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7 Questions on Leadership with Firdaws Ismail

Name: Firdaws Ismail

Title: Group QHSE & CI Manager

Organisation: Hudaco

I have worked in various industries such as construction, mining, engineering, manufacturing, and retail. I have held various positions in many different companies which included Sales, HR, Finance, Marketing and Coporate governance. I have qualifications in numerous subjects. This enables me to understand business in its entirety. My career is very much part of who I am, ethics, respect and honesty are my core values.

Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!

I hope Firdaws's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!


Jonno White

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?


I actually don't think there is such a thing.

2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?

I had jobs in various fields but could never find my fit or passion. The jobs I had never seemed to suit my personality :). Eventually whilst working in HR I had to manage Quality, Health, Safety, Environment and business efficiency and I finally found my better half (my career path). Whilst working I studied and am still studying today as stagnating is not something I can do. I always look for better or expansion. Within 3 months I became a Senior Manager and ever since then I have been a leader in various industries, working and leading many amazing people.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

I am actually not a morning person; I am a night owl. I don't like sleeping. I have a chaotic schedule. I love my task lists and I am old school with my diary, something about writing my tasks and meetings give me a sense of accomplishment for the day. It's also how I keep up with the many personal commitments I have.

4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?

I am always reminded to be okay with who I am and not compare myself to others. It's okay not to wake up at 5am, it's okay to be different and enjoy what I do and who I am. I am not a sheep.

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?

Believe it or not, I am only now starting to find leadership books interesting. I have always been a sucker for history books or bibliographies, I observe people and have always used their experiences as my lessons. I have also had to accept bitter criticism and take a step back and learn from instead of instantly reacting.

6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?

The most important advice I can give young leaders is...

It is just as important to study yourself and human behaviour in general as it is important to study for your degree!

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?

In my entire career, I have had 2 specific Bosses not leaders. There really is a huge difference. I was tortured and it got so bad it affected my health. I learnt that I cannot control another person but can control my actions, story sweet and short, point is my decision and actions was the best revenge is success and yes, it is damn sweet!

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