Making a Difference with Leadership

Rob Hale1 and Wirichada Pan-ngum2

  1. Maynard Leigh Associates, Rivington Street, London, UK
  2. Mahidol-Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit and Department of Tropical Hygiene, Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand

Correspondence to Wirichada Pan-ngum (PhD),
Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, 420/6 Rajvithi Road, Ratchathewi, Bangkok, 10400, Thailand. Email:;


In the fast-changing world of today we need to lead under many uncertainties. What skills and approach will a young generation of leaders need in order to make a difference to an organization and to the people within it? This challenging question was the starting place for developing a 2-year Leadership Development and Personal Effectiveness programme at two collaborations between Oxford University and medical research units at Mahidol University, Thailand (MORU) and Ho Chi Minh City’s Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Vietnam (OUCRU). The Make a Difference programme aims to support an upcoming generation of leaders. Many scientists and others have found themselves taking increasing responsibility in their jobs and before they know it, they are supervising and managing people and doing what is required to get things done. This 2-year training and coaching programme seeks to identify and promote critical capabilities for emerging leaders who wish to create positive change. This article details the philosophy and content of leadership development that places self-knowledge, skilled communication, emotional intelligence and relationship building at the heart of leadership and asks questions regarding the transferability of typically western leadership approaches in an South East Asian context.

Keywords: Leadership, Coaching, Cultural, Academia, Emotional intelligence