Guest Speaker Session by Mr. Farid Zafar, Head HR Dubai Islamic Bank

With more than 20 years of experience under his belt in the fields of Human Resource; Mr. Farid Zafar was invited to the leadership class at IoBM to deliver a session on how he views leadership and who are the ones possessing this quality.


The session started off with a dash of his personal background, which primarily included the role played by his father in nourishing and nurturing his personality. Mr. Zafar highlighted throughout his speech, that it is not primarily the academia or experience that brings about a leader within you or the trait of leadership, but it is the end result of the upbringing you go through at your home that develops your personality, which will assist you in your way to become a good leader.

That being said; the idea of a born leader is fading away in the contemporary world. The question that arises is why? The answer lies in the word globalization. We have seen how the evolution and introduction of advanced technology and the power of media have transformed the society into one with more political and social awareness, as well as a hefty load of information. These above mentioned tools and tricks can now be accessed by a common man, which ultimately leads them towards better comprehension of the people around them.

This idea, that a common man is now able to have a deep understanding of people around him leads us to the next aspect of leadership that Mr. Zafar eloquently put forward to us. He emphasized on the point, which surprisingly is quite contradictory to the popularly held believe about leaders being born or made, that each and every one of us is a leader. Now this statement quizzed quite a number of students present in the class. However, the speaker elaborated his statement with strong reasoning based on his experience and expertise.

One of the major tasks of a leader is to inspire, influence or in the simplest terms have an effect on the people around him; and this could only be easily achieved if you are able to decipher all those people. So even if you are successful in influencing at least one person in the society then it indicates that, indeed, you are in possession of those qualities that make you an effective leader. Nevertheless, the leadership style can differ from person to person; ranging from autocratic to paternalistic and the leader can come in any size, shape, gender, age or color.


The session was then proceeded by a general discussion concerning the elements that contribute towards the making of a leader. First things first, a leader’s main aim is to achieve a shared purpose, but with the goal of financial gains. If you are effecting and influencing people, but it isn’t driving a monetized result, then it would be difficult to carry yourself far under that specific role.

Consequently, there are few things that a leader should keep in mind when acting out and those are; (i) you do not shy away from the truth and realities; the day you do, you are setting yourself up for doom, (ii) rather than having way made for you, it is your entity that paves way for the followers that you have gathered on your journey (iii) self-believe should be your top priority and forte; this particular component is above all the other elements just because it does not let you fall in the toughest of the times, and (iv) being humble and having empathy always works wonder in times of both failure and success.

Towards the end of the session, we were also educated about leadership in context of role play. When Mr. Zafar enunciated that everyone is a leader, he explicated that by presenting the idea of how everyone plays different roles in different aspects of their lives. We are parents, students, siblings, friends, children and much more in our daily lives; yet amongst all these roles we are perfect in only few, and in those perfected roles we find ourselves being the leaders. We might see that in our group of peers or siblings, it is us who are the most influential. Our views and arguments are likely to be accepted, and hence we naturally render ourselves as leaders in that role.

The parting debate that took place included a completely different face of leadership that is toxic leadership. We were introduced to the three crucial factors that motivate followers in nurturing a destructive leadership. These factors were represented in a triangular way including (a) Rationalization – the followers justify any dishonest act executed, (b) Pressure – the peer pressure they face to commit an unjust act, and (c) Opportunity – this is the loophole that is left open by the leaders or the management, and which urges and cajoles the followers to act dishonestly only because they are presented with an opportunity.

After internalizing all the points argued and presented by Mr. Zafar, we bid farewell to him with one question in our minds: Whether we consider ourselves to be leaders or not?

24 Responses to Guest Speaker Session by Mr. Farid Zafar, Head HR Dubai Islamic Bank

  1. Sarmad Aziz says:

    The Guest Speaker Session by Mr. Fareed basically focused on level 5 leadership. According to respected guest, every person is a level 5 leader however, the role of each person differs in different situations. He emphasized on the point that leaders are not born but made as per the situations they face.
    The Guest shared his valuable experience and life decisions he had to made before reaching in the position he is in at the moment. Moreover he also pointed out that all types of leadership are necessary to be exercised as per the requirement of the role you are in. Inspiration and motivation is not necessarily be communicated by soft expressions and sweet talk. Sometimes harsh and strict behavior is also important in order to maintain the discipline which is necessary in all organizations.

  2. Blogging :) says:

    We had a great session by the guest speaker Mr. Fareed Zafar (M.S from Szabist, P.hd in Business Administration ), The class begins with the presentation on level 5 leadership and then he presented his views on leadership, Levels of leaderships and types of leadership. He said that everyone of us sitting in this class is a leader in his or her own domain, he explained that if atleast a single person is influenced by you or if your saying has an impact on anyone in your circle then you are leader, it is not necessarily that the impact should be positive only, the thing is that it impact people and thus it increases followers or create followers, The leader will not be same person with everyone, every time because of society: How society functions, because of globalization. In today’s world anyone who speaks well is not guaranteed to be a leader due to this Globalization as Information is now widespread more fluently and within no time, it creates awareness, thus helps leaders too to nurture the skills.
    He emphasized on leadership styles and said that leadership style comes from home and its in one’s Personality traits. personality traits are crucial, these sets the style of a person and makes him a leader. People learn from parents and its their grooming which makes an individual a leader and that is the place where a person learn emotions or seek emotions, feelings.
    A leader posses these feelings because when somebody deals with people management then Empathy plays an important role, Empathy describes a good leader and a great leader along with the will.
    When one person is a leader, he/she should transfer ideas to the followers and make sure that he stands for them, he is at the back to support them in any matter to achieve the financial target. The most interesting was that he said whether it is a leader or manager, ultimate goal is to get fulfilled the financial target as this is what an organization or sponsors require just the style is different but end result is same.
    Organizations sets very good and attractive Vision and Mission statements but the main thing is that Goal which is lying in between them and that is to be achieved.
    He further speaks about that a leader should not be shy or run away from any threats and failures that’s why it is more of “Role Playing”. Role playing is the distinctive factor between a good to great. Everything is that role playing as people will follow him with their will or by force just because of the role played by leader. Leader should work with followers and support them, if anyone is not able to complete the task, he should talk with him and allow him some space and time but that levy has the limit. Limit is there, you can extend but upto some certain time and after that you take some measures. The conclusion was that everyone is a leader in his or her dynamics, perspective or domain and those personality traits develops those qualities.
    After that we were surprised to listen about the concept of destructive leadership, now that was something new and interesting.
    According to him, A destructive leader one who works towards fulfilling his own interests and works in the projects which may ultimately affects an organization. We learned that opportunities to cheat or to fraudulent are created by organization or the top drivers of an organization, Anyone do a fraud, when they have a justification for that fraudulent act and the opportunities are created by organization and its culture itself. The opportunities in this context are the loopholes in a organization which allows fraud and also pressure to demote or transfer someone. Once the window of opportunities is closed by the top rest will be sorted down. Thus it was a unique experience and the things which we learned during the session.

  3. Sarah fatima says:

    The guest speaker session basically focussed on a good and effective leadership. Everyone is a leader i.e. if your statements and actions have an impact on any one person and you are able to command them you are a leader. But good leaders have EQ more rather than IQ. It’s important to have empathy towards your clients snd employees. A person who is humble and himle is more likely to flourish in his career rather than an arrogant and selfish person..
    The second thing to eye upon is the fact to be strict and disciplined enough so that tasks can be carried out efficiently without presentation of lame excuses and putting it on others. The best leadership has the balancing approach of being the most kind and humble towards your employees with being strict enough to carry out the organizational tasks on time. A good leader will only leave with a better successor if he possess the balancing approach of level 5 leadership.

  4. Sumbul Zehra says:

    I’ll keep it brief and talk about the part I loved the most about the speaker session by Mr. Farid. He talked about negative leadership also known as Toxic leadership a combination of self-centered attitudes, motivations, and behaviors that have adverse effects on subordinates, the organization, and mission performance. This leader lacks concern for others and the climate of the organization, which leads to short- and long-term negative effects. The toxic leader operates with an inflated sense of self-worth and from acute self-interest. Toxic leaders consistently use dysfunctional behaviors to deceive, intimidate, coerce, or unfairly punish others to get what they want for themselves. The negative leader completes short-term requirements by operating at the bottom of the continuum of commitment, where followers respond to the positional power of their leader to fulfill requests. This may achieve results in the short term, but ignores the other leader competency categories of leads and develops. Prolonged use of negative leadership to influence followers undermines the followers’ will, initiative, and potential and destroys unit morale. This topic was a novelty to me before this session and would like thank Mr. Farid for enlightening us on this concept.

  5. Shazmeen Aslam says:

    Mr Fareed emphasized that a leader must be situational in his/ her approach by carefully analyzing every situation and then deciding upon the right approach for the subordinate. In order to increase efficiency and performance, he might need to adopt unique leadership styles for each member in his team. Moreover, a great leader must possess a strong emotional quotient in order to discern his own and other people’s emotions.

  6. Tooba Sohail 18965 says:

    The session with Mr. Farid Zafar (MS from szabist, head incharge of dubai Islamic bank) started off with a warm welcome. The focus of session was on level 5 leadership i.e Professional skill + personal humility+ excellent successor. Our honorable speaker asked us why leadership is different. It is because of society, social awareness, globalization i.e technology. Information has made changes in our minds. He said that every one of us is a leader in his or her own way ; he said that if you influence at least a single person or if your saying has an impact on anyone then you are leader. Leadership style comes from home. Your upbringing is important that makes your personality. Personality traits are a leadership that traits consist of Empathy, motivation, social skills, self-regulation and self-awareness. Among all of them “Empathy” being the most significant. SELF BELIEF is one of the key factors that everyone should possess. Everyone should have a belief within them. Speaker discussed types of leadership. He also told us that leadership is a role play, specify your goals and make it work on it. He said that a leader can be a follower or vice versa. In the end he explained us about motivation that a follower can get in nurturing destructive leadership. The components of fraud triangle are Rationalization- opportunity – pressure. According to him opportunity is loophole in a fraud triangle. The session ended with an open ended question “Do you all consider yourself a leader”?

  7. Hassan says:

    It was an eye opening session. The class really enjoyed the session. Mr Farid did magic with his interpersonal skills as many students wanted to ask questions in the QnA session.
    Fraud triangle was something which was new to me. Moreover Mr Farid gabe an opinions we can have level 5 leadership in Pakistan to which I agree

  8. Faiza Ansari says:

    The session made me realise that leadership is not restricted to the corporate sector, anyone who has an influence over any other person is a leader, whether it be a Sales Manager leading a team of several sales executives or a housewife leading a couple of domestic workers. Also Mr.Fareed made a strong point that leadership style is determined by the way a person has been raised.

  9. Kubra Fatima says:

    It was indeed a thought-provoking and interactive session. Got to know about the different dimensions a leader has and what typically sets him apart from conventional managers. I agree to the notion that everyone is a leader in one way or the other and in a certain situation or setting. This way, leaders can be followers and viceversa. However, the contradiction in the opinions of Sir Shiraz and Mr. Zafar on level 5 leader is tad bit confusing.

  10. Mahrooh Farid says:

    Mr. Farid Zafar seemed really nice and quite impressive about the concept of leadership. He started the session with his personal life experience and said that leadership is all about fellowship. Industries which followed standardized processes and methods are adapting the changing world dynamics so that they could also be part of globalization. The perception that he had about the leadership and leaders can be seen practically in today’s world. He described that the idea of born leader is now fading away because a leader is not born but it can be made through a process of self-creation. He stated that each and every one of us is a leader in our domain because a leader’s job is to influence, inspire and motivate the people in the service of something greater than themselves and the ability to inspire and motivate others is a behavioral skill that anyone can develop. So, his statement was quite true that everyone is a leader in their own way. Personality Traits have a relationship with leadership. We play a lot of roles in our daily life so when people realize their abilities and characteristics so they have to decide that in which role they are perfect. Thus realizing the role makes them a leader. Even if you have influenced only one person in your life it indicates that you possess the characteristics of becoming a good and effective leader. Empathy is the most essential element for people-management. A good leader always tries to inspire his team through his actions and words and he makes sure that everyone believes in a common vision or purpose. It must be kept in mind that the true leaders never run away from the reality but they face the situation with their experience and expertise, a leader takes the team along with him, rather than thinking about him a true leader thinks about the followers. He always tries to work in a humble manner rather than being arrogant or selfish. ‘Be yourself and you should strengthen your EQ is the statement that reflected that a successful leader is one who has self-belief in himself and can communicate everything very comprehensively to his followers. He also shared about fraud triangle which has three components namely rationalization, opportunity and pressure. For him, opportunity is the loop hole which creates the platform for fraud. In short, everyone is a leader in himself and it is all about how one face the situation and handles it.

  11. literarythug says:

    It was indeed a great session by Mr. Fareed Zafar, that explains the leadership briefly, he started the session with his life experiences that was interacting and though provoking enlightening the fact that it is not as easy task to change the whole culture of the organisation, like he did in KE, secondly he expressed his views on level 5 leadership , as per his views each and everyone possess level 5 leadership qualities in his domain as everyone is responsible for certain jobs in which he supervises someone, based on the above view we can also conclude that it only depends upon how one utilizes his leadership qualities, in addition to above i add that not all of us got the chance to fully utilize the leadership qualities, further, utilization of leadership qualities is directly related to the way we are grown up. The another most important thing that he highlighted was the fraud triangle, we should minimize the loop holes to shut the the chance for opportunities, that is most important for the leaders.

  12. Saad Altaf says:

    The session was quite inspiring and gave a brief insight regarding self-awareness. Whether you are a leader or not, believing in yourself gives you the strength or more likely the motivation to strive for your goal. Similarly, when you are setting up goals for yourself you should be focused towards the ultimate goal. The more you are focused towards one goal, the strategies you would or could form would lead to achieving the goal more accurately.

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  13. annie fatima says:

    Our class welcomed Mr Fareed Zafar for the guest speaker session on the Topic “Level 5 Leadership”. He started by introducing himself and telling his educational background and work experience. He told us that he loves music and cricket. He started the session by askking us the question that what do you feel about leadership he told us that leader is different from manager and everyone can be a leader because he or she maybe managing one person whether a maid or a driver. he also told us that leadership comes from home and it effects the personality that if you have a kind hearted family than it will come in your personality and leadership is a part of personality traits and it can be learnt and self believe is very important for leadership if its not present than there is no point of having high IQ and EQ. Leaders dont shy away they speak up they are bold and they are enabler and he is the back support of its employees and he is roleplaying and leadership can a follower in one situation and leader in the other. he also told us that opportunity is a loophole for fraudulent activities and opportunity is a window of doing fraud

  14. shariqjafri says:

    It was indeed a great session by Mr. Fareed Zafar, that explains the leadership briefly, he started the session with his life experiences that was interacting and though provoking enlightening the fact that it is not as easy task to change the whole culture of the organisation, like he did in KE, secondly he expressed his views on level 5 leadership , as per his views each and everyone possess level 5 leadership qualities in his domain as everyone is responsible for certain jobs in which he supervises someone, based on the above view we can also conclude that it only depends upon how one utilizes his leadership qualities, in addition to above i add that not all of us got the chance to fully utilize the leadership qualities, further, utilization of leadership qualities is directly related to the way we are grown up. The another most important thing that he highlighted was the fraud triangle, we should minimize the loop holes to shut the the chance for opportunities, that is most important for the leaders.

  15. Nabiha jawed says:

    Started off as an engineer but ended as enthusiastic head as of HR Dubai Islamic Bank. Mr Fareed was adamant believer that leadership starts when children are in their adolescent age, it is their nurturing they receive from their home which frames their personality and transforms the type of leadership they adopt. He kept very humorous tone to engage the fleeting attention span of the audience. He believed empathy and social skills are the rule of thumbs for guaranteed successful people management, after all it is essential part of leadership. In a nutshell leadership is a role play, leaders should know role they have to play in the provided circumstances.

  16. aisha556 says:

    The guest speaker session by my Farid Zafar was really very helpful and motivating for future leaders. He basically focused on leadership that from where it comes and what is leadership basically. Leadership comes from your home that are your personality traits. Your facial expressions are very important to judge you as people sometimes perceive you wrong till you open your mouth. Keep empathy element when talking about people management. Self belief is very important as you should have confidence in yourself. Without self belief both EQ and IQ are useless.He also talked about leadership types that are 3, autocratic, democratic and transformational. Leaders identify goals and work on it. According to him leadership is a ROLEPLAY, and followers make leaders. He also discussed about toxic leadership which is also known as disruptive leadership. he also talked about the opportunity that opportunity is a loophole in a fraud triangle. in short he concluded that everyone is a leader in his or her own perspective and dynamics.

  17. Fajar Parvez says:

    The interactive session with Mr. Farid Zafar was both captivating and inspiring. Talking about the frolicking experiences of both his professional and personal life, Mr Farid Zafar did not shy away from letting the leaders of tomorrow know the real secret to success. Personally, I could really relate with Mr. Farid when he talked about how he eventually had to step up and take responsibility for how his own life would shape in the future. He also shed light on the importance of having role models in the society in order for them to succeed. Mr. Farid also said that each individual has the capability to become a leader provided they nourish their talent and skills. According to him, what differentiates human beings from rest of the living is the emotional intellect they have. In the end, he concluded that for any type of leadership to succeed, positivity is the main key.

  18. Asad Charania says:

    Charming personality along with smart brains.

    The session was brilliant. I loved the barrier breaking views he has, similar to mine, that was discussed in an elaborate manner along with examples. Would be honored to join sessions fantastic like these.

  19. Muhammad Waqar Faizi says:

    The interactive session lead by Mr. Farid Zafar was really heartthrobbing and inspiring. What he basically focused was on level 5 leadership. According to him, every person is a leader in his or her domain, dynamics, perspective and the personality traits are the keynotes to develop those qualities. He share multiple lifetime exaples of himself too and explained that upbringing also plays vital role in establishing/developing personality traits and qualities to become a leader. Furthermore, Mr. Farid also explained the different types of leadership and quoted that every person can become a leader provided that they nourish their inborn talent and skills. Farudulent Triangle was the amazing part of this session which he explained and that was something new and interesting for me. In a nutshell, leadership is a role play and they should know the role they have to play in provided circumstances.

  20. Maheen Qureshi says:


    Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.

  21. Farid Zafar says:

    Honoured to talk to such intellectuals and emerging leaders.

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