Leading by delegating?


While reading an excellent book Scaling Excellence by Robert I. Sutton, I learned of novoed.com, which is an online platform that aims to scale the traditional classroom. A class at universities with hundreds of students can be a nightmare for teachers when it comes to evaluating students through exams. Novoed scaled the entire process by applying social networking and peer pressure and can reach thousands of students at once.

Being curious, I signed up for a course on leadership, which is a subject that I have an enormous interest in. The class had over 1000 students from all over the world with a wide range of professions and experiences. It went for 8 weeks. The teacher is the successful chairman and CEO Amr Al-Dabbagh of Al-Dabbarg group (http://www.amraldabbagh.com). What was taught in the class by Mr. Al-Dabbagh himself is his leadership principles, which he has been developing and using to lead with great successes not only his conglomerates but also his family, his political endeavors, and his philanthropic ventures. The principles Mr. Al-Dabbagh taught are simple but deep and powerful. I immediately bought into his teachings as the basis of his leadership principles is the same as what I have learned and practiced. As John Maxwell said, like attracts like.

I formed a team Servant Leaders by posting on the class’s forum: “We are looking for several members to join. Our only qualification is that quitting is not an option.”

Within minutes, several leaders reached out to join the Servant Leaders team. Within couples of days, we filled the team with recommended size of 10 and had to deny many further requests.

The energy of our team was amazing and everybody was committed to not only completing their own assignments but also the group’s assignments. We decided early on  from our first meetup to rotate the leadership role each week. We had to make some hard decisions in the middle to remove inactive members from the group, whom unfortunately included our dear friends. The final team comprised of 5 fully committed and energetic servant leaders: Kyra Dianon, Cornelia Flannery, Karen Parnell, Deirdre Marlowe, and myself. We worked on real-life cases of non-profit organizations that our members brought to us from their own experience while applied the leadership principles that Mr. Al-Dabbagh taught.

In the end, I not only learned Mr. Al-Dabbagh’s amazing leadership principles, understood the scaling aspect on education, but also built good friendships with other leaders around the world and experienced how to lead in the absolutely non-leveraging position.

And it was very fulfilling to share our thoughts about each other after the class was over.

Hoan is a very approachable leader. The one who understands its members strengths and weaknesses and uses it for the benefit of the whole team. I’m happy and contented to be part of the same team with him and with the rest of our teammates at Servant Leaders. I hope this will not be the first time we can collaborate. All the best on your future endeavors. Please keep me posted.

Kyra Ann Dianon


Hoan led by encouraging others to lead; I jokingly called it ‘leading by delegating,’ but it worked! This provided opportunities for each member of the group to shine.

Deirdre Marlowe


Hoan demonstrated Leadership throughout the class. On our first Goggle hangout meeting, he shared of his passion to empower others to take on Leadership in their lives, and invited each Team member to lead the group each week. That really made our class experience a collaborative one. Thank you, Hoan – and best of luck as you move forward in your journey!! It’s been a pleasure.

Cornelia Flannery

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