So You Know What People Really Think?

Have you ever noticed that people don’t always really say what they think?

I was in an elevator once in Singapore with a well dressed professional man who appeared to be in his late fifties. A young woman in extremely tight black pants, three inch heels and a low-cut red satin blouse stepped on at a middle floor.

He smiled in her direction and stated, “that’s a quite a stunning outfit.”

She gave him a big smile back, however, when she exited at the next floor and once the elevator door had closed, he turned and said to me…

“She looked like a tramp. How could a woman dress like that in a professional building?”

People rarely tell you what they really think, unless you insist. Especially when you’re the boss and you’ve just given a presentation, some will say “great job” and then they’ll slice and dice the speech when you’re out of sight.

People will not risk candour if there is nothing in it for them. So, if you want to know, you have to ask and also seek their opinion… You need to show that you really want to know.

Please take a moment to ponder… ask and seek opinions from the people close to you… be open to hear what they have to say in reply… it is only an opinion after all? It is not necessarily the truth… so relax… hear it and see what you can apply and learn.

Do not miss these opportunities for positive (or negative) feedback they can greatly improve you as a person.


Joseph Bismark
Group Managing Director, QI Ltd

Authentic Leadership

Being candid is essential to authentic leadership.

You have to learn to speak your mind. You have to convey your opinion without fear, pretty language and qualifiers. Authenticity is about the truth. The truth requires candour.

Any leader knows when and how to be candid and they don’t avoid it!

Please take a moment to ponder. Be brave and always be candid!

People want to hear the truth even if it may hurt to do so.


Joseph Bismark
Group Managing Director, QI Ltd

Share Your Values

Sharing your values with your office mates and friends is a sure way to build bridges.

People prefer leaders or managers with the courage to talk about their convictions and beliefs over those who just say what everyone wants to hear.

It really is that simple: Express your values and act on your values and people will respect you and believe that you are genuine.

Please take a moment to ponder on the idea: The key to success is speaking out and sharing your values with people and from there you begin to gain their respect.

People will recognise your contribution. It is not in the title or position that you can use to influence people… it is in the values that you believe in.

This is where you can truly lead people in the direction that they also wish to go.


Joseph Bismark
Group Managing Director, QI Ltd

Polish Your Professional Image

Prior to my corporate exposure, I grew up in a community where personal grooming was never an issue.

When we founded QI in 1998 it came as a shock to me when Dato Vijay told me that I was a crappy dresser and that I would have to start dressing up like a CEO and that I would have to do some personal grooming myself.

Initially, I felt a little insulted by his candour, but after some thought…
“only a true friend would tell me this”

Most people will only tell us how good we look, even if we are poorly dressed.

Image is important especially in your own office. Your office, board room, conferences and surroundings are all part of your overall image. Likewise, your outfit and accessories matter, from the suit and tie you wear to your hair style…

If you try to cover that balding head with whatever little hair is left… it will appear pathetic… accept that you’re balding and do not attempt hiding it… accept it and shave your head or wear your hair short… be confident and do not be conscious of reality… people will accept you for what you are and how you look… your briefcase, pen, watches and shoes are all a part of self presentation.

It is this professional image that you have to sell in a first time encounter with any business clients or customers.

We must understand the language of clothing in the business world. Whether your office is business-casual or more formal, you must have a wardrobe that works well in all types of events that you will have to attend. You have to set the tone and have to be ahead of the game.

Consistency of image is very important. Even if you’re accustomed to shopping for your wardrobe… seek assistance from a wardrobe consultant. You will rarely get honest feedback from people you know because the subject is so sensitive and personal.

Please take a moment to look into the mirror and ponder on how you can improve your professional image.


Joseph Bismark
Group Managing Director, QI Ltd

What Kind of Manager Are You?

There are two kinds of managers and both types communicate in two very different styles.

One is the Hands-On: They criticise and judge their staff.

If, as a manager, you choose to judge (criticism, implied or otherwise), you will provoke defensiveness and withdrawal, not creativity or productivity.

When you hammer your people or find them coming up short, this is when you then start to criticise and micromanage them. In this age of sensitivity of the knowledge-based worker, that is a self-destructive cycle. It engenders nothing but resentment.

When we judge our people and then hold grudges, we are giving our power away. When we resent a team member, we are giving that power to that person we are angry with by allowing him/her to occupy and dominate our thinking. The real power in leadership comes from partnering with your staff and not criticising them.

The other one type is the Hands-Off: They mentor and coach their staff.

The ‘hands-off’ manager sets himself apart by retaining all his power. His practice is to understand everyone he meets. By doing this, he is reducing his own stress level at work. He is completely aware that every time he judges someone, he alters his own well-being.

So he refuses to assign the responsibility for negative feelings to that person he is tempted to judge. He assigns the responsibility for this low feeling to the thought he has formed about that person. Only these thoughts create stress, not the people. This is his mental attitude.

Please take a moment to ponder… What kind of a manager are you?

Your friend,

Joseph Bismark
Group Managing Director, QI Ltd

Have You Refuelled?

Just like a car needs petrol to move towards its destination, a person needs regular ‘refuelling’ of the spirit to reach his or her desired destination in life.

Most people fail to ‘refuel’ and they stop and halt without moving on further in life. Then they wonder “Why?” or most of the time, blame others but not themselves for not being able to move forward. Hey dude you’re out of gas! You need to top up!

You need to ‘refuel’ and never again allow your tank to run low. Always remember to look at your gasoline gauge.

Please take a moment to ponder… Let us not complicate life. Understand its simplicity and work in harmony with its flow.

Find that person or place where you can go regularly for ‘refuelling’. This is a must! Never let your spirit run out or run low.

“In everyone’s life at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being.

We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the human spirit.”
– Albert Schweitzer

Your friend,

Joseph Bismark
Group Managing Director, QI Ltd