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Commitment, Victory, Valery

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Leadership plays a vital role in one’s life; our personal life story is our personal leadership strategy. I have always considered myself an adult, as I have never had much experience of being a child. My childhood was very unique, it is what shaped my leadership style, it was based on deception and for that reason I had to grow up. At the age of seven, I had started Sea Scouts in South Africa, at first I was reluctant to attend, as there were only two girls, as Scouts was originally a movement for young boys aiming to create male leaders, and I rather wished to spend my Friday nights with my friends.

I was able to join the Scouts a month earlier, as they allowed entry to females. After attending the Scouts for a few weeks, I officially became a part of the group, which introduced me to my first leadership position where I was an assistant leader. Being an assistant leader did not give me much responsibility, but it did encourage me to work harder to become a leader of my group.

There are various types of leadership skills and each have a unique strategy in leading a team. However, one needs to remember that various situations require a distinct type of leadership. Throughout my life, I have used the following leadership skills, which helped shape the outcome of my decisions. During my time as an assistant leader, I was considered a Transactional Leader, which means that I was given certain tasks to perform and I had to be responsible for punishments or rewards due to my team’s performance. Transactional leaders hold the power to shape team members or employees in order to achieve a common goal. At the end of my first year as an assistant leader, my team won ‘Best Patrol of the Year’, which planted a competitive seed inside of me. Many people regard competitiveness as a negative term, but it is truly what motivates us to do better and shows us that there is always space for improvement.

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After eighteen months as an assistant leader, I finally became a leader. It was not an easy ride as the Scouts is mainly male dominated and the person I was up against was a man. The very night I became a leader, I went home and planned everything I wanted to do with my team, I also sat down piled a long list of pros and cons in our previous leader’s leadership style, and I was only nine!

After a long night of analysing various leadership techniques, I figured out that if I wanted to win again I had to change my leadership style to Transformational. Transformational leaders rely on communication and involvement in order to motivate team members to achieve goals. As a Transformational leader, I delegated smaller tasks to my team members so that they would have a role in our success and have a sense of belonging. I was a junior Scouts leader for three years and my team won every year; and I will admit that victory tasted as sweet as our celebration cake.

After junior Scouts, I joined senior Scouts, which was a whole new ball game. Once I joined the senior Scouts, I knew that I was just a team member no longer a leader, but that did not stop me from wanting to be the best. For the three years I was in senior Scouts, I was just a team member, never a leader even though I had attended countless leadership training courses and was the first female to represent my country on a leadership course in the Middle East. The long duration that I remained a team member angered me, as I witnessed males who joined senior Scouts after me become leaders while I was never considered a leader.

After years of numerous attempts to show my senior leaders I have what it takes to be a leader again, I was finally given the opportunity to lead an all-girls team in Scouts. My aim shifted from wanting to win to paving the path for future female leaders of my group. Leading an all-girls team meant I had to use a new leadership technique, thus I chose to be a Democratic leader. As a democratic leader, I consulted my team with regards to all decisions and also paid careful attention to their input. However, it meant that even though my team contributed to the decision making process, the final decision was left to me.

For many years, I was a leader and a team member, which allowed me to develop my own leadership technique. Although the technique took years to develop, it was coming up with a suitable name and that was the hard part; eventually I named it Commitment, Victory, Valery. I wanted my technique to have a personal influence, so I decided to use my name, as that is my identity, which makes me unique like my leadership strategy. My personal leadership strategy can be used in the workplace, at home, in the military, in school or even for team leadership.

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Commitment, Victory, Valery is a unique leadership technique that believes that commitment leads to victory. Victory comes in many forms but no matter how small, always show gratitude for your victory and you will see your victories multiply.  My personal leadership technique comprises of nine laws, as the technique cannot fully work if you do not follow all nine laws:

  1. A leader needs to lead by example: In order to gain respect from your team you need to form a unit, you need to become one. You need to show your team that you will always stand beside them and you will support them, therefore if they see you perform a task they will take responsibility and follow in your footsteps.
  2. Every leader needs to believe in themselves: You cannot expect your team to believe in you or your ideas if you do not believe in them or in yourself, as they will see doubt and lose trust.
  3. Deception towards the opposition is vital towards achieving your goal: At the age of sixteen, I became the captain of one of my sports teams and I knew I was the best player. However, it was my first time as a leader for my team, and we were up against our strongest opponent whom had never lost a game. We did not win by showing fear towards them, but by showing strength and deceiving them into believing we were stronger than them, which eventually caused unrest amongst their team members.
  4. Every once in a while a leader needs to think like his opposition: In order to know what you are up against, you need to think like them in order to know which mind games and tactics to use.
  5. Having an approach to problems, that may arise amongst your team, is not enough: Each approach must comprise of a method, which will result in success.
  6. Every leader needs to learn to take risks: We learn from failure and mistakes, it is important to fail with your team as it brings you closer and once in a while it is considered moral to give someone else the slightest taste of victory.
  7. In order to win your battles you need to know yourself, from your strengths to your weaknesses and from what builds you up to what will destroy you.
  8. Planning is a key role to success: It is important not to have only a Plan A but also to have various back up plans. If you attend a competition with only Plan A you will lose because it is guaranteed that your opposition has a few more plans up his/her sleeve to crush you.
  9. Treat your team like you would treat your own children and they will remain loyal to you: Loyalty is an important characteristic to have amongst team members because once you have loyalty you know you already won every victory that lays ahead of you.

Leadership plays a role in our lives whether we like it or not. However, the most important advice to every leader and individual is be the best leader you can be, everyone is unique and has their own leadership style so find yours, exercise it and dominate in every aspect of your life.

By: Valery Pillay

Edited by: Engy Bahnas

 

 

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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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