Change leadership embodies the ability of an individual or leader to influence others through advocacy, shared vision, and use of strategic resources to enhance change. Unlike change management, change leadership is more complex because it requires additional skills and abilities to create a vision and implement strategies to achieve it. Noteworthy, religious belief systems play a vital role in enhancing change through their different facets. The article, The West and Islam Perspective of Leadership, compares the conventional western approaches with Islams values to leadership.
The western perspective, which largely represents Christian values, is quite different from the Middle-eastern view of leadership. First, the Naqly, which is an Islamic concept, denotes that leaders should adhere to the practices of Allahs prophets (AlSarhi, Salleh, Mohamed & Amini, 2014). Naqly is the main differentiating element of the two religious belief systems. Conversely, the Christian view encourages the need to distinguish leadership as either temporal or spiritual affair. To a large extent, Islam has rules for all aspects of human life to ensure totality of the religion. It is the reason why the latter does not allow separation of the state from religion. Although both religions have almost similar definitions concerning leadership, Muslims believe that the process involves coaching voluntary individuals to achieve a shared vision; thus, enhancing change leadership. Additionally, Islam concentrates more on succession than the West (AlSarhi et al., 2014). Usually, Christianity has a fixed mechanism of succession and more attention is on influencing and leading the subordinates. With regards to power, Islam discourages leaders from seeking referent power if they do not exhibit strong character and faith in Allah. Conversely, Western leadership emphasizes character and expertise as the main components of influence.
Some of the similarities regarding the two approaches are that they embrace transformational leadership. In addition, both religions appreciate trait leadership, as the character of an individual is likely to influence his/her success. Additionally, both views include the situation, the leader, and the follower as the three major components of leadership. Similarly, knowledge and attractive traits are some of the main sources of referent power for leaders.
Clearly, individuals in the West and Middle East perceive change leadership differently due to their religion belief systems. For instance, Islam stresses the significance of adhering to the Quran; therefore, a leader who does not believe in the religion cannot implement shared goals and visions effectively. In fact, it is completely impossible for such a person to actualize the process of wide-spread transformations because the Islamic followers incline excellence with totality of their religion.
Due to the increased cases of outsourcing and internationalization, the issue of trust is likely to form a central position for both religions. Therefore, change is inevitable for the members of the two belief systems. It appears that Islamic followers are more open to change leadership because they value community interests as opposed to personal achievements. In fact, Muslim leaders and followers establish a general sense of identity by ensuring that top executives do not exploit the lower class workers (AlSarhi et al., 2014). Therefore, Islamic belief system promotes the ideals of change leadership more than the western perspectives. Nevertheless, the rigidity of Islam is a major inhibiting factor for the success of leaders who intend to make large-scale changes concerning social formation and development, as the religion governs all aspects of the followers.
AlSarhi, N. S., Salleh, L. M., Mohamed, Z. A., & Amini, A. A. (2014). The West and Islam
perspective of leadership. International Affairs and Global Strategy, 18, 42-56. Retrieved
on 26th June from http://www.iiste.org/Journals/index.php/IAGS/article/viewFile/11328/11650
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