Dialah's Story

Dialah Hutabalian / 10 min read

Transforming doubt into confidence.

People holding a banner

Dialah Hutabalian is the Competency and Knowledge Manager at ANTAM, a state-owned Indonesian mining company, where he has worked for 16 years. He oversees a team of four individuals tasked with delivering technical and leadership training programs to over 2,000 employees. Dialah has a real passion for learning and developing others and has also been a Professional Certified Coach (ICF accredited) for eight years, empowering individuals within ANTAM and beyond.

Transitioning from a functional position to a managerial role, Dialah needed to enhance his leadership abilities and address some personal gaps. He aimed to understand himself better to lead his team more effectively, fostering a culture where team members take ownership of their goals, the team's objectives, and ANTAM's overarching purpose.  
In 2023, Dialah took part in a Common Purpose programme to help him work towards these goals, building his confidence and empathy, and helping him to develop a high-performing team.

Overcoming confidence gaps

Dialah often grappled with feelings of inferiority and apprehension when interacting with senior individuals, and those from different cultural backgrounds. His tendency was to remain passive, listening rather than actively participating, driven by a tendency to overthink and a fear of speaking up.

“I have fears, overthinking and full of judgements on myself. That is the burden that I wanted to work on because through that I can be more productive, I can be more flexible.”

Dialah's perspective shifted after an enlightening encounter with Ina Lepel, the German Ambassador to Indonesia, who was invited to speak on the programme. Engaging in a casual conversation with her during a lunch break, Dialah realized he could interact comfortably with someone of significant stature without feeling burdened by complex discussions.

“I found that she was very humble to let me speak with her during the lunch break. It opened my mind that I can even talk with an ambassador without any burden. Because we don’t have to talk about the complex problems. We just talked about family, hobbies, passions.”

By interacting with a breadth of well-established leaders from around the world, Dialah was able to see leadership in new ways and shed self-limiting beliefs, enabling him to fully engage in conversations.

Man speaking to a group of people

Dialah’s Common Purpose programme helped him develop in his management role, increased his confidence, and enabled him to lead his team with empathy and accountability.

Shifting mindset
Dialah's managerial approach initially prioritized results and targets, overlooking the significance of empathy in his interactions. To have empathy and compassion in my relationships with my team is something that I also felt was a gap.

Recognizing the need to infuse empathy and compassion into his relationships, he embraced Common Purpose’s Cultural Intelligence framework which emphasizes on active listening and curiosity, prompting Dialah to adopt a more human-centric approach in his role at ANTAM, and the relationships he built in his team.

Reflecting on his experiences with programme participants and guest speakers, Dialah realized the value of engaging in informal and personal conversations. This prompted a shift in his approach, moving away from directive instructions towards asking questions to empower his team members.

What I practise every day now, is not to tell others what to do. I'm not telling the team what to do and I shift to asking more questions. The art of asking questions is something that I must keep doing more of.

“Collaborate with courage and compassion, with curiosity and an open mind. It’s not just focusing on the problem; it’s focusing on the people and the situations they find themselves in.”

Experiencing growth

Post-programme, Dialah found himself more confident in engaging with senior figures within ANTAM. His newfound comfort in speaking up and asking questions was evident during collaborations with the Director of Human Resources, particularly in discussions with counterparts from the Indonesian Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources. Dialah's increased assertiveness and ease in such conversations marked a significant personal milestone, contrasting with his previous reluctance to engage with others who he felt inferior to.

“Last year, I wouldn’t have been able to do that, I would’ve been silent and maybe wouldn’t have even wanted to interact with them. But I was holding my part in the conversations without any fear. It felt easy going and seeing it happen made me very happy.” 

Dialah's evolution from a functional role to a managerial position at ANTAM is a testament to personal growth and leadership development. By prioritizing empathy and adopting a more human-centric approach, Dialah not only overcame his own barriers but also fostered a culture of empowerment within his team, making significant strides in his professional journey.

Dialah Hutabalian is the Competency and Knowledge Manager for PT Aneka Tambang Tbk (ANTAM). 
He took part in the ASEAN Leaders Programme, in 2023.

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