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ISLAMIC MEDICAL EDUCATION RESOURCES 04

37.1 LEADERSHIP: BASIC CHARACTERISTICS, sifaat al qiyadat

By Professor Omar Hasan Kasule Sr.

37.1.1 LEADERSHIP

Leadership is influencing people to do certain things or to move in a certain direction. Leadership can be learned. Good leaders persuade and do not rely on command, fear, or authority. They serve and do not dominate. They use leadership power to improve and make a change. They pull and do not push. They empower followers by coaching and delegation. Good leaders rely on personal power (character, expertise, charisma, and personal relations) more than positional power (formal authority, decisions, rewards, punishments, information, and organizational resources). Leadership credibility is based on competence, character, self-confidence, activity and drive, boldness and assertiveness. Leadership is a necessity and its absence means chaos. Good leadership leads to success; bad leadership leads to frustration and failure. One of the harbingers of doom is to place leadership authority in the wrong hands.

 

37.1.2 LEADERS

Leadership is exercised by almost everybody. Its effectiveness is increased by formal training or job experience. Its success depends on follower consent. Leaders face problems of loneliness, taking responsibility for failures, follower problems (disloyalty, poor values, dissent), external threats, and lack of privacy. A leader as a human has strengths and weaknesses. Leaders can be autocratic, democratic, and laissez-faire. They can be transactional, transformational, or charismatic. They can be task oriented or people-oriented. The appropriate style of leadership is determined by the situation on the ground. Some situations require combinations of leadership styles. Management and leadership skills and functions are different but are found in an individual in varying proportions. Leadership is about effectiveness, intuition, long-term vision, change, challenging the status quo, innovation, development, originality, and motivation of others. Management is about rational problem-solving, efficiency, process and mechanics, stability, harmony, status quo, short-term view, following and not innovating.

 

37.1.3 FOLLOWERS

Followers are described as lazy or hardworking, taking or shunning responsibility, 'yes people' following whatever is moving, survivors avoiding trouble, alienated and do not caring, and obedient or rebellious. Followers differ in intelligence, education, experience, honesty, respect for leaders, and gratitude. Followers are part of leadership situation, they play an important function in a leadership situation, and are not passive spectators. Books of history ignore follower. Followers close to the leader can guide or misguide him. The duties of the followers to the leader are obedience, respect, advice and correction, feedback, and loyalty. Leader must rely on the followers and make them know they are trusted and are valued. A good leader discourages false praise by followers and development of a personality cult.

 

37.1.4 FUNCTIONS & ACTIVITIES OF LEADERS

A leader may play one of the following roles/functions: clarification of vision, goals, and objectives; making decisions and solving problems; strategic and tactical planning; training; coordinating and integration; representation the organization; managing and resolving conflicts; motivation of followers; assigning tasks; maintaining positive and smooth working relationships; participation and not being aloof; evaluation of self and of followers; forming groups, coaching them and delegating responsibility to them; and communication (the most important function of leadership).

 

37.1.5 FAILURE OF LEADERSHIP

A leader fails due to several often inter-related causes: refusal to admit mistakes; feeling indispensable; dictatorship; fear for position and not developing replacements; disloyalty to superiors, peers, followers and the organization; lack of creativity; lack of common sense; lack of human skills; failure to produce results; following the crowd and not leading; condoning or tolerating incompetence; failure to recognize and reward good work, and hatred by the followers. A leader is hated for impersonal behavior, not listening to followers, self importance, wrong decisions, claiming credit for followers' work, blaming followers for his mistakes, secretiveness, withholding information, not protecting followers from external attacks and criticizing them in public, not consulting followers, and over-working followers, being arrogant and feeling indispensable, putting people down, mistrust and disloyalty, inaccessibility, poor human relations, and following the crowd. A leader hated by followers should resign in the interests of the organization.

(c) Professor Omar Hasan Kasule Sr. 2004