Forget ‘Brexit’ and Trump : Look to Jordan for a Fine Example of Transformational Leadership

 

Forget ‘Brexit’ and Trump : Look to Jordan for a Fine Example of Transformational Leadership

by Jimmy Gordon

Chairman, IDG Middle East

As the year of Brexit and “Trumpit” draws to a close amid continuing acrimony and growing disenchantment, leaders need to remember how to converse, cooperate and collaborate to achieve their business goals.

The Presidential Debates between “The Donald” and “Crooked Hilary” were dialogues of the deaf and the fallout is likely to continue to be very unpleasant. Brexit was no better and sadly it looks as if at both public and private level we have lost the knack of disagreeing agreeably.

Unlike Elvis, businesses don’t need “a little less conversation”; leaders seeking to achieve valuable, positive and sustainable change need to learn how to get people who disagree “in the room” – i.e. becoming willing participants in the debate. Similarly, the leaders themselves must relearn the valuable skill of active listening- being present, curious and willing to be surprised.

Management Academics Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner collated 20 years of research and surveyed over 75,000 people to find the essential attributes of a successful transformational leader. They summarised them as:

  • Inspiring a Shared Vision
  • Modelling the Way
  • Challenging the Process
  • Enabling others to Act
  • Encouraging the Heart
  • Promoting All Round Cooperation

Applying these – particularly the last “Promoting All Round Cooperation” – contributes to the creation of positive team spirit and the ability to manage conflicts creatively. The successful leader works hard to identify common ground and common purpose rather than focus on surface conflicts.

As an example of where this approach has worked, we at IDG are fortunate to have been working in Jordan over the past seven years. Here the inspirational leadership of HM King Abdullah II has created a beacon of stability and sanity in a Region which suffers from horrendous conflicts leading to the obscene conditions in Syria and Yemen.

King Abdullah II of Jordan is an example of inspirational leadership in challenging circumstances.

King Abdullah II of Jordan is an example of inspirational leadership in challenging circumstances.

The practical benefits of transformational leadership in Jordan are demonstrated by astute government ministers like HE Imad Fakhoury (Minister of Planning & International Cooperation) whose remit includes working collaboratively with local and international agencies to enable the Kingdom to survive and thrive when around a third of its population are refugees. Similarly, Mrs Majd Shweikeh (Minister of ICT & Public Sector Development) is leading various collaborations using technology to digitise the Kingdom resulting in initiatives benefiting the education and employment prospects of the young and enhanced Government service delivery.

The successful leader needs more than a vision; they need to communicate it in ways that generate enthusiasm and excitement, so much so that others adopt it as their own. Gaining commitment from others rather than just compliance requires good conversations!

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