Feature Interview: FPT Software First Chairwoman on Leadership and Compassion

In this interview, FPT Software’s newly appointed Chairwoman Chu Thi Thanh Ha shared her thoughts on leadership, the role of women in tech, and how she looks to build long-term, sustainable growth for the firm.

Congratulations Ms. Ha on your new role and thank you for sparing your valuable time for us. So you’ve had more than two decades as a senior executive of a technology company,  FPT Telecom before and now FPT Software. In your view, what makes a good leader?

First off, a truly effective leader needs to lead by example. When you are the head of an organization, people look to you for guidance, so you must role model the thoughts and actions that you would like to see in others. Besides, a leader has to think far ahead and prepare for whatever may come. You need to navigate your organization. Also, as a leader, it is important that you care about the people who follow you. Are they capable enough? Are they happy? What problems do they have in life? How do you help them? A leader with vision would drive the organization to go far, while empathy would make sure employees are in it for the long haul.

It seems that women are more likely to be compassionate leaders? 

Oftentimes, women are more empathetic, thoughtful and detailed. It is human nature. But for anyone to become a leader, especially of an IT company, he or she must keep learning. That is one of the pressures and challenges that any leaders in this industry have to face. So one must never stop learning, updating knowledge, and working hard to think far beyond.

Do you see any differences between women-led IT companies and those led by their counterparts?

I do not see any gaps between male and female leaders. My top management goal is to create an equal work environment where anyone can reach their potential. I believe that when my employees have grown more capable than I am, then they are my organization’s blessings. Sure, in different areas of an organization, there will be people with better expertise. But it is important that the leader gets the best out of all available resources and make them work in harmony. Better employees, better organization!

“My top management goal is to create an equal work environment where anyone can reach their potential”, said Ms. Ha

On the very first day as FPT Software Chairwoman, you said that you wanted to build FPT Software as a company of compassion. Why?

In recent years, FPT Software has really focused on globalization and digital transformation. Every process has been automated, and employees just stick to procedures without even knowing their bosses. But it is the human connection that keeps people motivated and drives an organization forward. If you go to work every morning full of love for your office and the people around you, your attitude towards work would be different. I wish FPT Software could stretch far enough and, at the same time, generate positive energy so we could go far together.

For FPT Software, I am not concerned about growth, but rather, how to sustain that growth. So my team and I are working on how to make sure the company would move this fast in the next three, five or even ten years. It is the durable growth that matters.

As we celebrate the month of women, do you have any messages to the women out there, especially those working in technology where men are still dominating?

I see around me lots of powerful and capable women, but many are restricted to household boundaries. It is their disadvantage. If women are offered the same conditions are men, they could definitely do more.

I do think that women should spend more time on themselves and their loved ones. No matter how busy you are, try to offer yourself enough time for exercising, shopping, spa treatment, rather than getting too invested in work.

Thank you very much!