O leadership … Sinan’s advice to Suleiman ‘the Magnificent’: Some are good for building and others for destroying

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WHEN an official is on the field to follow up with sincerity the mission entrusted to him, the results will be good, even if there are some mistakes that can be avoided. However, when things are left to advisors and junior employees, the results will undoubtedly be disastrous.

In this regard, one can refer to the story of the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, who was distinguished for not relying on advisors, and for following up the affairs of the state closely. During his reign, the Ottoman Empire reached the height of its prosperity and expansion.

As an indication of his skill, it is narrated that the Sultan had assigned an engineer Sinan to demolish one of his old palaces and construct a new one in its place. He visited the place on an almost daily basis, and he noticed that Sinan did not use the same workers for demolition and construction processes.

Out of curiosity, Suleiman the Magnificent summoned Sinan and asked him, “Why didn’t you use the same workers for both the demolition and construction processes?” The engineer replied, “There are people who are good at destruction, and others who are good at reconstruction. Whoever is fit for destruction is not fit for construction.” The Sultan was impressed with the wisdom of the engineer and appointed him as his advisor. This phrase opened many doors for Suleiman the Magnificent, because he realized that some people may have a certain competence, but they do not enjoy it with sophistication and craftsmanship that qualifies them to manage the facility that they take over. They become mere employees who receive orders from others, including those who may be less educated than them.

Suleiman the Magnificent did not bother about the nationality, religion, and belief of Engineer Sinan. In no time, Sinan became the architect of the Ottoman urban renaissance in the 16th century. Some of the buildings he built are still standing to this day.

This applies to most countries that hired foreigners to implement its development projects. For example. the UAE today has a developed infrastructure, as well as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which is today building the city of Neom that is a cross-border Saudi project on an area of 26,500 square kilometers. There is also Qatar, which worked to rebuild the state within ten years. These countries and many others worked on all the factors that could make them a developmental force, and did not stop at the ghutra, the headband, the dishdasha, and the citizen’s complex.

We have to admit that it is not possible to run institutions with people who have been tested more than once and who are more destructive than constructive, to the extent that some ministers and officials are recycled dozens of times as if they are the golden boys.

While others did not stop at this matter, a different administration is needed than the one that failed and seeks to cover its incompetence by spreading corruption, wastas, family, tribal and sectarian protection, bribery and neglect of public money.

If we had an architect like Sinan and he saw our infrastructure and roads, in the absence of follow-up from the executive officials, he would have demolished all of Kuwait and built it anew. However, all of this still needs guidance, management, determination and personalities, and getting rid of the “golden boy” complexity and “flatteries.” Managing a state is a great task for only those who know the meaning of the homeland as a refuge that can neither be abandoned, nor be left in the wind of whims and personal interests.

By Ahmed Al-Jarallah

Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times

This news has been read 26062 times!

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