Bossing It in association withLBB's Bossing It
Bossing It: Kanokkan Rinnachit on Being an Expert in Trial and Error
Advertising Agency
Bangkok, Thailand
Yell Advertising's Kanokkan on being reliable, carrying too much confidence and the importance of continuously growing

Kanokkan was Yell’s first employee, and the driving force behind their success story.

In an advertising agency, there are always new challenges, tasks, and ways to facilitate clients. Kanokkan is able to assist everyone at Yell, whether it is with equipment, technology, finance, or impossible requests from clients.

She is the ‘glue guy’ for Yell, bringing the team together on a daily basis. 

LBB> What was your first experience of leadership?  

Kanokkan> When starting a new job with Yell, I was the first generation and we were still called ‘Yellowmama’.  I was very young at the time, 21 years old, and just finished University a few days ago.  

I remembered the excitement about being a new permanent employee - it was challenging, but lots of fun working on my  own boundaries.  

Until time reached another big step. A lot of changes happened. People resigned and found a new path to continue their life. At the moment, I was thinking about trying a new path, but what if I made a wrong decision? What if I miss a great opportunity from this place? And yes, I stayed.  

Of course, the staying decision led me to a leading role immediately. With all the tasks and details, it was very challenging for me  to manage and that brought me the curiosity of what type of a leader I will be.  

Even though the pressure was very high, all the trial and error had proven me to be a good leader for the organisation and all colleagues. I am very grateful to myself that I made that ‘stay’ decision.  

LBB> How did you figure out what kind of leader you wanted to be – or what kind of leader you didn’t want to be?  

Kanokkan> After enrolling in my first position, I figured myself as an expert at trial and error. When I was young with not many tense experiences, I always made the wrong move.  

How can freshmen be supposed to know what’s the exact thing to do at their first try right? But the key thing is what we get to learn from all the mistakes we made.  

I want to be a leader that is fun, dependable, reliable, ready to stand by, always a force for everyone and being loved by colleagues. I think it's close now.  

LBB> What experience or moment gave you your biggest lesson in leadership?  

Kanokkan> The biggest lesson I learnt was when I carried too much confidence. I guess many top executives might also have been through this feeling as I did.  

But here’s the thing.  

Being a leader who sits and judges people around and not actually joining with the team and helping what they are facing turns out as a useless leader. And you won't be accepted as a good boss at all.  

They'll only pretend to respect you. 

Since then, I’ve learnt a lot from it and I changed. It was when I started a new mindset about being a good leader and caring more about people by helping, supporting them and  putting empathy in every action.  

LBB> Did you know you always wanted to take on a leadership role? If so how did you work towards it and if not, when did  you start realising that you had it in you? 

Kanokkan> I was never sure if a leadership role is what I’ve been aiming for but I'm always satisfied every time when I am responsible  for challenging tasks. 

Encountering difficulties can be seen as a big opportunity for me to grow myself through it. I believe that this way of working will lead me to the successful path. 

From my perspective, to be an ideal leader is to be able to manage what you are responsible for - knowing how to  effectively manage your assigned project including timing, process, people, etc.  

As I grow up, I think anyone who can manage and handle all the complicated projects is considered a cool boss.  

LBB> When it comes to 'leadership' as a skill, how much do you think is a natural part of personality, how much can be  taught and learned?  

Kanokkan> Leadership skill can be built in every single person. However, only a few of them succeed in the long term.  

I was not born as a perfect leader, but I receive a ‘chance’ to improve myself.  

Growing myself up with all the past experiences, I believe that the way I am will resonate with many people through all the perspective, attitude, and knowledge that could also eventually help them to be effective and passionate people.  

LBB> What are the aspects of leadership that you find most personally challenging? And how do you work through them?  

Kanokkan> Endless learning is a challenge. Leadership and knowledge are essential.  

I have always tried to seek for something new and always be alert to challenges myself to avoid the energy burnout.  

LBB> Have you ever felt like you've failed whilst in charge? How did you address the issue and what did you learn from it?  

Kanokkan> I’ve lived with failure all the time, and I've learned a lot from them. But it trained me to move on faster and learn not to make the same mistake again  

Of course, getting used to failure is very painful. But hey! Just have fun with it! Failure is human nature.  

LBB> In terms of leadership and openness, what’s your approach there? Do you think it’s important to be as transparent as  possible in the service of being authentic? Or is there a value in being careful and considered? 

Kanokkan> I'm a very straight forward person. It might be my downside sometimes too lol.  

So, I learned to adjust the way I communicate and always be aware about the comfort of the listeners - both my beloved customers and staff.  

However, I still valued the sincerity and directness to the present because I think it’s another honest way to express. 

LBB> As you developed your leadership skills did you have a mentor, if so who were/are they and what have you learned?  And on the flip side, do you mentor any aspiring leaders and how do you approach that relationship?  

Kanokkan> Our VP and CEO is an opportunity giver. 

I had the opportunity to get involved in building Yell since day one.  

They are counted as my role models. The way they convey good ideas let me develop myself to become who I am today.  I could say I’m willing and will always be ready to take further steps with them, and will help support my people like  the way they support me.  

Another important part is all the Yell Staff.  

Working with different generations with many incredible creative ideas 

Being a consultant and listening every problems as a mentor  

Putting down egoless and open-up for all feedbacks  

These are all elements that help me grow as well.  

LBB> It's been a really challenging year - and that's an understatement. How do you cope with the responsibility of leading a team through such difficult waters?

Kanokkan> The challenge is to give yourself permission to be wrong. Move on fast and learn from mistakes.  

LBB> This year has seen the industry confronted with its lack of action/progress on diversity and inclusion. As a leader how have you dealt with this?  

Kanokkan> I like the variety. This business requires creativity and the Yell team is very diverse.  

Since background, preferences, lifestyle, and tastes in each team are very different.  

You might not believe how we manage all these differences and get along so well like one big family. I like and feel comfortable every time hearing different opinions from every one of my staff.  

Yell is a society where there are no other norms to judge us because we all have the same destination to be successful together. It is more important than having some requirements that regulate our people and block us from suggesting ideas.  

LBB> How important is your company culture to the success of your business? And how have you managed to keep it  alive with staff working remotely in 2020?  

Kanokkan> Culture creates the best teamwork. This is what I believe. Culture is very important especially in a creative organisation.  

VP, CEO, and all of us consider it as a key to keep us in harmony and united. Of course, success at work is primarily including the rewards and progress. But culture does play a huge part to reach those successes.  

To keep Yell alive and all the remote workers in this period, we provide many new services to support their new normal working style and to provide comfort to each of them as much as we can. 

Remaining our warm culture, always open-up for staff’s suggestions, preparing for changes and managing new regulations to meet our people’s needs are what we do to keep those smiles from the Yell people.  

Teamwork is also the heart of success in each job.  

Among the competitiveness and diversity especially in the era where things can be changed in every second, living up as a team and keeping the happiness in each of them will affect the positive and productive atmosphere.  

LBB> What are the most useful resources you’ve found to help you along your leadership journey?

Kanokkan> The people around me are my most useful resource. I will never come close to success if my important team is missing 

Openness and trust around my people allows me to hear their messages. I appreciate every comment and every idea that helps me develop myself to be a better version every day.