Thank you to the 1646 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 questions! I hope reading 7 Questions with
Yahya Al Rawahi
helps you in your leadership.
Yahya Al Rawahi
Name: Yahya Al Rawahi
Organisation: Shams Ad Dhahira Generating Company
A management professional with track record and experience in managing project companies and organisations. Highly skilled in Oil & Gas, Oil terminals and Renewable Energy especially Solar PV.
Yahya is a graduate of Oman's National CEO programme, a Chartered Engineer (CEng) holding an MSc in Project management (Oil & Gas), an MTech in Petroleum Technology, and a BEng. Honour Degree in Mechanical Engineering and is currently doing his Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) researching Oman' renewable energy sector policies & strategies.
Yahya's career spans a history of over 20 years that involved all project life cycle from initiation to operation. Coupled with outstanding personal traits and positive behaviours, these helped with all achievements and career progressions as well as family and personal achievements.
Away from professional career, Yahya is a writer and author of 4 books in Arabic literature and intellect.
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
The most challenging thing in being a leader is managing people!
Humans have different personalities, beliefs, aspirations and traits. Managing a diverse team of people is very challenging to ensure a team harmony while at the same team addressing individual personalities and needs.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
My first leading role was at a very early stage of my professional career where I had to lead a construction team where I was the youngest and least experienced member! Yet I believe by appreciating each team member's experience and providing them with the required autonomy to deliver their tasks I managed to gain their trust and support.
That experience gave me a life-long lesson that being a leader does not mean you are the most experienced or knowledgeable person in the team and hence you need to be fully aware and appreciative of your team members' experiences and abilities and to utilize them in the most professional way.
I'm often described as an excellent listener. This helps me gaining trust of people and building effective harmonized teams.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I would say I'm an early morning bird, and the mornings are my best time of the day!
So, I wake up early in the morning. Being a Muslim, I start my day with the morning prayer, do some reading and take a refreshing morning shower before starting to work.
As I arrive at office early before others, I spend the first hour going through emails and letters. I usually plan the most important meetings for the first half of the day and the other less important meetings in the second half.
I try to leave work on time, which I don't always manage unfortunately. I spend after work hours mainly with family, read and do a little bit of walking.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
If you gain people's trust and respect, they'll passionately take the extra mile to deliver.
We had to deliver a very important piece of work and the team has been working long hours tirelessly. I didn't have to ask them to do so, on the contrary I was telling them that they didn't have to, but they willingly did out of their respect to me!
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
The Holy Quran. It has a powerful insight into human mind and behaviours.
I learned and still learning to be humble and considerate. Unlike many business schools of thoughts that are results driven, I learned that efforts, hard work and commitment are to be appreciated regardless of the results.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
be a good listener!
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
It was in the national inauguration event for our newly constructed solar power plant which was attended by high level government delegations and dignitaries.
The team was so interested to take a group team photo with me more than any other photos with any other attendees of the event. That made me so proud and honored.