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Challenges Faced by the Multinational Companies – Leadership Qualities continued to (Part 3 of 4)

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© 2017 Martin Zafirov, PhD Student, New Bulgarian University (F29144)

 Edited by: Yara Mohamed, Mona Timor Shehata

Published by: Ahmed Mohamed Hassan

In an article about the issues of leadership in the new environment in which the business activity of the organisations takes place (and particularly within the multinational organisations), Katherine Leviss[1] describes the main skills (qualities), which every innovative leader possesses: First, the innovative leader never describes themselves as such. This quality probably is due to the fact that the new type of leaders prefer to be evaluated by their employees (by the teams they lead) instead of declaring themselves as innovators on their own. In my opinion, this quality works in favour of the leaders, since every case of over-the-top declaration of their own greatness lowers their value in the opinion of their team.

Second and third, some of the qualities which the new leaders possess are that they rarely talk about innovations and they do not focus the attention on the fact that their actions lead to the creation of innovations. Within the context of the previous explanation, these two qualities leave the impression that the new leaders prefer to focus on their work instead of “advertising” it before the team, the owners, and the public. In other words, they let the end results “speak” for their achievements. The fourth really specific quality of the new type of leaders is that they do not proclaim each new or different result of their activity an innovation. Achieving a result which is different from the one set as the desired one, or achieving a better result, or using a different approach for solving the particular problem, is not always analogous to an innovation, i.e., it cannot be seen as the same as an innovation.

Last, but not least, innovation is not seen as a strategic marker, managerial philosophy or a driving force. This statement seems logical based on the thoughts presented earlier. But I believe that it is not possible to achieve development (improvement) and better results (in terms of quality and quantity) if the organisation does not grant innovational activity the place it deserves. In an environment characterised by constant change and increasing complexity, an organisation, especially a multinational one, cannot adapt with and achieve long-term success without focusing its attention on innovations. They should be seen as a competitive advantage for the company, but not as the only certain source of success.

Another interesting main point in Leviss’ article is the comparison between what the innovative leaders do better compared to the leaders who are not innovators. Innovative leaders manage risk more successfully than normal leaders who are not innovators. Innovative leaders also are much more successful at seizing opportunities for success; or in other words, they succeed at achieving higher efficiency of the business activity of the company. Innovative leaders demonstrate more non-innovative leaders. Innovative leaders perform their actions with much more courage and belief compared to other leaders and they see the strategic perspective for the development of the organisation for which they work.

The order and accuracy of the work of the innovative leaders is the area where they show weaker results than the leaders for whom innovation is not natural. The reasoning made regarding the necessity of a new type of leaders in an environment of accelerating globalisation and the necessity of them performing their actions within multinational companies, as well as an overview of the arguments already presented on this issue, lead to the conclusion that there are six main principles which the new type of leader should follow. These principles may be summarised as follows:

  • The leader should be able to notice the context of the change (as history and development).
  • The leader should be able to identify the challenges before the change.
  • The new leader should be able to regulate the distress, to understand the pain which change is causing, but also to provide confidence at the same time.
  • The new leader should be able to keep the teams constantly concentrated on the adaptation issues.
  • The leader should implement subsidiarity – decisions should be taken at the specific managerial and functional level.
  • Last, but not least, the leader should also provide support for the persons who point out the internal contradictions within the organisation.

To summarise regarding the qualities which the new leader should possess: His  or her activity should be in many aspects. First, the leader should look for balance and efficiency in personality management through self-knowledge and reflection—these are aggregations of the impacts of the business environment on the personal experience and the action approaches. Second, the actions of the leader should be aimed at managing the organisation in a way that will lead to building structures and communication networks within it while taking into account their impact on the organisation’s development. Third, a successful leader should be able to deal with the different circumstances which arise in the interaction between the organisation and the different “worlds” around it by acting from the position of the “edge” between these two zones. A fourth quality which the leader should possess is managing the relations with different subjects in order to be able to develop cooperation, self-control, and self-assessment within the company. Last, the leader should be able to deal successfully with managing changes (active interaction between the personality management, organisational management, dealing with circumstances and dealing with managing of the changes as a constant entanglement of reflections, interactions, and specific actions for sensing and spreading the change).

List of References:

  • Graham-Leviss, K., The 5 Skills That Innovative Leaders Have in Common, published on: 20 December 2016, available at: https://hbr.org/2016/12/the-5-skills-that-innovative-leaders-have-in-common
  • [1] Graham-Leviss, K., The 5 Skills That Innovative Leaders Have in Common, published on: 20 December 2016, available at: https://hbr.org/2016/12/the-5-skills-that-innovative-leaders-have-in-common

Magazine

DECODING FUTURE HR: Global 24 hour virtual event | 19 and 20 January 2021

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DECODING FUTURE HR: Today’s challenges are tomorrow’s trends and opportunities

Global 24 hour virtual event | 19 and 20 January 2021

www.decodinghrevent.com

The world in 2020 has changed to a ‘new normality’ but what’s that ‘new normality’ everybody talks about? Is it here to stay? How is it affecting us in our daily lives in the different versions of ourselves? As a customer, an entrepreneur, a parent, a friend…a worker…

Our job is a key part of our lives and we are indeed living through a fundamental transformation in the way we work. Automation and ‘thinking machines’ are replacing human tasks and jobs, and changing the skills that organisations are looking for in their people. These momentous changes raise huge organisational, talent and other HR challenges. It has become clear that few organisations are likely to revert to pre-pandemic practices even after a vaccine is found.

Decoding Future HR 2021 is bringing you the ideology of how today’s challenges are becoming tomorrow’s trends and opportunities resulting in HR excellence.

Why you should attend:

  • Learn about the trends and best practices shaping future HR
  • Get valuable insights from expert speakers
  • Share ideas and research to help your organisation reach its goals
  • Understand what do employees want in ‘New Normal’
  • Develop new vision for HRBP and Centre of Expertise
  • Identify, integrate and understand stakeholders to create an intentional employee experience
  • Approaches and elements to leadership development.

Some of our confirmed speakers:

  • Tshepo Yvonne Mosadi , Human Resources Director, The HEINEKEN Company
  • Sarah Tabet, Global HR Director/ D&I Leader | Author for “Inclusion Starts with U”, Schneider Electric
  • Wadah Al Turki, Country Talent Manager KSA and Bahrain, IKEA
  • Lesha Chakraborti, Head of HR – EMEA, Travelex
  • Shaban Butt, Director HR & Administration, The Coca-Cola Company
  • Sajjad Parmar, Head of Rewards – APAC, eBay
  • Katey Howard, VP, Talent Management AMESA, Pepsico
  • Chen Fong Tuan, HR & General Affairs Director, Samsung Electronics
  • Prerna Ajmera, Senior Director, HR Experiences and Solutions, Microsoft
  • Václav Koranda, Vice President Human Resources / Member of the Board of Directors, T-System
  • Amy MacGregor, VP Employee Experience, Global HR, Manulife
  • Adwait Kashalkar, People Analytics and Programme Management Leader, APAC, Mastercard

Click here to view all speakers: www.decodinghrevent.com/speakers

At Wisdom we remain positive that ‘normality’ will soon return and that we will be able to physically meet together once again as speakers, delegates and sponsors at our beautiful venues around the world. But meanwhile, life continues and we need to keep in touch and learn from each other. This 24-hour virtual event will be of great benefit and value to your businesses and its continued development during these challenging times. While this virtual event comes at a lesser cost, it provides for now a wider reach into an international audience, with flexibility of access to content as well as allowing you to have the same opportunity as at a face-to-face session for one-to-one business meetings. We look forward to welcoming you in January.

Date and time: 19-20 January 2021Where: Virtual engaging platform
  Further information and bookings: www.decodinghrevent.com        Contact:
marketing@wisdom.events   #WSDM_BI
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Interviews

Interview with Meiraj Hussain, Head of Corporate Support & Group HR at Al Masaood

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Interviewer: Mariham Magdy

“An open and progressive business organizational culture is described as having a healthy work environment where employees feel valued and are recognized as fundamental to the success of an organization” Meiraj Hussain

Brief Biography about the Interviewee:

Meiraj Hussain, Head of Corporate Support and Group HR
Meiraj Hussain joined Al Masaood as Group Head of Human Resources in 2017, bringing over 20 years of professional experience as HR Leader across multiple industries such as Automotive, FMCG, Manufacturing, IT, Services, Real Estate, and Trading. Prior to joining Al Masaood, Meiraj has managed the Human Resources function in both multinational corporations and family-owned businesses across UK, Europe, and the Middle East.
In his current role, Meiraj places great emphasis on talent management, employee-experience, high-performance culture, and leadership excellence development. He is an advocate of building a progressive work culture where trust is the backbone of relationships and creating a workplace wherein employee empowerment and engagement plays a crucial role. Meiraj strongly believes in the digitization of systems and processes, thus, leading to better business results. Moreover, Meiraj has played an extensive role in the Emiratization initiative with the Ministry of Human Resources & Emiratization (MoHRE) to ensure top-tier UAE Nationals are recruited and retained within Al Masaood, consequently resulting Al Masaood to become a proud Platinum Partner with MoHRE.

HR Revolution Middle-East Magazine: Meiraj welcome to HR Revolution Middle East, we are so happy to make this interview with you. You have extensive experience in different industries such as automotive, FMCG, manufacturing, IT, services, real estate, and trading in both multinational corporations and family-owned businesses across the UK, Europe, and the Middle East. How does HRM differ according to the industry, and also according to the business type (multinational corporations and family-owned businesses)?

Meiraj Hussain: Across industries, Human Resources Management (HRM) is a critical part of business operations that focuses on unleashing the people’s best potentials and building a work culture where employees can truly flourish. From process improvement and employee experience enhancement to talent management and performance, HR professionals, as a success partner and enabler, play a diverse role in any organization regardless of business type.

The difference, however, lies in organizational culture. While multinationals have robust policies and processes in place, local family-owned companies are often more agile and faster in implementing the best practices.

HR Revolution Middle-East Magazine: Meiraj, I loved so much this statement in your bio: “He is an advocate of building progressive work culture.” How can we build a “progressive work culture?” What advice would you share with other HR professionals about that?

Meiraj Hussain: An open and progressive business organizational culture is described as having a healthy work environment where employees feel valued and are recognized as fundamental to the success of an organization. All workers have so much to offer and contribute, but, oftentimes, they are constrained by internal dynamics, poor leadership, and weak policies designed to create “carbon copies” instead of celebrating and unleashing individual ideas and potentials. Another equally important feature of progressive work culture is employee engagement. As humans, we can easily lose our motivation, which translates to poor performance and low productivity in the workplace. In such a case, HR professionals can steer the employees back to the path of motivation and engagement by taking quick and corrective actions that effectively address employee sentiments and issues.

HR Revolution Middle-East Magazine: Digital disruption is one of the most important challenges facing organizations nowadays. To what extent shall organizations shift to the digitization of work processes? How would this lead to better business results? What considerations shall they take in this transformation process?

Meiraj Hussain: At this age and time, digitalization is considered a business enabler. It is for this reason that businesses should consider transforming through automation their time-consuming and mundane processes. By freeing their employees from doing repetitive tasks, they can shift their attention to business-critical tasks such as in the areas enhancing customer experience and driving revenue. For the HR department, the staff can focus their time on core areas of performance, leadership, employee development and people support.

HR Revolution Middle-East Magazine: Employee engagement is always an important topic among HR leaders worldwide. Would you share with us how Al Masaood can use its strategy as a tool to empower the employees and engage them in its success journey?

Meiraj Hussain: Communication is the backbone of employee empowerment and engagement. As such, we consider it important to know the sentiments of our employees so that the management can act and address them accordingly. We measure employee sentiments through surveys regularly conducted at the business unit and corporate support levels. Additionally, through the joint efforts of the HR department and the Marketing and Communications office, Al Masaood’s strategy, organizational viewpoints and milestones, and challenges are communicated to the employees across departments to provide clarity about their role and impact on the organization’s success under the guidance of their respective managers and leaders.

HR Revolution Middle-East Magazine: Meiraj, you played an extensive role in the Emiratization initiative of the Ministry of Human Resources & Emiratization (MOHRE). Can you walk us through the Emiratization initiatives Al Masaood has recently taken?

Meiraj Hussain: In response to the directives of the country’s wise leaders and as per the decision of its Board of Directors, Al Masaood has fully expressed its strong support for the Emiratization initiative. More and more Emiratis continue to join our employees of different nationalities. Al Masaood’s Emiratisation program comprises four main pillars: the Internship program, the Functional Training program, the Scholarship Program, and Job opportunities; which all aim to enhance the skills of university students, fresh graduates, and experienced Emiratis, and equip them with the required competencies across business units and corporate support departments. Our Emiratization journey has begun two years ago, starting with offering UAE nationals internship opportunities and training programs. We have also ramped up our recruitment drives in universities as well as formed partnerships with vocational institutes such as Abu Dhabi Vocational Education and Training Institute (ADVETI) to advance the employment of Emirati youth. The UAE Government’s measure to close the salary gap between the public and private sectors is a major boost to our Emiratization efforts as well. In recognition of the intensified Emiratization initiatives across the Al Masaood Group, we have achieved the Platinum Partner status given by the MoHRE. Rest assured that we will continue to recruit local talents, invest in their skills development, and provide them with opportunities for growth in a progressive and fast-paced work environment.

HR Revolution Middle-East Magazine: Meiraj, you wrote a series of very interesting articles, posted on your LinkedIn profile. One of the controversial articles you wrote is “The Inglorious 6 – HR Types to Avoid.” What made you write this article? What important traits shall HR professionals have, on the contrary, from your point of view?

Meiraj Hussain: “The Inglorious- 6” article went viral and I received comments and feedback from global HR thought leaders. The article uses humor to identify some of the common pitfalls HR leaders should avoid.

HR, as a profession, is going through an identity crisis and, unfortunately, many professionals may not make it through in the course of this transformation. HR is an art and it’s understood through practice; HR is learned through doing and mentorship. Further, there is an unclaimed territory in organizations that other corporate support functions are not addressing. This territory can be claimed by HR.

But the biggest enemy facing HR today is mediocrity. It could be mediocrity of people, leadership or processes, which, in turn, leads to the mediocrity of performance and business results. Leaders need to determine the high standards that their respective organizations should adhere to for them to compete successfully in their markets. This is because consumers are now less and less forgiving of companies that deliver average value in terms of experience and engagement.

HR Revolution Middle-East Magazine: Finally, what should be the focus of HR initiatives in organizations nowadays?

Meiraj Hussain: HR initiatives should be in sync with the company’s overall growth strategy. Once this is clear, the implementation plan can be developed. The initiatives can cover talent and leadership; training and development; processes and technology; performance; culture; and talent acquisition and management, among others. The major consideration in executing these initiatives is to identify how they support the leadership in its efforts to attain the vision of the organization. It is important to note as well that HR acts as the voice of reason with leaders. It should be able to challenge management decisions and resolve conflict for the good of all. Moreover, HR is the voice against the hidden enemy of mediocrity.

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Articles

Healthy Eating at Work

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By: Dr. Maha Magdy

Eating at work is one of the problems that many of us face daily and is considered as one of the most common causes of obesity , due to consumption of unhealthy foods packed with” Trans Fats” which cause many health problems.In fact, workers & employees are not alone responsible for healthy eating at work ! it is a co-operate responsibility between the workers and the workplace as the results of healthy eating will benefit them both but in different ways.

Workers will benefit in a direct way through influencing their long term health & wellness, elevating their mood & self-esteem, and reducing anxiety & stress. These benefits will reflect on their work and benefit the workplace in an indirect way! For healthy workers will not load their workplace with additional costs via their medical insurance and will not postpone their work due to their sick leaves or bad mood. Besides, workers with elevated self-esteem will be highly motivated to carry out their work and willing to engage with their colleagues, they will welcome to offer their services to their clients in a successful attitude, reduced anxiety & stress between workers will promote a healthy environment that will retain highly qualified employees.

Healthy eating will also increase the productivity of workers through enhancing the release of “Dopamine” ( a neurotransmitter released in the brain) which increases curiosity, motivation & engagement and will also affect decision making through increased alertness and creativity which enables workers to solve problems and act wisely with their daily challenges.

Eating while negotiating has profitable benefits because eating elevates glucose levels, the main brain food, which enhances complex brain activities, self-control, regulates prejudice and aggressive behavior all these effects will promote a smooth successful negotiating manner and profitable results.


On the other side, let’s discover how junk food and high-fat meals affect workers & employees?

First, these meals require increased digestive effort causing more blood to circulate to the digestive system and less blood reach the brain causing drowsiness.


Second, high-fat meals enhance the release of “Serotonin” (the happiness hormone) resulting in a lack of focus and a fogged brain unable to carry out work efficiently.

What do we mean by healthy meals?

Healthy meals are mixed meals that contain small amounts of healthy fats, along with proteins and complex carbohydrates.

Healthy fats are unsaturated fats like those found in Nuts, Salmon & Tuna (fatty fish), Olive oil, and Avocado.

Proteins should be of good quality as Beef, Poultry, Beans & Legumes, and Whole grains which contain all essential amino acids that the body needs.

Complex carbohydrates are found in starches and fibers like starchy fruits & vegetables, Oatmeal, and whole grain rice and pasta, which don’t cause blood sugar spikes.


The workplace can influence how workers eat through:
1- Providing a safe and clean eating area that enables a healthy eating manner.
2- Providing refrigerators and microwaves.
3- What is offered at cafeterias.
4- Encouraging employees to drink water every 15_20 minutes even if not thirsty.

Nowadays, many companies provide a healthy eating program to their employees in which lots of people brought together to learn how to improve their health at work and at home.

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