New UAE challenge: 50pc of Emiratis need to be leaders
Dubai, August 13, 2014
By William Scott-Jackson and Robert Mogielnicki
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed, the UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, has said for many years that leadership is the key capability for Emiratis, and he has consistently promoted and supported efforts to develop leaders.
The UAE is one of only two countries in the world, the other being Qatar, where over 50 per cent of employed nationals need to be leaders, if nationals are to run the country, according to a recent research by Oxford Strategic Consulting.
The executives and strategic leaders across all sectors make up about eight per cent of any country’s workforce.
The UAE has a workforce of approximately eight million workers, which means that around 640,000 Emiratis will be needed to fill executive and strategic leadership posts.
The Emiratis in UAE are only aout one million and if all of the UAE’s leaders, by the above definition, were Emirati, then about 64 per cent of all Emiratis would be needed to fill these crucial roles, said the report.
Countries like the UK and Germany, with large national populations, need less than 10 per cent of their nationals to assume leadership positions – a much less complicated task than the one facing the UAE, it said.
Sheikh Mohammed has pointed out that a totally new approach is needed to develop senior leadership skills, using modern app-based technology and the latest psychological findings discovered by Oxford Strategic Consulting, to make this possible.
Many attributes of sound leadership can be taught, particularly at senior levels, said the report. While certain leadership traits come naturally to some leaders, the consulting found that even fundamental traits such as positivism and empathy can be modified and learned.
Leaders, therefore, can be developed through a process, it said.
The first step of the process is to define, develop and encourage the specific traits needed by Emirati leaders, while the second step is to define and develop the experiences needed to produce these leaders.
The third step is to encourage and reward leadership behaviour, while also focusing on engagement as a key objective of leadership capability and the final step is to monitor and assess the outcomes of leadership.
This leadership development process can take many forms, but education is the key enabler for developing leadership capability for the UAE, said the report.
Educational programmes aimed at providing leadership experiences and teaching leadership skills can ensure that young Emirati boys and girls benefit from an early age.
Moreover, educational programmes geared toward leadership will place young Emiratis in a better position to be ‘fast-tracked’ into leadership roles once they leave school.
The research also found that there are several advantages that the UAE can use to develop this huge number of leaders including aspects of the Emirati Leadership Style and the specific motivations and aspirations of young Emiratis.
The Emirati Leadership Style serves as a highly valuable alternative to western models of leadership and human resource management (HRM), it said.
It is working to complete a research volume on Gulf Arab Leadership Style, composed of specific country editions, which will be used as a leadership guide, said the consulting.
Another promising advantage for leadership development in the UAE is that young Emiratis express a great deal of national pride.
‘Helping the country’ and ‘contributing to society’ proved to be the two strongest motivating factor for Emirati high school students, according to major research project that the consulting conducted with BP.
The survey also found that most Emirati high school students considered both their family leaders and also public figures like Sheikh Khalifa, President of the UAE and ruler of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, to be good role models.
Professor William Scott-Jackson, chairman of Oxford Strategic Consulting, said: “The UAE has the opportunity to ‘take the lead in leadership’ and we know what has to be done. We call on all senior leaders within the UAE to help us to define these innovative, fast track approaches to leadership development. The UAE can take the lead but we need your support’. - TradeArabia News Service