True Leaders are Truly Humble

Essam B. is one of the best Saudi nationals I have ever had the privilege to mentor. High Potential employees, like Essam, who actually put to action what they learn. Leaders, like Essam, who transfer their experience for the development of their employees.

I first met Essam years ago. He applied to have his OJT (On the Job training) with my department. He was a young, energetic and ambitious Saudi that was overflowing with questions and willingness to listen. Like most Departments in the Bank, we treat OJT’s as employees. We don’t give them trivial tasks like making coffee or running errands. Our OJTs get to learn our business. They get to contribute to our Departments vision.

After he graduated from KFUPM (the most progressive University in Saudi Arabia at the time) he applied for and got a job in our Bank. He reported directly to me. Years later, he got the opportunity to work for a start-up telecom. It was sad to see him resign from the bank but clearly it was for his career growth.

He started rising up in the companies he works for. He moved from one company to another. Essam is currently the Chief Operating Officer of the largest Mega Recruitment agency in Middle East. They hire more than 8,000 employees for various companies all over the Kingdom.

Despite his success, he still remembers his beginnings. He sent me text yesterday asking for a few minutes of my time. As soon as I agreed, I got an international call from him.

He was at odds with a management decision. He wanted to seek my advice. He had a highly technical employee promoted to management level sometime back. Remembering that subject matter experts do not automatically become great managers, he wanted to correct the situation.

However, his superior was not convinced. His boss did not want to lose the manager in the role because of this technical capabilities.

I asked Essam for his views. Essam said that he needed someone for the job who is 80% a great manager and 20% a technical person. The existing manger was the opposite, 90% technical and 10% manager. He wanted to move the existing manager to a more technical role and at the same time keep him as a technical adviser.

Essam will then appoint another manger to take care of the department and the people. He wanted to put someone with strong management skills.

Essam was on the right track. I told him this. He just needed another opinion from someone thousands of miles away.

This is a great example of a leaders humility. This shows a strong leader acknowledging that he still needs outside advise to validate his thoughts.

This is also just one example of the power of a strong mentoring culture. A mentoring culture that was planned and executed to develop high potential employees to take on management positions.

More power to you Essam. May you continue adding great leadership value to your company.

See you soon.