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Creating Collaborative Leadership in Saudi Arabia

“Around the world the image of the authoritarian hero-leader is being challenged, and the Middle East is no exception.”



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Conventional wisdom, that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia would be the last place to find organizations adopting a modern collaborative leadership culture, may be wrong.

According to new research from the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) Saudi public sector leaders are fairly well prepared to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing world, although the research suggests they need further development in certain areas.

“Around the world the image of the authoritarian hero-leader is being challenged, and the Middle East is no exception,” says David Altman, CCL EMEA’s Executive VP & Managing Director. “Our research shows that public sector leaders in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have strategic skillsets and the ability to influence leaders at higher levels in the hierarchy. But they have some worrying gaps in other leadership areas such as developing others, self-awareness and negotiation.”

CCL’s research published in the White Paper, Developing Leaders in the Public Sector of the Kingdom (which you can download at the foot of this article), is based on samples of Saudi leaders who participated in CCL programs including its Leadership Development Program (LDP)® identifies gaps in leadership development and potential causes of career derailment in the sector.

“To be successful, public sector leaders must possess skills to survive in a highly uncertain world and to perform their jobs while under constant observation from a range of sources including the media and the private sector,” observes White Paper co-author Clemson Turregano. “A key recommendation is to learn to view leadership as a collaborative effort versus an activity based solely on exerting personal authority."

The gaps in leadership development, which CCL predict could have an impact on leadership capability in the future, include selecting and developing others, self-awareness, and negotiation; and a lack to sufficient attention paid to resiliency, risk-taking, work-life integration, and managing globally dispersed teams.

In this paper the authors suggest several ‘solutions’ that KSA public sector leaders could adopt to improve their leadership capacity. These include:

  • Understanding leadership as a collaborative effort versus an activity based solely on exerting positional authority.
  • Creating teams that consistently achieve high performance despite challenging internal and external conditions.
  • Building interdependent organizational cultures to improve innovation and creativity.

In their analysis the CCL researchers used these five factors when considering the pressures that could potentially lead to career derailment:

Problems with Interpersonal Relationships - difficulties in developing good working relationships with others.

Difficulty Building and Leading a Team - inability to select, develop, and motivate an

effective team.

Difficulty Changing and Adapting - shows resistance to change and resistance to

learning and developing in response to mistakes.

Failure to Meet Business Objectives - difficulties in following up on promises and

completing a goal.

Too Narrow a Functional Orientation - lacking the depth needed to manage outside one’s current function.

According to CCL, focusing on the gaps identified in leadership development and addressing the concerns raised about potential career derailment could create results that matter across the Kingdom.

 

Download the White Paper "Developing Leaders in the Public Sector of the Kingdom" by clicking the Download Resource button 

 


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