The Future of Leadership

The Future of Leadership

The Future of Leadership

Saturday, July, 18, 2020

By engaging with the human spirit and, further, embodying this engagement, leaders become servants to the very people that they seek to guide.

As I am transitioning into a new leadership position, I am confronted with the higher truths of leadership and how they unfold within an entrepreneurial orientation and, further, a humane entrepreneurial orientation (as found in the theory and practice of Humane Entrepreneurship, or HumEnt). Leadership grasps the critical importance of creating workplace climate and culture, thus determining the state of the Humane Entrepreneurship at any given enterprise.

Since performance is often considered the result of environmental characteristics and an organization’s internal structure and systems, we must look to the climate and culture creating mechanisms at play within organizations. Leadership is one of significant, if not total, importance. 

Within the examination of leadership, effective leadership most often refers to the “ability of a firm’s top managers to select and apply the ‘correct’ strategic approach or effectively implement an appropriate strategy” (Kim et al. 2018). In motivating employees, or “followers,” to carry out activities determined by leaders, such leadership must provide “desirable rewards for effective performance or undesirable consequences for poor performance” (Hollander 1992). Termed “transactional leadership,” this is typically categorized into “social exchange” (Graen and Uhl-Bien 1995). Conversely, “transformational leadership” works based on inspiring individuals to “perform at exceptional levels” (Bass 1985). In this case, a leader inspires their followers by creating an ecosystem of similar values, beliefs, and goals, so that followers feel a sense of ownership and commitment to their work.

In either case, this top-level leadership determines organizational performance. Leadership within organizations that are humanely and entrepreneurially orientated serves “more complex and difficult roles than traditional leaders” (El Tarabishy and Sashkin 2006). These specific roles involve the typical leading requirements of encouraging employees and followers to engage with their work as well as their own innovative and proactive projects.

Within an entrepreneurial spirit, which itself belongs to the principles of innovation, leadership involves discovering new ways to connect with one’s employees, and therefore, entrepreneurship is deeply seated in the great adventure of connecting to the human spirit. It is this relation, namely, that if successfully fused, it can seamlessly generate a culture of efficacy, empathy, progression, innovation, creativity, and determination.

In understanding this quite spiritual force at play within-firm success, our definition of Humane Entrepreneurship must consider an even greater appreciation of appropriate leadership strategies that will eventually direct us to a type of leadership that functions more authentically and aligns more closely to the human person.

If leaders can be a driving force for organizational performance, we might consider servant leadership as a final solution to our incomplete leadership equation. In understanding that an organization based and, even, created in light of humane entrepreneurship will generate enormous wealth and increase employment opportunities, the role of the leader in this climate and culture-creating effort must also come from a human-focused center.

The servant-leader is the servant first. It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions. The difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served. The best test, and difficult to administer, is: Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? And, what is the effect on the least privileged in society? Will they benefit or at least not be further deprived?” (Greenleaf 2016).

In my understanding of building a workplace climate and culture that is both cyclical and just, servant leadership seems to be the missing, next step in our high-performance puzzle. Despite society’s desire and sincere belief that followers work most efficiently by submitting to orders, the application of the principles of Humane Entrepreneurship, and specifically those components of servant leadership, flips this idea on its head, by stating that employees will produce higher quality work at greater efficiency when they are lifted as individuals first and as employees second. By engaging with the human spirit and, further, embodying this engagement, leaders become servants to the very people that they seek to guide.

Servant leadership can, then, be thought to be the way of the future. In signaling to our teams and employees that their advancement, autonomy, and growth, both professionally and personally, is of utmost significance in our lives, we might just initiate a new wave of enterprise for our firms, nations, and society at large.

Article by:

Dr. Ayman El Tarabishy
President & CEO, ICSB
Deputy Chair, Department of Management, GW School of Business 


Bass, B. M. (1985). Leadership and Performance beyond Expectations. New York: Free Press.

El Tarabishy, A, and M. Sashkin (2006). “Entrepreneurial Leadership: Exploration of a New Construct,” Paper presented at the Bi-Ennial Gallup National Leadership Conference, Washington, DC, October.

Graen, G. B., and M. Uhl-Bien (1995). “Relationship-Based Approach to Leadership: Development of Leader-Member Exchange (LMX) Theory of Leadership over 25 Years: Applying a Multi-Level Multi-Domain Perspective,” The Leadership Quarterly 6(2), 219–247.

Greenleaf, K. (2016). “The Servant as Leader,” Center for Servant Leadership. Available at (click here)

Hollander, E. P. (1992). “Leadership, Followership, Self, and Others,” Leadership Quarterly 3(1),43–54.

Kim, K., A. El Tarabishy, Z. Bae (2018). “Humane Entrepreneurship: How Focusing on People Can Drive a New Era of Wealth and Quality Job Creation in a Sustainable World,” Journal of Small Business Management 56(S1), 10–29.

A New Type of Professor

A New Type of Professor

A New Type of Professor

Saturday, June 13, 2020, By: Dr. Ayman El Tarabishy

A New Type of Professor

Saturday, June 13, 2020, By: Dr. Ayman El Tarabishy

Our solutions will arrive not only when we attempt to imagine a different perspective for our entrepreneurial research, energy, and outcomes, but when we also find the conviction that these changes are essential and necessary for our continued evolution.

Challenging us to “re-think” everything, Norris Krueger spent time with us on Thursday afternoon instead of his usual time spent generating the next best entrepreneurial theory. Sitting in the “hot seat,” Krueger is considered the Nikola Tesla of entrepreneurship research today. His presentation demanded that we re-think our mindsets, ecosystems, and methods, in addition to re-thinking why we are necessitating this re-think. Our solutions will arrive not only when we attempt to imagine a different perspective for our entrepreneurial research, energy, and outcomes, but when we also find the conviction that these changes are essential and necessary for our continued evolution.

Dictated as the “Great Re-think,” we understand that this is a critical time to concurrently assess the intersections of the macro and micro in the way they align with “entrepreneurial potential and potential entrepreneurs” and reshape our understanding of the notion of “entrepreneur” as a verb in its true action-oriented state.

The journey through re-thinking our mindset in teaching and training, in addition to an assessment of theoretical practices, helps us to recognize the need to create participatory opportunities for theories within the entrepreneurial setting. Following, re-thinking ecosystems must involve the discussion between top-down and bottom-up thinking. Looking to build programs and ecosystems that matter would seem logical, however within the gap between academia and reality, this notion often gets lost. Wanting to recover a lost storytelling program, Krueger spoke about building a hub from which we might promote an accurate and thorough narrative for small business and entrepreneurship worldwide. Lastly, looking to re-think models, Krueger spoke about using appropriate models that allow us to reframe our theories and practice appropriately.

This “Great Re-think” leads us to move beyond thinking to entirely reimagine and recreate universities. In reviewing the teachings of the coronavirus, not only is there an opportunity for universities to change fundamentally, either closing for the weaker universities or becoming more robust and bigger entities for those who can quickly adapt to the new normal; however, there is also the evolution of the professor. It will be derived from this transition in the position of the professor that, then, will create new accessible and more inclusive programs for students, bridging the exclusivity gaps resulting from institutional competition and prestige as well as unspoken priority in accessing innovative and desirable opportunities to learn for younger scholars.

Centering this shift around the professors, we might be able to capture their higher mandate, which guides them to educate as many students as they can. We could demonstrate that the professor holds the potential to behold a following comparable to that of a well-known celebrity. This celebrity status is not meant to generate attention for attention’s sake, but further to create the necessary conditions so that, similar to famous athletes and movie stars, the impact of a professor’s ideas, ideologies, and teachings could impact more students and greater networks. The notion is that professors have an incredible reach in obtaining information. However, they are often blocked in expanding that reach for their finished product. By using this sense of “popularity,” for social good, we can potentially attract the public’s attention by placing the ideas and stances of entrepreneurial professors next to the publications of celebrities like Elon Musk and Bill Gates. We are done with the stale insights from repeated voices, and we are ready to advance towards the future. There are already professors, Norris Krueger, for example, who have a following and are supported by the global organization, like Krueger is by ICSB. Therefore, in creating the opportunity for professors around the world, we can create a real knowledge revolution that works towards inclusion rather than division. This new professor will no longer belong to a school, but rather to him or herself and their followers.

Recognizing that not every student has the opportunity to attend an Ivy League program or travel across the world to participate in a conference, we might be able to seize this technological revolution to expand teaching capabilities to parts of the world where it never previously existed. If we can detach the professor from their established university, we can create a “sharing” program, which seeks to captivate students from multiple schools, programs, and institutions to work together to fund a course. Therefore, instead of one university paying to invite a guest lecturer or various guest lecturers for the semester to teach 100 students in one location, professors can gather the best and most innovative minds to instruct a week-long class. Students attending would be sent by their universities who wish to later reproduce the knowledge and cohesion of the event. Therefore, students would be able to return to their universities to share what they had learned. If the first-class worked with 30 students, then those students would be able to have individual connections with the course’s professors and instructors, which they could share when returning to their universities to connect with another set of students. Additionally, the information from this sort of class, which would typically be unavailable to many students throughout the world, could be captured on a technological platform to be shared with those who do not have the institutional finances to send their students to the course.

The focus of this type of program is twofold. Firstly, it would increase visibility around the higher mandate that professors feel, while moving away from the prestige, power, and rigor of an institution and its constant publication demands. Secondly, within entrepreneurship and learning centers, it could make available the essential understanding and empathy, which is often quite removed from traditional seminar settings. The deep engagement that could potentially arrive from these transitions, away from conventional and established university patterns, would finally make equitable changes in academia. In building a network through action and engagement rather than publication, we might genuinely be able to generate and produce something valuable from our “Great Re-think.”

Norris, please lead the way.

True Equitable Embodiment

True Equitable Embodiment

True Equitable Embodiment

Monday, June, 8, 2020

True Equitable Embodiment

Monday, June, 8, 2020

We are living through a revolution towards cohesion

As protesters line the streets of every major city, I can not help but hear the cry for a just and green economy. All over the world, people are looking at the old and stagnant economic system of the past and recognizing the absence of its place in this new normal. This new normal, instead, invites an economy generated by and for the people, and I see humane entrepreneurs as the leaders of this movement.

We are living through a revolution towards cohesion. If we want to set the groundwork for circular systems of growth that uplift the humanity in each individual involved while working to protect the planet, then we might just create a world in which representation, equity, and empathy come naturally to leaders and followers alike. Currently, we are in the preliminary stages of change (Read more…).

Humane Entrepreneurship in Practice

Humane Entrepreneurship in Practice

Humane Entrepreneurship in Practice

Sunday, May, 24, 2020 by: Dr. Ayman El Tarabishy

As the world retreats inward, both business practices and consumer habits have significantly shifted. Consumers are starting to recognize the value of being able to expend their resources while concurrently awakening to the troubles that small businesses globally face. As for businesses, many have also reflected on their values and practices, deciding where to make cuts and how to demonstrate employee-value at this moment. At large, we have all been influenced by this global reset.

This re-establishment places many in the space of simultaneous suffering and structuring. This is where the principles of humane entrepreneurship can be applied in practice. Detailed in their original publication, humane enterprises share four categorizations for business, those being ideal, moderate, negative, and harmful. Working as types of standards for the business community, these qualify businesses not only in their transition towards just practices but more so in their ability to apply these grades of practice as individuals and through cultural business diffusion.

The Ideal Humane Entrepreneurship can be found in companies where their top management and administration embody the cultural values of empathy, equity, empowerment, and enablement for their employees. As the leadership guides appropriately and humanely, a culture of these values will help generate innovation, appropriate risk-taking, and decisive actions that produce activities creating quality job creation and company wealth, which helps continue the cycle of these qualities. Although these qualifiers need markers to measure these standards, companies, themselves, might begin to create evaluation and assessment phases to calculate their own business’s standard of Humane Entrepreneurship. Additionally, national leaders can use these principles as they reconsider current policies surrounding enterprises, aiding in the need to bring a Culture of Ideal Humane Entrepreneurship to the forefront of both consumers’ and producers’ understanding of their role in entrepreneurship.

Moderate Humane Entrepreneurship can be portrayed in companies where leadership is committed to one aspect of generating a Culture of Humane Entrepreneurship. This will inevitably lead to an imbalance between managing the human and strategy within the organization. Resulting in varied outcomes for wealth and job creation, this cycle will, unfortunately, not continue the cycle of positive performance seen in the Ideal standard.

Negative Humane Entrepreneurship is depicted, regrettably, in many companies worldwide, where the organization’s leadership forgets the importance of the “human” component to entrepreneurial orientation. This will thus create dissatisfaction for employees, which will disempower high-level performance, innovation, and certainly risk-taking. This sterile ecosystem will cause depletion and discontinuation of wealth cycles. There remains the possibility for an organization of this Negative nature to recover the humane element of the business.

Lastly, Harmful Humane Entrepreneurship is seen in leadership who are purposely and directly harming their employees and, thus, the capital. The Culture of Humane Entrepreneurship is not at all visible in this environment, leading to a decline in performance and wealth, which is often impossible to resolve to look forward.

Humane Entrepreneurship necessitates that companies either transition immediately or begin their business plan based on a humane orientation to entrepreneurship, which will allow leadership and staff to understand their value while working as a cohesive team. This company will demonstrate their belief that “respect for human dignity demands respect for human freedom,” thus leveraging their company to further the ideals of empathy and equity beyond the walls of their business to broadcast this Cultural value to and for the greater world.