Leadership Stories: Abdullah, the King of Arabia

Date:  2021-05-20 19:22:07
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Leadership comes from the word leader. Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want to be done because he wants to do it. The word leadership can bring out a variety of images i.e. political leader, pursuing a passionate personal course, an explorer cutting a path through the jungle for the rest of the group to follow, and an executive, developing her company`s strategy to beat the competition.

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Leaders help themselves and others to do the right things. The set direction, build inspiration vision and create something new. Leadership is about mapping out where you need to go to win as a team or an organization; and it is dynamic, exciting and inspiring. When leaders set direction, they must also use management skills to guide their people to the right direction in a smooth and efficient way.

An effective leader is one who: creates an inspiring vision of the future, motivates and inspires people to engage with that vision, manages the delivery of the vision, coaches and builds a team so that it is more effective at achieving the goal. Leadership brings together the skills required to do these things.

Leadership starts right from childhood. Many people would show virtues of leadership like courage, honesty, and command from a tender age. Others were born in a family where they were certain of being leaders and this happened in places where leadership was hereditary i.e. those people sired by Kings would automatically be kings. This hereditary leadership happened in places like Saudi Arabia where Kingship was passed on from father to son.

Abdullah, the King of Arabia

Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud was the King of Saudi Arabia from 2005 to 2015 and the third richest head of state in the world. He was also the Custodian of Two Holy Mosques during his reign and served as the Prime Minister of the Council of Ministers and Commander of the National Guard. Born as one of the many sons of Saudi Arabia's founding king, Abdulaziz Bin Saud, he developed a profound respect for religion, history and the Arab heritage from an early age. He was chosen by King Faisal to command the National Guard and later became the Second Deputy Prime Minister upon the succession of King Khalid. When King Fahd ascended the throne, Abdullah was named Crown Prince and Deputy Prime Minister, next in the line of the throne. After King Fahd suffered a massive stroke in 1995, Abdullah assumed the role of the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia until ascending the throne a decade later, after King Fahds death. In 2005, Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud became the King of Saudi Arabia and ruled in his right until his death. As the King, he played a leading role in promoting dialogue among the worlds leading faiths and also sought to resolve conflicts in the Arab and Islamic world. He had 30 wives and fathered 35 children. He encouraged large-scale infrastructural development in Saudi Arabia and worked for regional peace, stability, and security during his reign.

Abdullah was born on August 1, 1924, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to King Abdulaziz, and his eighth wife, Fahda bint Asi Al Shuraim, a member of the Al Rashid dynasty. He had between fifty and sixty siblings.

Abdullah lost his mother at the age of six and also had a speech impediment as a child. He received his early education at the Royal Court at the Princes' School from religious authorities and intellectuals.

August 1962, Prince Abdullah was appointed as the commander of Saudi National Guard (SANG). The National Guard's duties include providing security for the royal family, preventing coups, and guarding the Muslim Holy Cities of Mecca and Medina.

In March 1975, King Khalid appointed Abdullah as second deputy prime minister, which made him the second in line of succession to the Saudi throne. After the death of King Khalid in 1982, Fahd bin Abdulaziz ascended the throne, and Prince Abdullah became the Crown Prince. He was promoted to the post of Deputy Prime Minister while retaining his position as head of the National Guard.

In December 1995, when King Fahd suffered from a series of strokes, Abdullah acted as regent for his brother for the next nine years, although Fahd and his associates still exercised their powers. On August 2, 2005, Abdullah formally ascended the throne upon the death of his half-brother, King Fahd.

After ascending the throne, he emphasized on development. He initiated a range of major economic, social, education, health, and infrastructure projects which brought about remarkable changes throughout the Kingdom. From 1963 to 2010, King Abdullah was Commander of the Saudi National Guard. He also served as the Chairman of the Saudi Supreme Economic Council until 2009.

He continued to be the President of the High Council for Petroleum and Minerals, President of the King Abdulaziz Center for National Dialogue, Chairman of the Council of Civil Service, and head of the Military Service Council until his death in 2015.

After ascending the throne in 2005, King Abdullah initiated a large-scale infrastructure development in Saudi Arabia including the creation of the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology.

He supervised the ventures to expand the Two Holy Mosques and several other welfare projects. He also established two major libraries in the Muslim world, one in Riyadh, and another in Casablanca, Morocco.

The National Guard's duties include providing security for the royal family, preventing coups, and guarding the Muslim Holy Cities of Mecca and Medina. In March 1975, King Khalid appointed Abdullah as second deputy prime minister, which made him the second in line of succession to the Saudi throne.

After the death of King Khalid in 1982, Fahd bin Abdulaziz ascended the throne, and Prince Abdullah became the Crown Prince. He was promoted to the post of Deputy Prime Minister while retaining his position as head of the National Guard.

In December 1995, when King Fahd suffered from a series of strokes, Abdullah acted as regent for his brother for the next nine years, although Fahd and his associates still exercised their powers. On August 2, 2005, Abdullah formally ascended the throne upon the death of his half-brother, King Fahd.

After ascending the throne, he emphasized on development. He initiated a range of major economic, social, education, health, and infrastructure projects which brought about remarkable changes throughout the Kingdom.

From 1963 to 2010, King Abdullah was Commander of the Saudi National Guard. He also served as the Chairman of the Saudi Supreme Economic Council until 2009.He continued to be the President of the High Council for Petroleum and Minerals, President of the King Abdulaziz Center for National Dialogue, Chairman of the Council of Civil Service, and head of the Military Service Council until his death in 2015.

Abdullah received awards in his lifetime which included:

In April 2012, King Abdullah received a gold medal from United Nations for his contributions to intercultural understanding and peace initiatives.

In December 2012, he was ranked at the seventh position on the Forbes list of the world's most powerful people for 2012. He was the sole Arab in the top ten.

He was conferred and honors knight of the strictly Roman Catholic Order of the Golden Fleece.

He had 30 wives which included daughters of the enemy tribes. He was the father of 35 children through his many wives. His eldest son was Prince Khalid who was born in 1950.

Conclusion,

King Abdullah during his reign was able to come up with certain lessons like:

Talk less, listen more. People will pay attention to what you say, just because of your position. The leaders job is to pay attention to what other people say; especially those who think their views dont count. Show youre listening by acting on what people tell you, and gain their trust by giving them credit.

Dont step in with solutions too quickly. No-one learns anything new if you keep doing what you already know how to do, and dont allow others to try. In any way, they may find a different or better way, and if no, mistakes are valuable too.

Be authentic, passionate, and even emotional, about what you believe. Share your vision and live your values. The personal is more engaging, even inspiring, than the process.

Dont dis downwards. Once a decision is made by the Board, or the leadership team, its yours even if you argued against it during discussions. Your job as a leader is to get others to believe in and work towards, a shared goal, not to divide opinion or loyalties.

Im OK: Youre OK. Start from the position that everyone is doing the best they can, then look for ways to support and encourage them which is so much more rewarding than finding fault.

Dont be the smartest person in the room. Being a leader does not mean knowing more than anyone else. Recognize, encourage and promote others as experts. Give them the trust and autonomy to be creative and do excellent work, defined in their terms. You simply provide the direction, so that this excellent work contributes to a shared purpose.

A sense of purpose: Your team knows what they do and how to do it, but you can make a big difference by sharing a strong sense of why theyre doing it and where its heading. Help them develop a broad understanding of the teams purpose and faith in how their role contributes to the whole. (Remember the floor-sweeper at NASA?)

Being right isnt enough. A great idea is of no consequence unless you can convince others to believe it too, and then persuade them to help you make your idea a reality. The best way to do this is to make the idea theirs.

Focus on a few things that matter and where you can make a difference. There may be a hundred different distractions and demands on your time and a hundred ways you could respond, but its the dozen carefully chosen actions that deliver the results.

Get out and about, and to work. Its hard to retain that sense of what the jobs really about when you are sitting in your office. Youll see what people do, rather than what people tell you they do. And youll see their commitment, effort, and achievements first hand, and feel proud to be part of the same team. Always inspiring, and informative, and better than any meeting!

Keep trying. Dont beat yourself up when you dont live up to your expectations. Reflect and learn from those times when you stumble and fall over the other ten resolutions.

Reference

Max Mertzger; Why is Saudi Arabia Burying King Abdullah in an Unmarked Grave?, Newsweek, 23 January 2015.

Galina Yamelianova; Explainer: What is Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia? , The Conversation 30 January 2015

King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz18 September 2015; Archived from 2015. Archived from the original on 26 July 2015.

Who`s who: Senior Saudis BBC. 30 October 2007. Retrieved 27 April 2012

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