As Asia’s top Change Expert, I have coached numerous C-level top management teams to intern teams to lead a Project Team effectively.

Whistling Confessions

Originally I wrote this foundation article for KiniAcademy Muckraking program.

My purpose is to arm new Team Leaders on how to structure and lead their Investigative Journalism (IJ) Team to be more efficient, effective, and productive, with good leadership strategies.

The setting up, leadership and team-building of a Team or a Specialist Project or IJ Team are more or less the same, except for some unique IJ Pointers:


5 Pointers to Lead a Project or Investigative Journalist Team

1.  IJ Team / Project Synergies:
It is highly advisable for Investigative Journalists, whether they are Professionals working with Mainstream / Online Media or Amateur Bloggers, to work in pair, threes, or in a small group. This is also true for many projects in nature.


2.  IJ / Project Team Ground Rules:
When working with a team there are bound to be conflicts, arguments, expectations unmet because of: • Personality-Orientated Style clashes  • leadership style   • pace  • patterns  • hidden Personality Disorders (see DSM list below).

● No loose, useless chatter, gossiping, and side talking during meetings
● Be punctual for meetings. If punctuality discipline is getting out of control, implement a late fine that hurts.
Three strikes you are out. Every Team Member should be given 3 verbal and written WARNINGS with specific reasons given by the Admin – before Admin removes the trouble-maker Team Member.


3.  IJ / Project Team WhatsApp/ Facebook/ WeChat Group Ground Rules:
Post Group Ground Rules, and
● No direct selling, MLM, insurance sales, or any form of sales of products & services.
● No religious, racial, or political propaganda.
● Post only related topics, refrain from posting politics, religion, race, LGBT, unless the group is closely related to these topics, or it is of the Group INTEREST (but not public interest).


4.  IJ / Project Team Member Roles and Tasks:
● Disclose ASAP your concerns, conflicts with team members with the Team Leader/ conflicts with the Team Leader with the Team Sifu/ Mentor/ Group Head.
● Be highly mindful, aware and sensitive about Team Members’ pace, personality type (introverted, extroverted)


5.  IJ / Project Team Leader Roles and Tasks:

The most efficient Team Leader is the one who can delegate all tasks to his Team Members.
If not guess what? The Leader will have to do all leftover tasks that nobody have time to do, or is willing to do.

This way the Leader is FREE to help any struggling Team Member achieve her/his tasks, think of solutions in problem-solving, strategize, call more connections, and monitor progress of each Team Member.

● Run through the Team and Team WhatsApp Ground Rules before you start investigative process and project. Get every Team Member to agree with all the Ground Rules. Address any concerns Team Members may have.
● Be reasonably strict with loose, useless chatter, gossiping, and side talking during meetings
● First find out from every Team Member, ask them to fill these simple 2 questions:
1. Team Member Skills
2. Team Member Connections
● First ask each Team Member which roles and tasks you most prefer to do.
● For the remaining roles and tasks not voluntarily taken, look at each Team Member strengths, weaknesses, and time availability,  then discuss the assignments to be mutually agreed.
● Reassign if a Team Member becomes sick.
● Communicate your style of leadership, pace, style, patterns, time availability, and what are your expectations as a Team Leader.
● Assign regular roles for:
1. meeting summary/ call report  2. financial matters  3. time & schedule checker



Sample New Membership Introduction for WhatsApp/ Facebook Groups:

1. Be kind and courteous

We’re all in this together to create a welcoming environment. Let’s treat everyone with respect. Healthy debates are natural, but kindness is required.

2. No hate speech or bullying

Make sure everyone feels safe. Bullying of any kind isn’t allowed, and degrading comments about things such as race, religion, culture, sexual orientation, gender or identity will not be tolerated.

3. No promotions or spam

Give more to this group than you take. Self-promotion, spam and irrelevant links aren’t allowed.

4. Respect everyone’s privacy

Being part of this group requires mutual trust. Authentic, expressive discussions make groups great, but may also be sensitive and private. What’s shared in the group should stay in the group.

5. Strictly No Vulgarities

6. NO BLOCKING of Admins

7. 3 postings per day per member including moderators

With the exception of the few Admins.

Written: Robert Chaen

Published: 11th March 2020.


Hans Solo to Jedi IJ Team

SIDE STORY:  Switching from a Hans Solo writer to leading a Jedi Investigative Journalist Team

But since I began writing my blog around 2011, my writings do not have any Editor to critique. Therefore, all copy are self-edited and self-censored by myself. This means I can be super prolific and can write and publish one to five articles a day.

Nothing is more satisfying and fulfilling than seeing my writing published in a very short time as opposed to the much longer process of editing and publishing in a professional media news.

Working with a team is more challenging but the synergy is more than worthwhile. When working with a team there are bound to be conflicts, arguments, expectations unmet because of: • Personality-Orientated Style clashes  • leadership style   • pace  • patterns  • hidden Personality Disorders


ChangeU's 3 Personality-Orientated Styles for Effective Team Alignment

ChangeU’s 3 Personality-Orientated Styles for Effective Team Alignment
Click here for full details.

Firstly, identify your own Personality-Orientated Style.
Team members should know each other’s personality-orientation style, positive and negative sides.

1. Task-Orientated Style (Team Alphas):

2. People-Orientated Style (Team Player, Herd):

3. Self-Orientated Style (Lone Wolf Alpha):


Axes of DSM-IV

Understanding Mental & Personality Disorders (DSM). Everyone has one or more.

This is one of the best reference about Personality Disorders.

Cluster A (odd or eccentric disorders)

Cluster B (dramatic, emotional or erratic disorders)

Cluster C (anxious or fearful disorders)