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Vertical and horizontal work cultures: first-hand account

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By Kim Yeon-ji

On my third day working at the Independent Evaluation Unit (IEU) of the Green Climate Fund (GCF), I found myself supporting my director at a GCF board meeting in Geneva. The GCF is the United Nations' biggest climate fund and is based in Songdo.

As a newcomer, my first time at the board meeting was quite nerve-racking. During a short break, I remained in the meeting room to take care of some urgent tasks. My director left the room and then completely surprised me by returning with a cup of water for me to drink.

That instant, I was awestruck. I should have gone out to bring water to her, not have her bring water to me! I quickly blamed myself for not having done so, but it soon became evident that my director saw it as something she could do for her team members.

One of her favorite sayings is that she is "sitting on the shoulders of giants" and that the only thing she can take credit for is the job of having put together a great team of talented and dedicated individuals. In essence, she calls all her team members "giants" regardless of their rank or title.

Even when I offered to help carry her wheeled suitcase to the meeting venue, she said no need and walked out the hotel door briskly with her laptop and suitcase. I........

© The Korea Times

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