The Middle East region has been experiencing political, economic, and social instability for decades. The lack of effective leadership has significantly hindered progress and development. In Jordan, the situation is no different. The country’s economy faces challenges, such as high unemployment rates and a lack of investment. Jordan’s civil society also struggles to address social issues effectively. This situation is due to the lack of strong leadership in both the business and civil society sectors.
In order for Jordan to address its numerous social and economic challenges, strong leaders need to emerge in the public arena, such as in parliament, trade unions, professional syndicates, civil society organizations, and the business sector. Such leaders must be capable of spearheading social and economic change and must have the ability to inspire and motivate others to follow their lead through exhibiting thought leadership.
Identifying potential leaders is the first step toward creating a strong pool of such individuals. One effective way to identify potential leaders is to look for individuals who have a track record of success in their respective fields. For example, individuals who have successfully managed large projects or have demonstrated exceptional leadership skills in their workplace or community may be good candidates for leadership positions.
In addition to looking for individuals with a track record of success, it is also important to identify individuals who possess the necessary skills and qualities to be effective leaders. These may include integrity, vision, empathy, and the ability to inspire and communicate effectively and successfully with others.
Once potential leaders have been identified, it is important to provide them with the necessary training and support to develop their leadership skills. This may involve providing them with access to leadership development programs, regional and international exposure, speaking opportunities, mentoring, coaching, social media writing and content creation guidelines, and other forms of support they may need to excel as public leaders.
One effective way of building strong leaders is establishing leadership development programs that can provide individuals with the skills, knowledge and experience they need to become effective leaders. They can also provide individuals with the opportunity to network with other leaders, share best practices, and learn from each other’s experiences.
There are several notable examples of leadership development initiatives in Jordan. One is the Queen Rania Foundation for Education and Development, which focuses on education and leadership development for youths. The Jordanian Leadership Institute offers leadership training programs for individuals and organizations, and the Business and Professional Women Association provides networking and professional development opportunities specifically for women in leadership. Still, none of these initiatives produced enough “well-known” thought leaders in business, civil society, the public arena, or government at large.
Another important way to build strong leaders is through mentoring and coaching. Mentoring involves pairing an experienced leader with a less experienced individual for the former to provide guidance and support as the latter develops leadership skills. Coaching, on the other hand, involves providing individuals with one-on-one support and guidance as they work to develop specific leadership skills.
Ultimately, building strong leaders in the public domain, civil society, and business sector requires a concerted effort from all stakeholders. Governments, businesses, and civil society organizations must work together to identify and develop the next generation of leaders. By investing in leadership development programs, mentoring, coaching, and other forms of support, one can help ensure that Jordan has the strong and effective leaders it needs to address the social and economic challenges it faces.
Inspiring role models are another effective way of building leaders. Individuals who have achieved success in business or civil society can serve as role models for younger generations. By emulating their behavior and actions, aspiring leaders can learn the skills and attitudes needed to be successful. Networking is an essential aspect of leadership building. Individuals who want to become effective leaders should focus on building a strong network of contacts. This approach would help them gain exposure to new ideas and opportunities, as well as establish connections with other leaders in their field.
Another important point that is often disregarded in this debate is reaching out to successful Jordanians and Arabs in the diaspora who can serve, in a number of ways, as thought leaders and role models. One approach is to provide them with different platforms through which they can share their experience and insight with others. This could include speaking opportunities at conferences, writing blogs or articles, active social media presence and participation in public discussions and public events.
Another strategy is creating mentorship programs that pair successful Arabs in the diaspora with aspiring entrepreneurs, students, or professionals in different fields. This can help foster greater collaboration and knowledge sharing, while also providing valuable networking and opportunities for all involved. Furthermore, technology has made it easier than ever for Jordanians, Arabs in general, to stay connected with their communities and contribute to their development even from afar.
It must be stressed that cultural leadership also plays a crucial role in shaping a nation’s identity and soft power. This encompasses a diverse range of expressions, including cinema, theatre, performing arts, poetry, and other forms of cultural expression that may help promote the nation’s cultural heritage, create a sense of belonging among citizens, and project a positive image of the nation to the world. Theatre and performing arts can also contribute to social cohesion by bringing diverse communities together and creating a sense of shared experience.
Effective leadership is essential for the growth and development of any society. In Jordan and the rest of the Middle East, the lack of strong leadership in different domains has been a significant barrier to progress and development. Investing in education and training programs, mentorships, role models and influencers, Jordanians in the diaspora, and building cultural leadership to complement efforts, together with ongoing networking are effective measures to create, build, and position leaders in the region.