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Bankers Evening Forum


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The Association of Professional Bankers – Sri Lanka (APB) held a Bankers Evening Forum on Thursday, 17 May. The event was held at the BOC Head Office Auditorium and was attended by a large number of participants including bankers, professionals and special invitees. On this occasion, the guest speaker Colombo Leadership Academy Founder CEO and Managing Director Riaz Hassen, made a presentation on “What it takes to be a Great Leader”. Hassen is a Leadership Transformation Specialist, Lead Strategist and an Employer Branding Advocate.

The presenter focused on the creative leadership competencies and how to become an effective leader. He highlighted the competency levels for future leaders showing a graphical diagram on each aspect within the organisation. These levels include, Leadership of business, Leadership of Results and Leadership of Self & Team. He emphasised on discovering the inner strengths by “Discovering DNA to Lead”. He also focused on eight essential points to achieve greater heights in leadership ladder by ensuring professionalism is maintained by building integrity and trust. 

He was of the view that the first point is to never compromise professionalism for personal loyalty. An individual should maintain a professional behaviour in the work place. The next point he highlighted was to have the courage to abandon a practice that made you successful in the past and not rely on that in the present business model which constantly challenged with VUCA factors. Creating a culture to challenge the status quo and emerge as potential leaders is the third point he emphasised. 

According to Hassen, the fourth most important aspect is to change from reactive tendencies of leadership to creative competencies to drive leadership effectiveness. The audience was able to grasp the essence of the features of the creative leadership competencies such as achieving results, bringing out the best in others, be a cross functional connector, lead with vision, enhance the effectiveness and integrity, etc. He also mentioned about the reactive leadership tendencies (lagging indicators) such as: The autocratic, controlling behaviour, avoid taking risks, protecting yourself and complying, which restrict the effective leadership of a potential leader.



Hassen pointed out, “Being entrepreneurial will help an individual to practice the leader in yourself,” which is another vital fact towards achieving objectives efficiently and effectively. He further discussed about executing planned actions profitably according to the triple bottom line of the organisation and the ability to develop a succession plan towards the career development within your own position.

Hassen discussed about the importance of “being an extraordinary connector” showing the way to become a champion among everyone through good network building. Hassen emphasised as the seventh point that “An effective leader should have a high diversity management index” enabling him to align with every diverse member in a team as the emerging banking HR trends indicate on-boarding of Marketers, IT professionals, Service Excellence people, FMCG sales professionals, Data scientists, Lean experts, etc.  Being a certified organisational culture specialist with wide experience on various organisational cultures Hassen discussed about the importance of embracing a culture which is aligned with the millennials within the organisation.

In his speech Hassen showed the way forward to take the best out of the opportunities to become an effective leader. He wanted the participants to prioritise the tasks in their day-to-day life and to maintain a to-do list which is realistic. He stressed that we need to be change catalysts and need to have a vision on how to see ourselves in another six months’ time. He was of the view that in order to get the best out of every situation, we need to show the best version of ourselves without compromising on professionalism thus attracting the spotlight. Hassen highlighted that, “Any individual who would like to become an effective leader should craft the brand he or she wants to become and should visualise the end result in the mind.” This visualisation is essential to drive the personal leadership branding that we desire to drive ourselves to the next level, said Hassan. 

The final point he emphasised was the “Power of Now”. He stressed that everybody needs to set short term goals and reflect on them to achieve the “SMART” targets in life and become an effective leader. According to Hassen, “you only live once but if you do it right once is enough”. The presentation was concluded with a very interactive Q & A session.


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