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7 Questions on Leadership with Murtaza Faisal Pal


Name: Murtaza Faisal Pal


Title: Vice President


Organisation: Tradewind GmbH


Presently working as Vice President to provide technical financial solutions to the corporate exporters. Strong working knowledge of cross border payments and trades. Manage the effectiveness of leads through business expansion process using various techniques, including qualification of prospected customers and assessment of potential client needs. Strong familiarity with trade related software and excellent interpersonal skill to demonstrate various financial products.


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


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


Cheers,

Jonno White



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


As a leader, one of the most challenging aspects I have encountered is navigating and managing change within the team and the organization. Change is inevitable, whether it be in processes, team structures, or overall business strategies. Adapting to change requires effective communication, strategic planning, and the ability to inspire and motivate team members during periods of uncertainty.


Additionally, fostering a positive and collaborative team culture has posed its own set of challenges. Balancing individual strengths and weaknesses, resolving conflicts, and ensuring that everyone feels valued and heard are ongoing tasks that demand constant attention. Striking the right balance between being approachable and maintaining authority is crucial for a leader.


Furthermore, the ever-evolving nature of the business landscape demands continuous learning and staying abreast of industry trends. Adapting leadership styles to suit the needs of the team and the organization in different situations has been a dynamic challenge that I've consistently faced.


The ability to lead through change, nurture a positive team culture, and adapt to the evolving demands of the business environment have been some of the most challenging aspects of my leadership journey.


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


I have developed my leadership journey over the course of my 14-year career, which spans various roles in business development, marketing, customer relationship management, human resources, finance, and compliance.


My leadership story began when I served as a Management Trainee Officer at the National Productivity Organization, where I coordinated with internal business divisions and external partners to ensure the timely and cost-effective delivery of marketing communications materials. This experience laid the foundation for my understanding of effective communication and collaboration.


As I progressed in my career, I assumed roles such as Branch Manager at Allied Bank Limited and later as Assistant Vice President at Faysal Bank Limited. In these positions, I focused on growing sales, boosting profits, and maintaining positive customer relationships. I honed my skills in strategic decision-making, market analysis, and operations management, which are crucial aspects of effective leadership.


The pivotal point in my leadership journey came during my tenure as Vice President at Tradewind GmbH. Here, I played a key role in increasing company growth through collaboration with sales and marketing departments. I identified opportunities for process improvement and efficiency, leading to increased profits. Managing global teams in a remote setting further enhanced my ability to lead diverse and geographically dispersed teams.


As the Director of Service Quality Consultancy at MODIFI GmbH, I achieved a significant sales increase by skillfully managing relationships and implementing proactive sales approaches. I also delved into digital marketing strategies and collaborated with creative teams to generate dynamic marketing content.


Currently, as a Consultant in a freelance capacity, I continue to plan marketing initiatives and leverage referral networks to promote business development for local and international clients. My experience has provided me with a holistic view of business operations, from budgeting and allocation to market positioning and public relations.


Throughout my career, I have continuously sought ways to improve service quality, streamline operations, and foster positive team dynamics. My leadership journey is characterized by adaptability, strategic thinking, and a results-driven approach, all of which contribute to my ability to navigate complex business challenges effectively.


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


I believe in maintaining a structured and organized approach to my work days, which allows me to maximize productivity and maintain a healthy work-life balance.


Here is an overview of how I typically structure my day:


Morning Routine:


Early Start: I usually wake up early in the morning, allowing me to start my day with a sense of calm and purpose.

Exercise: I prioritize physical activity in the morning, whether it's a workout at the gym, a run, or a home workout routine. This helps me boost my energy levels and enhances my overall well-being.

Healthy Breakfast: A nutritious breakfast is essential for fueling my day. I make sure to have a balanced meal to provide the necessary energy for the day ahead.


Workday:

4. Prioritizing Tasks: I begin my workday by reviewing my to-do list and prioritizing tasks based on deadlines and importance.


Focused Work Blocks: I structure my day into focused work blocks, typically 2-3 hours each, where I concentrate on specific tasks or projects. During these blocks, I minimize distractions to maintain a high level of productivity.

Regular Breaks: Taking short breaks between work blocks is crucial for maintaining focus and preventing burnout. I might use this time to stretch, take a walk, or engage in a quick mindfulness exercise.

Lunch: I take a break for lunch to recharge and step away from work briefly. This helps me return to my tasks with renewed focus in the afternoon.

Afternoon and Evening:

8. Afternoon Work and Meetings: I schedule meetings and collaborative tasks in the afternoon, leveraging the energy I gain from lunch.


Review and Planning: Towards the end of the workday, I review what I've accomplished and plan for the next day. This ensures that I stay organized and can hit the ground running the following morning.


Personal Development: In the evenings, I allocate time for personal development activities, such as reading industry news, taking online courses, or engaging in networking opportunities.

Dinner and Relaxation: I prioritize having a balanced dinner and use the evening for relaxation. This might include spending time with family, pursuing hobbies, or unwinding with a book or TV show.

Sleep: I make it a priority to get sufficient sleep, typically aiming for 7-8 hours each night. A good night's sleep is crucial for maintaining focus and overall well-being.

By adhering to this structured routine, I find that I can manage my workload effectively while also taking care of my physical and mental health. This balance contributes to my ability to consistently deliver high-quality work.

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


One recent leadership lesson that I've been reminded of is the importance of fostering a culture of open communication and actively seeking feedback. In a recent project, I realized that creating a space where team members feel comfortable expressing their ideas, concerns, and suggestions is crucial for innovation and continuous improvement.


I learned that encouraging team members to share their perspectives not only promotes collaboration but also helps in identifying potential issues early on. This lesson reinforced the idea that effective leadership involves not only providing guidance but also actively listening to and valuing the input of every team member.


To implement this lesson, I have started to conduct regular check-ins with team members, both one-on-one and in group settings, to discuss their experiences, challenges, and suggestions. Additionally, I've implemented anonymous feedback mechanisms to ensure that team members feel secure in sharing their thoughts.


This experience has highlighted the power of open communication in fostering a positive and dynamic work environment. It serves as a constant reminder that, as a leader, my role is not only to guide the team but also to create a culture where everyone feels heard and valued. This lesson has positively impacted team morale, strengthened collaboration, and contributed to the overall success of the projects we undertake.


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 journey is 'Leaders Eat Last' by Simon Sinek. This book significantly influenced my perspective on leadership and teamwork.


Simon Sinek's exploration of the concept of 'servant leadership' and the idea that leaders prioritize the well-being of their team members deeply resonated with me. The narrative emphasizes the importance of creating a workplace where trust and collaboration thrive.


The impact of the book was particularly evident in a challenging project I was leading. Inspired by the principles from 'Leaders Eat Last,' I consciously worked to create a culture of trust and mutual support within the team. I focused on ensuring that every team member felt valued and understood.


The result was a noticeable improvement in team dynamics. Open communication increased, and team members began to proactively collaborate, contributing their unique strengths to the project. The emphasis on collective success over individual achievement, as advocated in the book, fostered a sense of unity and shared purpose among the team.


Moreover, the book encouraged me to lead by example and to prioritize the well-being of my team members. By demonstrating empathy and actively supporting the team, I witnessed a positive shift in morale and overall job satisfaction.


In essence, 'Leaders Eat Last' taught me that effective leadership is not just about achieving goals but also about creating an environment where people feel secure, motivated, and empowered. This lesson has become a guiding principle in my leadership approach, influencing how I build and lead teams to achieve success collaboratively.


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 resilience. In the dynamic and ever-changing professional landscape, the ability to adapt and learn from experiences is invaluable.


Embrace challenges as opportunities for growth, and don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Seek out new perspectives, stay curious, and be open to feedback. Recognize that setbacks are a natural part of the leadership journey, and each one offers a chance to learn and improve.


Furthermore, build a strong network of mentors, colleagues, and industry peers. Learning from the experiences of others can provide valuable insights and guidance. Don't hesitate to ask questions and seek advice when needed.


By fostering a mindset of continuous learning and resilience, young leaders can navigate uncertainties, inspire their teams, and contribute to their own long-term success. The ability to adapt, coupled with a commitment to ongoing learning, is a powerful combination that will serve them well throughout their leadership journey.


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 project where the team faced unforeseen challenges that threatened to derail our progress. It was a testament to the power of collaboration, resilience, and effective leadership.


In the midst of the project, we encountered unexpected market shifts that required a rapid adjustment to our strategy. The team was initially disheartened by the sudden change, but rather than dwelling on the setback, I took the opportunity to gather the team for an open and transparent discussion.


During the team meeting, I emphasized the importance of adaptability and encouraged everyone to share their insights and ideas on how we could navigate the new challenges. It was inspiring to witness team members from diverse backgrounds and roles come together, contributing their unique perspectives and skills.


We collectively devised a revised strategy, reallocated resources, and redefined individual roles to align with the new direction. Throughout this process, I made a conscious effort to provide support, acknowledge the team's efforts, and celebrate small victories along the way.


Despite the initial hurdles, the team's commitment and collaborative spirit prevailed. The project not only recovered its momentum but also exceeded the initial expectations. This experience reinforced the significance of transparent communication, fostering a collaborative environment, and demonstrating resilience in the face of adversity.


The success of that project not only showcased the team's capabilities but also strengthened our bonds, creating a culture of trust and shared accomplishment. This story serves as a reminder that effective leadership involves guiding a team through challenges, fostering a resilient mindset, and celebrating collective achievements.

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