View of part of the Fujairah Corniche and the Hajar Mountains in the Background

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Shaikh Mohammad Models Rare Style of Leadership

Leader among the People
In a recent 60 Minutes interview vast numbers of UAE residents and thousands of people around the world got some amazing glimpses of the vision and leadership style of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

What surprised the interviewer, Steve Croft from America’s CBS network, was the way Shaikh Mohammad drove around Dubai, without a chauffeur and an entourage and the down to earth, friendly manner he exhibited with people at offices and at the traffic lights.

The inspirational ruler’s daily practice when in Dubai is to roll up early in the morning at one of his major projects and talk to the leaders and workers. This is not an example of micromanaging but an expression of effective leadership by motivating and problem solving.

Accessible Leader
Just after the January 2008 floods in the Emirates, UAE residents saw some further cameos depicting Shaikh Mohammad’s leadership style. This busy man undertook a tour of the central and eastern regions of the country to assess the damage and to see first hand the situation. In management literature this style is called ‘Management by Walking About’ and most workers in organisations crave to see their CEO getting out of the office to meet people on their level.

Leader that Listens and Learns
The tour to the remote backblocks was not just to inspect property and ascertain an appropriate repair and reconstruction package but to listen to the people spell out their challenges. Shaikh Mohammad was keen to learn from the people the problems they were facing but more than this, a pastoral style of leadership that goes to where people are living, especially when they are in pain and loss, is to give people a wonderful gift.

It was fitting for the Gulf News report that recorded this visit to have as its title, ‘A Ruler who Cares Deeply for the People’.

Dr. Geoff Pound.

Image: Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.