On December 2, 2015 the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has celebrated their 44th National Day. In simple words, UAE has turned 44.
Now, having lived in the UAE all my life, I have witnessed the exponential growth and development this great nation has achieved. In fact, UAE has one of the world’s highest GDP per capita. With oil & gas contributing to around 25% of the GDP, UAE has successfully diversified their economy.
Now, whether it is the infrastructure projects, massive sky scrapers with unique design perspective, elegantly built beautiful mosques, state-of-the-art healthcare facilities, world-class airlines and airports, highly regarded educational institutions… and the list could go on; all this in a mere 44 years would not have been possible if it was not for the UAE’s unprecedented leadership.
Therefore, these are the 4 basic leadership lessons we could learn from and implement within our organizations or businesses from the UAE’s success:
Learn from the Past
“He who does not know his past cannot make the best of his present and future, for it is from the past that we learn.”
(Late) HH Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan
(The Founding father of UAE)
Leaders always relate to their ‘Past’ for creating routes of success for the future. The lessons learnt from the challenges and hardships experienced in the past can always create an environment of learning to better understand the strengths and weaknesses from within.
An organization can use the past experiences like the success/failure to cultivate a strong understanding of the organizations’ core values that bonds between the individual and the organization. Leaders create an environment of innovation, intrapreneurship within an organization.
Optimize the Present (resources)
Leaders focus on the resources in hand and develop them. They display more gratitude than regret. They are constantly involved in identifying the potentials within the available resources and through creating an environment of continuous improvement maximize their performance & productivity.
“Educating the individual is this country’s most valuable investment. It represents the foundation for progress and development.”
HH Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan
President of UAE, Ruler of Abu Dhabi
One would agree that the most valuable among all resources in the UAE are the UAE nationals themselves. And it is very evident from the approach the UAE leadership has taken in identifying, focusing and developing them through series of key measures like creating world class educational institutions, encouraging entrepreneurship & innovation etc, in other words, creating an environment of success through competition and excellence.
Aspire for an Ambitious Future
Leaders regularly benchmark against globally accepted standards and practices. However, great leaders set standards that get global recognition. Great leaders aim big for the impossible (at least for now). They constantly motivate themselves by setting targets that will push them to the greater limits.
One such great initiative to drive the UAE public sector towards regional and global excellence is the ‘Star System Rating’ implemented in all government sectors. Team of internationally qualified assessors rate various government departments based on predefined criteria, this creates an environment of competition to strive to be the best. This was unheard of, at least within the public sector, a few years ago.
Now, it is not unusual to see coffee/tea being offered while you are seated waiting to be served by a government official.
Great leaders set great targets and create an environment of ambition and high hopes.
Staying Strong through Faith and Focus
A great leader learns from the past experiences, develops available resources, builds a concrete vision for the future. However, at times of greater challenge, the leader will require a relentless conviction to the established goals and objectives.
Challenges, road blocks do not sway the focus of a great leader. This is very much evident from the great leaders of the UAE.
“The global financial crisis was a major challenge and a learning experience for Dubai’s economy”
HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
Vice President of UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
Leaders, when faced with unexpected challenges, convert the negativity of the situation into a continuous learning process which makes the situation more enjoyable and meaningful.
If there is a conviction then the vision need not be written down on a piece of paper, rather it will be felt by the very presence of the leader.
So, on the occasion of the 44th National Day of the UAE, I wanted to share these 4 characteristics which I drew from my own experience living in this great country.
I hope this article will throw some light upon the leadership qualities of UAE and will be resourceful for aspiring leaders from all around.
(Photograph Source: www.dubaicalendar.ae)
Post by Mohamed Ali A Maricar, COO of BBMC-Baniyas