Name: Marriam Ahmed
Title: Mindset and Leadership Coach
Organisation: Marriam Ahmed
Marriam Ahmed is a highly accomplished mindset and leadership coach known for her empowering and transformative coaching style. With her deep understanding of human behavior and extensive training in NLP and leadership development, she helps individuals unlock their full potential, overcome self-limiting beliefs, and achieve extraordinary results. Marriam's compassionate yet results-oriented approach has made her a sought-after coach for professionals seeking personal growth and effective leadership strategies.
Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!
I hope Marriam's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
One of the most significant challenges that leaders commonly face is the need to adapt and succeed in an environment that is constantly changing and unpredictable. Personally, I have found that dealing with uncertainty and ambiguity has been my biggest challenge lately.
As a leader, I often come across situations where there is no clear roadmap or predetermined solution. Navigating through uncertainty requires me to make well-informed decisions and provide guidance to my team, even when faced with ambiguity. Furthermore, mitigating the potential consequences, overcoming resistance to change, and managing the reactions of team members to change adds another layer of complexity to this challenge. It requires skillful communication and the ability to address the concerns and uncertainties that arise amidst transitions.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
Inspired by my father's example, I have always aspired to be someone who can solve complex situations while understanding human behavior—why people do what they do and what motivates them. My journey towards leadership began when i joined my fathers business at the age of 12 years, and it started in the kitchen, where I served tea and coffee to a team of over 30 employees. This experience instilled in me a strong sense of time management and a commitment to serving others, regardless of my position.
After five months, I was promoted to a receptionist role, which further honed my time management skills and emphasized the importance of effective communication. I learned firsthand the significance of delivering mail, messages, and promptly responding to calls, ensuring that information reached the relevant teams. In just four months, I advanced to an administrative assistant position, followed by an administration manager role. Over time, I was promoted to assistant and managerial positions in every department of the business.
Three years later, a significant turning point arrived when I was called into my father's office, who was also my boss. He invited me to sit beside him and shadow him as he made crucial business decisions and formulated strategies aligned with his vision.
This extensive training under my father's guidance has prepared me for the challenges of the present-day world. I have gained valuable experience in dealing with staff members, leading diverse teams, effective communication, delegation, sales, client management, and creating an environment that empowers team members to perform, take ownership, and lead.
The lessons I learned from my father have equipped me with the skills and mindset necessary to navigate the complexities of leadership and make a positive impact in the world today.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I start my day on a positive note by affirming my intentions. I greet my parents with love and gratitude, setting the tone for a wonderful day ahead. After that, I dedicate 45 minutes to a invigorating workout, followed by a delicious and nourishing breakfast.
To further fuel my motivation, I watch an inspiring video before getting ready for work. Once I'm prepared, I prioritize my tasks for the day and gather my team. We begin with a group affirmation, reminding ourselves of our capabilities, and conclude it with a satisfying high five.
Throughout the day, I focus on attending appointments, making strategic decisions, and effectively communicating goals and tasks to my team. In order to continuously grow, I set aside 30 minutes for learning something new. Additionally, I take 10 minutes to meditate, allowing myself a moment of peace and clarity. During short breaks, I enjoy snacking, listening to music, dancing, and chatting with friends.
As the workday winds down, I gather with my team to discuss any challenges or mental blocks they may be experiencing. We share our experiences and end the discussion on a positive note. On my drive back home, I unwind by listening to uplifting music, arriving with a smile on my face to greet my family.
In the evening, we have dinner together, fostering a sense of togetherness. I make it a priority to plan meetups with my friends 2-3 times a week, or alternatively, engage in activities such as reading a book or watching a movie. I also emphasize self-care, ensuring I allocate time for it. Finally, I prepare for a restful night's sleep, fully embracing any spontaneous plans that may arise along the way. I wholeheartedly believe in making the most of life, and that includes prioritizing self-care.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
Communication. Communication. Communication. One thing i have been reminded off repetitively is Communication. Effective communication is crucial for leadership success. However, communicating clearly, articulating expectations and ensuring that your messages are understood by your team members can be challenging, particularly when dealing with diverse personalities and communication styles.
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?
"Dare to Lead" by Brené Brown empowers leaders by promoting vulnerability, authenticity, resilience, trust-building, empathy, self-awareness, and effective communication. Through practical strategies, it enables the creation of nurturing work environments where individuals feel comfortable expressing themselves, seeking support, and engaging in collaborative decision-making. The book's teachings have helped me implement these principles, fostering a culture of open communication and personal growth for success in the workplace.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
The most valuable guidance for a young leader in today's world is to place continuous learning as a top priority, foster robust relationships, lead through personal example, promote open and transparent communication, embrace humility and actively seek feedback, take well-considered risks, empower and nurture their team, prioritize authenticity over following trends and practice self-care.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
One of the most influential experiences during my tenure as a leader occurred a few years ago when our organization faced the imminent loss of a major client. The impending loss stemmed from the client's unreasonable demands, which would have required us to compromise our values and forsake our ethical principles. Despite the potential for significant financial repercussions, we made the conscious decision to remain steadfast in our beliefs.
By choosing to uphold what we believed in, we not only set a powerful example for our team but also demonstrated our unwavering commitment to our core values, purpose, and ethics. In the end, our decision resonated with the client, who ultimately chose to remain loyal to us. This experience served as a testament to the importance of knowing and standing firm in what we stand for—a true testament to what defines a leader.