Ejaj Ahmad is the founder and President of Bangladesh Youth Leadership Center. Mr. Ahmad is a terrific personality and has an astounding body of work. In a recent interview with Future Startup, he shares his thoughts on leadership and management as well as a host of other interesting topics.
“I believe that empowering people and letting them run with projects and ideas and take full ownership is a better way of getting things done,” Mr. Ahmad tells FS. “More often than not, I have seen people rise to the occasion when I have trusted them to deliver on something.”
In other words, Ejaj says contrary to widely held assumption that you need to assert control in order to drive result, you should empower people, allow your teammates to make decisions and take initiative and make mistakes.
“At BYLC, I tell my colleagues that we are in the business of building an enduring institution. We are running a marathon, not a sprint,” tells Ejaj, “And we have to save ourselves from burning out. I try to promote a disciplined approach to work. I encourage people to be physically active and to read as much as they can. Reading is a part of our culture at BYLC.”
“I think leadership is a lifelong learning process. It is useful to perceive leadership as an activity or an experiment. Viewing leadership this way gives us the permission to try new things and be open to failure” asserts Ejaj. “If we want to be successful 100 percent of the time, exercising leadership would be extremely difficult for us.”
“There are two capabilities that are central to the practice of leadership. The first is self-awareness—an understanding of who we are, our values and purpose. And the second is contextual awareness—an understanding of the environment we are in and how it is influencing us, how to interact with people around us, and how to mobilize them. I think life is a gift and our responsibility is to make sure that we treasure it, value it, and try to make it a gift to the world.”