Top 10 leadership tips from Dubai’s female business game changers

A new book unveils the transformative power of women in the workforce and shares practical insights for success from CEOs to mountaineers

The Arab world is undergoing a twenty-first century business renaissance and women are at its forefront.  

This is the confident premise of Game Changers: How Women in the Arab World Are Changing the Rules and Shaping the Future, a new book co-authored by David B. Jones, Sophie Le Ray and Radhika Punshi.

Jones and Punshi, co-founders of the Talent Enterprise, and Le Ray, founder of the Women in Leadership Economic Forum, make bold suggestions for how governments, organisations and individuals can support greater gender diversity and inclusion at work - all complemented by inspiring interviews with regional leaders.Vision rounds up the top 10 leadership tips...

David B. Jones
David B. Jones is co-founder and CEO of The Talent Enterprise

Radhika Punshi
Radhika Punshi is the co-founder and Managing Director of The Talent Enterprise

Sophie Le Ray
Sophie Le Ray is the Chief Executive Officer of Naseba and founder of the Global WIL Economic Forum

Liliane Kanaan, Country Manager, Roche Diagnostics Middle East, Egypt

If I had to pick three things I wish someone had told me before starting my career, those would be: Accept your failures since they are part of success. Value your feminine qualities and abilities that
 you bring to the workplace.
 Fight for what you believe and put your ideas to the test.

Sofana Dahlan, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Taskkeil

My leadership style stems from the characteristics of water. Water has strength, it has the quality to take any shape, and new ways around things and withstand pressure, but even then it doesn’t lose its subtlety or softness.

Dr. Leila Hoteit, Partner and Managing Director, Boston Consulting Group

A couple of years ago I had a mentor who gave me one key piece of advice: he urged me to invest in my own brand equity. Until today, those words remain the best career advice anyone has ever given me.

Dr. Muna AbuSulayman, Partner, Glowork and Co-Founder, Meedan.com

A leader has to be the one who can take-up all stakeholder issues and create the best solutions. These solutions will not satisfy everyone. You have to be able to stand your ground and win over detractors. This is greatly helped by good communication skills and trust.

Empathy allows all stakeholders to see the human side of a leader

Noor Sweid, Partner, Leap Ventures

Donna Sultan, Chief Executive Officer, KEO International Consultants

What I push most is the organised delegation of responsibilities and authorities within a context of commonly understood boundaries and expectations. My role then is to monitor and mentor, which is my preferred way of managing people and the business. I try not to get in the way of the potential of those working with me or for me. My job is to support them to be successful and to increase their experience and confidence. I would say my leadership style adjusts to prevailing conditions to deal with an unexpected challenge or threat that needs to be met. I think it is important to know when to adjust your style of management and apply what, in your best judgment, is correct to protect the interests of an organisation. However, I hope that I would be ultimately judged as having an inclusive leadership style, preferring a consultative approach.

Manal Al Bayat, Principal, HEADSTART Consultancy, and Vice President of Engagament, Expo 2020 Dubai

Give credit where credit is due, give support where it is needed, and be honest with yourself and others. Be positive and highlight achievements. Leading is all about understanding who your followers are, what their needs are and how to motivate them to get their best output. It is also about knowing where you are going and how to navigate. As long as you have vision and focus and take care of your team, you will succeed.

Raja Easa Al Gurg, Managing Director, Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group

Having an open mind and taking the path of inclusive leadership is important. You have to learn to create equilibrium as well as an environment that motivates and inspires your team.

My leadership style has strength, it has the quality to take any shape, and new ways around things and withstand pressure

Sofana Dahlan, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Taskkeil

Noor Sweid, Partner, Leap Ventures

Empathy is the most important leadership trait. It enables the leader to identify with their employees and teams, and solve problems in creative ways. Additionally, it allows all stakeholders to see the human side of a leader, which is by far the most inspiring aspect of any person.

Farah Al Qaissieh, Founder, Stutter UAE and Founder, Discover AE

Entrepreneurship is extremely difficult on your own. Find like-minded people who are honest and share similar ambitions and values. Having that circle
 of trust where ideas are bounced across and you are challenged, allows for an exciting journey with better and quicker results.

Raha Moharrak, Adventurer and Mountaineer

I never set out to be this role model, which is a huge responsibility so I don’t really have a tactic in terms of my leadership style. I guess if anything, it’s leading by example. You need to have conviction. You need to have the courage to voice your opinion, to voice your dreams. I think my philosophy is to be bold and brave in pursuit of your dreams.