The Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed Makhtoum, has written a book entitled My Vision: Challenges in the Race for Excellence. When reading it, it becomes apparent that Dubai's journey is truly remarkable. An isolated, tribal and deserted region has now become an important global financial hub.
Sheikh Rashid, Sheikh Makhtoum and Sheikh Zayed displayed true skills of leadership in 1971, unifying the Emirate states to form the United Arab Emirates. From a small Arab region, it is now one of the biggest tourist destinations, and is transforming into a global financial hub. One of the main reasons behind this success lies in Dubai's leadership.
Ruler of Dubai and Vice President of the UAE, Sheikh Mohammed outlines in his book the ways in which leadership can benefit political leaders and the people within the country. Perhaps, if leaders around the world take the advice of such a successful leader, there would be fewer social, economic and political issues.
A leader may be able to see things others can't. They look forward to challenges, anticipate the future, predict future challenges and prepare their team to overcome them. Sheikh Mohammed writes: 'I consider the officials of the government of Dubai as the leaders of our people because of their substantial responsibilities and their senior positions in the government. While I can provide advice, guidance and encouragement to help us achieve our mutual goal, I cannot make each and every one of them a leader on my own'.
It is difficult to categorise the skills of a 'leader'. But there are a number of skills that most successful leaders will have, namely:
The ability to lead from the front and to take the initiative. We live in a world where leaders must stand out, make decisions and have confidence in these decisions. Modern day political leaders lack the ability to lead from the front, shy away from taking responsibility for their decisions and are afraid to stand with bold decisions.
True leaders should take blame for wrong decisions. A true leader does not evade the consequences, regardless of how harsh they can be. Many political leaders turn to scaremongering or blame one another when it comes to wrong decisions. A true leader will take responsibility for the consequences of their decisions.
To engage and consult with others before making haste decisions. Sheikh Mohammed writes, 'good advice can correct a wrong step taken and other mistakes'. Leaders should always try to gain knowledge from their acquaintances, for it will broaden their horizon. Sheikh Mohammed rightly points out that 'consultation can be a process of accountability'. Countries where consultation and accountability is limited, are the countries which suffer from unstable leadership.
A leader should be a living example and a role model for the younger generation. He must set a good example for the rest of his team. Sheikh Mohammed refers to an Arab proverb here: 'be their example and you will secure their proficiency'. A leader must therefore set an example of a character that embodies humbleness, responsibility, fairness and objectivity.
Leadership is a dynamic and unique skill. It varies from person to person, country to country and matter to matter. Clearly, the above list is not exhaustive but intends to engage in the real meaning of leadership through various elements. Sheikh Mohammed has taken Dubai to a global level, recognized for so many achievements. It would be wrong to not suggest leadership is the cause for such success.
It isn't fair to write an article and limit the credit Sheikh Mohammed deserves so I will be ending with his quote: 'To summarise, I might say that every leader is endowed with scores of characteristics, qualities and powers in his conscious and subconscious mind, and their surrounding realms. Excellent leadership is the natural product of constant creativity, hard work and the power to motivate others. This is not the final word, because leadership is an ongoing process'.