Analysis of Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak Leadership Styles

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Al Mubarak is a renowned UAE leader who is hailed chiefly for improving the tourism sector in Abu Dhabi. He has an impressive profile and has attained several leadership positions, including being the chairman of major organizations, including the Department of Culture and Tourism, a media zone company known as twofour54, Aldar Properties and Academies, Image Nation, and Miral Asset Management. Having graduated in Economics and Political science from North Easter University, Al Mubarak has risen through the ranks to become a holder of key cultural management positions, education provision, and development in Abu Dhabi. Recently, he has been featured in several interviews in international television shows and other platforms due to the improvements made in Abu Dhabi’s tourism sector despite controversies surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. Such progress spikes keen interest in his leadership traits to understand what has led to his success.

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Inferring to the trait theory, Al Mubarak’s outstanding attributes fall within the personality category. In the former category, the striking attribute is his confidence or high self-esteem. Al Mubarak demonstrates a high and unshaken poise in all the interviews regarding his decision and the issues surrounding them. For instance, he recently attended a virtual interview with CNN about launching 100% safety Certification (Goal Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi. (2021). Notably, issues surrounding the pandemic have been relatively sensitive, and many governments or concerned parties have questioned the effectiveness of measures being taken in different countries. The first aspect of Mubarak’s confidence is shown in the targets set for the safety certification goal. Given the infectious rates of the pandemic, interventions reaching 100% effectiveness would seem outrageous. However, despite the high-risk element such targets are achievable for Mubarak, he demonstrates this by clearly outlining the measures they seek to implement. He shows confidence in himself as a leader and in the workforce at tourist receiving terminals. This attribute is highly interwoven with others, like tenacity, drive, and motivation.

The second impressive trait about Mubarak’s leadership is initiative. The principal conceptualization of the term initiative is that building progress by facilitating creative ways and new pathways to accomplish set objectives. Correspondingly, he has fostered a changing culture to help the DTC and the other organizations survive harsh business environments. Mubarak has driven structural and policy reforms that have fostered significant gains. Usually, the measure of the initiative is by evaluating the transformative progress and the outcomes. In this regard, Mubarak fostered projects in the first five months of 2018, contributing to an upsurge in tourism in the emirates by 4.9%. Such progress is admirable and shows the practicality of his initiatives.

Cognitive Factors

Mubarak imbues two predominant cognitive attributes, which are intelligence and decision-making. Intelligence is an integrative cognitive factor that combines functions like memory, perceptions, language, and planning (Gandolfi & Stone, 2018). It is apparent that Mubarak is always well versed with the organization’s issues, the details of different projects, and his statements are based on action-oriented judgment. His intelligence is manifested in his capacity to hold executive positions at various organizations and work diligently in all his posts. Alder demonstrates proficiency in business and cultural oriented facets as chairman of DTC and Aldar properties. He showcases his decisiveness in making unexpected and strategic collaborations with various market players in both sectors. He asserted that he believes in the need for more than contingency plans but aggressive agility to changes in the environment.

Also, he has shown a relentless effort to evolve various cultural settings to meet the demands of the current and future markets.

Charismatic Characteristics

Al Mubarak has attended many interviews, and in all of them, he evokes effective communication and compassion. Drawing from his wide breadth of knowledge, he succinctly breaks down his answers to ensure that they remain relevant. He retains a calm posture throughout the session and does not show hostility towards the host despite sometimes challenging questions. It would be expected that the same is extended when working with both execute and subordinates in his department. Research associates effective communication with commitment and team collaboration, subsequently inspiring employee action to make a difference (Shafique & Beh, 2017). Therefore, at this level, one may infer that Mubarak motivates the workforce by maximizing their purpose and sense of value through a communicative vision.

As an influential communicator, one can articulate goals and directives clearly and expressively and help employees remain grounded and motivated even during hard times. The notable interactive segment includes the CBNC about meeting Aldar’s market adversities, with CNN on the 100% safety certification initiative and the culture summit. Al Mubarak is confident in all these segments when answering the questions and succinctly elaborates his points while maintaining eye contact with his audience or hosts. Regarding compassion, Mubarak frequently cites the need to leverage different experiences to reap opportunities that benefit people from Abu Dhabi and other places in the world (Boothe, 2016). Notably, the region is full of expatriates, and he looks forward to tapping on global creativity and promoting and supporting diversity. In one of the interviews regarding Warner Bros theme park, Mubarak expressed his belief in the goodness of humanity where people want to promote a peaceful and loving society. He also acknowledges his fascination in seeing admiring Christian artifacts in the museum. Such factors show his willingness to promote a culture of compassion and accommodation despite vast economic, social, cultural, and demographic differences in Abu Dhabi’s population.

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Charismatic Behaviors to Develop

Mubarak seems to be an all-rounded leader when it comes to charismatic traits. However, as a matter of self-development, he should improve his communication skills and vision. Usually, the two set a clear path for influencing employees to work towards a particular goal. They set a clear space for a leader to influence the positive reception of the needed strategies and interventions. As mentioned earlier, effective communications help get the message across and articulate the vision. Being visionary shows that one has a dream and direction that will inspire and empower others (Sy et al., 2018). The two qualities dominate in the priority list because they set a stage or initiate the utilization of the other traits. For instance, confidence is gained by having a clear vision, and employees feel motivated when goals, missions, and objectives are articulated clearly and adequately.

A Transformational Leader

Since his inception in all his leadership position, Al Mubarak has proved to be an agent of change. Various excerpts associate the success of projects with working with creative and collaborative teams. When asked about teamwork at Aldar properties, he says that the team players are dynamic, intelligent, and motivated (Boothe, 2016). His following sentiments continue to support the essential role of the entire team in providing great ideas that help improve the company. He has also supported realignments in collaborations and partnerships, aiming to make strategic adjustments and innovations. Therefore, he qualifies as a transformational leader.

Relationship Oriented Behaviors

Al Mubarak shows a high priority for creating and sustaining positive relationships. Usually, the tourism industry is highly dependent on the amicable relationships between host and foreign countries. Therefore, to some extent, one would assume that his emphasis on building a good reputation is out of responsibility. However, Mubarak’s persistence shows this by supporting strategic relational partnership. The most recent one has been between DCT and UNESCO to promote innovations meant to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. The partnership shows the country’s commitment to making a positive global impact and thus increasing its attractiveness. The second aspect is his emphasis on communication. His appointment into myriads of interviews at both local and international levels is one way to consider this. He attends platforms where he can easily pass the message to his intended audience. Al Mubarak inaugurated the Culture Summit 2021, a 3-day event that involved discussions, performances, speeches, and conversations. It shows how he embodied sustainable development through effective communication.

Task-Oriented Behavior

While relationship orientations seem to be the dominant aspect of Mubarak’s leadership, there are also aspects of a task-oriented framework. First, most project pioneers have clear plans and set goals to achieve within a set framework. For instance, in the interview with CNN, al Mubarak explains how they plan to align the workforce in transport terminals and work with IATA to ensure COVID-19 safety travel for tourists. As a leader at Aldar Properties, he has been adamant in setting goals for high-profile real estate development. He helped develop various projects that were completed in various phases. For instance, they set aside a gold and waterfront development project that would also include 1351 villas and a townhouse (“CNBC Interview with HE Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman, Aldar Properties,” 2018). The dynamics of the real estate industry call for a high emphasis on meeting deadlines. Therefore, Mubarak has actively played the role of monitoring the progress of developmental projects. Notable projects include Ferrari World theme park, Yas Waterworld, Yas Viceroy, Yas Mall, and the Yas Links Golf Club (Boothe, 2016). He has demonstrated a task-oriented approach at this level by delegating tasks and ensuring that everything is accomplished in a timely and productive manner.

A Participative Leader

Al Mubarak strikes as a participative leader; he believes in the power of sourcing innovation and creativity from other people and making strategic collaborations. Participative leaders share the decision-making power with the executives and the employees. They merge ideas and mutually come up with the best solution to a problem. Despite the cosmopolitan or metropolitan aspect of Abu Dhabi, Al Mubarak looks at it as a community-based area (“CNBC Interview with HE Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman, Aldar Properties”, 2021). This shows that he believes in the active engagement of each member in facilitating fostering a conducive business and working environment.

Organizational Decision

For the past decade, the UAE has been suffering from global fluctuations in oil prices. Such issues have had a significant impact on the private sector. Therefore, there was an inherent need for Aldar to reduce its over-reliance on oil-based products. Projections revealed that these evolutions would have a considerable impact on the future of Aldar properties. As the chairman, Al Mubarak and his team had to develop a strategy to help them circumvent the new challenges. Therefore, the company has to decide whether to diversify its product or service line. Such a decision would have a significant impact on several stakeholders including, employees. Therefore, it requires an adjustment in the leadership style.

Normative Decision-Making Model

When applying the Normative decision model, a few steps have to be followed. First, one has to evaluate the importance of the decision’s quality. It is crucial to make a good decision regarding product diversification because it would impact a significant portion of the organization, including labor, machinery, finances, etc. This step is a H because it signifies a decision to improve the organization’s value measures the quality of the decision. The second step is to ensure that the team’s commitment to the decision-making process is essential. In this case, the team’s commitment is needed, but it reinforces the decision-making acceptability making the criteria an L. The third step is to assess whether one has enough information to make the decision. This would require extensive research as it revolves around restructuring the business design. Therefore, one should assume that they do not have sufficient information. Having the correct amount and type of data reinforces the accuracy and precision of the decision making it is a H.

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The next step is to determine whether the team would agree to an autonomous decision from the leader. Given the critical nature of the situation, making an independent decision would create departmental or unit conflict. For instance, due to the decision’s financial repercussion, budget cuts in some departments have the propensity to spring rebellion. Based on this consideration, the step qualifies as an L because it relates to the acceptability of the decision. The last step for this situation is to assess whether the team members share the organization’s goals. This step is a H because it checks the quality of the decision based on how well it aligns with the organization’s goals and objectives. Primarily organizations employ people and align them with their mission and vision. Therefore, it is expected that members at Aldar Properties do the same. When all the above issues are considered, the leader should adopt a collaborative approach and serve primarily as a facilitator. Decisions must be made through group consensus.

Stable Leadership

Al Mubarak has had a consistent transformational leadership style. All along, he has focused on promoting change through creativity and innovation. To do this, he has constantly advocated for teamwork and recognized appreciated team effort in project success. Mubarak believes in promoting social justice and is therefore profoundly concerned about the welfare of both potential and existing employees. Secondly, Al Mubarak has been facing tricky decision-making points to reinventing the tourism sector in the Emirates. His intention to increase the areas attractiveness has been fostered through a hybrid of the directive and conceptual decision-making styles. His decisions are mostly tailored to make holistic improvements in the sectors driven by intense communication strategies hedged on providing innovative solutions. Case in point, he continually advocates for creative solutions, as is supported by their recent collaboration with UNESCO. Since he was positioned as DTC’s chairman has been a visionary leader pursuing a longstanding solution that focuses on sustainable development rather than meeting short term goals.


Boothe, A. (2016). Aldar’s CEO Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak on building the future of the UAE. Web.

CNBC Interview with HE Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman, Aldar Properties. CNBC. (2018). Web.

Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi. (2021). Abu Dhabi Tourism Launches 100% Safety Certification Goal [Video]. Web.

Gandolfi, F., & Stone, S. (2018). Leadership, leadership styles, and servant leadership. Journal of Management Research, 18(4), 261-269.

Shafique, I., & Beh, L. S. (2017). Shifting organizational leadership perspectives: An overview of leadership theories. Journal of Economic & Management Perspectives, 11(4), 134-143.

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Sy, T., Horton, C., & Riggio, R. (2018). Charismatic leadership: Eliciting and channeling follower emotions. The Leadership Quarterly, 29(1), 58-69. Web.

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