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Lessons On Leadership: Rola Abu Manneh, CEO, Standard Chartered Bank UAE Rola Abu Manneh reflects on what she considers to be one of the most important things she has learnt about leadership.

By Aby Sam Thomas

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Rola Abu Manneh

It's one thing to be immortalized as the first Emirati woman to head a bank in the UAE- but it's another thing altogether to be known as the CEO of Standard Chartered Bank in the UAE who managed to transform the country's business into one of the biggest five markets for the UK-headquartered Standard Chartered Group.

But Rola Abu Manneh can lay claim to both of these accomplishments in her role as the CEO of Standard Chartered Bank UAE- and she credits it all to the forward-thinking nature of the global leadership team at Standard Chartered, especially when it came to them taking a stand to support a new model of globalization based on transparency, inclusion, and dialogue. "Our leaders displayed exceptional vision and strategic thinking in this regard," Abu Manneh says. "They recognized the immense opportunities in assisting companies access new markets, and leverage international trade corridors. Standard Chartered played a pivotal role in providing financial solutions, market insights, and expert guidance to businesses seeking to expand their presence globally. Through this stand, we successfully managed to connect continents across the globe, while enhancing trade corridors."

As part of its efforts to "reset" globalization, Standard Chartered has also made it a priority to foster collaboration and knowledge-sharing across its global network, Abu Manneh adds. "CEOs from different regions regularly meet to explore means to grow trade corridors, strengthen partnerships, and identify potential areas for growth," she reveals. "These interactions allowed us to tap into the collective expertise and experience of our leadership across the globe, enhancing our ability to offer tailored solutions to our clients in different markets. By actively focusing on empowering companies to take advantage of international trade opportunities, our leadership demonstrated a commitment to fostering economic growth and prosperity. They understood the potential impact of nurturing global trade relationships, not only on our clients, but also on the economies of various countries."

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According to Abu Manneh, this approach -which, by the way, is in line with Standard Chartered's slogan of "Here for Good"- also proved to be a perfect fit for the UAE's long-term aspirations. "The UAE's leadership encourage economic diversification, global engagement, and market expansion, which fit perfectly with our efforts to support local companies access new markets internationally, especially in light of the ample comprehensive economic partnership agreements signed between the UAE and various countries across the world," Abu Manneh notes. "By actively supporting these initiatives, our Bank's leadership demonstrated a deep commitment to contributing to the UAE's economic growth and development. It's worth noting that supporting companies grow and expand into new markets through leveraging Standard Chartered's global network and expertise across key trade corridors has not only inspired our employees, but also positively impacted our clients. As the CEO of the Bank in the UAE, I am dedicated to upholding these principles, driving our Bank's continued success, and contributing to the advancement of the UAE's business community."

Rola Abu Manneh is the first Emirati woman to head a bank in the UAE.
Source: Standard Chartered Bank in the UAE

'TREP TALK: Rola Abu Manneh's Tips For Entrepreneurs
Rola Abu Manneh reflects on what she considers to be one of the most important things she has learnt about leadership

"Throughout my years in the business realm, the most significant lesson I've learnt on leadership is the importance of emotional intelligence and open communications. This has led me to effectively oversee a massive workforce of an international bank in the UAE, a responsibility I am more than happy to have undertaken.

"Leading a diverse workforce with different backgrounds and cultures requires the ability to understand and connect with employees on a personal level. By demonstrating empathy, I can relate to their perspectives, concerns, and aspirations. This allows for a work environment that fosters collaboration, trust, and a shared sense of purpose.

"Furthermore, emotional intelligence plays a pivotal role in effective leadership. It enables me to manage my own emotions and reactions, while understanding and empathizing with the emotions of others. This skill helps me navigate challenging situations, resolve conflicts, and build strong relationships with clients, stakeholders, and colleagues.

"By leading with empathy and emotional intelligence, I have witnessed the transformative impact it has on morale, engagement, and productivity. It helps creates a culture where individuals feel valued, heard, and supported, which leads to higher levels of innovation, teamwork, and overall organizational success, while further pushing our diversity and inclusion agenda.

"I strongly believe that successful leadership requires more than just technical expertise. It necessitates an understanding of the human element and the ability to inspire and empower individuals to reach their full potential. My key objective from prioritizing empathy and emotional intelligence is to create an inclusive and supportive environment that drives the growth and prosperity of Standard Chartered Bank in the UAE."

Related: Follow The Leader: Mohamad Sami Ballout, CEO, AWJ

Aby Sam Thomas

Entrepreneur Staff

Editor in Chief, Entrepreneur Middle East

Aby Sam Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Entrepreneur Middle East. In this role, Aby is responsible for leading the publication on its editorial front, while also working to build the brand and grow its presence across the MENA region through the development and execution of events and other programming, as well as through representation in conferences, media, etc.

Aby has been working in journalism since 2011, prior to which he was an analyst programmer with Accenture, where he worked with J. P. Morgan Chase's investment banking arm at offices in Mumbai, London, and New York. He holds a Master's Degree in Journalism from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York.  


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