Workshops at the 15th International Leadership Training programme Islamabad Pakistan 01-31st  October 1998 by Prof Dr Omar Hasan Kasule, International Islamic University, Malaysia




Human skills in leader-follower interaction




Respecting and understanding followers

Humane behaviour

Representing followers

Love by followers



Empathy and respect for followers

Leniency, good treatment, and forgiveness

Leader's consideration

Leader must be liked by followers

Love by people is indication leader is good

Leader must be accessible



Human skills of leaders

Attributes of followers





Respecting and understanding followers: Good leaders show concern, respect, and consideration for followers. Followers reciprocate by showing loyalty. Good and mutually-beneficial leader-follower relationships can not be sustained without loyalty. Good leaders have well developed human skills. They understands those below him as unique individuals and not in a generic sense. They will deal with each person in an individualized and unique way. The great secret of leadership is to be able to tap into the potential of each individual and make him a peak performer, each in his individual and unique way. You must realize that individuals are unique and have God-given talents and potentials to make them productive and useful contributors to the organization. They respect followers each in his uniqueness. Good and effective leaders have a firm belief in people.


Humane behaviour. They have compassion and empathy. They have high consideration for others. They have no pride and are like their followers not seeking to be different or superior to them. They are lenient and forgiving. They treat their followers well. They protect the followers from both physical and emotional hurt


Representing followers: Representing followers and their interests infront of others takes a lot of the leader’s time. It is however a mistake for the leader to consider himself a mouthpiece for the followers just transmitting their messages without checking and making sure that the message is appropriate. The leader must lead and help the followers articulate their interests and then represent them. In a symbolic way a leader represents followers and has to be careful about his image and behavior because all these reflect on the followers.


Love by followers: A leader will succeed if loved by the followers. Love by followers is like an emotional savings account. The better the leader treats followers, the more the deposit into the account. Sometimes the leader may make mistakes or things may not work out well. That is when the savings account comes into use. Withdrawals can be made from it to cover the defect. If the account is big, a big withdrawal will not lead to immediate bankruptcy. A small account will be overdrawn quickly exposing both the leader and followers to an ugly confrontation. In most cases love by followers indicates good leadership. In exceptional cases bad leaders who do not set standards may be loved by lazy followers who just want to be left alone.





Empathy and respect for followers: Strain not thine eyes, ( Wistfully ) at what We have bestowed on certain classes. Of them, nor grieve over them: But lower your wings ( in gentleness ) to the believers. Qur'an 5:88 … And lower your wing to the believers who follow you. Qur'an 26:215 … Now has come unto you a Messenger from amongst yourselves: it grieves him that you should perish: ardently anxious is he over you: to the Believers is he most kind and merciful.Qur'an 9:128 …  'Abd Allah b. 'Umar said that he was sent with a detachment of the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him). The people wheeled round in flight. He said: I was one of those who wheeled round in flight. When we stopped, we said (i.e. thought): How should we do ? We have run away from the battlefield and deserve Allah's wrath. They we said (thought): Let us enter Medina, stay there, and go there while no one sees us. So we entered (Medina) and thought: If we present our ourselves before the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him), and if there is a chance of repentance for us, we shall stay; if there is something else, we shall go away. So we sat down (waiting) for the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) before the dawn prayer. When he came out, we stood up to him and said: We are the ones who have fled. He turned to us and said: No, you are the ones who return to fight after wheeling away. We then approached and kissed hiss hand, and he said: I am the main body of the Muslims. Abu Daud 2:731-732, Chapter 952, Hadith # 2641


Leniency, good treatment, and forgiveness: "The messenger of Allah ( may peace be upon him ) has been reported by Anas b. Malik to have said: show leniency; do not be jealous; give solace and do not create aversion". Muslim 3: 944, Chapter 706, Hadith # 4300 ….  The prophet said "Aisha be lenient for leniency makes a thing decorated and when it is removed from a thing it makes it defective". Abu Daud 2:685, Chapter 848, Hadith # 2471 … “Narrated Anas : The Prophet ( may peace be upon him ) said, " Facilitate  things to people ( concerning religious matters ) and do not make it hard for them and give them good tidings and do not make them run away from Islam". Bukhari 1:60, hadith # 69 …. "Rafi b Makith who accompanied the Prophet ( may peace be upon him ) at al-Hudaibiyyah reported the Prophet ( may peace be upon him ) as saying: Treating those under one's authority well produces prosperity, but an evil nature produces evil fortune". Abu Daud 3:1426, Chapter 1842, Hadith # 5143 …  "Narrated Abu Burda that his father said, The Prophet sent Muadh and Abu Musa to Yemen telling them, Treat the people with ease and don't be hard on them; give them glad tidings and don't fill them with aversion, love each other, and don't differ". Bukhari 4:171, hadith # 275 ….  "Anas said : I served the Prophet ( may peace be upon him ) at Medina for ten years. I was a boy. Every work that I did was not according to the desire of my master, but he never said to me: Fie, nor did he say to me: Why did you do this? or Why did you not do this". Abu Daud 3:1338, Chapter 1709, hadith # 4756 …. "Abd Allah b Umar said: A man came to the Prophet ( may peace be upon him ) and asked: Apostle of Allah! how often shall I forgive a servant? He gave no reply, so the man repeated what he had said, but he still kept silence. When he asked a third time, he replied: Forgive him seventy times daily.". Abu Daud 3:1427, Chapter 1847, Hadith #5145 …. "It has been reported on the authority of Abd al-Rahman b. Shumasa who said: I came to Aisha to inquire something from her. She said: From which people are you? I said: I am from the people of Egypt. She said: What was the behavior of your governor towards you in this war of yours? I said: We did not experience anything bad from him. If the camel of a man from us died, he would bestow on him a camel. If any one of us lost his slave, he would give him a slave. If anybody was in need of the basic necessities of life, he would provide them with provisions. She said: Behold! the treatment that was meted out to my brother, Muhammad b. Abu Bakr, does not prevent me from telling you what I heard from the Messenger of Allah ( may peace be upon him ). He said in this house of mine: O God, who ( happens to ) acquire some kind of control over the affairs of my people and is hard upon them be you hard upon him, and who ( happens to ) acquire some kind of control over the affairs of my people and is kind to them be you kind to him". Muslim 3: 1016, Chapter 758, Hadith # 4494 … "Narrated Abdullah: I saw the Prophet ( may peace be upon him ) talking about one of the prophets whose nation had beaten him and caused him to bleed, while he was cleaning the blood off his face and saying, " O Allah! forgive my nation, for they have no knowledge". Bukhari 4:454, hadith # 683


Leader's consideration: shorten prayer for the weak: "Narrated Abu Masud: A man came and said, " O Allah's Apostle ! By Allah, I keep away from the morning prayer only because so and so prolongs the prayer when he leads us in." The narrator said, " I never saw Allah's Apostle more furious in giving advice than he was at that time. He then said, " some of you make people dislike good deeds ( the prayer ). So whoever among you leads the people in prayer should shorten it because among them are the weak, the old and the needy". Bukhari 1:379, hadith # 670  … Narrated Abu Burda that the Prophet sent his (i.e. Abu Burda's) grand father,'Abu Musa and Mu'adh to Yemen and said to both of them "Facilitate things for the people (be kind and lenient) and do not make things difficult (for people), and give them good tidings, and do not repulse them and both of you should obey each other.". Bukhari 5:443, hadith # 632 ….Narrated Jabir bin 'Abdullah Al-Ansari: Once a man was driving two Nadihas (camels used for agricultural purposes) and night had fallen. He found Mu'adh praying so he made his camel kneel and joined Mu'adh in the prayer. The latter recited Surat "Al-Baqara" or Surat "AnNisa", (so) the man left the prayer and went away. When he came to know that Mu'adh had criticized him, he went to the Prophet and complained against Mu'adh. The Prophet said thrice "O Mu'adh! Are you putting the people to trial?" It would have been better if you had recited "sabbih isma rabbika al a'la", wa al shamshi wa dhuhaha', or "wa al lail idha yaghsha", for the old, the weak and the needy pray behind you.". Bukhari 1:380, hadith # 673


Leader must be liked by followers: "Ibn Umar reported the Apostle of Allah ( may peace be upon him ) as saying" There are three types of people whose prayer is not accepted by Allah: One who goes in front of people when they do not like him; a man who comes dibaran, which means that he comes to it too late; and a man who takes into slavery on emancipated male or female slave". Abu Daud 1:156, Hadith #593


Love by people is indication leader is good: Suhail b. Abi Salih reported: We were in Arafa that there happened to pass Umar b. Abd al Aziz and he was the Amir of Hajj. People stood up in order to catch a glimpse of him. I said to my father: Father, I think that Allah loves Umar b. Abd al-Aziz. He said: How is it? I said: It is because of the love in people's heart for him. Thereupon he said: By One who created your father, I heard Abu Huraira narrating from Allah's messenger ( may peace be upon him ) a hadith like one transmitted on the authority of Suhail". Muslim 4: 1386, Chapter 1097, Hadith # 6375


Leader must be accessible: “Abu Maryam al Azdi said: When I entered upon Muawiyah, he said: How good your visit is to us, O father of so and so. This is an idiom used by Arabs ( on such occasions ). I said: I tell you a tradition which I heard ( from the Prophet ). I heard the Apostle of Allah ( may peace be upon him ) say: If Allah puts anyone in the position of authority over the affairs of the Muslims, and he secludes himself ( from them ) not fulfilling their needs, wants, and poverty, Allah will keep Himself away from him, not fulfilling his need, want and poverty. He said: He ( Muawiyah ) appointed a man to fulfil the needs of the people". Abu Daud 2:832-833, Chapter 1101, hadith # 2942





Write 1-3 sentences on what you understand by each of the following human attributes of leaders:

Interest in people, tact, compassion, empathy, enthusiasm, showing concern, tolerance, being supportive, keeping good company, trusting others, loyalty, helpfulness, impartiality, inspiring others, charisma, accessibility, respect for others, gentility, ability to inspire other, ability to motivate, ability to encourage, ability to direct, equitable, praising success, confronting failure, thanking people for good work, politeness.



Quote from the Qur'an and sunnah illustrations of the following follower attributes:

Lazy/hard work

Take/avoid responsibility


Motivated by reward/punishment














Active leadership

Leadership functions


Communication of the leader with followers

Communication with the public

Intra-organisational communication

Communication technology


Learning from the environment

Delegation and coaching


Time management

 Followers part of leadership situation


Advice and correction


Reliance on followers


Praise and personality cult

Public and private spheres



Leader is protector

Obedience of leaders

Limits to obedience

Leader has responsibility

Respect for authority

Leader comforts followers in times of despair:

Leader must maintain public moral standards

Potentially disloyal people not to be appointed

Leader should not be cruel

Duties of followers

Omar accessible



Leadership Functions

Functions Of Leaders

Functions Of Followers

Leadership Activities

Obedience Of Leaders:

Communication Styles Of Various Types Of Leaders




Active leadership: A leader must lead. The leadership function can not be 100% delegated. The leader should not turn into a follower of the followers, that would be abdicating responsibility.


Leadership functions: Depending on the situation a leader may play one of the following roles/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.


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.


Communication of the leader with followers: 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.


Communication with the public: Try to get into the right publications and to educate the reporters about your organization. The leader should use the mass media to get goodwill for the organization. All credit should be for the organization and not the leader. The leader should be humble but should not confuse his personal humility with that of the organization. The organization should have a high profile. In dealing with the media, a decision should be made whether a high or a low profile will be maintained. Each has advantages and disadvantages. 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. A leader should be a good and motivating public speaker. If too busy use a speech writer. Choose speaking opportunities actively and initiate the invitation process. Do not wait to be invited. Whenever you speak make sure there is solid content.


Intra-organisational communication: 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 rank-and file. Group failure starts with communication failure. Communication problems are complicated in a decentralized organization. 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.


Communication technology: 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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


Followers part of leadership situation: Followers play an important functions in a leadership situation. It is a mistake to consider them passive spectators. It is unfortunate that books of history record only what the leaders did and ignore the more important contributions of the followers.


Obedience: Leaders must be obeyed otherwise there is no point in leadership. It is better to replace a leader than to disobey his commands. There are limits and conditions to the obedience. The leader can not compel followers to do evil. The followers can not withhold obedience to a just order just because they have a different opinion.


Advice and correction: Followers must advise and correct the leader. It is incumbent on the leader to listen and accept advice. Advice from followers is facilitated by creating an atmosphere devoid of fear. The leader must give the followers license to question. This enhances their creativity.


Feed-back: Good, genuine and continous feed-back is required of both leaders and followers. The following are characteristics of good effective feed-back: direct, specific, descriptive,  timely,  and flexible. Feed-back should include both the negative and the positive. Neither the leader or the follower should use feed-back for blaming or embarassing others.


Reliance on followers: Leader must rely on and use staff work


Loyalty: Follower loyalty is very important for success of leadership. This is loyalty to the position and not the person of the leader. The leader must reciprocate this loyalty by being committed to the followers and not abandoning them or exposing them to danger.


Praise and personality cult: Followers may make false praise. A good leader sees through this and avoids it. He discourages praise and development of a personality cult.


Public and private spheres: A leader in the exercise of his functions must distinguish between the personal and official roles. Acting in the official role may involve doing things contrary to what you would do in private and vice versa. However no immoral acts can be accepted on the excuse that they are required by the official position. It is better in such a case to resign than compromise your values.




Leader is protector: "Narrated Abu Huraira that he heard Allah's Apostle saying, We are the last but will be the foremost ( to enter Paradise ). The Prophet added, He who obeys me, obeys Allah, and he who disobeys me, disobeys Allah. He who obeys the chief, obeys me, and he who disobeys the chief, disobeys me. The Imam is like a shelter for whose safety the Muslims should fight and where they should seek protection. If the Imam orders people with righteousness and rules justly, them he will be rewarded for that, and if he does the opposite, he will be responsible for that". Bukhari 4:128-129, hadith # 204


Obedience of leaders: O ou who believe ! Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, and those charged with authority among you. If you differ in anything among yourselves, refer it to  Allah and his Messenger, If you do believe in Allah and the Last Day: That is the best, and most suitable for final determination. Qur'an 4:59  Say: Obey Allah and His Messenger": but if they turn back Allah loves not those who reject Faith. Qur'an 3:32  And obey Allah and the Messenger; that you may obtain mercy. Qur'an 3:132 …O you who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, and those charged with authority among you. If you differ in anything among yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger, if you do believe in Allah  and the Last Day: that is best, and most suitable for final determination. Qur'an 4:59 … The Prophet said, " Listen and obey ( your chief ) even if an Ethiopian whose head is like a raisin were made your chief"

Bukhari 1:375, hadith #662 … "It has been narrated on the authority of Abu Huraira that the Messenger of Allah ( may peace be upon him ) said: It is obligatory for you to listen to the ruler and obey him adversity and prosperity, in pleasure and displeasure, and even when another person is given ( rather undue ) preference over you". Muslim 3:1021, Chapter 761, Hadith # 4524 …  "Abu Hurairah reported.the Apostle of Allah ( may peace be upon him ) as saying: a man who prevents a traveller from the excess water which he has with him; and a man who swears for the goods ( for sale ) after the afternoon prayer, that is, ( he swears ) falsely; and a man who takes the oath of allegiance to a ruler ( imam ); if he gives him ( something ), he fulfills ( the oath of allegiance ) to him; if he does not give him ( anything ) he does not fulfil it.". Abu Daud 2:989, Chapter 1307, Hadith # 3467 … "Narrated Ibn Abbas : The Verse:- Obey Allah and obey the Apostle and those of you ( Muslims ) who are in authority;...(4:59) was revealed in connection with Abdullah bin Hudafa bin Qais bin Adi when the Prophet appointed him as the commander of a Sariyya ( army detachments)". Bukhari 6:89, hadith # 108


Limits to obedience: "Narrated Ibn Umar : The Prophet said, " It is obligatory for one to listen to and obey (the ruler's orders) unless these orders involve one in Disobedience ( to Allah ): but if an act of Disobedience (to Allah) is imposed, one should not listen to or obey it" Bukhari 4:128, hadith # 203 …. "There is no obedience in matters involving disobedience to Allah; obedience is in matters which are good and are universally recognized" Abu Daud 2:726 Chapter 942, Hadith # 2619 … It has been narrated on the authority of 'Ali who said: The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) sent an expedition and appointed over the Mujahids a man from the Ansar. (While making the appointment), he ordered that his word should be listened to and obeyed. They made him angry in a matter. He said: Collect for me dry wood. They collected it for him. Then he said: Kindle a fire. They kindled (the fire). Then he said: Didn't the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) order you to listen to me and obey (my orders)? They said: Yes. He said: Enter the fire. The narrator says: (At this), they began to look at one another and said: We fled from The fire to (find refuge with) the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) (and now you order us to enter it). They stood quiet until his anger cooled down and the fire went out. When they returned, they Related the incident to the Messenger of Allah (may Pease be upon him). He said: If they had entered it, they would not have come out. Obedience (to the commander) is obligatory only in what it good". Muslim 3:1022, Chapter 761, Hadith # 4536 …  Narrated 'Ali: The Prophet sent a Sariya under the command of a man from the Ansar and ordered the soldiers to obey him. He (i.e. the commander) became angry and said, "Didn't the Prophet order you to obey me" They replied, "Yes." He said, "Collect fire wood for me." So they collected it. He said, "Make a fire." When they made it, he said, "Enter it (i.e. the fire)." So they intended to do that and started holding each other and saying," We have run towards (i.e. taken refuge with) the Prophet from the fire." They kept on saying that till the fire was extinguished and the anger of the commander abated. When that news reached the Prophet he said, "If they had entered it (i.e the fire), they would not have come out of it till the Day of Resurrection. Obedience (to some body) is required when he enjoins what is good.". Bukhari 5:441, hadith # 629


Leader has responsibility: "Abu Huraira reported the Apostle of Allah ( may peace be upon him) as saying: The imam is responsible and the muaddhin is trusted. O Allah, guide the imams and forgive the muaddhins". Abu Daud 1:136, Hadith # 517


Respect for authority: "Hazrat Abu Badr...dishonored by Allah(Tirmizi). Riyadh 1:371, hadith # 673


Leader comforts followers in times of despair: "Omar said to the defeated remnants from the Jisr debacle ( Do not grieve O Muslims I am your party and you have only retreated to me". Tabari 11:194


Leader must maintain public moral standards: Hadrat Abu Bakr ( Rad ) said, " When the people commit sinful acts openly and the people have means and power of checking them and still do not check them, then Allah sends calamities upon them and does not remove those calamities." . Hayat 2:721


Potentially disloyal people not to be appointed: Abu Ja'far-Ibn Humayd-Salamah-Ibn Ishaq-'Abdallah b. Abu Bakr. The reason for Abu Bakr's removal of Khalid b. Sa'id was that Khalid b. Said, on coming from Yemen after the death of the Messenger of God, held back for two months from rendering the oath of allegiance to him. Khalid would say, "The Messenger of Gods gave me a command and did not remove me after that until God took him." Khalid had met 'Ali b. Al Talib and 'Uthman b. 'Affan and said, "O Banu 'Abd Manaf, you have willingly renounced your [right to] command; others have taken it up." As for Abu Bakr, he did not hold it against him, but, as for Umar, he harbored a secret grudge against him on account of it. Then Abu Bakr sent the troops forth to Syria. The first man he put in command of a division of them was Khalid b. Said. But Umar took to saying, "Are you in to put him in command even though he has done what he has done and has said what he has said? " He kept on about it with Abu Bakr until the latter dismissed him and appointed Yazid b. Abi Sufyan to command. Tabari 11:74-75


Leader encourages followers to correct him: "Ibn Umar said: The Prophet ( may peace be upon him ) prayed and recited the Qur'an in it. He was then confused in it ( in his recitation ). When he finished ( his prayer ) he said to Ubayy ( b. Kaab ): Did you pray along with us ? He said: Yes. He said: What prevented you ( from correcting me)." Abu Daud 1:231, Chapter 315, Hadith # 907


Leader should not be cruel: "It has been narrated on the authority of Hasan that Aidh b. Amr who was one of the Companions of the Messenger of Allah ( may peace be upon him ) called on Ubaidullah b. Ziyad and said ( to him ): O my son, I have heard the Messenger of Allah ( may peace be upon him ) say; The worst of guardians is the cruel ruler. Beware of being one of them. Ubaidullah said ( to him out of arrogance ): Sit you down. You are from the chaff of the Companions of Muhammad ( may peace be upon him ). Aidh said: Was there worthless chaff among them? Such worthless chaff appeared after them and among other people". Muslim 3:1018, Chapter 759, Hadith # 4504


Duties of followers: "It has been narrated on the authority of Ubada who learnt the tradition from his father who in turn, learned it from his own father. Ubada's grandfather said The Messenger of Allah ( may peace be upon him ) took an oath of allegiance from us on our listening to and obeying the orders of our commander in adversity and prosperity, in pleasure and displeasure ( and even when somebody is given preference over us, on our avoiding to dispute the delegation of powers to a person deemed to be a fit recipient hereof ( in the eye of one who delegates it and on our telling the truth in whatever position we be without fearing in the matter of Allah the reproach of the reproacher.". Muslim 3:1023, Chapter 761, Hadith # 4538 … Followers obliged according to capacity: "It has been narrated on the authority of Abdullah b. Umar who said: We used to take oath to the Messenger of Allah ( may peace be upon him ) that we would listen to and obey his orders. He would tell us ( to say in the oath): As far as it lies in my power" Muslim 3: 1040, Chapter 775, Hadith # 4604


Omar accessible: “According to Muhammad : I stayed with a man called Malik who was under the protection of Umar b. al-Khattab, I asked him how one could get access to the Commander of the Faithful.  He replied that there was no door barring the way to Umar or any obstacle, that he would say his prayers, would then sit down and anyone who wished could talk to him”. Tabari 14 : 104 - 105




Using yourself as an example or a particular leader you know very well and complete the following table (O=Occasionally, F=Frequently, S=Seldom)









Conflict resolution

Role model

Group symbol

Parental figure


Task achievement/push for increased achievement



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





Goal, objectives, vision clarification,



Conflict management



Maintaining relationships: superiors, peers, subordinates



Forming and leading groups




Write 1-3 sentences about what you understand by each of the following follower functions:




Loyal following



Using yourself as an example or a particular leader you know very well and complete the following table (O=Occasionally, F=Frequently, S=Seldom)



Allow followers complete freedom in work

Encourage uniform procedures

Permit followers to use their judgement in solving problems

Permit followers to perform as they think best

Settle conflicts

Make decision: what and how

Push for increased achievements

Wiling to make changes

Do not explain actions



(a)           Write down verses of the Qur'an on obedience of leaders and explain your understanding of them


(b)           Write down and explain 2 hadiths on obedience of leaders


(c)           List 5 advantages of follower obedience


(d)           List 5 situations when follower obedience is a disadvantage


(e)           What are the limitations that the Sharia puts on leader obedience


(f)            Do you think a leader should also obey the followers? If yes give examples and support your stand from Qur'an and sunnah. Do the same if your answer is no.



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














Human imperfections



Deviant personality

Pride and Vanity

Uncompensated weaknesses


Excessive veneration




Seeking false reputation

Abandoning followers

Unequal treatment of followers

Deviant values

Diseases of followers

Causes of leadership failure

Responsibility and accountability

Results/bottom line

Arrogance and feeling indispensable

Putting people down

Mistrust and disloyalty

Lack of creativity


Poor human relations

Following the crowd

Consequences of hatred by followers

Causes of hatred of followers for leader



Ignorant leaders misguide

Oppression and petty-mindedness

Oppressor is finally punished

Do not despair

Leader who deceives followers

Searching for follower faults

Torment for no genuine reason

Disappearance of honesty

Leader should not have pride/vanity




Taking bribes



Diseases Fatal For Leaders

Manifestations Of Leadership Failure

Manipulative Leaders

Disease Of Followers

What To Do With A Bad Leader

What To Do With Bad Followers




Human imperfections: With the exception of Prophets, no leaders or followers can claim being perfect. Any leader will have diseases (hopefully few). Followers also have diseases. The diseases of leaders and followers could be synergistic. The aim of good leadership is to minimize or compensate for them. This requires maturity and balance. The leader must be able to look at himself in a mirror or listen to trusted advisors to know and acknowledge weaknesses. Only the greatest can do this.


Socialization: Bad leadership is learned from poor role models in the home, the general society, and the work-place. Societies or organizations that depended on authoritarianism, no delegation, no participation produced the worst leaders in history.


Diseases: Good leaders have attributes and skills that have been discussed. Bad leaders are not necessarily those with opposite attributes and skills. Bad leaders have definite diseases that could exist alongside some of the good qualities. In the extreme some bad leaders have only diseases and none of the good qualities.


Deviant personality: Psychological disorders eg megalomania, antisocial personality. Many bad leaders are actually psychologically sick: sadists, megalomaniacs, jealous, immature, or psychopathic personalities. Organizations and societies that allow such individuals to rise to the top pay a heavy price.


Pride and Vanity: Pride and vanity have destroyed many leaders. They are from the SHAITAN and eventually lead to mutual hatred between leaders and followers. They may also become a disease of both the leader and his followers in which case there is mutual hatred between groups,organizations, and even nations.


Uncompensated weaknesses: A leader is a human being and can not be perfect. There will be weaknesses. The way to deal with them is to compensate for them by relying on strong people who have the skills that the leader may lack. The careful leader will also avoid acitivities that he lacks the ability to do well.


Ignorance: Some bad leaders are sincere and are committing mistakes without being aware of them. Some commit mistakes because of basic inner limitations. Ignorance of a leader that is not acknowledged or compensated for spells disaster for the organization. Wrong decisions will be made and will be defended by the leader.


Excessive veneration: Bad leaders with weak egos seek excessive veneration from their followers. These are inadequate persons who are not sure of themselves.


Oppression: Bad leaders who lack legitimacy, personal authority, and self-confidence tend to be oppressive. They try to use force to impose their will. Those who oppose this are dealt with badly.


Petty-mindedness: Petty-mindedness is a sign of an immature personality and lack of vision. Small things become big while big things are not even recognized. The self becomes more important than the public interest.


Manipulation: Bad leaders are manipulative. They control and do not build or develop their followers.


Seeking false reputation: Bad leaders concentrate on building false reputations, appearances, and images. They neglect the hard work that produces real results. Such leaders who deceive themselves and their followers will not hide their weaknesses for long. False leaders are exposed sooner or later. If not exposed in their lifetime or period of tenure, history will expose them in unflattering terms. The Qur'an recounts stories of such leaders in bygone eras as a lesson to all of us.


Abandoning followers: Bad leaders will abandon their followers in times of crisis or danger. They will not stand to share the pain with them or lead them to a solution.


Unequal treatment of followers: Bad leaders treat followers unequally. There is favoritism. Those who praise the leader and pander to his ego are preferred over the more principled ones. Syncopaths are brought near while the productive and hard-working are kept away. Favoritism may also manifest as nepotism, appointments or promotions based on family relationships and not merit. Injustice of a bad leader may be in attitude, actions, judgements, decisions, and communication. All what deviates from the truth and fair and equitable treatment is injustice.


Deviant values: It is an irony of human experience that the best and the worst leaders can share some of the same practical and conceptual skills. They differ in the underlying values, personality, goals, and how the skills are used. Good moral leaders serve humanity while the bad ones cause suffering and harm.


Diseases of followers: Followers, like leaders, have diseases: hypocrisy, insincerity, bad advice to leader, disloyalty, disobedience, and excessive veneration of the leader. Followers show hypocrisy when they say something in front of the leader and the opposite when away from him. They may outwardly show loyalty and obedience when they are secretly plotting against him. Insincerity is all forms of dishonesty and lies to the leader and fellow followers. It also includes doing things for selfish individual interests while hurting the interests of the group. Some followers may give advice to a leader that they know is bad either for some selfish personal gain, or to hurt someone else, or to hurt the leader by making him commit mistakes. Disloyalty in all its forms is bad. Followers must obey the leader as long as he is ordering them to do good. Disobedience rapidly results into chaos and break down of the civil order. Violence by the ruler against followers or among followers rapidly ensues in a situation of anarchy. It is for this reason that obedience should not be withheld even if the leader commits some minor mistakes. Some followers may spoil the leader by pandering to his ego and showing him excessive veneration. When all of this gets to his head he may start behaving like a dictator, develop vanity and pride and eventually fail in leadership.


Causes of leadership failure: Leadership failure is a consequence of a series of mistakes. An organization can survive a few leadership mistakes. When the mistakes are consecutive and cumulate, the death certificate for the organization is sealed. Leadership failure has several often inter-related causes: (a) refusal to admit mistakes and blaming them on others (b) belief of the leader that he is indispensable and behaving as a dictator (c) fear for position and neglecting training or developing replacements (d) disloyalty to superiors, peers, followers and the organization (e) lack of creativity: hating new ideas, persisting in unproductive but tested ways, and being too bureaucratic (f) lack of common sense, being away from reality and being theoretical (g) Lack of human skills and handling followers well and equitably (h) lack of a sense of bottom-line that you have to produce results (i) failure to lead and following the crowd (j) condone or tolerate incompetence (k) failure to recognize and reward good work (l) followers hating the leader.


Responsibility and accountability: A leader is accountable for all what goes on. He should have the courage to admit his mistakes so that he may correct them. he must also take ultimate responsibility for mistakes committed by subordinates although he is not personally directly culpable. He was supposed to select only the best and most competent, train them, and supervise them so that they make no mistakes. Bad leaders do not take personal responsibilities. They are not accountable for mistakes in their organization. They look for excuses (even valid ones) or shift responsibility to others. It is a sign of personal weakness and emotional immaturity for a leader to pretend to be all-knowing and perfect all the time.


Results/bottom line: A leader is judged by results. Lack of a sense of a bottom line is a sure way to leadership failure. Such leaders may tolerate or even condone incompetence in the organization because success and results do not matter to them. They will fail to recognize and reward good work. A leader must achieve results. If he fails, even if he worked hard and sincerely and even if he has valid excuses, he is considered to have failed and he must accept responsibility. Accepting responsibility is the first positive step toward looking for a solution.


Arrogance and feeling indispensable: When a leader starts thinking that he is special and that there is nobody else who can be in his position he is already on the way to being lost. He will soon become a dictator and will suppress all dissent and refuse to listen to advice. He will not develop his followers. Shaitan will encourage him to become increasingly arrogant until he eventually fails. An insecure leader fears for his position and tries to oppress or suppress people with leadership ability in the organization. This is an insincere person who should not have been leader in the first place. A mark of a good leader is not coveting positions.


Putting people down: Poor leaders, actually leaders by default, put down people and are only manifesting their own lack of self-confidence and a feeling of low self-worth. They assume that everybody else must be like them. Such leaders either do not last long or continue leading failing organizations.


Mistrust and disloyalty: A bad leader does not trust others and is not trusted. He will be disloyal to his superiors, his peers, and his subordinates. He will even betray the organization in pursuit of his selfish interests.


Lack of creativity: When a leader starts thinking he knows all and is perfect in all what he is doing, he closes his mind to new ideas. He suppresses creativity and innovation and persists in old ways even if they are unproductive. Some of such leaders realize the futility of their stand and tend to hide behind bureaucratic policies, rules, and regulations.


Inaccessibility: A leader who is not accessible soon loses touch with realities in the organizations. He can not know what is going on at the grass-roots level. He lives in an ivory tower and his decisions and actions lack the common sense that is expected.


Poor human relations: Poor leaders are poor in human relations. They demotivate followers, harass them and make them loathe the organization. Many followers will leave at the first opportunity. Some leaders develop this people incompetence into an art. They are aware of their inadequacy and inability to change so they make sure no follower stays too long with them. They know the follower will eventually get fed up with them and may confront them one day. They make sure he leaves before that breaking point. High turnover thus becomes a normal way with dire consequences for the organization.


Following the crowd: Some leaders abdicate their responsibilities. They fail to lead and follow the crowd. Some could justify this by saying that they are 'listening' to their followers.


Consequences of hatred by followers: No person should insist on continuing in a leadership position if he/she is hated by the followers. Leadership can not succeed if there is no good relation between the leader and the followers.


Causes of hatred of followers for leader: Leader does not respect followers: impersonal behavior, not listening, and being self importance. Wrong decisions . Take followers' credit . Blame followers for leader's mistakes . Secretive; withhold information . Not protecting followers from external attacks . Public criticism of followers . Not consulting followers . Over-working followers.




Ignorant leaders misguide: "Narrated Abdullah b Amr bin Al As : I heard Allah's Apostle saying, Allah does not take away knowledge, by taking it away from ( the hearts of ) the people, but takes it away by the death of the religious learned men till when none of the ( religious learned men ) remains, people will take as their leaders ignorant persons who when consulted will give their verdict without knowledge. So they will go astray and will lead the people astray". Bukhari 1:80, hadith # 100


Oppression and petty-mindedness: "Jabir b Abdullah reported that Allah's Messenger ( may peace be upon him ) said: Be on your guard against committing oppression, for oppression is a darkness on the Day of Resurrection, and be on your guard against petty mindedness for petty mindedness destroyed tho who were before you. as it incited the to shed blood and make lawful what was unlawful for them"

Muslim 4: 1366, Chapter 1065, Hadith # 6248


Oppressor is finally punished: "Narrated Abu Musa : Allah's Apostle said, Allah gives respite to the oppressor, but when He takes him over, He never releases him. Bukhari 6:171, hadith # 208


Do not despair: "Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger ( may peace be upon him ) as saying: When a person says that people are ruined he is he is himself ruined" Muslim 3: 1382, Chapter 1091, Hadith # 6352


Leader who deceives followers: "Narrated Maqil : Allah's Apostle said, If any ruler having the authority to rule Muslim subjects dies while he is deceiving them, Allah will forbid Paradise for him" Bukhari 9:197, hadith # 265


Searching for follower faults: "Jubair b. Nufair, Kathir b. Murrah, Amr b. al-Aswad, Miqdam b. Madikarib, and Abu Umamah reported the Prophet ( may peace be upon him ) as saying: When a ruler seeks to make imputations against the people, he corrupts them" Abu Daud 3:1362, Chapter 1752, Hadith # 4870


Torment for no genuine reason: "Hisham reported on the authority of his father that Hisham b. Hakin b. Hizam happened to pass by people, the farmers of Syria, who had been made to stand in the sun. He said: What is the matter with them?. They said: They have been detained for Jizya. Thereupon Hisham said: I bear testimony to the fact that I heard Allah's Messenger ( may peace be upon him ) as saying" Allah would torment those who torment people in the world" Muslim 3: 1378, Chapter 1083, Hadith # 6328


Disappearance of honesty: "Narrated Abu Huraira : Allah's Apostle said, When honesty is lost. then wait for the Hour. It was asked, How will honesty be lost, O Allah's Apostle? He said. When authority is given to those who do not deserve it, then wait for the Hour." Bukhari 8:332, hadith # 503


Leader should not have pride/vanity: " Hadrat Amir ibn Rabiah says that once he accompanied the Prophet ( p.b.h. ) up to the mosque. The thong or strap of his shoe got broken, Hadrat Amir took it so as to mend it. said, " This thing smells pride, and I dislike vanity or pride."  Hayat 2:611


Cruelty: pharaoh Qur:an 2:49, NIMOROD Qur'an 21:66-70, DHU NUWAS

Buruj: 1-8


Arrogance: Pharaoh: Qur'an 28:38-39, Qur'an 79:21-24


Dishonesty: "Narrated Hudhaifa : Allah's Apostle narrated to us two narrations, one of which I have seen ( happening ) and I am waiting for the other. He narrated that honesty was preserved in the roots of the hearts of men ( in the beginning ) and then they learnt it ( honesty ) from the Qur'an and then they learnt it from the ( Prophet's ) Sunna ( tradition )> He also told us about its disappearance. saying. " A man will go to sleep whereupon honesty will be taken away from his heart, and only its trace will remain, resembling the traces of fire. He then will sleep whereupon the remainder of the honesty will also be taken away ( from his heart ) and its trace will resemble a blister which is raised over the surface of skin when an ember touches one's foot: and in fact, this blister does not contain anything, So there will come a day when people will deal in business with each other but there will hardly be any trustworthy persons among them. Then it will be said that in such and such a tribe there is such and such person who is honest, and a man will be admired for his intelligence, good manners and strength, though indeed he will not have belief equal to a mustard seed in his heart. The narrator added: there came upon me a time when I did not mind dealing with anyone of you, for if he was a Muslim; his religion would prevent him from cheating, and if he was a Christian, his muslim ruler would prevent him from cheating; but today I cannot deal except with so and so and so and so" Bukhari 8:332-333, hadith # 504


Taking bribes: "Malik....earth" Muwatta 33:321, hadith # 1




Write 1-3 sentences on what you understand by the following diseases of leaders: Give examples from  your experience


Psychological/personality illnesses:



Give examples from your experience of the following manifestations of leadership failure:


Refusal to admit/accept mistakes

Believing they are indispensable:

Dictatorial and egoistic

Refusal to traindevelop replacements

Fear for position

Disloyalty: to superiors, peers, followers, organization

Fear of competition from outside  and inside

Lack of creativity: hate new ideas,

Prefer unprodctive tested ways

Too bureaucratic

Lack of common sense: aloof; far from reality,theoretical

Lack of a 'people sense:

Use positional and not personal power

Disrespect and demotivate followers: fault-finding,name calling, attacks, blame manage different people in the same way

Manipulative behavior


Lack sense of 'bottom-line': not know you are judged by results - failure to pay attention to detail

Failure to see endresults

Failure to set standards & making sure standards are respected

Failure to lead: being part of the crowd and not leading

Not taking hard decisions involving people

Interference in followers' privacy

Condone/ignore incompetence

Desire to be loved by followers

Lack of will-power  wish problems will disappear on their own

Fear confrontation

Failure to recognize and reward good work

Hatred of followers for leader:



Fill the following table comparing manipulators and people builders. Indicate your choices as high/low:


                                                                                MANIPULATORS                               BUILDERS


Sincere concern for people



Power hungry






Uses and dumps people

Uses power for self gain


Praises success





Embraces change

Long-term perspective





Give examples of the following follower diseases from your personal experience



Imagine you are a follower and your leader has one of the following diseases. Write down preventive and curative measures you would take to deal with the situation. Leaving the organisation is not one of the options


Superiority complex,

Feeling of invincibility or invulnerability

Intolerance of other views and opinions

Authoritarian and dictatorial disposition

Manipulation of people

Complacence and lack of courage

Denying or avoiding responsibility

Giving false impressions of achievement not backed by actual work

Obsessive fear of failure

Inability to focus

Search for cheap popularity

Feeling threatened.





Power hungry,

Tunnel vision,



Resenting accomplishments of others

Insensitivity to followers

Disclosing secrets,



Imagine you are a leader and you have followers with the following diseases. Write down preventive and curative measures you would undertake to deal with the situation. Throwing them out of the organization is not one of the options



Professor Omar Hasan Kasule October 1998