May 1, 2019
By Dr Hanudin Amin
LEADING people in an organisation can be different when a new leader is appointed to surrogate a previous leader at the expense of continuity and sustainability.
A problem comes when a new appointed leader introduces a policy that is thought to be correct at least to himself but others digest it as a fool direction to create multiple issues, westernising human management.
Against this backdrop, this write-up expounds an angle on how vicegerency, accountability, transparency and trustworthiness can help a leader to direct an organisation to be a success story.
Indeed, proliferations of corporate malaise associated with a secular type of leadership have invited different but new forms of corruption to rule. These include collusion, bribery, embezzlement and blackmail, to mention some.
These wrong doings are drawn from different worldviews obtained or experienced by individuals, out of deliberation of people influences and the atmosphere, where they lived in.
In reality, however, contemporary leaders who managed an institution, to a certain extent, failed to address a conception of an Islamic leadership style. Consequently, the following are of emerging:
- Collusions – a consensus between people who shared the common goal to deceive someone. For instance, a top management decides to knock a loyal employee down, without putting an effort to consult him but instead of creating a reason for dismissal.
- Improper decisions – a leader who is knowingly entrusted to manage others, under his care, has taken a fallen step by allowing wrong decisions to lead, where a favouritism influences his decision. For instance, a person fired a right employee in return in hiring a newcomer who is closed to him or her.
- Playing favourites – rather than choosing those who are qualified in an organisation to manage duties, a leader opts people who have the value of supporting his or her opinions (i.e. though they’re wrong) instead of appreciating the value of differing opinions. This would not help people to develop to their maximum potential but only to himself or herself.
- Taking credits – today this world is led by many difficult persons, at least, and somehow they are opportunists. A leader who claims a credit, which he or she does not deserve is an act of humiliation to himself or herself, and to others. For instance, a leader claims that an idea is owned by himself or herself alone, although it is generated and owned by a few members of his or her circle.
These problems are occurred perhaps out of a false worldview learned or experienced by leaders. In some ways, at least, leaders tend to follow a secular worldview that separates their deeds from their religion. To a certain extent, however, muslim folks are of majority in adapting secular worldview when leading an organisation out of inability to appreciate their aim in life and their religion profoundly.
Though it is implicitly hidden but explicitly shown through their deeds like to expel a competent employee. This bias decision lends a frustration to the latter who demands a justification from the decision but simply ignored owing to a lack of empathy of the former. Surely, others in his social circle believe that such a decision is unfair and discriminating.
To address, the roles of vicegerency, accountability, transparency and trustworthiness in managing people and organisation need to be strengthen and for that a well-being to all parties is acculturated. In a similar vein, a culture of Islamic altruism can be upheld to lead the organisation to earn an improved productivity, growth and sustainable profit.
- Vicegerency – the importance of man as a caliph is prescribed in the Quran (2:30) – “Behold, thy Lord said to the angels: I will create a vicegerent on earth…” As such, before a leader can consider himself as a caliph he must become a servant of Allah (SWT), providing ethical grounds that a leader will bring integrity, honesty and commitment in his responsibility from a low–end to a high–end. Being a servant provides a departure for being a better leader.
- Accountability – for example, a leader should observe all his acts including his professional duties and that he will be accountable to God in this world and ultimately in the hereafter. The significance of accountability is suggested in the Quran (2:225) – “Allah will not all you to account for thoughtlessness in your oaths, but for the intention in your hearts, and He is forgiving, most forbearing…” A good leader, therefore, needs to consider his work as a form of ibadah and for that he must uphold the right things, and addresses the wrong things in an Islamic way.
- Transparency – disclosing any information that is adequate to make a sound decision is a key factor to generate a culture of sense of belonging among members of an organisation. A leader who directs an organisation needs to disclose information pertinent to his policy of leadership, activities undertaken, contribution to the community and members and the financial resources. Of these, financial resources are of utmost importance that require a first priority of a disclosure by improving accessibility to the resources through improved accounting entries and proper channels of disseminations to avoid injustice.
- Trustworthiness – by definition, it is referred to the ability to be relied on as honest or truthful. Trustworthiness is the highest virtue, which needs to be internalised by leaders at all times and at different places. A good leader is in need to be sincere, safeguarding a promise and keep a private information private and understanding, inter alia. One of the important ‘traits’ that must possess to a leader is being empathised in making a decision that benefits all parties in an organisation. He takes up a decision that makes his followers feel safe and appreciated.
Taken as a set, these values can play a significant role in enjoining all that are good and forbidding all that are evils. Vicegerency, accountability, transparency and trustworthiness are only visible at workplaces, when a leader has a piety or taqwa – being God fearing and loving, which combines these values in his heart, tongue and deed to uphold justice in any arrangements to overcome any forms of malaise. Going forward, a culture of Islamic leadership is of importance to be internalised to minimise the implications of malpractices, where empathy and taqwa are brought into play.
Dr Hanudin Amin is an associate professor at Universiti Malaysia Sabah, Labuan International Campus (UMSKAL) in Labuan Faculty of International Finance.