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ISLAMIC MEDICAL EDUCATION RESOURCES 04

9606-PRACTICAL LEADERSHIP SKILLS

Seminar for first year students, Abubakar College on 22 June 1996 by Professor Omar Hasan Kasule International Islamic University, Student Affairs And Development Division, Tarbiyah And Training Center

1.0 LEADERSHIP FUNCTIONS

 

(a) Clarification of vision, goals, objectives for the organization and the followers

 

(b) Making decisions without which there is no movement

 

(c) Strategic and tactical Planning

 

(d) Training, coaching, and delegating

 

(e) Solving problems so that they do not remain as a time-bomb

 

(f) Coordinating and integration to ensure unity of command, of purpose, and of direction

 

(g) Representation of the organization and followers outside and protecting their interests

 

(h) Managing and resolving conflicts so that the group may hold together

 

(i) Motivation of followers to be productive

 

(j) Tasking by determining who will do what when and how

 

(k) Maintaining positive and smooth working relationships with peers, superiors, and followers

 

(l) Participation and not being aloof

 

(m) Evaluation of self and of followers so that renewal and correction may be possible

 

(n) Forming groups, coaching and delegating

 

(o) Communication, the most important function of leadership.

 

In this short seminar we will discuss skills for some of the functions above. Others will be covered in subsequent seminars.

 

2.0 PROBLEM-SOLVING

You should be able to identify and resolve organizational problems. Look at each situation from different vantage points. A management solution may contradict an equally valid leadership solution. Reconciliation between the two requires much understanding and wisdom.

 

3.0 COMMUNICATION

Communication competence is an essential leadership skill because leadership is human interaction. Leaders must have the capacity to use symbols to create reality. These symbols are necessary to move followers to strive toward a vision, reach goals and purposes.

 

The leader must have an agenda to lead well. Parts of the agenda must be communicated whereas some should be kept confidential.

 

Since leaders are by definition able to see visions farther than followers, they must have the twin ability to communicate those visions effectively to motivate the followers. The vision communicated outside must be the same as that communicated internally.

 

A leader could communicate a baseline of low expectations at the start. This will enhance the impact of later achievements. care must be taken not to make the expectations so low that there is demotivation.

 

Leader communication must be sincere and high on the moral scale. Communicating false images and boosting the leader's ego are not acceptable.

 

It is better for the leader to produce quality work before trying to get media attention. Try to get into the right publications and to educate the reporters about your organization.

 

A leader can hold a group together as long as intra-group communication is efficient. There should ideally exist no communication gap between the top leadership and the rand-and file. Group failure starts with communication failure.

 

A leader should be a good and motivating public speaker. Choose speaking opportunities actively and initiate the invitation process. Do not wait to be invited. Whenever you speak make sure there is solid content.

 

The leader must read widely to be able to know what is going on inside and outside the organization. He must be able to identify micro and mega trends. He must know what followers know and what they are thinking about.

 

Modern communication technology has placed new challenges on leaders. There is too much information and it is transmitted too rapidly. Information overload is a real problem.

 

An effective leader will rise above the information clutter. He knows how to reach the people he wants despite the clutter. Clutter can be made use of when the leader deliberately wants to be vague. It is however unethical for the leader to create such clutter. He can only benefit from it when it exists.

 

Communication technology has greatly increased the speed of events by compressing time. If you do not handle your communication well, efficiently and effectively, you will be overtaken by events. One way to manage is to be pro-active. Get your message out quickly. Control the information agenda. Have contingency plans.

 

The leader's communication competence is put to a severe test in a crisis. A crisis presents both a danger and an opportunity as far as communication is concerned. The atmosphere of heightened tension increases receptivity of messages. Swift response and giving information builds credibility and demonstrates mastery over the situation.

 

Communication problems are complicated in a decentralized organization.

 

A leader may have to be silent sometimes in order to buy time and get the chance to reconsider issues. You may also want to let the heat of the moment pass before committing yourself

 

4.0 MOTIVATION

 

Effective leaders motivate followers to excel. Motivation reduces the need for close control and supervision.

 

Motivation in a decentralized organization requires special and advanced communication skills.

 

Positive motivation is more effective than negative one.

 

The leader will motivate his followers if he treats them equally. He should not show any favoritism.

 

5.0 LEARNING FROM THE ENVIRONMENT

 

Effective leaders monitor and learn from the environment. They benefit from opportunities that exist and try to avoid dangers.

 

A leader must have a good sense of timing so that actions and interventions have maximum impact and advantage.

 

6.0 DELEGATION

 

Effective leaders delegate work to others. They will motivate, coach and monitor because delegation is not abdication.

 

7.0 TEAMS

 

Effective leaders know how to form work-teams and coordinate their activities for maximum productivity. They will anticipate and resolve intra-group and inter-group conflicts.

 

8.0 TIME MANAGEMENT

 

The leader must manage time well. He should focus on issues. He must balance commitments taking into account the long-term and short term interests of the organization. Time management must be flexible and do not become a slave of your calendar. Always leave flex time as a blank in your calendar.

 

 

DISCUSęSION/WORKSHOP

 

#1. FUNCTIONS OF LEADERS

 

Write 1-3 sentences on what you understand by each of the following leadership functions:

 

            DECISION-MAKING

            PLANNING

            TRAINING

            PROBLEM-SOLVING

            GOAL, OBJECTIVES, VISION CLARIFICATION,

            COORDINATING

            REPRESENTATION

            CONFLICT MANAGEMENT

            MOTIVATION

            TASK

            MAINTAINING RELATIONSHIPS: SUPERIORS, PEERS, SUBORDINATES

            PARTICIPATION

            EVALUATION

            FORMING AND LEADING GROUPS

            COMMUNICATION

 

 

#2. COMMUNICATION STYLES

 

Explain in your own words how you think the following types of leaders communicate with their followers:

 

             AUTOCRATIC

             DEMOCRATIC

             LAISSEZ-FAIRE

 

#3. PRACTICAL SKILLS

 

Think of a leader you know very well and assess him on the following practical skills. For each criterion indicate (high, medium, and low)

 

 (a) Planning and goal-setting:                HIGH               MEDIUM                    LOW

                        Goal-orientation

                         pragmatism

                        orientation to detail

 

(b) Communication

                        communicating goals effectively

                        active listening,

           

(c) Team-work, motivation, coaching

                        understanding people

                        effective meeting management

                        teaching and coaching others

                        management of conflict in the group

                        management of conflict between groups

                        seeking and using advice

 

(d) Decision-making and problem-solving:

                        soundness of judgement

                        rational thought

                        quick but not hasty decisions

                        consultation and involvement of others

 

(e) Organizing and managing:

                        ability to prioritize

                        effective time management

                        ability to follow through

© Professor Omar Hasan Kasule Sr June 1996