Leadership and Management for the Next Decade

Why should there be a focus and investment on leadership and management as the UAE moves into the next decade?

Firstly, there is a need to establish the definition of leadership and management. Many notable academics have debated this case with many conclusions drawn.  Generally, for the purpose of this article, it may be considered that leadership is about motivation and innovation, whilst management is very organisational and structured around plans. Though, it is generally accepted that both attributes are required to drive modern industry and organisations.

Many of the world’s leading nations are placing an emphasis on the development of these attributes and investment is being made through both academic and vocational fields. Within the UK, it was analysed that poor and ineffective leadership and management was the main factor contributing to a substantial loss in organisations output and profits.  This was reported in ‘Department of Business Innovation and Skill; Leadership & Management within the UK – The Key to Sustainable Growth (2012)’.  This report may present surprising findings, given the UK’s status as a G8 member.

In comparison, the UAE is a nation for the next generation and continually proves that the vision for the future is not only an exemplar for the Middle East but the world, as a whole.  This statement can surely be substantiated by numerous facts and figures, though most notable of recent attributes, is the achievement of the award for Expo 2020.

The three main themes for Expo 2020 are Sustainability, Mobility and Opportunity.  His Excellency Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, who was instrumental in championing sustainability, recognises that “with leadership comes responsibility”, which is certainly evident within excerpts  from an interview with His Excellency Dr Sultan Al Jaber at an International Peace Institute lecture. To be a pioneer for future sustainability and be convincing on an international stage, requires great leadership qualities and clear articulation of the reasons ‘why’. Furthermore, the precise planning and implementation of such initiatives relies on strategic management, focussed on effective and efficient plans that are systematically ordered.

The second theme of mobility raises the challenges of the complexities of international stakeholder engagement and the synchronicity of interoperability through the myriad of logistic platforms. This challenge which is being driven by the UAE is supported by a port centric model. This methodology demands a concentration of efforts by managers at all levels, with clearly defined planning at a strategic level that can be meticulously cascaded through the task matrix. The modus operandi is to alleviate the unnecessary over use of transportation through better planning within an international capacity. This can be regarded as a cross-cultural focus, which requires diplomacy and negotiation on a grand scale; hence the need for a greater understanding of leadership across cultures and a self projection of honesty, integrity and innovation.

The third and probably the most important theme is opportunity.  The responsibility of taking a nation forward into an era faced with uncertainty cannot be under estimated;  survival and doing the ‘right thing’, is generally learned from past mistakes.  In a world that is burning out and is facing real danger from Global Warming, who will be responsible for undertaking the mantle for change?  It will need strong and credible leadership, not only from politicians and diplomats but champions within organisations, leading by example and motivating the workforce to act for the future.  Maintaining momentum will be subject to clear and defined objectives and goals, through professional management.  This model demonstrates that leaders and managers must become complimentary to the success of any opportunities.

Expo 2020, Dubai, UAE, will be an event of great magnitude which will allow the UAE to justly receive world recogniition as leading the way for sustainability, mobility and opportunity.  With all the expected euphoria, it should not be forgotten that Expo 2020 success will be achieved through pioneering and inspirational leadership resonated by structured and systematic management, providing evidence of the intellectual reasoning, why there should there be a focus and investment on the leadership and management as the UAE moves into the next decade.

Gerwyn Harkett is an internationally experienced Training Consultant. He has worked within the UK Armed Forces, UK Ministry of Defence, Emirati Government Authority and UAE Vocational Education Institute.

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