The classic ego-driven definition of a leader is the one who gives orders and doesn’t listen. Mowgli, a UK-based provider of personal and corporate development through mentoring programs, is creating a radically different model of leadership, and its shoulder-to-shoulder philosophy is making waves of success across the Middle East and North Africa region.
“To serve is to lead: if you serve someone they will follow you, and you will become a leader,” explains Mowgli CEO Kathleen Bury. “The region is crying out for new leadership models other than the usual top-down framework.”
Mowgli’s unique mentoring programs support entrepreneurs and leaders of small and mid-sized start-ups and family businesses. With a global alumni network of over 1,250 mentors and entrepreneurs across 12 countries, Mowgli was recognized in 2012 with the Mohammed Bin Rushid Award for Best Mentor Network in the Arab region. This year, it launched a new Corporate Mentoring and Entrepreneurship Program that simultaneously boosts internal leadership development and meets corporate social responsibility objectives.
The key to its effectiveness is what Bury calls “the human side”—the self-awareness mentors develop as they connect with their core selves and with the entrepreneurs they’re matched with. Because this learning is a two-way street, there’s mutual benefit, with the mentor growing as well.
“When you inspire and connect people with their dreams and visions for themselves, their families and their communities, and support them in achieving them,” Bury says, “both parties in the relationship evolve.”