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7 Questions on Leadership with Muhammad Abdullah

Name:  Muhammad Abdullah

Title: Commodity and Foreign Exchange Trader

Organisation: ZLK securities

Hey there! I'm Muhammad Abdullah, a 24-year-old computer systems engineer diving deep into the world of quantitative finance. Right now, I'm rocking it as a Trading Assistant and Junior Analyst at ZLK Securities, where I'm all about making waves in equity, forex, and commodity trading. I bring the tech heat with technical analysis and quantitative techniques, making those trading decisions on point.

Before this gig, I was doing some remote magic at A2E Logix, managing accounts and pulling off successful trades for a Chinese hedge fund that's all about crypto. Tech-wise, I'm your guy, especially with tools like Trading View.

I've got a degree in Computer System Engineering, flexing my skills in market research, trading strategies, risk assessment, and programming. Proficient with Trading View? Absolutely. Communication skills? Check. And yeah, I'm also big on spreading the financial knowledge through the Financial Literacy Program at ZLK Securities.

In a nutshell, I'm tech enthusiast, finance whiz, and all about sharing the knowledge and making moves in the financial game!

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

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


Jonno White

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

As a leader, one of the most challenging aspects has been navigating and addressing interpersonal conflicts within the team. Balancing individual personalities, perspectives, and expectations can be intricate, and finding resolutions that satisfy everyone while maintaining a positive team dynamic requires careful consideration and effective communication. It's a continuous learning process to foster a collaborative and harmonious work environment, ensuring that each team member feels heard and valued.

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

My journey into leadership began organically as a result of a combination of factors. Early in my career, I demonstrated a strong commitment to my work and a natural inclination for collaboration. Colleagues and superiors noticed my proactive approach, reliability, and ability to inspire others.

I actively sought out opportunities to take on additional responsibilities and projects, showcasing my dedication to the team's success. As I consistently delivered results and demonstrated effective problem-solving skills, I earned the trust of my peers and supervisors.

Formal leadership roles followed, allowing me to further refine my leadership style. Embracing challenges, learning from experiences, and fostering a collaborative and supportive team culture have been crucial elements of my leadership journey. It's an ongoing process of growth and adaptation, shaped by both successes and challenges encountered along the way.

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

My workdays are meticulously structured to ensure productivity and balance. Here's a snapshot:


Wake Up Early: I kick off my day early, usually around 6:00 AM, to allow for a peaceful start.

Morning Routine: Engage in a morning routine involving exercise, meditation, and a healthy breakfast to set a positive tone for the day.

Emails and Planning: Review and respond to urgent emails, plan the day's tasks, and set priorities.


4. Focused Work: Dive into focused, high-priority tasks during the morning hours when concentration is at its peak.

Lunch Break: Take a break for lunch around noon to recharge and step away from work briefly.


6. Meetings and Collaboration: Schedule meetings and collaborative sessions during the early afternoon, leveraging the energy boost post-lunch.

Administrative Tasks: Address administrative tasks, emails, and other routine responsibilities.

Creative Time: Allocate time for creative or strategic thinking during the late afternoon when my mind is still sharp.


9. Wind Down: Start winding down work-related activities by late afternoon to transition into a more relaxed state.

Personal Development: Invest time in personal development, which may include reading, learning, or engaging in a hobby.

Dinner and Family Time: Enjoy dinner with family and unwind from the day's responsibilities.


12. Reflection: Reflect on the day's achievements and challenges.

Quality Sleep: Aim for 7-8 hours of quality sleep, ensuring proper rest for the next day.

This structure allows me to balance productivity with personal well-being, ensuring that each day is purposeful and fulfilling. Adaptations are made based on the nature of tasks, deadlines, and any unexpected events.

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

A recent leadership lesson that I've been reminded of is the importance of active listening and empathy. In a fast-paced work environment, it's easy to focus on tasks, goals, and deadlines, sometimes overlooking the human element.

I was reminded that taking the time to genuinely listen to team members, understanding their perspectives, challenges, and aspirations, fosters a stronger sense of connection and trust. Empathy plays a crucial role in effective leadership—it not only strengthens the team's morale but also allows for more informed decision-making.

This lesson has reinforced the idea that a leader's role is not just about directing tasks but also about understanding and supporting the individuals within the team. By actively listening and empathizing, leaders can build a more cohesive and motivated team, ultimately contributing to enhanced overall performance and job satisfaction.

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?

One book that has had a profound impact on my leadership is "Leaders Eat Last" by Simon Sinek. The book explores the concept of leadership through the lens of human biology and behavior, drawing parallels between military leadership and organizational leadership.

The central idea that resonated with me was the importance of prioritizing the well-being and development of the team members. Sinek emphasizes the role of leaders in creating a secure and supportive environment, fostering a sense of trust and collaboration.

The impact of the book was evident in my approach to team dynamics. It reinforced the notion that a leader's primary responsibility is to serve the team, ensuring their growth, well-being, and success. This shift in mindset influenced how I approached decision-making, emphasizing long-term team cohesion over short-term gains.

"Leaders Eat Last" challenged me to look beyond traditional leadership paradigms and consider the human aspects of leading a team. It has influenced my leadership style by placing a strong emphasis on empathy, trust, and a genuine commitment to the success and happiness of those I lead.

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

If I could offer one piece of advice to a young leader, it would be to prioritize continuous learning and embrace failure as a stepping stone to success. Cultivate a growth mindset, stay curious, and actively seek opportunities for personal and professional development. Remember that every setback is a chance to learn and improve. In the dynamic world of leadership, adaptability and a commitment to ongoing learning will be your strongest assets.

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

One meaningful story that stands out from my time as a leader involves a challenging project that required the collaboration of a diverse team. The project faced unexpected hurdles, testing both our technical skills and resilience.

As a leader, I decided to foster an open and transparent communication culture within the team. We conducted regular team meetings where members could openly share their concerns and ideas. During these sessions, I emphasized the value of collective problem-solving and encouraged everyone to contribute their unique perspectives.

What made this story meaningful was witnessing the team's transformation. Despite the initial challenges, the shared commitment to overcoming obstacles and the collaborative spirit led to innovative solutions. The project, which initially seemed daunting, not only succeeded but also strengthened the bonds within the team.

This experience reinforced the power of effective communication, collaboration, and trust in achieving shared goals. It highlighted the importance of creating an environment where team members feel heard, valued, and empowered to contribute their best efforts. This story continues to serve as a reminder of the potential for growth and success when a team operates with a shared purpose and a sense of collective ownership.

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