Associate Professor Yeşim Toduk Akiş, partner of Amrop International Turkey which is one of the largest ‘headhunter’ firms in the world, drew Turkey’s map of leadership. 

Findings of Associate Professor Akiş, who is currently working on a leadership map that classifies leaders on their characteristics, enlighten us with clues about what kind of leaders and leadership we will face in the future.

LEADER WANTED 

Associate Professor Yeşim Toduk Akiş uses her observations of more than 7000 executive-level managers to create the new leadership map. 

To whom we call a leader?  How should a true leader be?  If you try to answer these two questions based on the political leaders who play important roles in Turkish politics, it would be difficult for you to draw a conclusion.  But general trends in the world and new leadership maps might give you an idea. 

With 82 offices in 50 countries around the globe, Amrop International is an executive-level manager search firm.  The company also establishes governments and municipalities.  It even finds the Cardinal or the Head of Fire Squad.  In these premises, Yeşim Toduk Akiş’ most ambitious aspiration is to find a head to lead Kızılay.  With their own technique called ‘360 degree brain hunt’, Akiş commented that they are working with a system that is methodic, systematic and with proven results to draw the leadership map of Turkey. 

Working on a map that classifies leaders in Turkey based on their characteristics, Akiş mentions that for a person to be a leader, there are certain conditions to be met: “The most important of these conditions is that leader has to have followers. If there is not anybody that is following him/her then he/she is not a leader.  The most important distinction between a true leader and the others is the leader’s ability to educate and prepare someone to keep up his post.  In Turkish politics, Atatürk was a true leader in that sense.  Besides Atatürk, Turgut Özal had asked for a poll and found his successor.  Özal singled out Mesut Yılmaz.  But Ecevit did not feel a responsibility to do so.” 

According to Akiş, Süleyman Demirel did not find a successor to lead the Turkish politics in the years to come.  When we remind Tansu Çiller, she replied: “He appointed Çiller out of necessity but he did not coach her. It was a rationale to bring the successor from outside while seizing the control.  However, if he had supported the people who are rising from the inner circle, he would have established the continuity.  Equally, Tansu Çiller did not achieve to find a successor for her post.”

CUSTODIAN LEADERSHIP

Akiş, reminding that Necmettin Erbakan preferred a custodian, “the search for a custodian is the scientific proof of them not being true leaders, afraid of losing their chairs and the power.” 

Akiş observed the separation of Mesut Yılmaz and Tansu Çiller from presidency of their parties as a very important development and furthermore commented on the cause of the absence of a solution in Cyprus briefly being President Rauf Denktaş unwilling to abandon his chair.  With old memories and old views, Akiş alleged we fall behind to implement innovations and furthermore she divided leadership into two categories: Transaction-oriented and change-oriented leader. 

Transaction-oriented leaders apply what is said from A to Z with accuracy, bring the results and are trustworthy.  Abdullah Gül is good example for transaction-oriented leaders.  More commonly, managers of corporations are regarded being members of this category.  

Change-oriented leaders on the other hand, do not put their interest above its followers and boost the trust of its followers with an increase in their own value.  Akiş gives Turgut Özal as an example to change-oriented leader and continues on the positions of the existing leaders on the leadership map: “Once in a while, Tayyip Erdoğan makes us think to be a change-oriented leader.  Change-oriented leaders have to be charismatic.  Both Tayyip Erdoğan and Turgut Özal are charismatic.  Because other people are enjoying themselves to be close to them and they spread their energies.  They also bring faith to people, motivate them and encourage them with their moods and attitudes.  Both of these two leaders have followers.  But change-oriented leadership requires being change-oriented in the long run.  We can’t be certain of Tayyip Erdoğan yet.” 

 NEW LEADER TYPE

 Associate Professor Yeşim Toduk Akiş said that the concept of ‘servant leader’ had emerged in leadership.  The most important characteristic of servant leader is that he/she serves the people working with him and ensures that the service is expanded to a greater milieu.  This type of leader does not single himself out but approaches people working with him/her with a ‘what should I do for you so that you perform better’ attitude.  The best example for servant leader is the municipalities.  Municipalities most often work in teams.  Shared characteristic of servant and change-oriented leadership is to create a bond of trust with followers and make them feel better.  According to Akiş, servant leadership approach is a feminine characteristic.  Akiş said “If you consider Turkish family structure, mothers do it all and yet they are not in the front.  There are people who carry this attitude to business culture.  The new millenium is the era of this specific kind of servant leadership.  Everybody knows everything, there isn’t need for new or extra effort.  Just make him/her valuable, make sacrifices, open up his/her path.”

The last category in leadership consists of ‘fatherly leaders’.  Fatherly leader pays attention to personal lives of his employees, thinks about their future.  But by doing so, he also asks to ‘obey without question and stick with me to all ends in the long run’.  He discards the one who does not obey and annihilate the opposition.  According to Akiş, Deniz Baykal is a leader who does not change.  He does not see young, new and dynamic people. 

 SUGGESTIONS TO VOTERS

  • Does the leader promote thrust in his communication? Do his speeches realistic?
  • Can he communicate with everybody from different segments? Can he create a harmony?
  • Is he sensitive to people around him? Does he pay attention to their development?
  • Can he create a forward-looking vision?
  • Due to circumstances, does he have the capability to adjust or change his vision?
  • Does he persuade his followers and voters to his vision?
  • As much as being a team leader, can he also play as a team player?
  • Is he extravert? Conspicuous? Charismatic?
  • Is he brave when taking a step?
  • Is he ethical when exercising and delegating the power?