IT Leadership – A Tribute to My Mentor

IT Leadership –
A Tribute to My Mentor

WEME – Ts. Saiful Bakhtiar Osman

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IT Leadership tribute to the late Encik Mohd Izzanee Idris

In my 22 years of working, I had the privilege to work under different kinds of Bosses and all of them were kind, charismatic, and highly respected by me. Of all these Bosses, there was one that I really looked up to and had been very influential in shaping my IT upbringing to become what I am today. This great man that I mentioned was my late Boss, Encik Mohd Izzanee Idris. He was the Head of IT when I joined Credit Guarantee Corporation (CGC) back in 2018. 

In my eyes, he was a great Boss, a Mentor, a friend, and a big brother. He had been grooming me since my 1st day in CGC to become an IT Management. He once told me that he was not concerned about my technical skills as I came from SHELL IT International, so that should have covered the technical part. He wanted me to take up the management skills and learn the conduct to climb the corporate ladder.

Staff’s Priority at Heart

He was always concerned about the Staff’s career development and training. His ambition was to make sure every single Staff of our IT Department to be at least an ITIL V3 Foundation certified. As a result, all our Staff was indeed 100% certified for ITIL V3 Foundation. Some of us even took the extra effort and managed to get a few ITIL Intermediate modules which had become his pride to see how far we had achieved.

Every Staff was also forced to take turns and write the Proposal Paper so that everyone was not only technically good but able to write well and convey all thoughts into writing. Another Assistant Manager and I were also brought into the IT Committee Meetings to expose us to the Management-level meetings and Policy Making. I was even given the opportunity to present an IT Awareness paper to the Board IT Committee!

High Integrity

In projects or IT Procurement, he had always treated all existing and potential vendors equally. There was never any special treatment given to the incumbent that might have put new vendors into disadvantageous positions. At the end of the day, he said that he was acting in the best interest of the company and we should welcome the competition of vendors to deliver the best for our organisation.

All the proposals and quotations were submitted to IT through a generic IT Procurement email address with the Internal Audit Department as part of the recipients. This was his initiative to make sure that all IT purchases were done with the highest integrity, and we did have the Internal Audit Department onboard to oversee our IT Procurement processes.

Good Personal Conduct

As far as I remember, I have never seen him take any favour from anyone, especially vendors. Even when the vendors asked him out for a drink or lunch, he would be the one paying for the bills, and he always insisted on doing it. He once told me that vendors may treat you nicely when he has a project with our company or is looking to secure a project with our company. He would never decline an invitation out of respect to them, but he would make sure that there was no room for anybody to question his credibility, be it internally or from the vendors’ side. That was why he was always the one to take up the bills and even gave the vendor a treat. 

He would also decline any gifts intended for him personally or to the IT Department. There were instances where the vendors even offered to treat the IT Team for Golf lessons or to go for Driving Range. Being consistent with his principle, all these vendors had been advised accordingly and never to come out with these kinds of suggestions which were deemed inappropriate. 

Walk The Talk

He always walked the talk. To motivate the Staff to be Certified, he even went to the extent of taking the ITIL examination himself to prove that if an old guy like him could pass, then all the younger Staff should be able to do better. It was unnecessary for him to take such a foundation level certificate because he was already a seasoned IT Practitioner, and he was already at the Management level.

He was always early to the office so none of the Staff dared to question if he reprimanded them for repeatedly being late to the Office. Leadership by example and that was what he consistently preached to all Staff for everyone to aim high and be a better version of ourselves.

Calm and Professional

He would never shout or scold the Staff publicly. He would professionally call the Staff inside his room should he want to advise or reprimand. He would always be there to shield the Staff from being scolded or approached directly by the Management or other Heads of Departments. He would meet the Management or other Heads to pacify the situations and subsequently share the feedback gained to the respective Staff for improvement.

He demonstrated calmness even during IT Incidents which had helped the Staff on many occasions to rectify at a faster speed without having to face the pressure from the Top Management. This had increased the Staff’s self confidence when facing the IT Incidents because they felt protected by their IT Head and that they were given 100% trust to rectify the situation.

Never Burn the Bridge

I left CGC in 2011. Even though he was a bit disappointed, as a Mentor, he was proud that I was able to enhance my career and to pursue new challenges. We kept in touch even years later when he also left CGC to join a Bank. I was also glad that all my subordinates back in CGC were doing well there. After all, we did have the same Boss to guide us through the journey. My time in CGC was a precious one under the stewardship of Encik Izzanee.

My advice to everyone who is reading this article is never to burn bridges with your former Bosses or employers even if you are moving to a new company and starting a new career. Life is too short to be spent on grudges or hatreds. Live life well and try to become the best version of yourself every single day.

The Good Name We Left Behind…

5 years has passed since Encik Mohd Izzanee Idris left us back in June 2017. However, all the good examples, guidance, good deeds, kindness, and memories shall forever stay with all the souls that he touched during his lifetime. My personal gratitude to arwah which has shaped me to become who I am today. Thank you, Boss. Al-Fatihah!

Catch When Expert Meets Expert by Ts. Saiful Bakhtiar Osman articles every bi-weekly Tuesday. Don’t forget to subscribe to stay connected. You are also encouraged to ask questions and seek advice from him.

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