Guest Speaking Session by Mr. Farhan Ahmed, Head of Business and Corporate Communications Standard Chartered PLC

On 1st April, 2017, the class of leadership held a guest speaking session, introducing Mr. Farhan Ahmed, Head of Business and Corporate Communications at Standard Chartered, as the guest speaker to throw light on the dynamics of leadership and what leaders really do.

Mr. Ahmed held an extensively interactive session, inviting a bundle of questions from the eager minds and assisting them in resolving their queries and enhancing their knowledge.


Speaking on what leaders really do, particularly in this advanced, sophisticated and contemporary world where there’s a flood of advancement in the technologies that we use and the ideas and concepts that are building, Mr. Ahmed highlighted the below mentioned elements that the leaders are actually working on:

  1. Vision has been associated with leadership for almost as long as the introduction of the concept itself. However, nowadays vision is not only a statement but is the believe and conviction of a leader regarding where he wants to take the organization and his people. Therefore, the vision needs to be strong and realistic that calls for the people to believe in it.
  2. Communication is a two way process and can be successful if done in this way only. Gone are the days when a leader would be the sole dictator and decision maker, with his followers as symbolic figures. This modern world requires the leader to communicate his vision to the people in such a manner that it makes them want to be a part of his campaign, and not force them into participation.
  3. Self Analysis is the crux of leadership. It is imperative that at all times leader is aware of his weaknesses and strengths. But, there’s a stark contrast between how leaders used to treat their weaknesses before and now. Earlier on, weaknesses were supposed to be worked on until you have converted them into your strengths. However, as the time passed, this theory has now been rescinded and leaders in this contemporary time sharpen their strengths to the level of expert and ignore their cons or treat them to an extent where it does not harm them.
  4. Creation of followers is a crucial task for leaders, not because it makes them popular, but because a leader believes in delegation of authority, responsibility and decision making autonomy for his followers. A huge following that is able to perform way better in the absence of a leader, than his presence is one of the biggest identifications and victory of any leader. Because as Mr. Ahmed says: “Leaders create leaders”
  5. Stakeholders Management is relatively a new concept which is to be adhered by leaders for the success of their leadership. This particular management is based on two components mainly relationship building and self awareness. Here, leaders gauge as to what relevance the stakeholders have in their life and how they need to handle relationship with them to create a win-win situation.
  6. Based on their experience, intuition and knowledge, leaders, currently, anticipate, understand and bring change not only in organizations, but in the society too. In today’s world sitting and waiting for a change to occur is not what leaders do, but quite the opposite of it. That is to say at initial stage, the leader is liable to bring change and the followers are there to embrace it.

Towards the end of session, Mr. Ahmed introduced another concept of leadership that is Adaptive leadership, which proposes to leaders to take a balcony view of the situation at hand. In other words, leaders need to step back from the dilemmas surrounding them, have an out-of-the-body experience, go onto the ‘balcony’ and see from the top the holistic picture. This not only provides an aerial view of the current issue, but allows the leader to take into account various key elements and factors that they were missing when seeing the situation through myopic specs.

With the understanding of what leaders really do and what adaptive leadership is all about, we bid farewell to Mr. Farhan Ahmed in hopes that we will be able to absorb bits and pieces of what he told in our professional life.

21 Responses to Guest Speaking Session by Mr. Farhan Ahmed, Head of Business and Corporate Communications Standard Chartered PLC

  1. Faiza Ansari says:

    Mr, Farhan talked about what really leaders do, he mentioned that it is a leader who initiates changes whereas tge manager iss fond of stability. He was of the opinion that leaders are made and it is only a leader creates a leader. He define a good leader as the one whose team performs good when he is arround but performa wven better when he is not present. He said a leader must possess the ability to take a balcony view by detaching himself from the happenings within the respective situation.


    Wonderful session by Mr. Farhan, in which he describe some characteristics of Leader the most important I felt was communication, a two-way process which if done well can turn things around. As the leader is one have a vision and if he clearly communicated his vision the probability of achieving the goal is greater.

  3. Blogging :) says:

    We had a great session by Mr.Farhan, He is also a CBM graduate and before starting the session on what leader do, he asked one question that whether leaders are born or made?
    He explained that leaders are made, anyone can be a leader if he/she has those qualities, everyone is a leader and there is at least one person in our life to whom we believe, we get inspiration and to whom we follow.
    He said that a leader must have a vision and just having that vision is not enough he should have the ability to communicate that vision, its not an optional at all, he needs to communicate that. to be a leader, one should look at his strengths , self awareness, if someone has some weaknesses then he should not try to sharpen his/her weaknesses but to work on strengths, once the weakness, will be a weakness but try to strong your strengths that much so that you capitalise on those weaknesses. An interesting theory we learned as leaders do not create followers but a leader creates/develops a leader.. Whoa!!, now that’s something amazing that a leader himself develop another leader, he is not afraid of his position.
    He guided us to have a look at self-evaluating matrix, which are really important to evaluate yourself, he further said that its important for a leader to know himself first.
    Another surprising element was when he said that “Bosses teaches what to do rather than teaching what to do”. Leaders provide opportunities to think a, to dream big and don’t be afraid of it. if a manager wants to be a leader then he must learn to delegate, leader is not afraid of a change, he manage things and always active to bring any change necessary, and the followers embrace that and for that he needs to understand the Stake Holders first as to see what are their preferences and then work accordingly so that all are on one page.
    A the end he gave a new concept of adaptive leadership as to step back, a analyse the whole big picture and judge what is happening and what need to be done so that to out perform.

  4. Saad Altaf says:

    Mr. Farhan being an expert in his field emphasized on the point that in order to be a leader you must possess the ability to communicate with your followers in a way that they dont feel pressurized into it. Similarly, a leader must be self aware of his or her abilities and focus on the skills that he or she is good at because everyone cannot be good in everything. Be an expert in your strengths and that shall cover your weaknesses.

  5. aisha556 says:

    The session was very interactive as Mr Farhan discussed the point of view of a successful leader that weather leaders are born or made. He guided us to have a look at self-evaluating matrix, which are really important to evaluate yourself, he further said that its important for a leader to know himself first. He define a good leader as the one whose team performs good when he is around but perform even better when he is not present. Based on their experience, intuition and knowledge, leaders, currently, anticipate, understand and bring change not only in organizations, but in the society too. Thus, according to him a leader is clearly communicated his goal and he should be smarter enough to achieve his goal.

  6. Sarah fatima says:

    A highly engaging informative session in which Mr.Farhan discussed that leaders are not born neither they are made they arrive from a situation. A leader becomes a leader when he takes a decision in a situation. For a leader it’s necessary to have vision and the ability to communicate that vision. The second aspect is that create a following, it’s necessary to have followers if there are none then he is not a leader. Third most important point for a successful leader is that which we mostly overlook don’t waste time converting your weakness into strength instead focus on your strength only how you can make it more effective. Other aspects of leadership are that leaders will create leaders i.e. better successors, they will handle teams more effectively leaders give their team ability to think while managers dont. The most important aspect is stakeholder management i.e. who the stakeholders are of your company, shat relevance they have in your life, how you handle them etc. And finally leadership is about change, change for better taking risks, bending out the rules. When all of these get combined in a person we can ensure that he will make a good leader

  7. Mahrooh says:

    ‘Leaders are not born they are made!’ This statement created an enthusiastic affect in the beginning of the session only. Mr. Farhan with his vast knowledge has helped us to understand a leader’s role in depth. He emphasized on the roles of a leader which included setting up a vision and communicating that vision to the people. He rightly said that one should be aware of his strengths and weaknesses. Further he added that nobody cares about your weaknesses. It’s something next to impossible to convert your weaknesses in strengths. Focusing to overcome your weaknesses or converting your weaknesses into strengths will definitely result unfavorable for existing strengths. He was stressing again and again that leader create leaders and opt for a change. These two things differentiate a leader from a manager at large. Moving towards the end of the session, he introduced adaptive leadership concept that everyone should have a balcony view of the scenarios going on as it helps to understand the realities and opportunities for change.

    • Christy says:

      Hey, I am a rabid site maps / webmaster tools user, but I am frustrated because neither webmaster tools nor site maps are available from Igoogle as a Gadget, or even on the list of normal links. I always have to go searchign for it. Is there any plan to make a gadget for the Igoogle? That would make it alot more coneinivnt!

    • Thanks Patti. I hope to one day relive all our adventures together when he is all grown up. I bet he will have a blast visiting the past. Life is short. We need to make as much happy memories as we can.

  8. Fajar Parvez says:

    The session was a combination of sharing personal professional experiences along with the tips for the leaders of tomorrow. What struck me as the best learning from this session was Mr. Farhan’s tip to work on our strengths and enhance them as much as possible, rather than focusing to convert our strengths into weaknesses. Mr. Farhan also said that its always very important to take a ‘balcony view’ in whatever decisions to be taken along with zooming in on the minute details as well. He said that good leaders will always make good leaders rather than just good followers and that they are never afraid of change and always looking to break the status unlike the traditional managers. Overall, this was another capitulating session with lots of learnings to elicit from. Thanks indeed

  9. Malika Damani says:

    Great session by mr. Farhan. The question asked by him during session was: “what if you have identified your weakness, how will you go about it?” Someone answered that weakness can be converted into strength where the debate started as it is impossible in practical world to convert your weakness into strength all you can do is to work more harder on your strength to make it your expertise for which people recognise you for. “this is what he called evolution of generation perspective according to the competing world”.

  10. Shahreen Shafaq says:

    Thanks to Mr. Farhan for coming to our class and give us a highly engaging and informative session. He started the discussion with the question that: “what actually leaders do?” everyone gave their valuable views and the questions ended up with few points that a leader 1) build trust and relationship 2) Risk Taker 3) Goes in the direction where no one thinks of going, fills the gap. He continue the discussion with the point that leader needs to have a vision, he should know where he wants to take people to, he needs to make people believe on their vision. One important things that differentiate a leader and manager is that “leaders always create leaders”.
    He talked about whether a leader is born or made? the question concluded with the point that leaders are made, anyone can be leader if they have the vision and ability to communicate that vision, and how they handle the situation, the ability to take decision and take bold decisions. Self-awareness is important for anyone, it takes a person everywhere. A leader should focus on his strengths and build on that instead of overcoming their weaknesses. Leaders give their team the ability to “think” whereas manager tend to “limit that think”. Leaders gives opportunity to others, he think about competitive market, he is more focused to expand market. Change is very important for leadership. A good leader never fears change. Mr. Farhan also talked about “adaptive leadership”: a concept of leadership which is also known as “a balcony view” where you step outside, take the top view and analyze the situation. All in all it is a great session, I again thank Mr Farhan for giving us his valuable views.

  11. Nabiha jawed says:

    Mr.Farhan shared one of the profound concept: Leaders are made and it is only a leader who creates a leader. He believed that leader should pave his ideas in such a manner that people desire to follow him.He was of the opinion that instead of working on your weakness, one should master his strengths to the core.Lastly emphasized that the leaders should take the balcony view, this will help them to take account of the holistic picture of his leadership.

  12. Hassan says:

    So a session with Mr farhan was one of a kind for me. Firstly,he being a cbmer was an honour for me as he took the name of institute so high.
    W.r.t to leadership he rightly said that in situations we must take holistic view of situation by taking a balcony view to understand the situation. According to him true leader is one who helps his people by guiding them and not by feeding them I.e. the leader makes his sub ordinates self sufficient and self reliant . he also introduced us to concept of adaptive leadership. Lastly, he gave us basic knowledge of what leaders do and that is 1) risk taking 2) build trust and relations 3) he goes and thinks in direction in which no one is thinking

  13. Aaqib Siddiqui says:

    Now days adaptive leadership is becoming very important as a leader cannot just step in in the situation and starts playing it role with aggression and lead by front strategy . Even adaptive leadership has huge contribution on the stake holder management . After a long time some thing new i gained from a guest speaker Mr. Farhan Ahmed.

  14. toobasohail says:

    A great session with Mr.Farhan. According to him, a leader need to have a Vision. How he makes people believe in his vision. A leader makes his follower independent , give them ability to think. They don’t limit his followers from thinking. He makes his followers future leaders.Mr. Farhan told us that change is necessary , a good leader is not afraid of change. Open minded and different thinking is necessary for a leader. He further elaborated his speech by telling us about adaptive leadership i.e the ability to see,step out of situation , analyze & make strategy and go back again in the situation” , this is very important for a leader. In the end he concluded by saying ” Giving back to the society is necessary and it can be in different form”.

  15. Kubra Fatima says:

    Mr. Farhan emphasized on certain key points that are a must for a leader. These include having a clear and coherent vision, performing self analysis and reflecting on one’s own behaviour, communicating with the followers in such a way that they buy into the vision and mission of the organisation, creation of followers, and shareholders management.

  16. annie fatima says:

    It was great session with Mr.Farhan, According to him a leader should be visionary and also told us how he is able to make his people see his vision. He also focused on the fact that a leader lets his people be independent so that they could think on their own and he encourages thinking so that he can enable his people to become future leaders. he also told us a very good definition of leadership that is adaptive leadership which means when stuck in a situation. Get out of the situation and look for it from the balcony view. so that your horizon is broader and you can think accordingly and lastly he said that it should be necessary for the leader to give back to the society in any way he can.

  17. Kinza says:

    It was really intractive and a great session with Mr. Farhan, he basically thinks leadership is all about a vision nd a great leader is one who know how to deliver that vision to others(with their employees), his further blieve in on self analysis that if a person knows his weaknesses and strength then he could be a great leader.
    According to Mr. Farhan it’s necessary for a gud leader to creat another leader.
    He also said leaders are not born nor made they arise from diffeent situations

  18. Asad Charania says:

    An interactive and amazing session where he discussed how leaders and leadership should have a vision which translates into the success of the company with the agreement and satisfaction of the team and employees with the vision aligned to bring about a change.

    • Cheyanne says:

        6 december 2012Hallo Ina, Dank je wel voor het copnilmemt, nu is de foto in de Frits maar een gedeelte en is ie iets te licht naar mijn zin afgedrukt. Neem even contact met me op via dan kunnen we daar vast wel uitkomenMet hartelijke groet,Bart

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: