Transitioning from learning to leading
Most new graduates find that the transition from university to team working can be a difficult adjustment, so to be plunged into a leadership role of any type so fast, and often without support, is challenging in the extreme. The proponents of the “sink of swim” school of development will say that this is good as it weeds out the weak quickly. In fact, the evidence shows that it also reduces overall talent and the future potential of many, even if a few survive. New graduates in all economies, but in the Middle East in particular, must be helped to develop basic teamworking and leadership skills. My address to the alumni of PMU set out some of the simple steps they could individually take to grow and develop as leaders.
In the Middle East there is a critical demand for young leaders and universities must develop sufficient leaders to meet the needs of economic growth. In fact, universities everywhere must reassess their role in developing the leaders of the future in partnership with government and commercial organisations. Some institutions think that academic excellence is enough, Yes, it helps, but if it can’t be used to support implementation of real world solutions then it’s not enough. Real world skills are required as well as academic analysis.
This critical development of the leaders of the future cannot be left to any one stakeholder, be that government, universities or the commercial world. All must play their part in developing exceptional leaders who can deliver both what business and their countries want. It’s not just about transforming organisations – great leadership should be about transforming lives and nations as well.