Leadership An Islamic Perspective
In the introductory chapter the book establishes what you should know by the time you finish the book. These points include: understand the nature and process of leadership from an Islamic perspective, describe the characteristics of effective leaders in general, and of Islamic leaders in particular, analyze your styles as a leader and follower, learn how you can mobilize, organize, and develop your followers Islamically, learn how you, as a leader, can build commitment by acting as a coach mentor, learn how to delegate effectively, and finally understand the steps that will enable you to become a more effective leader.
The book defines leadership as the ability to persuade others to seek defined objectives enthusiastically. Within an organization a good leader is needed but so is good management. There are different positions of power when in an organization. The first one is legitimate power, which refers directly to someone’s position in an organization. Reward power is the second type of power, this power refers to having the authority to hand out promotions or pay raises. The third type of power is called coercive power, which uses force to get employees to work.
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The final type of power is information power, this type of power deals with having and giving information to others so that they can do their work. According to the text there are certain characteristics of an effective leader. The book ranks them from 1 to 8. These characteristics include: honesty, competent, forward-looking, inspiring, intelligent, fair minded, straightforward, and imaginative. These characteristics were determined by a study done by two leadership researchers named Kouzes and Posner. They surveyed 2,615 of the most successful leaders in the United States in order to figure out and rank the characteristics.
The book also discusses how leaders must mobilize, developed, and organize their followers. The reason mobilization needs to be done is due to the fact that leaders cannot and should not be expected to accomplish everything on their own. The people are the target of the message and are also the ones that will be spreading the word. Mobilizing followers includes being able to reach out to everybody. The message of Islam is one that is not elitist so in essence the ides that only a few people are capable of energizing a group is not correct.
It also states that the reticent person may become the best person. This statement basically means not the prejudge people and to always give them a chance because they just may prove what you believe wrong. The third statement about mobilizing says to accept the verbal commitment of others to Islam at face value. This means to always accept a pledge someone makes. Another point the book makes is to welcome even sinners and try it improve them. In order to develop followers a leader must be able to adjust their leadership style due to the fact that the followers have different types of styles.
There are four different types of leadership styles that a leader can turn to. These leadership styles include: directive, coaching, supportive, and delegating. The style the leader should pick depends on the maturity of the people being led. With immature members the leader may want to use a directive style. This is because it involves clear and explicit guidelines. A coaching style may then be implemented as the members begin to learn their task. This style is characterized by two-way communication and an increased amount of supportive behavior.
Once the members have gained more self-confidence in doing their tasks the leader may use a supportive style. This style consists of shared decision-making and two-way communication. Finally, in a situation where the members are mature and self-confident the leader should use a delegating style. In this style the leader allows the members to decide how, when, and where to carry out their tasks. The next and final step is to organize your followers. When trying to do this, leaders should use six steps. These steps include:
- Clearly articulate the vision and mission of your organization,
- Develop a statement of your organization’s philosophy regarding volunteer services,
- Develop volunteer positions,
- Do not go overboard by creating a multitude of tasks,
- Reward both process and outcome, and
- Develop a nurturing Islamic organizational climate.
The book also discusses how leaders should be able to delegate tasks. When a leader is reluctant to delegate there are usually two reasons for it. The first reason depends on the organization’s culture. The second reason has to do with the leader’s personality, usually dealing with a Type A personality.
There are delegation guidelines that are outlined in the book. these guidelines include: selecting the delegate with the appropriate skill level, expertise and background, select a delegate with whom you have a reciprocal trusting relationship, delegate both the pleasant and the unpleasant, the easy and the challenging, delegate ahead, delegate in chunks, delegate precisely, delegate don’t abdicate, and finally give credit. According to the text, there is one golden rule when it comes it delegation, which is “the more power you give way the more power you have. ”
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