2022 IOTM ALIMAH's interview podcast
Audio Edited by: 20B8036, Hjh Maziyatul Wajihah bte Hj Ramlee (Public Relations Officer, Executive of Media and Public Relation Officer)
Written By: 20B8036, Hjh Maziyatul Wajihah bte Hj Ramlee (Public Relations Officer, Executive of Media and Public Relation Officer)
Interviewer: 18B0125, 'Izzati Hanani binti Khairul Shaffarani (Public Relations Officer, Executive of Media and Public Relation Officer)
For this month’s Inspirasee of the Month, we are honoured to announce Alimah Najibah as the Inspirasee for the Leadership category. A few insights about her; people can call her by either Alimah or Najibah. She is in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, and is in her third year of majoring in English Studies.
As Alimah shared with us in the podcast, her leadership journey started back in her primary school, specifically when she was just 12. Back then she was still in Ugama school, when one day her discipline teacher entered her class and suddenly pointed at her just to say “Ia ani bisai ni”, which literally means “she is the right person (for the part)”. Fast forward, a few days after that happened, it was revealed that she was appointed for a leadership position. Since that day, this has made Alimah curious about why she was trusted and chosen for this position, hence, contributing more to the leadership field. However, at some point she stopped joining any leadership activities for several reasons, but she still managed to join the activities where there were only minimal activities that had leadership values in them in order to focus more on her other priorities.
Alimah’s intention when joining this field was initially just because she wanted to discover herself, find what values she has and reasons why people chose her for a ‘leader’ title every time, as well as just simply because she wants to improve herself from there. Eventually, today, her intention changed because she has found joy in getting to help others by leading them and the feeling of appreciation that she gets for helping others. Moreover, to every leader they must have their own leadership style. For Alimah, she described hers to be the type of leader that does not like to cause conflict, while hoping the same for her surroundings. Also, as a leader, she would like to listen to her members’ first and improvise their ideas, instead of barging in with her ideas. If there are disagreements on her ideas, she said that she would not mind following what her members suggest but she will still support them by sharing her other ideas to make the members’ suggestions come to life.
and connecting with people in a way. In addition to this, she mentioned that she has not yet figured out her value as a person, as she still constantly tries to explore herself while she believes that people’s value can change over time. Therefore, to hold on to one value is not enough for her. But at the same time, she hopes that she can find them soon!
Also, when it comes to collaborating with other people and accepting their idea, again, since Alimah does not like group conflict with group members or organization, she always tries to avoid conflict wherever possible and resolve it with her members. For example, she was able to work with no conflict at all with her group for some assignments. So far, there were no problems of her collaborating with others and accepting their ideas, since she always let her members share their ideas first before hers, to avoid their ideas to overlap with hers and hers that may overtake theirs too much. She is okay to go with the flow with her members’ ideas because she will still help them to make a situation work.
In the podcast too, Alimah told us of her ways to approach if there are members who are underperforming in a group. She said that she will not ignore or discourage the members immediately. She will console the members one to one first, either through a physical or online meeting with them. Then, she will explain back what needs to be done and actually ask what the member can do. From there, she will improvise on what they can do and at the same time ask other members that are capable to do so to exchange roles with them. This is to make all of them have their own part and work together, because she believes that if a member can contribute by doing a smallest task, she still thinks of it as an effort and a contribution.
When it comes to a group working environment, we cannot run away from disagreement of opinions and more. For Alimah, her way to handle disagreement is that she will surely take it as her responsibility and will apologize for it. Then, she will use any suggestions to reflect more into it, and improvise the ideas wherever she can. One the other hand, if the disagreement is between her members, she will hold a meeting to consult with all members, and be the middle person to tell each other’s point of view on the matter, in which they will resolve the problems together in the end. Moreover, when handling criticism was brought up, Alimah admitted that she was bad at handling it before, but nowadays, instead of sulking into the judgment and pushing people away, she would just reflect on it deeply and think of what she had done, which then she will try not to repeat her mistakes again, even if people will still have things to pick on.
she would take it. However, it is not every time you can include both arguments, so it needs to be remembered that when in a group, something like this is unavoidable if it happens. She spoke on this based on what she has learnt from her personal life experience. There was a time before where she chose leadership over other matters and that had turned her life upside down. She became awkward with her friends, lost time spending with them, shut herself, and dropped a lot academically as her health also got affected to the point she got hospitalized because she forgot to take her medications. That time was hard for her which causes regrets. She added that, if she could go back in time, she would want to try to balance her lifestyle back then.
However, despite the challenges Alimah had faced, there were some that she had overcome too. For example, during her sixth form years, an incident happened when she was the head of health and cleanliness of her school. Due to her being unaware of her own responsibilities, miscommunication between her and the members then occurred, which caused them to feel demotivated to get their job done. From there, she managed to overcome her disorganization and miscommunication well, by taking a long hiatus for her to focus on her study and doing a thorough reflection of herself, especially on her experiences; by avoiding it to happen again or if not, try to fix a certain situation to make it work. Eventually, this has helped her get her thoughts organised, and know her priorities such as her education, family and friends. Also, she shared some tips to get herself organised by using the POMODORO technique, which was introduced to her by one of her UniBridge lecturers, Miss Akmarul. Since then, she does not just use this method for studying, but also when she cleans her room and other activities that include her leadership activities.
Alimah also shared on the obstacles she encountered whilst leading a team. For her, the obstacles were just within herself as she feels that communication is still a problem to her. She specifies that this problem is not her being in a working situation as a leader, but just communicating as a friend or person in general, because it is still hard for her to open up to people. Another obstacle is that she thinks that she relies on people too much. She said that it is fine to rely for guidance once in a while, but she saw herself doing that often, making her not feel like a leader but more to her mentor being her leader. She felt more like a ‘middle’ person, to deliver the mentor’s words instead of learning from them.
Further in the podcast, Alimah shared some values of a leader that are important to her. She admitted that she always has trouble finding out her values as a leader until recently she went to Singapore for a leadership program, where the other participants praised her values in terms of being a passionate leader and good in communication and
When Alimah was asked about the times where she had difficulty in making decisions, she said that she has not yet experienced that situation, but she plans to approach her members rather than making a decision because she likes it. If she is in a situation to choose on one side, she will choose something that can benefit the whole group, but if it is possible to choose both
Alimah had talked of her weakness as a leader too. She mentioned that her main enemy currently is her self-doubt, which can be the root cause of other problems such as affecting her confidence and could make her be unorganized, and these eventually can affect people around her too. Alimah’s friends too agreed that she always questions her capability in leadership a lot. She was glad that her friends managed to convince her to not withdraw from her IOTM nomination, and it was unexpected for her that she was featured in this month’s IOTM. On the other hand, there are several greatest strengths of Alimah as a leader that her friends described her as. It includes Alimah as a good leader, a friendly person, organised, good at communicating and is always considerate of everyone around her.
In the podcast, Alimah shared of her ways to boost back an engagement if they are demotivated are by approaching and asking them questions, so that they will not feel left out for not doing any work as they feel demotivated or struggling to keep up with whatever engagement there is in the group. For her, as long as all of them are working, that is enough to be considered as a contribution for her. Furthermore, when it comes to giving constructive criticism to others, Alimah used group assignments as her example, where she will hold weekly meetings so the members can share their findings of research, which she will ask them to compile that research, read their ideas out and after that give them her feedbacks while avoiding too much criticising and the usage of negative words. Instead, she will use more encouraging words to avoid offending members and just give positive energy for the group. Alimah prefers to call it ‘simple feedback’ than ‘constructive
criticism'. Alimah also mentioned that she sets her priorities using her past experiences when she used to struggle to find balance in what she does, and as of now her priorities are more on her education, family, friends and her health. She also said that she only joins leadership activities if she has the time, as long as it does not clash with her main priorities. If it is manageable for her, she does not mind doing both simultaneously.
When it comes to someone that inspires her, Alimah has no specific person that inspires her in the leadership journey just because she had encountered a lot of people during the journey, hence, everyone has inspired her at some point; in a way she should not be and can be, being herself without following others’ so much. Moreover, she has other hobbies that she loves to do during her free time such as digital trace drawing, doing simple cooking and baking, or if she wants to relieve stress from her work she will do or go to a ‘tausyeh’ event. She added that she has been doing ‘tausyeh’ since around 2014.
When talking about ‘support system’, Alimah has seven of them, six of them are her friends since secondary school, named Shi Ping, Syaza, Sharifah, Aqilah, Afifah, Adeebah, and the other one is Raziq, who is her friend for almost a decade now since they were in preschool, class Ta’ of Ugama school. Alimah also mentioned that her way to cope with stress is usually just being alone in her room while doing her hobbies, especially digital trace drawing. There are 7 friends of hers who are what she calls her ‘happy pills’, where she would rant her problems to, and meeting them is always hectic yet makes her happy. She described that joking with them will always wash her stress away every time.
Furthermore, as Alimah has been in this field since she was 12 years old, of course there must be many memorable experiences. According to her, there was one experience that still warms her heart until today. It was when she was recently nominated to join a short program called Temasek Foundation Leadership Enrichment and Regional Networking Programme 2022 (TF LEaRN). There were 15 UBD students involved where they got to collaborate with other students from other ASEAN countries. In these 2 weeks program, specifically during the 4 days of a holistic program that they had in National University of Singapore (NUS), where they met other students face-to-face, there was a moment that impacted her when she shared her opinion that she thinks people will always take it lightly, but they somehow can relate to her and this made her feel special because finally, there are people other than her 7 friends and who are outside Brunei that understood her for that opinion she shared.
addition, Alimah added that she has no plan to be in the leader position as of now, unless she is being appointed, or else she will just stay away from any position, because she is still trying to focus on her four main priorities mentioned before. However, she is still reconsidering coming back actively in the field once she has enough inspiration to be back and maybe then she will join leadership programs like before.
Towards the end of the podcast, Alimah shared her goals and hopes for herself as she wished that she can improve especially on her confidence. As a person who has many self-doubts, she hopes that one day she will have the confidence to say she is a good leader and able to communicate well with people. However, even though now she can feel the slight progress in her confidence and improvement in some ways, she said that she knows there is still more to improve for her. Moreover, she also wants to be able to explore more than what she has now too. In addition
To wrap up her sharing as a whole, here are some advice from Alimah for the people who are only starting out or struggling with progress:
“As ironic as I sound for saying this, to me personally, being a leader
does not necessarily mean you need to be where you are in all positions,
and have so many achievements. Just leading yourself to be someone you want to be
or to be someone you want to improve to be, for me is already enough as a leader.
If a person just starting to be a leader, I just hope that person does not think that
‘I have to have these goals, values or strengths instantly’, NO.
Based from my experience, NO, you do not need those.
You just need the motivation to actually continue to be in that position,
and just be prepared whenever and whatever happens.”
You may reach out to Alimah on her Instagram @anlmjb for any queries!