The United Arab Emirates owes its rise in the last few decades to the joint effort of many great leaders among whom are Sheikh Zayed Al Nahyan and Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Makhtoom. Sheikh Zayed Al Nahyan was the ruler of Abu Dhabi for nearly three decades – from 1966 until 2004. He was born in 1918 in Al-Hosn Palace into affluence and privilege, and yet, despite his royal origins, Sheikh Zayed Al Nahyan did not turn a blind eye to the people he was ruling (Siddiqui, 2018). Instead, he saw his high status as a great honour that obliged him to serve others with compassion. To this day, Sheikh Zayed Al Nahyan’s leadership remains a relevant source of lessons for the generations to come. First and foremost, the sheikh came down in the history of the country as a great visionary. He had the vision to create a modern Emirati society that would fuse Western technology and lifestyle with Islamic values, such as solidarity and peaceful resolution of conflicts.
Sheikh Zayed Al Nahyan was well aware that no country can reach greatness unless it elevates the living conditions of its people. The leader delivered on his promises when he decreased poverty rates nationwide and built accessible and modern infrastructure (Siddiqui, 2018). By that time, it had been discovered that the UAE has abundant oil resources. Sheikh Zayed Al Nahyan knew that such abundance could be a blessing or a curse, depending on how it was used. Therefore, to put the country’s natural resources to good use, he leveraged his charisma, collaborated with, and learned from world leaders. The leader adopted the traditions of consultation and consensus stemming from Arabian Bedouins and later introduced the National Consultative Council to overview international communication. One of the key characteristics of his leadership was level-headed problem-solving. His capacity for finding optimal solutions was empowered by modesty and compassion that kept Sheikh Zayed Al Nahyan down to earth.
The current ruler of Dubai and Prime Minister and Vice President of UAE, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Makhtoom came into power in 2006 (Hassan, 2017). Like Sheikh Zayed Al Nahyan, he is a visionary who predicted the sad consequences of oil dependency and developed policies that would favour tourism and other private sector industries. Prime Minister was the brain behind the idea of the Dubai Internet City back in 1999; the project became first of a kind in the Middle East. An advocate for innovation, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Makhtoom emphasizes the value of continuing education. One of the things that the leader never ceases to learn is the needs of his followers with whom he maintains a strong bond.
Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Makhtoom displays many personal qualities that make him an excellent leader. An example of his persistence and determination is his involvement with educational institutions that have progressed significantly in the last decades. However, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Makhtoom cares not only about UAE but also the entire Arab region. A lesson one can learn from him is advocacy for peace and unity among all Muslims and Arabs. To do so, this leader perfected his communication strategies and even wrote a book to pass down his ideas. Last but not least is Sheikh’s ability to take risks and make tough decisions when a situation calls for them.
Hassan, S. (2017). Top 10 leadership traits of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid that transformed Dubai. Web.
Siddiqui, M.A. (2018). 5 leadership lessons we can all learn from Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Web.