CASE STUDY: SHEIKH ZAYED
Question 1: Lessons on leadership learnt from the life of Sheikh Zayed
The most important attribute of a leader is to have a very clear goal. A leader must know what it is that he or she wants and this was very true for his Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. If he was not focused on a specific goal, it would be impossible for his followers clearly understand their responsibilities and work for their smaller targets. In leadership, it is very important to build the trust of the others, without which it would not be possible to complete the tasks. It is because of the united efforts of all the people who had supported him that Sheikh Zayed had become the founder of the UAE. He had firm belief in himself that the goal he had in vision would definitely come true, no matter what comes in the way. A leader must hence be very confident.
A leader must be very hardworking in order to ensure that the targets that had been previously taken would be fulfilled in the near future. The determination of the leader must be very strong. Again, on the other hand, it is crucial that the leader values the importance of the lives of the common people. A good leader must essentially be empathetic. Through effective communication with the subjects on a regular basis, a leader comes to know about the struggles that his subjects are facing on a regular basis, as seen in the case of Sheikh Zayed. Sheikh Zayed had also been conscious about the deliverance of rights and duties of his subjects. It was Sheikh Zayed, who had brought about significant opportunities for women in the UAE. A leader must maintain equality and justice.
Question 2: Levels of Leadership and Sheikh Zayed’s position
Maxwell (2011) had identified five levels of leadership that attributes the different levels of commitment and quality of leaders.
- Level one is the most basic and it comprises of the position of the leader.
- Level two constitutes the permission, encompassing the earning of the trust of the people under the leader. This could be achieved through active engagement with the people that the leader is responsible of.
- Level three of leadership is production. This comprises of a leader that is associated with motivating people for the purpose of getting things done and achieving the targets. the followers are encouraged by the leader to step onto a common goal that would be achieved unitedly.
- Level four of leadership is much broader than level three because, here, the leader is truly concerned about the people. It is concerned with people development.
- The fifth level is the ultimate as the leader devotes his life for the sake of development of others’ lives. Sheikh Zayed belongs to this category.
Though Sheikh Zayed belonged to the royal family, he did not take his position for granted. He was taking actions as a leader before he was declared the successor. He had engaged with the people across wide distances for the betterment of the lad and this was because he had always been concerned about his subjects.
Question 3: Challenges that are associated with leadership
Some of the challenges that leaders face have been discussed in light of the life of Sheikh Zayed.
- Being confident during setbacks:
A major challenge that leaders face on a regular basis is being optimistic even at the face of huge setbacks. Sheikh Zayed had to deal with a lot of people we were difficult to impress. However, this did not influence Sheikh Zayed, rather he kept his calm and proved them wrong.
- Putting plans into actions: It is very hard to leaders to put big targets into actions, especially when they are seemingly impossible (Van Wart, 2013). The UAE had been a very poor country and the level of transport and education was very low. The potential of the land was first identified, which is oil. It was based on the potential that the targets of the plans were achieved.
- Taking a stand and letting people go: Leaders find it very difficult to handle situations where their people are of different opinions. A leader faces trouble in maintaining peace which must be the end goal. However, if there are instances where there can be no middle ground, the leader must take a stand and let the other go. Sheikh Zayed had promoted peace and when it came to communal conflicts, he had a clear choice to make and he chose peace, abolishing terrorism.
- Balance between short term and long term thinking: Staying motivated and focused at all times can be difficult for a leader. However, Sheikh Zayed had built his short term goals as milestones to achieving the long term goals.
Question 4: Born leader or made leader
There are two types of broad beliefs regarding leadership, which encompasses the aspect of a leader being born and the aspect of a leader being made. The great man theory talks about leaders being born with the attributes that one looks for in a leader like charisma, confidence and intelligence ((Nawaz & Khan, 2016). The Behavioral theory, on the other hand, talks about the importance of the actions of a leader. It does not take into account the probability of the leader already having the characteristics but the effect of the person’s actions important for a leader.
Although he was born in a royal family, the road to being the father of the nation has been very tough. He did have very important traits that were possessed by no one of his time. Sheikh Zayed had great insight and high confidence in his actions. However, his contributions were not about his attributes but the choices he made or rather the behavior of Sheikh Zayed. Though he was mostly a self made man, he was made a leader as he had to earn the trust through his actions.
Maxwell, J.C., (2011). The 5 levels of leadership: Proven steps to maximize your potential. Center Street.
Nawaz, Z. A. K. D. A., & Khan_ PhD, I. (2016). Leadership theories and styles: A literature review. Leadership, 16, 1-7.
Van Wart, M. (2013). Lessons from leadership theory and the contemporary challenges of leaders. Public Administration Review, 73(4), 553-565.
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