Interview Summary – Hassan AL Naser
The task that we received for this assignment is to identify and interview someone in the professional field, relevant for our careers. The objective of this interview is to understand his role as a leader in the company and learn with his experience for our future. I have an acquainted that works for the Saline Water Conversion Corporation and I decided to approach him and ask for fifteen minutes of his time to conduct an interview. When I receive his confirmation, we scheduled skype interview and I prepared for it in advance, to be able to lead the conversation and answer all the questions that were in the scope of this assignment.
Q1: Hassan graduated from the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in Saudi Arabia and ever since worked for the company. On a personal side, Hassan is married and is a father of three children. From our interview I understood that he is a hard working person, but he values his personal time with the family and this balance is very important for his life. Even though he has been in the field for five and a half years, his experience shows strong leadership qualities. We started the conversation, discussing his job in general and Hassan explained to me that he supervises an operational unit team of six people. His career path and views on work-life balance inspire and motivate me and he surely had significant influence on my choices.
Q2: When I asked Hassan about the most important leadership decisions, he mentioned that Safety and Security regulations are critical for his activities and as a leader he has to be able to pass this concept of safety working environment to his employees and create safety culture. He does it with personal example and promotion of safety attitude in his team.
Q3: We further discussed the reporting structure. The company has very lean reporting structure and he directly reports to his Operations Manager. The company appreciates initiative and always tries to delegate decision-making process to the unit supervisors. This gives him a lot of room for learning, but also adds significant responsibility to his work. This helps to avoid ‘institutionalization” of the company and maintain “inspired by people’ culture.
Q4: My next question to Hassan was about creating thinking and whether it is something that he is trying to promote. Hassan showed me a list and explained that this list is a summary of ideas for immediate improvements that he and his team prepared during the Monday brainstorming session. These meeting motivate employee involvement in decisions about their own work and promote creative thinking, making them feel more part of the company.
Q5: Mission, Core Values or Vision? - What does really matter for your company? Hassan gave me an illuminating answer to this question. He noted that each element is absolutely important for the company. Core values demonstrate the common principles on which the individuals create company´s culture. Vision helps the organization to answer the question How? When employees and customers want to know how these core values are implemented and followed. And, finally, mission is what demonstrates where the company wants to be in the future. Without these elements, our company would not have strategy.
Q6: Core values are about our interaction with others. If we believe in it, we should demonstrate it to our colleagues. I always tell my people that they should treat others the way they want to be treated. Ethics and respect should be always in their hearts and actions.
Q7: Leader should be humble and be authentic. His role is to see the bigger picture in a long-term and translate it in today´s work.
Q8: Leadership today is more difficult as companies are becoming more internationalized and leaders have to learn to deal not only with the size of the company and its goals, but also with the cultural diversity in their companies. These cultural, racial and social differences give more challenges to the leaders.
Q9: Everyone makes mistakes, but the responsibility of a leader is always higher as people follow and trust him. I think, one of the biggest mistakes I already have seen in my work is when leader is not able to put the interests of others and company ahead of his own convictions. In this case decisions, done by this leader are egoistic and can negatively affect his company.
Q10: Being a leader does not mean knowing it all. Often leaders fail in their roles, because they do not realize the value of learning and they stop self-discovery, imposing their knowledge and convictions to others. I think that leaders that are not able to learn from their followers as much as they can teach demonstrate a personality trait that will derail them from leadership path.
Q11: Harvard Business Review has a series of articles that is called “10 Best read About Leadership”. It summarizes several interesting studies on leadership and explains how modern society sees successful leaders. I think this reading is essential for everyone, who want to develop himself as a future leader.
Q12: If you are taking your first leadership role, I have just one advice for you – try to learn how to lead “self”. Self-discovery and understanding of your strength and weaknesses can come along with feedback and first leadership experience. Leaders can have weaknesses and they should be humble enough to accept honest feedback and learn from people they work with. Accepting these weaknesses and knowing your strengths will create strong trust and confidence in you among your team.
Hassan is an impressive individual with very good understanding of his objectives in life. As a young leader he comprises the majority of the qualities that a future leader should possess today. I believe that Hassan demonstrates living according to company´s values and willingness to develop people around him as well as continue learning. These attributes are necessary for a good leader.