Essential leadership lessons from Founding Rector of ADA University | Eurasia Diary - ednews.net

24 June, Thursday


Essential leadership lessons from Founding Rector of ADA University

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Eurasia Diary is presenting the article of Dr. Vafa Kazdal, Vice Rector of Academic Affairs at ADA University about the founding rector of the ADA University Dr. Hafiz Pashayev.   

On April 30, 2021, here at ADA University, we observed the Haji Zeynalabdin Taghiyev Award Ceremony. On this occasion, awards are granted to students for the best Social Responsibility Projects.

It’s been a tough year dealing with this pandemic. Campus life and activity has virtually halted. But finally we enjoyed the bustle and excitement that typically mark symbolic events at ADA. 

The stage was set up outside on our beautiful lawn. Of course, the ceremony this year, was not as grandiose as usual. In fact, I found the occasion rather bittersweet. On the one hand, it was so sad and disappointing because we so much wished that all of you could have been with us, just like in the “good old days”—not just those students who were involved in Social Responsibility Projects.

But it was a delightful occasion to finally see students face to face, not just on electronic screens. And it was great to recognize the creators of the winning projects, many of which were truly extraordinary. 

Rector Hafiz Pashayev addressed our students. While he was speaking, I thought back over the last 15 years since he founded this institution and his immense role in leadership here at the university.

The truth is he has been sharing wisdom and invaluable lessons of leadership for the past 15 years. They are lessons from real life that reflect various theories and approaches to leadership. 

But if there is one leadership approach that best summarizes the Rector, I think it would be that of “Servant Leadership”.

I might add the latest news: President Ilham Aliyev signed a decree for Rector Pashayev to be awarded the highest medal for “Service to the Fatherland”. Essentially, this is in recognition of his lifelong dedication and commitment to the development of education in the Republic. 

Service is characteristic of Rector Pashayev’s personality—serving his people and serving his country. This is what he has been doing as a scientist, as the first Ambassador from Azerbaijan to the U.S (1993-2006) and now as the Founding Rector of ADA University

Our ultimate goal here at ADA is to create leaders for our country. Who else can we better learn from when it comes to leadership? And, I believe that the greatest gift we can give the Rector for his 80th birthday—May 2, 2021—is to emulate the lessons of leadership that we see exemplified in his own life. 

Here are some of the ways the Rector is a Servant Leader: 

Be a role model for your goals, aspirations, and dreams

With his exemplary public service, integrity, humanism, well-roundness and variety of interests, appreciation of arts and devotion to science, Rector Pashayev has been a role model of our core values and goals at ADA. 

Develop many diversified interests 

A physicist by formal training, nearly 17 years in diplomacy and global affairs, a writer, a connoisseur of jazz music, a caricaturist, the Rector has developed a wide variety of interests that provide him with a very broad perspective. This enables him to offer fresh insights and perspectives. 

Pay attention: “The devil is in the details”

It’s so rare for an individual to be a visionary and see possibilities and potential, while at the same time being able to pay enormous attention to details. Whenever we as staff make suggestions or proposals to the Rector, we’ve learned to pay close attention to details. Sometimes details escape our eyes, but not his. Working out the details is essential in making wise decisions and making dreams turn into realities.

Write clearly, simply, and accurately

The Rector believes that a good writer is a good thinker. In other words, we can’t be good writers if we aren’t good thinkers. To be effective, we must present our ideas in a simple, straight-forward, organized manner. 

To communicate effectively, the Rector tends to shun bureaucratic and academic jargon, seeking rather to convey his ideas in more natural speech patterns that everyone can understand. And always, he adds a personal touch.

Read literature to develop humanism 

Especially fiction. He always emphasizes how essential it is to read literature. Reading enriches our inner world, expands our horizons and introduces us to new perspectives and new ideas. Reading makes us more human!

Be a good listener

The Rector is a patient listener, a respectful listener, an engaging listener. He shows respect to people and their work. This, in turn, builds trust and cooperation within the community. 

Be authentic and less formal 

One of his most distinguishing characteristics is his accessibility. One sees and feels it everywhere at ADA. He is always engaged with faculty, staff and students. He tries to understand what it would be like to be in other’s shoes so that he can ensure their well-being. 

Be caring 

The Rector leads by caring about relationships. He values people. He cares about the work he does, therefore, he strives for utmost professionalism and perfection in his initiatives. And he is appreciative of the work of others. Caring is strength for him. Caring is the foundation for every successful undertaking. 

Students, at ADA are not just students. They are essentially enrolled in a School of Leadership, to forge their own paths. We truly hope it is a path of becoming a genuine Servant Leader—dedicated to serving our people and our country. They are really blessed to have a genuine example to follow in committing their life to becoming a Servant Leader." 

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