Leading by example: A steady hand in challenging times

Captain Mohamad Halim Bin Ahmed, the director general of marine at the Marine Department, Ministry of Transport, Malaysia, shared his insights on leadership during an interview with Maritime Fairtrade.

In the ever-evolving maritime industry, aspiring leaders must possess certain attributes to navigate the challenges and seize opportunities. 

According to Captain Halim, a steadfast commitment to excellence, unwavering dedication, perseverance, and adaptability are qualities of great significance. This topic emphasizes the importance of these qualities in shaping future leaders in the maritime sector. 

By embodying these attributes, individuals can effectively navigate through challenging situations and emerge as successful leaders within this dynamic industry.

Captain Mohamad Halim Bin Ahmed, director general of marine, Marine Department, Ministry of Transport, Malaysia.

What strategies have you implemented to promote growth and development in the marine industry?

We took a multifaceted approach to promote growth and development in the marine industry. This involved implementing comprehensive capacity-building programs, establishing strategic partnerships with international maritime organizations, and facilitating investment initiatives to enhance infrastructure and technology within the sector. 

We also made it a priority to foster a regulatory environment that encourages innovation and sustainable practices, ensuring the long-term vitality of the marine industry in Malaysia.

How do you ensure compliance with safety regulations and standards?

Upholding safety regulations and standards is of paramount importance in the marine industry. As a leader, I have implemented a rigorous compliance framework that includes continuous training programs, strict adherence to international maritime conventions, and the utilization of advanced technological solutions to monitor and enforce safety protocols. 

Furthermore, we promote a culture of accountability and transparency, encouraging open communication and active participation from all stakeholders to consistently meet the highest safety standards.

What initiatives have you taken to foster collaboration and partnership between different stakeholders?

In order to promote collaboration and partnership within the marine industry, we have initiated inclusive forums and working groups. These platforms bring together key stakeholders, including government bodies, private enterprises, and relevant NGOs. They serve as catalysts for constructive dialogue, knowledge exchange, and the formulation of joint initiatives. 

The aim is to address common challenges, foster innovation, and cultivate a unified vision for the sustainable growth of the marine industry in Malaysia.

Can you provide examples of successful projects or initiatives that you have led to enhance maritime security in Malaysia?

Our successful initiative in enhancing maritime security in Malaysia has been characterized by a holistic approach. This approach combines advanced surveillance technologies, strategic partnerships with international security agencies, and the implementation of robust regulatory frameworks. 

Notable projects include the establishment of an integrated maritime monitoring system, collaborative counter-piracy operations with neighboring countries, and the implementation of stringent port security measures. These initiatives have significantly fortified Malaysia’s maritime security posture and safeguarded against illicit activities.

How do you stay informed about emerging trends and technologies, and how do you leverage them for the benefit of your organization?

To stay informed about emerging trends and technologies in the marine industry, we actively engage in global industry conferences, collaborate on academic research, and form partnerships with leading maritime technology firms. 

In addition, we place a high priority on continuous learning and professional development for our team members, fostering a culture of innovation and adaptability.

By leveraging these insights, we strategically integrate cutting-edge technologies, including AI-powered analytics, blockchain solutions, and sustainable energy systems, to optimize operational efficiencies and drive sustainable growth within our organization.

What measures have you implemented to address environmental concerns and promote sustainable practices?

Environmental sustainability is a core pillar of our strategy within the marine industry. We have implemented comprehensive environmental management protocols that prioritize the preservation of marine ecosystems, the reduction of our carbon footprint, and the promotion of eco-friendly practices among all stakeholders. 

Our initiatives encompass strict waste management protocols, the promotion of clean energy utilization, and the implementation of rigorous regulations to mitigate pollution. 

Moreover, we actively engage in community outreach programs to raise awareness and foster a culture of environmental stewardship among industry participants.

In your opinion, what are the key challenges currently facing the marine industry in Malaysia, and how would you address them?

The marine industry in Malaysia is currently facing various challenges, such as evolving global regulatory frameworks, geopolitical complexities, and environmental sustainability concerns. 

As a leader, I believe in implementing proactive measures that involve robust policy advocacy, ongoing dialogue with international regulatory bodies, and the promotion of research and development initiatives aimed at enhancing the industry’s resilience and adaptability. 

By fostering a culture of collaboration, innovation, and sustainable growth, we can effectively address these challenges and position Malaysia as a leading maritime hub in the region.

How do you motivate and inspire your team members to achieve their best performance?

Motivating and inspiring my team members is essential for achieving optimal performance. I prioritize fostering a culture of inclusivity, open communication, and mutual respect within the workplace. 

By encouraging a shared vision, setting clear goals, and providing ample opportunities for professional growth and recognition, we cultivate a sense of ownership and empowerment among team members. 

Additionally, I believe in leading by example, demonstrating unwavering dedication, and fostering a supportive work environment that values creativity, collaboration, and excellence.

Can you share an example of a difficult decision that you had to make as a leader, and how it impacted your organization or team?

A difficult decision I had to make as a leader was restructuring the department to optimize operational efficiencies and align with emerging industry demands. 

While challenging, this decision ultimately streamlined processes, optimized resource allocation, and fostered a culture of innovation and adaptability within the organization. 

Despite initial apprehensions, the decision paved the way for enhanced productivity, improved service delivery, and a more agile response to industry dynamics, ultimately reinforcing the department’s position as a leading authority within the marine sector.

Describe your leadership style.

My leadership style is characterized by a collaborative and visionary approach that prioritizes inclusivity, integrity, and strategic foresight. By fostering a culture of transparency, trust, and open organizational excellence. 

Moreover, I believe in empowering my team members, encouraging innovation, and fostering a culture of continuous learning and personal development. This leadership philosophy has facilitated the cultivation of a dynamic and resilient organizational culture that is adaptive to change and committed to achieving our collective goals.

Photo credit: iStock/May Lim

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