Iqbalian 9 Pillar Model

While compiling a book titled Organizational Behaviour (2008) published by Atlantic Publishers and Distributors, New Delhi (  vi+ 400) a dire need was felt to incorporate the contribution of a Muslim scholar.

The western thinkers have contributed towards the development of organizational behaviour as a subject of study. Stephen R. Covey (1989) model for highly effective people is based on seven habits. Be Proactive, Begin with the end in mind, Put first things first, Think win/win, seek first to understand, then to be understood, Synergize, sharpen the saw.

Further, the eighth habit advocated by covey (2004) is effectiveness to greatness. Henri Fayol’s (1916) principles of management and research were published in the book ‘General and Industrial Management’ (Division of work, Authority and Responsibility, Discipline, Unity of Command, Unity of Direction, Subordination of individual interest, Remuneration, The degree of centralization, Scalar Chain, Order, Equity, Stability of tenure of personnel, Initiative, Esprit de Corps). Similarly Maslow (1943) talked about Need Hierarchy Theory, in terms of Physiological, Safety, Social, Esteem and Self-actualization.

Thus, made a distinction between lower  and higher order needs. Douglas McGregor (1960) theory of motivation is primarily constructed on Theory X and Theory Y. Michael porter (1980) discusses competitive advantage with regard to four factor theory such as Cost Leadership, Differentiation, Cost Focus and Differentiation Focus. All the aforesaid concepts have achieved universal currency and recognition after being verified and validated.

The present write up   attempts to study Dr. Muhammad Iqbal  as a management thinker. Based on his thought about Organizational Leadership a model is being constructed for verification and validation. Dr, Sir Muhammad Iqbal (9th November,1877- 21th April,1938) identified at least a set of nine pillars based on his three verses putting together for a leader in any walk of life.

These pillars are based on these famous verses of Iqbal that appear in Bang-e-Dara (1924). These pillars are equally important and inclusive.  Vision, Persona, Communication, Truth, Justice, Valor, Sustainability, Full faith and Affection for all. For Iqbal a leader is a Mire-i- Karvaan, Imam and Mard.

The present write up is attempted in view of the following objectives:(i) To develop Iqbalian model based on 9 pillars for organizational leadership- governance- management ;(ii) To create space for  debate and discussion  of this model in organizational  behavior ;(iii) To put in intellectual rigour to fine tune and well chisel the model acceptable on academic criteria. The article is based on the   available lqbalian literature and organizational behaviour.

These nine pillars are rearranged and regrouped to suit the present model.

a)            Vision- sustainability-full faith

b)            Persona-valor- affection for all

c)            Communication-truth-justice

In order to achieve vision it is essential that one must have full faith or self confidence of higher order with due regard to sustainable/consistent efforts. A great personality is a reflection of valor under all circumstances and observance of affection  for all whosoever comes in his way. And has referral power in terms of physical and intellectual personality. Similarly when communication is based on truth and justice it is highly effective and impressive. An effective leader goes deep into the emotions and feelings of the people led by him.

A vision statement is a road map reflecting what an organization wants to become. Thus, guiding transformational initiatives by setting a defined direction for the growth. Before Iqbal the two dimensions of vision are: persistence and full faith.

 When we look at people the whole world admires great leaders. We can see that they are very different people with different personalities. However, they do share some significant qualities that define them as game changers in their respective fields. And this is true for all leaders. First, leaders are extremely persistent people.

They have absolute confidence and belief in themselves and they never let rejections or any obstacles for that matter slow them down.  Research substantiates this argument. Leaders do tend to have a big ego but this doesn`t stop them from having a really good sense of their strengths and weaknesses.

They tend to look at the “big picture” but are very much aware that no one can be an expert in all matters. This is why they surround themselves with experts for guidance on matters and issues they do not know much about.

Self-confidence can be described as an ability to be certain about one’s competencies and skills. It includes a sense of self-esteem and the belief that one can make a difference. Self-confidence is necessary for leaders to take risks and accomplish high goals. Leaders who are self-confident tend to deal immediately and directly with problems and conflicts, rather than   passing problems to others. 

Leadership involves influencing others and self-confidence allows the leader to feel assured that his attempts to influence are appropriate and right. Self confidence requires a positive self-image. Self-image is a kind of mental picture we all have about ourselves.

One way to think about self-image is in terms of what is ‘real’ and what is ‘ideal’.  Self-image is the mental picture one has of oneself. It is not fixed, it can be changed and one can change it. Positive thinking is important but the way one behaves is important too. The self-image will feed off the way one behaves and will affect others too.

A personality has an impact on many areas of life. It regulates how people interact with. However, personality plays a role in   efficacy as leaders. First, it is important to understand the role of personality in one’s life. Personality drives natural tendency in a situation.

It is difficult to change a person’s personality, however   growth and adaptability is possible when one becomes aware of the strengths and weaknesses within one’s personality. For those in leadership positions, it is even more important that they recognize the impact of their personality. From an observer’s perspective, or from the follower’s perception of the leader based on the leader’s personality, researchers have found a relationship between this perception and the leaders overall performance. Before Iqbal effective personality has two dimensions: (i) valor and (ii) affection for all.

Valor is extraordinary courage. True leaders are courageous. They understand that doing the right thing is oftentimes not the easy thing. They are prepared to fight for their beliefs.

They are not swayed by the judgements and fuzzy arguments of others, merely to avoid conflict or confrontation; particularly when those judgements or arguments do not serve the greater good. Most importantly, true leaders will do what is right even if it causes personal hardship.

Leading with love are three ways great leaders show in the organizations. The human interactions that underlie good decision making, complex problem-solving, and alignments are becoming more cohesive.

The organizations have a self esteem with human face and mutual respect for all. Thus, make a genuine effort to understand each other, accept that we are all flawed, and have courageous conversations

Effective communication is essential for great leaders. For a leader, communication is connection and inspiration – not just transmission of information. Communication is critical for building alignment and executing strategy.

Yet it is often one of the most challenging leadership skills because it is so easy to say, but not so easy to do. Effective communication is far more than a one-way channel that starts with the leader.

Communication is the leader’s “information highway”. It flows freely in both directions and in every circumstance – in good times and, especially, in challenging ones. Whether spoken or written, the message must always convey   vision, organization’s objectives and   core values. Communication is where leadership lives and breathes. Truth and justice are the two dimensions of communication that iqbalian model emphasis upon.

Great leaders must be steady and trustworthy while they communicate. There must be a value, grace, and regularity when they interact with their teams, but can also modify according to the listeners. They have to upgrade their personality as a trustworthy communicator to develop trustworthiness among his team. A quick change in attitude is not considered as leaders beat quality.

True leaders are genuine. They do not use falsehood. Instead, they say what they mean and mean what they say. They are aware of their own inner voices and strive to know themselves better everyday. Great leaders are fair and free of arrogance in their presentations.

To conclude, researchers interested in organizational behaviour may work on this Iqbalian model for organizational leadership towards institution building. Iqbal Institute of Culture and Philosophy may initiate necessary steps to develop Iqbalian Model so that it finds a place as an independent chapter in the study of organizational behaviour. This will prove a bench mark for assessing performance of organizational leaders.

The authors can be mailed at: gilkarna@rediffmail.com and javiddarzi@gmail.com

Javid Ahmad Darzi