Female leaders are increasingly considering new ways of work such as WFH and hybrid, with some even considering to conduct senior leadership meetings remotely. How do you think this applies to businesses in Kuwait? What problems could such measures solve in the new reality?

During the recent pandemic, WFH was the perfect approach to follow to allow organizations to continue providing their services while protecting their team members from the COVID-19 virus. As for the remote meetings, they existed even before the pandemic. When I was heading the Internal Audit department in a foreign bank (Al Rajhi Bank — Kuwait branch).

I was routinely interacting with the Head Office remotely and this was part of our daily work. I can say it was a very practical and flexible option that helped us discuss and exchange experiences with our colleagues at the Head Office, and saved us time, effort and transportation cost. 

Considering how feasible it is, the same routine will continue even after the pandemic in most organizations, where meetings are constantly held with members/parties who are in other countries. Furthermore, through WFH and hybrid, organizations can import the required experience by hiring skilled and qualified staff from other countries without requiring their physical presence. In addition, from a social responsibility perspective, I think we can use the same approach to assist and support parts of our society. 

For example, it can facilitate the involvement of people who face difficulties in attending work physically (i.e. for people with special needs, motherhood-related reasons, etc.) and have their added value to the work environment.

According to our survey, only 6% of the female leaders are focusing on upskilling. In what way do you think this can impact the shortage of skilled talent in the country?

It will definitely have a significant impact, considering that true leaders have always had concerns when it came to preparing good successors. This can be overcome by knowing your team members’ skills, which will allow you to recognize the talent and provide them the required support to improve their strengths and reduce their weaknesses.

Be it through listening to employees’ ideas or by showing them empathy, among other ways, how important is it for you to stay connected to your employees? Do you think this has a connection with financial performance?

I started my career in the banking sector in a junior role and today I am in the C-suite. I can say that I was very lucky to have dealt with the different styles of management which taught me that each level needs a different approach to connect with the team. One needs to work to identify the team’s skills and understand the members’ personalities to identify the best way to support and encourage them, so they put their best performance — which, of course, will have an impact on the organization’s financial performance.

In your experience, what are the challenges an organization faces in implementing digital transformation?

Today, digital transformation is a challenge for any organization, and the main factor that can turn the challenge to motivation and opportunity is the presence of excellent expertise. 

What is your career advice to the aspiring female leaders who may soon have to navigate the uncertainty and unwariness that the future holds?

Well, the pandemic taught us that the future can hold expected and unexpected events. So, to handle your role in a good manner, you need to be prepared and ready for changes at all times and know how to incorporate flexibility as a key factor in your management style.

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