned to independent work as an advisor in business strategy, organizational structuring, and leadership training. Additionally, she works as a headhunter for executive personnel and a mentor for many businesses in employee training.
Vietcetera recently had an opportunity to sit down with Nga Vuong as she shared lessons she has learned both from life and more than 20 years of experience in human resources, education, and personnel training.
What are core values that you will never compromise?
I only have one core value and that is integrity. Integrity implies a sense of sincerity, honesty, and enthusiasm in every aspect of work and life. In everything I do, I always ask myself two questions, “Is it true to my heart?” and “Does it negatively affect anyone?” I want to ensure that what I do works towards positive outcomes.
I don’t lie. From a young age, I always knew exactly what I wanted and clearly expressed that desire. I am always honest with myself and others. Even in difficult situations tinged by tension, I try to find ways to reach mutual understanding and acceptance. I don’t use arguments to lead others in a certain direction.
In the headhunting industry, there is a notion that individuals have to lie about the position for which they are recruiting to attract candidates. I don’t do that. Instead, I provide candidates with the most accurate information. I allow the candidates to decide for themselves with information and analysis. In truth, nothing is perfect, and being able to accept immediate sacrifices for greater opportunities is an invaluable lesson.
Has this value ever interfered with your professional life?
In the consulting profession, maintaining our integrity is a challenge because we have to communicate and build relationships with many people. As many instances in life, the truth can generate inconveniences. Especially in consulting, some customers might not like what they are hearing, even it is the best available option.
Communication is always a difficult challenge but it’s what makes me excited. I believe there are no restrictions to human potential. You just need to focus on your thinking and you’ll find a way to appropriately communicate your honest thoughts without being hurtful.
Until now, I still embrace this core value and will never trade it. If I have a great job opportunity that requires me to compromise my own principles and values that I have built, I will immediately refuse the job.
Do you have any advice for young people in of human resources, education, and training?
Sincerity in your work
Put all your energy into the work you do. Don’t be fearful of vulnerability or lack of recognition for your contributions. Those thoughts will inadvertently diminish your enthusiasm. Just give your best effort, and your contributions will always be acknowledged. Quality work is what helps you prove yourself and your abilities over time.
And to be tireless in your job, you must first pursue a career path that you love. Close your eyes, forget about the opinions of family, people around you, or the financial burden. What do you love doing the most? Follow that to the end.
Be competitive but not envious
At work, competition will help you improve. However, you have to differentiate competition from envy. Envy is very dangerous. Competition helps you reconsider your shortcomings and motivates you to move forward. In contrast, envy will impact your ability to objectively reflect and observe. It will prevent you from learning from other people.
You must give yourself a positive spirit and a positive mindset. To avoid turning competitiveness into jealousy, just look and evaluate the situation. Don’t let emotions obstruct your ability to improve.
Communicate with your superiors
Leaders play an important role in recognizing and enabling your growth. A superior who objectively evaluates people will be a source of motivation for you to work harder. It’s a blessing if you’re able to have a superior like that. But if not, give them time, and openly communicate with them so that they can see your ability.
You must know how to communicate skillfully, avoid confronting them with negative comments and questions like “Why have I not been recognized properly for my hard work ?”
Instead, you should ask them for their feedback and show them that you are very sincere and thoughtful. When the opposing person feels unthreatened, they will be more willing to receive information from you. Perhaps after the exchange, your superior will begin to direct more attention to your ability.
Use sincerity and respect to raise your opinion. After everything, if you still feel unjustified, find a new work environment. There are a lot of opportunities out there. Don’t stay in an environment that doesn’t fit you.
Take initiative for yourself
At the beginning of their career, everyone desires a mentor as a stepping stone to further development. I am also a mentor for many young individuals, but I always tell people that it is you who “holds the steering wheel”. You should look at everything presented to you and decide what you want to learn.
A mentor is just the person who will ignite your potential and share their accumulated experiences and wisdom. But each person has a personal view of the world. In the end, it’s you who understands yourself the most. Hence, learn from anyone, as long as they have good things to learn from.
When I give out advice and guidance, I don’t expect people to strictly follow it. Every decision produces an outcome, which can either be effective or inconsequential. However, there is no right or wrong because each outcome can be applicable to other situations. The important thing is that you learn from the experience and gain a broader view that can be applied in the future.
You are always free to make decisions, but learn to analyze options and live with your decisions. If you make a mistake, find a way to solve it. By doing that, you will mature and become more confident.
Adapted by Lauren Nguyen
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