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Leadership Skills of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s Report


The rapid technological and economic transformation of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) attracts the attention of many journalists and policy-makers. In particular, they take close interest in the underlying causes of this change. Furthermore, they want to determine why the initiatives undertaken by the government of the UAE were successful.

To a great extent, this outcome can be attributed to the leadership of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum who played a key role in implementing various projects that helped the UAE become an import tourist and financial center (Peck 282). This is one of the main aspects that should be identified. This paper is aimed at discussing the leadership skills of this person. Overall, one can say that Sheikh Mohammed possesses such qualities as tenacity, vision, and willingness to create extra value for people.

Additionally, this leader is able to inspire and motivate other people who may also want to display their skills and leadership qualities. This is one of the reasons why he attained many of his objectives. These are the main issues that should be examined in greater detail. This discussion can throw light on some important principles that that policy-makers and managers should consider, especially when they implement new strategies.

Brief biography of the leader

At this point, it is vital to focus on some biographic details that can throw light on this individual. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum was born in 1949 (Bennett 15). One should take into account that Al Maktoum is one of the major ruling families in Dubai (Bennett 15).

It is possible to argue that Sheikh Mohammed was trained to be a leader because this is one of the traditions adopted in such dynasties (Dunston and Carter 132). Since the age of four, he received lessons in Islamic Studies and the Arabic Language. Later, he attended various private schools.

For instance, one can mention the English Language School which was established by Bell Educational Trust (Bennett 15). Overall, this experience might have been very enriching he had an opportunity to learn more about various cultures or countries.

This skill can play an important role for a would-be leader who should be able to communicate with the representatives of different cultures. One can say that it proved to be of great importance to Sheikh Mohammed when he was working with professionals from various countries. In many cases, they represented different business cultures and traditions. Therefore, the formal education was of great value to this person. This is one of the issues that should be taken into consideration.

Apart from that, he was appointed as the Crown Prince of Dubai in 1995 (Dunston and Carter 132). This event is an important landmark in his career. One should take into account that he assumed this post at the time when he was more than 50.

This detail should not be overlooked because it means that he was already a person with developed values, worldviews, and attitudes (Dunston and Carter 132). Since that time, he has implemented and overseen many projects and public policies. For instance, one can mention the construction of Palm Islands[1], the Dubai Mall, International Financial Center and Metro.

These projects were at stimulating the economic development of this country, especially its tourist industry (Travel Hot unpaged). To some degree, this goal has been attained because the UAE has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Middle East (Peck 282). It is surpassed only by Saudi Arabia which attracts pilgrims from various countries (Peck 282). This example indicates that his initiatives have been quite successful.

Moreover, he has supported many public initiatives such as the education of poor children in the Middle East because this task is vital for the sustainable economic development of this region (Ibrahim and Sherif 169). Currently, he holds the position Vice President and Prime Minister (Dunston and Carter 132).

This means that he can be viewed as the main decision-maker in the United Arab Emirates. He assumed these posts in 2006, and this progress in his career indicates that his work was recognized by other people. These are some of the main aspects that can be identified. To some degree, these facts illustrate the career of Sheikh Mohammed has been quite successful.

However, this biography does not show how he attained his goals. It only highlights the landmark events in the life and career of this person. Additionally, at this point, it may be too early to discuss the life and career of Sheikh Mohammed because he believes that many of his plans can be implemented only in the distant future (Bennett 15). Therefore, it is important to examine the attributes and skills which helped Sheikh Mohammed foster the economic development of the UAE.

The qualities of Sheikh Mohammed

There are several qualities that helped Sheikh Mohammed succeed in various areas. In this case, one should focus on such aspects as politics, entrepreneurship, charity, public relations and administration. One can say that these areas are closely interconnected with each another.

First of all, it is important to focus on such a quality as the ability to outline a vision which can inspired a great number of people (Bennett 15). This character trait has helped him to achieve success as a political leader and an administrator. For instance, one can mention the construction of Dubai Media City or Knowledge Village. It should be kept in mind that these projects were perceived as unrealistic at the beginning. It was believed that these construction projects would be of no interest to tourists or inventors.

Nevertheless, Sheikh Mohammed was able to demonstrate that these goals could be effectively attained (Bennett 15). More importantly, his ideas appealed to other people (Dunston and Carter 132). The completion of these projects demonstrated that Sheikh Mohammed could be a successful public administrator and politician who understand the needs of his country. Therefore, visionary leadership plays a key role for Sheikh Mohammed.

It is necessary to pay attention to his participation in charitable activities. In particular, one should focus on his far-reaching plans to provide education to children living in poor countries (Ibrahim and Sherif 169). In his opinion, this form of charity is essential for countries that represent the Middle East (Ibrahim and Sherif 169).

Overall, this far-reaching vision enabled him to strengthen his reputation as a public figure and a person who understands the importance of charity for social change. Therefore, ability to identify important objectives is vital for this leader who strives to bring changes into the life of the country. His major priority is the long-term development of infrastructure and economy since in this way, one can better ensure that the UAE can withstand various external difficulties. This is one of the main points that can be made.

Another quality which should not be overlooked is ambitiousness. It is an essential component of his leadership strategy. One should keep in mind that Sheikh Mohammed does not believe that he achieved each of his objectives (Bennett 15). In his view, the recent projects are only the beginning of his political career and administrative career. This statement suggests that he may wish to bring other important changes into the economic life of the UAE.

Moreover, this detail is important for describing the behavior of this leader as well as his values. This ambitiousness appeals to a great number of people, especially his followers. Additionally, it is important to focus on his perfectionism. For instance, he wants Dubai to be “number one in everything-education, housing, health” (Sheikh Mohammed as cited in Bennett 15). This quote is also very revealing since it throws light on the visionary nature of Sheikh Mohammed’s leadership.

Certainly, this objective has not been fully attained, but it is important for motivating his followers (Al-Banawi 37). Therefore, the willingness to attain ambitious goals is essential for Sheikh Mohammed. Without this character trait he might not have implemented many of his projects. Moreover, he may not be able to become a political leader, administrator, public figure and promoter of charity. This is one of the points that can be made.

Moreover, it is important to speak about his tenacity. It should be borne in mind that many of his initiative were met with skepticism. In particular, his critics argued that his investment and initiatives will result only in losses (Chew and Stuart 335). Under such circumstance, it takes a significant strength of character to continue the chosen strategies.

For instance, he founded Dubai Holding which eventually became profitable (Chew and Stuart 335). This aspect is also vital for discussing the achievements of this person because who can monitor the performance of other people and ensure that they do every task properly (Chew and Stuart 335). This is why this role of this character trait should not be disregarded.

One can say that the attributes described in this section have played a vital role in the career of Sheikh Mohammed. They have assisted him in gaining the trust of other people. Moreover, they helped to motivate the performance of others. Without the assistance of these professionals, Sheikh Mohammed might not have implemented many of his initiatives.

However, it is vital to remember that these qualities are not the only factor that contributed to his success. One should not forget about the role that was played by Sheikh Mohammed’s followers who were highly-skilled professionals and administrators. Their work was critical for the implementation of various projects. In many cases, their commitment was a critical factor that contributed to the successful outcomes. These are some of the main issues that should be considered.

Leadership style of Sheikh Mohammed

Overall, one can say that Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid adheres to the principles of transformational leadership which is now adopted in many organizations. It is a relatively new approach is based on the premise that a leader should challenge or inspire people who follow him/her (Bass and Riggio 229). This sense of inspiration is vital for increasing the motivation of employees (Bass and Riggio 229).

They should share the sense of purpose and ideals that a leader has. This strategy can be effective, provided that a person can identify a task that can create significant value for others (Bass and Riggio 229). This approach was adopted by Sheikh Mohammed. For instance, he created a vision of Dubai as a growing metropolis that can attract thousands of tourists (Dunston and Carter 132).

Moreover, he advocated an idea of transforming Dubai into a technological center that could sustain its growth. His vision appealed to a great number of people in the UAE because they understood the need for bringing innovations to the UAE. This is one of the main issues that should be considered. On the whole, one can say that the supporters of transformational leadership place much stress on the ability of a person to single out objectives that appeal to others.

Apart from that, Sheikh Mohammed made a very revealing statement about the peculiarities of his leadership. In particular, he noted that “a leader does not necessarily need to be most intelligent member of his group, rather is the one with the clearest and most far-reaching vision” (Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum as cited in Singer, 33). This attitude toward his duties of a leader has been of great importance to Sheikh Mohammed. More importantly, other people shared his enthusiastic attitude toward the future projects.

Apart from that, according to the principles of transformational leadership, a manager should prompt people to display their best qualities (Bass and Riggio 229). In his turn, Sheikh Mohammed adhered to this rule. For instance, much attention should be paid to his relations with people who were under his command.

It should be borne in mind that he often relies on the assistance of young people whose age does not exceed 30 (Al-Banawi 37). His intention was to work with people who could offer innovative solutions (Al-Banawi 37). One should take into consideration that every employee, who experiences the trust of a leader, is more likely to be motivated.

This person tries to meet the expectations of a manager in effort to show the trust of a leader was justified. This detail is also critical for explaining some of the achievements that Sheikh Mohammed has made. On the whole, leadership style is important for understanding the behavior of a person and his relations with other people. This is one of the main issues that should be considered.

Yet, it should be kept in mind that the leadership style of a person can change sometimes. For instance, under some circumstances, a democratic leader can become autocratic, especially at the time when one has to take urgent actions. This is one of the details that should not be disregarded.

So, it is not reasonable to suppose that Sheikh Mohammed adheres only to one style of management. More likely, he gives preference to this approach because in the majority of cases, it is most productive. It is more useful for gaining the commitment of employees and ensuring their effective performance. This detail is vital for explaining the behavior of this leader.

Three-Dimensional Taxonomy

The actions of Sheikh Mohammed can be analyzed by using such a tool as Three-Dimensional Taxonomy since this analytical framework can show why a person takes certain decisions. It is vital to focus on task-related behaviors, the interactions with other people, and change management.

At first, one should focus on the task-related behavior of Sheikh Mohammed. One can say that he is able to identify very ambitious tasks that should be carried out by his followers. As it has been said before, these tasks prompt other people to show the best qualities and leadership skills.

Nevertheless, Sheikh Mohammed can make sure that these objectives are realistic and feasible (Al-Banawi 37). In other words, the employees know what kind of steps they should take in order to complete these tasks. Moreover, they reflected the economical and technological needs of the United Arab Emirates. Furthermore, one should mention that he was able to assign duties and responsibilities to people who were most suitable these tasks. Finally, he closely monitored the performance of different project teams (Al-Banawi 37).

For instance, it is possible to refer to various construction projects implemented in Dubai. Among them one can distinguish Dubai Internet City[2], International Financial Center, and so forth. These projects can be viewed as examples of effective task-related behavior. Moreover, they have already attracted foreign direct investment (Tecom Investments unpaged). When speaking about this aspect of leadership, one should pay attention to risk management.

This is one of the main concerns for Sheikh Mohammed. For example, despite the financial and economic crisis which broke out in 2008, the government of the UAE was able to continue his project. Thus, one can say that Sheikh Mohammed was able to consider the impacts of potential risks that could not sometimes be avoided at least at that time.

Apart from that, one should examine his relations with other people. This criterion is also vital for discussing the behavior of a leader who may interact with a great number of professionals. As it has been noted before, Sheikh Mohammed is a person who can inspire other people (Dunston and Carter 132). This ability is critical for gaining the loyalty of others.

More importantly, Sheikh Mohammed is willing to put trust in other people who have not had an opportunity to demonstrate their skills (Al-Banawi 37). Such an approach can help a leader increase the motivation of others. Unlike, previous leaders of the UAE, people, who were employed by Sheikh Mohammed, were willing to take unconventional decisions and introduce new business models (Al-Banawi 37).

However, this result was possible mostly because they felt the support and encouragement of Sheikh Mohammed. They were more willing to endorse the initiatives that he proposed. This aspect should not be disregarded because it is important for illustrating the achievements made by this leader and his overall career. This is why one should not disregard such as skill as ability to establish relations with others.

Apart from that, it is necessary to consider his attitude toward change since it profoundly affects the strategies of leaders. One can say that Sheikh Mohammed is not afraid of taking decisions that can lead to significant changes (Peck 282). This issue is important for explaining many decisions taken by this person.

The main issue is that some leaders are not willing to accept risks. They are reluctant to disrupt the status quo or current state of affairs. As a result, they cannot adjust to new challenges. In contrast, Sheikh Mohammed is able to accept and promote innovations. More importantly, he can recognize the need for change that the UAE has to undergo in order to become more attractive to tourists and investors.

This is one of the most urgent needs for the sustainable development of the UAE because the country should decrease its dependence on the transportation of oil (Peck 282). In his turn, Sheikh Mohammed managed to envisage a different for the economic development of Dubai. So, he was able to appreciate the need for change. This is one of the reasons why he managed to guide many of the projects that are associated with risks. Currently, he wants to promote tourism and technological progress in the country.

Furthermore, the dramatic transformation of the UAE is possible mostly because Sheikh Mohammed is willing to experiment with different strategies that have not been used before. This is one of the key points that can be made. This worldview is also critical for a leader who should be able to take innovative steps. Therefore, Sheikh Mohammed can be perceived as a person who accepts the need for change and promotes it. This is one of the main arguments that can be put forward.

Thus, the use of three-dimensional taxonomy indicates that this leader attaches much importance to the development of specific tasks and vision that can motivate his followers. At the same time, he understands that his strategies can be put into practice if other people understand his value, attitudes, and worldviews.

Moreover, Sheikh Mohammed can be perceived as a person who does not try to avoid changes because they are an inseparable component of progress. Instead, he wishes to derive benefit from it. Finally, Sheikh Mohammed is willing to monitor the performance of others who should be fully accountable to him. These are some of the main aspects that can be identified.

VI. Conclusion

Overall, these examples suggest that Sheikh Mohammed made significant achievements in several areas. Much attention should be paid to such fields as public administration, entrepreneurship, charity, and many other areas. Among his most important qualities, one can distinguish the ability to create a vision, motivational skills, and tenacity. Moreover, one should note that he can understand the necessity for change.

Finally, he can place confidence in people who can offer new solutions to existing problems. These attributes helped him attain a great number of goals. To a great extent, his effort contributed to the rapid transformation of the United Arab Emirates, especially the development of the tourist and technological sectors of the local economy. Certainly, one should not suppose that Sheikh Mohammed was the only person who brought dramatic changes into the life of Dubai.

There were many other managers, scientists, engineers, and public administrators who made sure that various technological and business projects were successful implemented. Nevertheless, Sheikh Mohammed was able the main driving force behind these initiatives. His role should not be disregarded. These are the main aspects that should be taken into account. This discussion of a leader’s behavior is important for identifying the factors that can contribute to the success of entrepreneurs, political leaders, and organizations.


Picture 1. The Palm Island

The Palm Island

(Travel Hot)

Picture 2. Dubai Internet City

Dubai Internet City

(Tecom Investments unpaged)

Works Cited

Al-Banawi, Hussein. The Unknown Leader: Discover the Leader in You, New York: Kogan Page Publishers, 2012. Print.

Bass, Berndard, and Ronald Riggio. Transformational Leadership, Boston: Psychology Press, 2012. Print.

Bennett, Lindsay. Dubai, New Holland Publishers, 2008. Print.

Chew, Donald, and Stuart, Gillan. Global Corporate Governance, New York: Columbia University Press, 2009. Print.

Dunston, Lara, and Terry Carter. Dubai Encounter, New York: Lonely Planet, 2007. Print.

Ibrahim, Barbara and Dina Sherif. From Charity to Social Change: Trends in Arab Philanthropy, Cairo: American Univ in Cairo Press, 2008. Print.

Peck, Malcolm. The A to Z of the Gulf Arab States, London: Scarecrow Press, 2010. Print.

Tecom Investments. Dubai Internet City. 2013. Web.

Travel Hot. Tourist Sites in Dubai. 2013. Web.


  1. Please, refer to the Appendixes, Picture 1
  2. Appendixes, Picture 2.

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