What leadership capabilities will be required by future leaders?
Future leaders will need to be able to manage ambiguous situations in a constantly changing environment, and have the capabilities to listen to, and lead, people with very different perspectives from themselves. This will require self-reflection, an ability to ask effective questions, as well as a willingness to seek balance, rather than black-and-white solutions.
How can leaders begin to develop these capabilities in their successors?
They can start by role-modelling these capabilities, which may require them to change their own leadership style. If they can be authentic and honest about this process, they will be more able to convince emerging talent to develop these capabilities as well.
What are your expectations for the coming year regarding organisations’ leadership capabilities?
The Middle East is undergoing a great deal of change. The political realities will, of course, have an impact on a businesses’ ability to innovate and prosper. I imagine that leaders will need to take decisions to promote stability, and at the same time balance this with bolder decisions that can lead to increases in innovative thinking by including a wider range of perspectives.
What advice would you give to leaders on navigating turbulent times and maintaining employees’ respect?
Be authentic. If people see leaders being prepared to learn and adjust, based on new information, they will also respect them. In order for innovation to emerge, leaders need to be willing to do things differently, themselves and within the businesses they lead. People innovate more when they sense there is openness within their organisation to doing things differently.
What are your expectations for female empowerment in the Middle East in the coming years?
I sincerely hope it will continue. I have been impressed to see the many strong women leaders emerging in the Middle East, and I believe their talent, perspective and commitment is needed in the changing times to come.
What advice would you give to aspiring female leaders in the region?
Stay true to your path and take one step at a time. Be as inclusive as possible along the way, bringing other women, and also men, along with you.