Moafaq Al Gaddah – demonstrating the difference between leading and inspiring

April 22, 2018

‘Moafaq’, in Arabic, translates to ‘he who is instilled with luck’. While my father Moafaq Al Gaddah may have been destined for greatness, luck has had very little to do with his inspiring rise from humble beginnings to receiving the ‘Outstanding Contribution’ accolade at the Arabian Real Estate Awards earlier this month.


In 1978, my father was a 17-year-old boy with a seemingly impossible dream of managing his own group of companies, and 40 years later, he is the Chairman of the Moafaq Al Gaddah (MAG) Group and one of the most respected businessmen in the Middle East. Above all, it is his exceptional leadership that has made the impossible, possible.


Leading people is easy; inspiring them is the challenge. Anyone can walk into an office and tell people what to do, but it takes a special person to grow a dream from an individual vision into a goal that is passionately shared by hundreds of employees across the world. My father’s employees do not work for him; they work with him and stand beside him because he recognises each and every one of them as essential to the success of the MAG Group.


To me, the photo that accompanies this piece perfectly captures my father’s leadership style. He is pictured at Cityscape Abu Dhabi, meeting MAG LD’s team on the ground, radiating warmth and passion among them, and sharing his vision for our company with them. The picture is bursting with engagement, happiness, humbleness, unity and team spirit, and it is clear that their respect and appreciation for him goes well beyond the corporate. Instead, it is based on how my father’s guidance and wisdom has helped them to become the people they are today, not only professionally but also personally. It is hard to describe how proud I feel, as his son, to see the love and appreciation I feel for him reflected in the eyes of my MAG LD team members.


My father’s limitless compassion and inspiring leadership have expanded the boundaries of our family beyond our home to include the entire MAG Group team and all those who have ever worked with him. To me, the photo that accompanies this piece perfectly captures the warmth and passion he radiates among his teams.


When I cast my eyes upon my son, full of dreams and ambitions he is yet to realise, I am reminded of the wonderment I felt towards my father growing up. I hope that my son sees the same in me as I did, and still do, in my mentor and guiding light — my father.


– Talal M. AlGaddah is the Chief Executive Officer of MAG Lifestyle Development and CEO Middle East Awards’ ‘Young CEO of the Year’ – 2017.