Putting 'Islamic' into management and leadership

Monday, September 27, 2010

Al-Haadi Abu Bakar talks to Dato' Aidit Ghazali, consultant and executive chairman of Akademi Aidit Sdn Bhd on Islamic management and leadership

ORGANISATIONS and companies can benefit from good values contained in the religion of Islam, and by implementing or applying them in their management practices, working culture and human resource development, said a management expert.

Dato' Aidit Ghazali, executive chairman of Malaysian consultancy firm Akademi Aidit Sdn Bhd and consultant in Islamic management and leadership, shared the philosophy of Islamic management and leadership as well as its benefits to Bruneian organisations during his two-day training workshop at The Rizqun International Hotel.

Participants were exposed to the main principles, values and framework within which Islamic Management and performing Islamic leadership actions can be taken.

Dato' Aidit said that organisations and companies will greatly benefit from adopting Islamic management and leadership in the long run due to the many good values that Islam stands for. "Islam stands for purity, sincerity, righteousness, honesty, effectiveness, and many good values. Which company would want to reject Islam if Islam stands for all these values?" he added.

Speaking to The Brunei Times, Dato' Aidit explained the concept and philosophy of Islamic management and leadership and how it differ from conventional management.

"We all know that management is about organisation, decision making, planning, etc. But when you put the term 'Islamic' in management, it means that it must fulfill two basic criteria that Islam has in order for something to be Islamic; first, the intention must be good, and second; the means (way that we do things) must be good. In other words, 'good' based on the perimeters, principles and the value system of Islam," he said.

"When our intentions and means are based on Islamic principles, whether we are planning, organising or making decisions, hence we are executing them islamically," he added.

Dato' Aidit went on to say that success in its implementation is ensured if Islamic management is undertaken by people who themselves are Islamic, as the importance of Islamic management is very much dependent on the human capital.

"When the person is Islamic, for example, a Bruneian muslim working in America or in any country in Europe can still conduct Islamic management even though the company is not belonging to a Muslim. Where their duties are concerned, they are Islamic because they can do things Islamically at least at their level, in any working condition," he said.

The consultant also explained the concept of Islamic leadership. "Islamic leadership is about leading ourselves before we lead others, and leading ourselves the way that Allah wants us to lead, such as how we use our organs, how we use our capacities, our faculties of thinking, how we use our power, our authority, our position, our influence, etc," he told The Brunei Times.

"By using all these things the way that Allah wants us to use then that is Islamic leadership. Just like Islamic management, Islamic leadership must begin with the individual himself or herself wanting to do things Islamically," he added.

Dato' Aidit went on to say that a Muslim boss should lead even in pertaining to solat (prayers) and spiritual matters, for example. "If you are a boss of a department and when time for solat arrives, preferably you should lead as the imam to his subordinates," he said.

"This can be an advantage for the boss as he is able lead not only on mundane day to day matters but also on other aspects. As a result, his subordinates will respect their bosses who are capable of leading them on spiritual matters also," the 51-year-old added.

Dato' Aidit also highlighted that non-Muslims can also adopt and practise Islamic management and leadership. As a trained consultant in Islamic management and leadership, he has been widely sought by bodies in some parts of the world that wish to islamise their management skills, culture and human resource development skills, in a manner that is both comfortable to both the Muslim and non-Muslim fraternity.

"One does not necessarily need to be a Muslim before one performs Islamic management, as long as that aspect of Islamic management or leadership does not require a person to be a Muslim," he added.

"If for example, a non-Muslim works as efficiently as a muslim, or if his office space is clean and very well maintained, it counts as he or she is doing things Islamically," he added.

However there are some aspects of Islamic management which requires the individual to be a Muslim, or when non-Muslims cannot lead, such as leading a prayer as mentioned earlier.

Based in Kuala Lumpur, Dato' Aidit is a trained economist and management expert, with first and second degrees from Stirling University and Vanderbilt University. He has been a pioneer of Islamic-based institutions in the corporate, public, academic and voluntary sectors for the last 30 years and has been practising Islamic management since then. To date, he has produced more than 50 books. The Brunei Times