Leadership and Career Lessons From Syed Mahbubur Rahman, CEO Of Dhaka Bank

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Apr 28, 2017

Son of a government employee father and a homemaker mother, Syed Mahbubur Rahman, was born and raised in Dhaka in a family where values used to receive the highest importance. He learned about the importance of commitment and work ethic in his early life. “My father- when he retired after his several decades’ long career he was a director of Water Development Board- had an unwavering work ethic and honesty and it was incredibly inspiring to me”, says Rahman.

Rahman started his formal career at Saudi-Bangladesh Industrial & Agricultural Investment Company Limited (SABINCO) where he worked for more than five years. Later on, he worked at companies like Citibank N.A., Standard Chartered Bank, Prime Bank, IDLC, BRAC Bank in different senior positions including CEO of BRAC Bank for over five years before joining Dhaka Bank as a CEO in November 2015. Over the past one and half years, he has helped launch a product diversification push and an effort for greater technology adoption at the Bank.

In an exclusive interview, we published early this month, Rahman urges us to love our work if we care about doing good work and having a fulfilling life, to focus and be a good human and shares his lessons and ideas on leadership and how to build a fulfilling career. Enter Syed Mahbubur Rahman below.

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Love your work.

It is immensely important that you love your job if you care about doing good work, creating impact and having a fulfilling life. If you come to the office and wait for the office hour to end, you will still do your job but you would be far less effective and deliver far worse than your ability.

We spend a significant portion of life in our work which means if you don’t love your work your chance of having a good life will diminish greatly.

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Domain knowledge is critical.

It is hard to understate the importance of domain knowledge. Learn about the work you are doing, dig deeper and invest in understanding your work more profoundly. While it takes hard work to invest in your development but without your chance of moving forward would reduce significantly.

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Choose commitment over indecision

We spend a rather large part of our life not making up our mind, avoiding difficult decisions, not choosing and not committing but it is critical that you commit to yourself. If you are committed to yourself you will be doing more, you will be putting in a greater effort and that’s what makes all the difference.

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Focus

In the short run doing a hundred things feels good and it is easier but in the long run, it is a futile exercise. Focus, don’t do ten things subpar instead do one thing and do it really well.

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Respect people

Mostly importantly, respect people regardless of who they are. How we treat a person tells more about ourselves than that other person.

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Live for the day

We waste so much time regretting the past and worrying about the future neither of which we can control. Which will happen will happen, we can’t change that but we can change what we do today and how we act now. Focus on the present. If you focus on the present rest will take care of itself.

You can’t change your past but you can take charge of your present and if you do so your future will be different. There is a saying that the way we spend our days if of course how we spend our lives.

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Don’t don anything for reward or money alone

Don’t think about money or reward rather focus on work. You may have to struggle and struggle is natural, everyone before you had to struggle and suffer through but never let your hardships hold you back. Work hard, find a way, get through it and never give up on yourself and your ability to endure.

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Be a good human being.

That’s very important. If you are a good man, the other qualities like commitment, loyalty, dedication become easy to achieve. When you are a good man, you would take your responsibility seriously. Coming to office would not be a mere routine to you, rather you will emphasis on doing good work. You will try to do justice to your organization by delivering good work.

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Empower people. Team is important than any individua.l

My philosophy is always to empower people and delegate. I don’t micro-manage and don’t want to keep everything to myself. I believe in the individual excellence and team to the extent that I want my team to come to me with recommendations instead of just asking for directions and permission about what to do. I want my team to make the decisions not me alone.

Collaboration is extremely important when it comes to solving critical problems and it only happens when you empower your team.


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