Arabic heritage and history is rich with great leaders. This is due to the fact that our Islamic teachings develop the personalities of Muslims to obtain many great characteristics which include the characteristics of effective leaders. Islam does teach people how to be emotionally intelligent and be self and socially aware as well as self controlling and socially skilled. The history of Arabs has so many examples; Prophet Mohammed (BUY) is a perfect example of a great leader as he was a very charismatic visionary, trustworthy, thoughtful, confident, inconsiderate and ethical as well as spiritual.
Those characteristics were very important for the transformational leadership that he practiced since the beginning of Islam. Also, the Islamic values that encourage team work as the holy prophet Mohammad (BUY) said: “God’s hand is with the team” Nowadays, however, Arab businesses are in desperate need for effective leaders and teams. As they are usually either unable or unwilling to perform teamwork and leadership effectively, or simply ignoring the basic principles of effective leadership and teamwork in some cases.
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However, the approaches used in Arab organizations can be classified depending on the authors’ classification of those institutes. In the following pages, Arab organizations will be classified in the following way depending on the authors’ subjective impressions on the way things are running in each of them; Governmental sector and private sector. Those two classes will be analyzed in the aspects of leadership and teamwork. TEAM WORK: Team work is a grouping of small number of employees with complementary skills to collaborate on a project and to perform tasks that contribute to achieving n organization’s goals.
One of the most important factors that can affect team work is the Cutter. Recalling what we said in the introduction, the Arabic culture is so related to the values of Islam. However, most of the daily practices of Arabs nowadays are far from the teachings of Islam especially in work. We will discuss different team work behaviors in the government sector and the private sector. Government Sector: The government sector in an Arab environment is mostly characterized by low team work competencies.
Most of the organizations in the government sector SE a bureaucratic approach of management that is characterized by centralized decision making, and lots of rules and standards of how each task is performed. Due to these policies, team work is deactivated. Moreover, the employees of the government sector are more likely to think of their own achievements over their unit’s goals whether it’s a department, division, or the organization itself which will put barriers against team work. However, the main factor that produces low team work competencies is the lack of training on team work skills in these organizations.
Private Sector: The private sector organizations in an Arab environment show more promising in team work by providing training and own cultural influence. Training usually comes first before anything in these organizations and even continues through the employee’s career life as needed. The training includes all the competencies needed to perform the job and usually team work is one of them. Moreover, despite the culture of the employees, they are required to adapt the organization’s own culture in their practices.
When Saudi Armco, for example, came first as a private company in Saudi Arabia, it trained its Saudi employees on pacific habits and practices that were absent in the Saudi culture at least at that time. These practices include time management, safety awareness, and team work. These practices became part of the employees’ culture and were passed to their own families. LEADERSHIP: Arab organizations utilize leadership in different ways depending on the mentality of employees and managers and it usually depends on the type of organization and its goals.
That can be seen clearly as we go through the three main aspects of leadership; Influence, shared purposes and change. Leaders also fifer in their styles and behaviors in the situational leadership model and the managerial grid model as well. All of those aspects will be discussed in detail in each type of organization. Governmental sector: Leaders in this type of organization are known to influence their subordinates through formal position and sometimes their charisma, due to the fact that employees advance in their jobs through seniority most of the times.
Rewards are usually useless in this type of organizations as employees are rewarded equally and the use of coercion is also useless due to the fact that no one can be red and that demotion is very hard and take place in very rare occasions. Also, the expertise of leaders is not likely to be influential because they are usually appointed for their seniority. Therefore, the subordinates are more likely to do their tasks but with no enthusiasm.
As for the shared purposes, Arab employees sometimes don’t share their leaders’ goals as they just want to get their work done and go home due to the fact that they don’t usually see any change happening as an outcome for their work. In most cases, leaders in this type of organization follow the impoverished style of leadership with low concern or people or production and just try to get out of trouble or the country club style where the office becomes a place for socializing with other employees and with very little regard for work.
However, some leaders do follow the produce or perish style as they demand a lot of output with nearly no regard for their subordinates needs. Private sector: Large organizations are very sophisticated and tend to follow scientific techniques in management in general and leadership in particular. Leaders influence here is usually based on expertise as employees are promoted fairly on he basis of their performances and capabilities and therefore subordinates will gladly follow the leaders directions and be more that happy to share his goals and objectives.
Rewards are also used very commonly to influence employees in case the leader was not knowledgeable of charismatic enough. Leaders in this type of organizations are more people oriented and tend to follow the Team style which has a high concern for people as well as production. While, on the other hand, leaders in small private organizations usually influence their subordinates through coercion, formal positions and sometimes Harriman, expertise and rewards. Employees of those businesses are usually expatriates who fear that their manager may deport them whenever he is not pleased with their output.
If we look at Arab small private companies from the scope of The Managerial Grid Model, we can see that managers tend to follow the Produce or Perish style with high concern for production and low concern for people. However, leaders in small companies may follow the Middle-of-the-road style where they moderately care about production as well as their subordinates. It all depends on the leaders’ mentality and level of education. Conclusion: After analyzing teamwork and leadership in Arab environments, it is obvious that there are some issues which need to be dealt with to optimize the performance of Arab organizations.
Some actions may prove to be useful in this field. Teamwork it is well practiced in private organizations, it is relatively absent in governmental organizations. However, team work competency should be a part of each culture. Therefore, an early training on team work is required in schools through different activities. As for leaders, in most Arab organizations they tend o influence their subordinates in some ways that may get the job done but not with enthusiasm.
Therefore, personal charisma and expertise should be used, and since charisma cannot be developed, better training and development program for leaders may be the key. Giving promotions for those who deserve it may also prove to be useful in the government sector in particular as leaders will be much more qualified. Finally, Arab leaders should look at Prophet Mohammed (PUBIC) as a perfect example of a perfect leader of all time and try to learn from him and his great leadership and management skills.