An overview on leadership theories

Reviewing leadership history, it can well be comprehended that primary researchers, to find an answer to the riddle of leadership focused their studies and researches on traits and qualities of successful leaders. In this direction, “theories of quality “came to existence one after another. This outlook on quality of leaders took half of a century, and the result was preparing lists of successful leaders’ traits.

 since the results of these studies did not get along with each other , and partly irrational and far from reason , scholars made up their mind to change their view and instead of paying attention to traits ( qualities ) , they chose leader’s “observable behaviors “ as the center of their researches . Studying “behavior” went on for some decades. as a result of these studies two main behavior were recognized , one , “task-oriented behavior “ or duty-centered ; and the other , “ employee-centered behavior “ or relation-centered . And more successful leaders were those who were considered to be employee-centered.

 Primary researchers imagined that these two leadership styles are the two ends of one continuum; i.e. a leader either is task-oriented or employee-centered. But in subsequent studies it was realized that each of these leadership styles, has an independent dimension and spectrum; in a way that leader can be task-oriented in a high level and employee-centered in a high level. So, two-dimensional view replaced one-dimensional view regarding leadership question.

Behavioral view, took time, energy and capital of researchers for some decades, but it did not have a remarkable achievement .researchers could not find a clear and certain relation between a leader’s behavior style and performance of subordinates, because in different situations different results were obtained. Having no other choice, scholars had to focus their attention on “leadership situation “instead of “behavior of leader” and compiled diverse “exigency” theories. Exigency patterns were used in so many companies and organizations, but desirable and expectable results weren’t obtained, and a final answer was not found for the leadership. In recent years, once again, attention of researchers has turned to qualities and traits of successful leaders.

Subjects about leaders such as “ charismatic”, “sublimity”, “transformative”, “ spiritual” , “ leadership alternatives “ , “ attributive viewpoints “ , “ servant leadership “  and “ moral leadership “ indicate that exigency theories could not have solved the problem of leadership and as it seems , this cycle is going to be repeated again .

on the whole, surveying leadership theories it can be concluded that none of these theories “ qualities “ , “ behavior “ , and “ situation “ can solve the leadership riddle by itself and justify the main cause for the success of leaders .

 Now, considering that leadership style in Islamic management is based on bases, especially anthropologic bases, these bases are discussed and investigated in the following.  Once again it seems necessary to mention that answering the research question is not going to be accomplished through bases, and it has not been intended. Here, merely it is because of observing common arrangement in discussion that first bases, then question (problem) and the answer are mentioned.

Bases of magnanimous leadership in Islamic management

Putting these bases forward which includes probable and improbable bases requires an extensive opportunity. Here, some probable leadership bases are very briefly alluded: 

1 – Epistemological bases:  these bases are divided into two types: 1- sources of cognition which in this part, sources of cognition are revelation (divine message), nature, heart, reason, and sense. 2- Methods of cognition (methodology): a) demonstrative or argumentative which is based on reason and reasoning b) Experimental which its sources are sense and experiment , but experiment and sense without mental perception are incomplete , it is via mental perceptions that one can generalize test results . c) Intuition method or internal experiment which results from self refinement and mental meditation. d) Religious method or revelation which its source is the book (Holy Qur’an) and sunnah(traditions and conducts of Holy prophet and twelve Imams ) .

In short, methodology in Islamic management can be constructed on two bases .what adopted in this research as method is a narrative method along with an intellectual method .in the way that religious propositions are intellectually analyzed and from them some inferences are acquired.

2-Existential bases: cognition of existence is accomplished through epistemology, in fact, these two, are the two sides of the coin of thinkers thinking. According to sources and methods of cognition, our cognition of existence includes the following:

1 – Existence (being) has two dimensions of invisible and visible or two aspects of natural and supernatural.

2 – The existence is God’s creature and rises out of his unique being.

3 – All beings are possible things that compared to their creator are in absolute poverty.

4 – The world and the sensible are a small part of the universe.

5 – The world is symbol of God’s grace and manifestation .the warp and woof of the world is based on mercy, compassion and kindness.

6 – God’s jamaalie (grace, beauty, kindness…) traits are prior to his jalaalie(like God’s wrath towards the mischievous) traits .

7 – Human is the aim of creation , and the aim of sending messengers and books is realization of human’s perfection and prosperity via practicing divine orders and religious duties .

8 – Imamate (the position of an Imam) is continuation of prophetic mission and innocent Imams are reason and proof of God on the earth and leads people to prosperity.

3- Valuation bases: in order that man reach prosperity, God has provided him with instructions in the shape of orders and dissuasions that a remarkable part of them has been delivered to us by those endowed with authority i.e. their Excellencies the innocent (peace of God be upon them).  The innocent among whom are Holy prophet (P.B.U.H), her majesty Zahra (P.B.U.Her), the leader of the faithful Imam Ali (P.B.U.H) and his offspring until Imam Mahdi (as) are God’s proof on the earth and to guide human they have got instructions and advices from God practicing them will lead human to prosperity.

Revelation is the main source of epistemology in Islamic management, and the innocents’ words are not separate from revelation and from the Shiite point of view the innocents’ words are reason and proof and must be followed. 


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