Leap to Lead with Azran Osman-Rani
It is Friday morning, here comes a pint-sized man gliding effortlessly across the stage amongst Gamudians. He doesn’t address the crowd with the standard ‘good morning’ and ‘how’s everybody doing?’
He invites us to close our eyes, imagine ourselves standing on the edge of a cliff together, “Let’s take that leap!” he exclaims with gusto.
Between clever puns and little anecdotes, you can tell that the electrifying Azran Osman-Rani is here to challenge the conventional. Currently he is the founder and CEO of Naluri Hidup, a digital health technology company providing a cost-effective, accessible digital solution to provide mental health and wellness support, and help users adopt healthier lifestyle behaviour changes.
Prior to this, the man was already famous for creating and leading “challenger brands” like AirAsiaX and iflix Malaysia. But aside from his illustrious career, Azran is also an Ironman athlete.
August 16th marked the third edition of Gamuda’s leadership development initiative aptly called Leap to Lead where leaders from various industries are invited to have a dialogue with the people of Gamuda.
In previous editions, the dialogues centred around Business Savvy and Self Savvy respectively. So, it was only natural that the series moved into its current focus: People Savvy.
Azran Osman-Rani, together with our very own leaders in their respective field Deputy Construction Director Leng Hua Teng and Assistant General Manager, Vernon Wong shared their experiences working with teams, what constitutes success and failures in a panel discussion moderated by Gamuda’s Chief Information Officer Wong Tsien Loong.
So, what defines a true leader?
Is it a boss who gives you more time off? Is it one that offers constant praises? Is it a boss that joins you for lunch or happy hour? Does he have to have answers to it all? Is a good leader one that makes you rich?
The word ‘leadership’ is often misconstrued as taking the standard role of a boss. But, here’s a fact about leadership that no one really wants to talk about — it’s bigger than yourself.
“Leaders have to make decisions. At the same time, considering other point of views by involving the people and eventually taking full accountability for decisions made,” Vernon Wong expressed.
Being a leader in the traditional sense is attractive. It can bring larger paychecks and a lot more notoriety, but that is not even close to defining what true leadership is all about. A lot of us think that once we’ve made it to the top of the chain, that our ideas would have much less obstacles to push through.
The truth is, a leader is answerable to everyone from their employees to their customers. And, a leader is not someone who tells people what to do.
“It is beyond getting recognition out there. It’s about the lives you make an impact on. It’s how you shape that strong sense of purpose amongst the people around you. It’s not just about making revenue. It’s about breaking down barriers and leading others through the unpredictability of the future,” he said.
Azran Osman-rani is not a stranger to failures, even stating that on a good day, his ratio of failure to success is eight out of 10.
“I share one of my biggest failures in one of the chapters in my book -and it was choosing the wrong people in my team. I’ve been there but now I’ve learned that it is important to focus on who you bring onto your team and the set of values you want to embody. The ones who set the culture in your company isn’t just the CEO of the board. It’s all the immediate team leaders you have to deal with. It’s really about values over experience,” Azran shared.
Just think about it: As a leader, you have this incredible opportunity to change someone’s life every single day. It could be as simple as saying hello and remembering people’s names when you greet them.
It could also mean your passion for helping your people achieve and pursue all of their personal dreams and ambitions just as much as their professional ones. It could mean you forcing everyone around you to grow and develop into stronger and wiser human beings that they will end up reaching heights they never thought was possible before they met you.
“Leaders are successful when you are able to make things happen as a team. Besides IQ and EQ, we have to also master LQ. Love and care are equally important as a leader. Otherwise you will be lonely in this journey,” Leng Hua Teng explains.
If you look at some of the best leaders to live, not only did they succeed at helping their organisations reach new milestones and dominate the marketplace, but they genuinely cared for people. They understood that leadership is a privilege.
And with privilege comes taking accountability for the decisions you make. “The most common problem in the workplace is communication because we don’t make the time to connect. Imposing personal views onto others create a barrier that prevents a two-way form of understanding,” says Azran.
“It is important to have peers and external coaches in your support system that function as reflective mirrors,” he says.
“A good mirror never tells you what to do. Instead, it encourages you to accept your current situation and think of another way to work around the predicament. By choosing our mentors and coaches wisely, we will end up having powerful mirrors at our disposal to aid us,” Azran continues.
A good leader doesn’t just make the company successful. “The people around you start becoming successful too, and not just in the company but, this reflects in their personal lives, too.”
Azran’s message to fellow Gamudians is to take that leap and “reframe your fears and doubts into thoughts of excitement.” Through the attachment of positive emotions to negative connotations, he believes that the likelihood of surviving a shaky situation increases tenfold.
“To be in control in an unknown future, now that’s exciting,” concludes Azran.