A while back, after plenty of reflection and soul searching, I concluded that the single most important factor influencing our region, both as individuals and as a society, is the profile and character of the leadership that emerges from the ranks to steer our various institutions and organizations into a promising future.
With that thought as inspiration, I had the urge to write a book about how to develop and nurture future leaders from the talented seeds around us. This desire was strengthened when friends and colleagues urged me to become an author. Gradually the project started to take shape.
To live up to the expectations placed upon me by those trusted friends and colleagues, from the outset I decided not to publish the book privately but rather to seek a world-class publisher that would accept my work in the same way they would engage any promising author.
Fortunately, I was signed up by Kogan Page, one of the leading publishers of serious nonfiction in the United Kingdom, who, after reviewing my manuscript, have decided to sponsor my entry into the publishing world.
In the process, I also realized the value of engaging a ghost writer as an editor, a sounding-board and an honest critic. My search led me to Karl Weber, a first-rate writer who is passionate about his craft. Karl made sure that my work measures up against the writings of top authors from around the world.
The resulting book is a product of my thoughts, experiences, aspirations, challenges and difficulties, as well as the learning that I have absorbed by witnessing firsthand the achievements of others from all walks of life who are leaders in their own right.
The Unknown Leader describes the journey of self-development that ultimately defines the character of an individual. This is the journey that brings out the leader in you.
Although the book portrays my personal experiences from college days through my current work as Chairman and CEO of Banawi Industrial Group, it is not an autobiography or memoir. Instead, it examines the choices we make as individuals and offers advice and insights to help readers make the right decisions for their own lives and careers.
In the process, it reveals the human face of leadership—the mixture of strengths and weaknesses, highs and lows, triumphs and disappointments that every leader experiences. Readers will come to understand that leaders are not a breed apart, but simply ordinary men and women who from the start choose the path of self-discovery, inner reflection, and aspiration, and so discover and nurture the leader within them, no matter what their role in life is.
Throughout this journey of self-development, we constantly get tested–emotionally, mentally, intellectually, and even spiritually. These tests help us recognize and develop our leadership qualities and the maturity, judgment, wisdom, and compassion that true leaders need to be successful.
The Unknown Leader places this journey of self-development in a unique context—that of the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region in the early years of the twenty-first century, a time of enormous change and challenge. Due to the importance of our region in today’s global arena, we have a special need to ensure that we are nurturing as many potential new leaders as possible. We live in a time when traditional values and beliefs are being questioned by many of our young people, a time of growing demands for greater intellectual, political, and economic freedom. In this volatile period, we need the right leadership to ensure that we keep our values intact while navigating effectively through the open space of globalization and integration.
The Unknown Leader addresses the leadership challenges of this time and place. It explains how and why the leadership role of women must be expanded in the MENA region, so that we no longer under-utilize the talent and energy of half of our population; it examines the need for a more dynamic, diversified, and entrepreneurial economy that is not significantly dependent on petroleum for growth; and it describes how young people can prepare themselves to engage with the rest of the world in an era of increasing global connectedness—and intense competition.
Finally, The Unknown Leader is designed to appeal to readers from every walk of life. Leadership is not restricted to those of high birth, fame, wealth, or position; you don’t have to be a CEO, a politician, a high-profile personality or a celebrity to be a leader. In fact, unknown leaders are all around us, making organizations, communities, and entire societies stronger and more vibrant. The Unknown Leader pays tribute to these individuals and invites readers to join their ranks.
The Unknown Leader – ISBN# 978-0-74-94-6572-8
Published by Kogan Page, 2012