Listed below are the character traits a Sheik needs to possess to be
an effective leader. Although this source explains the roles of Iraq
Sheiks, the role of a Sheik is virtually the same in any Arab country.
First, let's take a look at the role of a Sheik:
What is a sheik?
..."In Arabic, sheik means leader, or simply a venerable male elder,
and each level of tribal organization--tribe, clan, and
house--generally has a sheik at its head, says Iraqi tribal expert
Amatzia Baram, a senior fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace in
Washington and a professor of Middle Eastern history at the University
of Haifa in Israel. Because there are so many sheiks, finding one with
a significant degree of authority can be a challenge for U.S.
occupiers. Another problem: Saddam subverted the traditional tribal
hierarchy and elevated many sheiks in return for their cooperation..."
What is a sheik's traditional role?
..."Sheiks are traditionally responsible for protecting their people
from harm and guaranteeing them a basic level of economic well-being.
They also act as mediators and judges, settle disputes, resolve
property claims, and suggest marriages, among other roles. In
exchange, they have their people's allegiance, Baram says. For
centuries, sheiks were appointed by a council of elders within a
tribe, and a sheik's authority was not unlimited. The British? who
ruled Iraq between 1920 and 1932? eliminated some of these checks and
balances to exercise stricter control over Iraq's tribesmen. In
essence, this turned tribal sheiks into the sole source of law and
authority in wide stretches of Iraq's countryside..."
Since the role of a Sheik is mainly that of a Leader, I have found the
traits of good leaders, and added a few qualities that would be
necessary based on the commentary above.
Traits of a Good Leader
Compiled by the Santa Clara University and the Tom Peters Group
Knowledge of Law
I'm certain there are other qualities that could be added, however I
think the traits above are the minimum. For instance, I think it would
be nice if a Sheik was generous, but it is not as necessary as the
I hope this is helpful!
Sheik traditional role traits