Sample Essay On What Do We Value In A Leader?
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Leadership Styles of King Abdullah ibn Abdulaziz
Which leader you considera role model? Why? What are his/her competencies? What arehis/her leadership styles?These questions can be answered thinking about organizational,societal, or global leaders.
Leadership Styles of King Abdullah ibn Abdulaziz
A brief history of King Abdullah is shared below in order to better understand from where his leadership style developed. He was leader of the Saudi Arabian National Guard since 1962 so he was in a leadership position early in his career. He was acting Regent for almost a decade and then became Monarch of Saud Arabia. And in that time as the Crown Prince, he held many leadership positions. He proved himself as a great leader on the conventional measurement of the leadership positions he held. He also proved he was a leader with a deep respect for Arabia and the Arabian people by the decisions he made. King Abdullah honored the great culture of Arabia and he created opportunities for the young people of the country to receive an excellent education. For all those reasons, I value King Abdullah as a great leader. After his personal history the components of his leadership style that are most highly valued are discussed in more detail.
Life History. King Abdullah ibn Abdulaziz the absolute monarch of Saudi Arabia died on 23 January 2014 at the age of 90. He was born on 01 August 1924 in Ridyah, when his family was very poor. His father was Amir Abdul-aziz and controlled the north and east regions of Arabia. His father defeated with Sharif Hussein for the rest of Arabia and declared himself King. The income from oil started in the 1940s and the tax revenues brought wealth to the family. According to Forbes economic magazine, Saudi Arabia is the largest oil producer in the Middle East.
Abdullah took over most of the duties as Regent when his half-brother Fahd suffered a massive stroke. He was Regent of Saudi Arabia from 2 January 1996 to 1 August 2005. With the passing of Fahd, Abdullah became the official monarch and Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia on 1 August 2005.
He was schooled with a formal religious training and because he was a very avid reader his learner was very broad. The way he learned the traditional values of Arabs is by living a long time with desert Bedouins. His professional life started in August 1962 when he became by appointment the leader of the Saudi Arabian National Guard. The National Guard is composed of 125,000 men in a standing army and 25,000 men in a tribal militia (Szczepanski). The National Guard is charged with the security of the royal family, including preventing coups (Szczepanski). They must also guard the Holy Cities of all Muslims in the world, Mecca and Medina. When he became King, he was in charge of commanding the National Guard. The Saudi Arabian National Guard members are descendants of his father’s, Abdul-aziz bin Abdulrahman Al Saud clan (Szczepanski).
Leadership and Respect for Citizens and Culture. King Abdullah, when still the Crown Prince created the annual festival called the Jenadriyah Heritage and Cultural Festival. The National Guard is tasked with organizing the event annually. The two-week festival includes a traditional camel race, traditional music and dances, like the Ardha. Over one million Saudi Arabians attend the festival each year. The number of people who attend is a testament to the wise choices and good decisions by Abdullah. The successful creation and establishment of the festival demonstrate the achievement orientation and the inspirational leadership of Abdullah. His long standing leadership of the National Guard was successful because of the cooperation showed to support his plan for the festival. Organizational leadership is an element of understanding cultural values of the groups he led.
King Abdullah’s idea for producing the festival is an indication of the effect of his living with the Bedouin when he was young. The fact that he feels an empathy with people from all walks of life and from all levels of income is shown by the ideas and the fruitation of those ideas in an event to honor Arabian traditions. All ages and all tribes are attracted to the event that brings together many people and provides a unified feeling of identity. Even this one accomplishment is enough to impress anyone of Abdullah’s leadership skills.
Leadership and Challenges. Saudi Arabia is a country with a deep divide between followers of Islam who are extremely conservative the Salafi or Wahhabi religious group and the people who want to modernize Saudi Arabia. One of the conflicts is over the place of women in the society. King Abdullah took two difficult to solve problems and solved them with one solution. The two problems were the need for institutions of higher education in Saudi Arabia and the equal treatment for educating young men and young women. Abdullah needed to work using conflict management to overcome the disagreements that were raised over issues about the university, especially women going to classes. In order to work effectively and accomplish projects such as this one King Abdullah practice de-escalating conflicts so an agreement could be found.
An important legacy of King Abdullah is his insistence on developing and encouraging international education for Saudi youth. The purpose was so that in the future Saudi Arabia would be “a less secular conservative” country (NY Times). The King Abdullah University of Science and Technology is the first university in Saudi Arabia that allows both male and female students. At first it was a private college to encourage a more worldly (not religious) education for students, but then in 1974 it became a public school The genders are taught at separate campuses and online programmes are offered to students who cannot come to the campus. The university is a great achievement; many successful people have already graduated to continue working in Saudi Arabia in the government and other places.
Effective Leadership. In order to successfully oversee the university develop and mature, and the festival become a success, King Abdullah had to demonstrate many of his leadership capabilities. Goleman (2000, 78) wrote that most business people would tell you that an effective leader must set the strategy to meet a goal, motivate people to become involved and stay involved, make sure everyone on the project understands the mission, and build a culture. And then Goleman (78) reminds us that the “singular job” of an effective leader is “get results.” In both projects given as examples here King Abdullah definitely reached the results to show his leadership skills were high.
The competencies that are necessary according to Goleman of a great leader is to have emotionally intelligence. Two of the necessary capabilities that were publicly evident when King Abdullah was alive, were his Social Awareness and his Social Skill. Two of the features under the category of Social Awareness were mentioned above are empathy and organizational awareness. Abdullah also demonstrated the third feature of social awareness, his service orientation, and his ability to give citizens projects that benefitted them. Under the category of Social Skills the ability for conflict management was mentioned, but the other abilities were among the skills of Abdullah. They included having a vision that excited and inspired other people; influencing others with persuasion, good communication skills, and leading groups of people to work in teams and work in collaboration to meet a goal.
King Abdullah was able to translate the forces driving him to achieve to others so they could be part of building something great. He was able to set the standards high for reaching goals, because he expected high standards in the projects. Goleman (83) discusses the pacesetting style of leadership. Abdullah was able to set the pace and set the standards high for performance.
Goleman (n.d.) found that a way to build an emotionally intelligent workplace is to learn emotional competence (1). A person does not need to be born with emotional competence because they are skills that can be learned. A factor that applies to Abdullah is the organizational awareness necessary to be a good leader. Organizational awareness requires “the ability to read the currents of emotions and political realities in groups” (8). The feature shows the application of adaptability by a leader because one must adapt and be flexible to changes and to multiple demands. In order to carry out a project with many levels of decision-making and many people to please, the capability to understand the emotional reactions of people and the political realities of groups are invaluable. Organizational and social awareness were characteristics that made King Abdullah a great leader. His project successes are the results that can be used to measure his influence and competence as a leader.
King Abdullah was not only a recognized leader in Arabic countries; he was also recognized by the leaders around the world. He met with President Obama of the USA and many others; showing an example of his global influence.
Forbes. “Powerful People” http://www.forbes.com/profile/abdullah-bin-abdul-aziz-al-saud/(n.d.). Web. 2 Feb. 2015.
Goleman, Daniel. “An EI-Based Theory of Performance” Chapt. 3 in The Emotionally Intelligent Workplace, edited by Cary Cherniss and Daniel Goleman Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organizations www.eiconsortium.org 18 pages (n.d.) Web. 1 Feb. 2015.
Goleman, Daniel. “Leadership that gets Results” Harvard Business Review. March –April 2000. Web. 1 Feb. 2015.
King Abdullah University of Science and Technology Website http://www.kau.edu.sa/Home.aspx\ (n.d.) Web. 2 Feb. 2015.
Szczepanski, Kallie. “King Abdullah” About Education, http://asianhistory.about.com/od/profilesofasianleaders/p/AbdullahProfile.htm (n.d.). Web. 2 Feb. 2015.
Samirand Information about Saudi Arabia http://www.saudinf.com/main/b4712.htm (n.d.). Web. 2 Feb. 2015.
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