Leadership: What Is It and How to Deal with It? [Part Three]

Dec 18, 2010


What Is It and How to Deal with It?
[Part Three]

[Part One] | [Part Two]

Dr. Pasha

(Bringing Islam to the World One Concept at a Time!
Taking the Qur’an to Every Home and Heart that Needs It —
And which One Does Not?)



Authoritarian Leadership:
Zillay Ilaahi Model

Or maybe,

The leadership appears to do things “right.”

Up to a point.

It seems to produce results.

Up to a point.

It gives the appearance of being innovative, fearless, practical and all that.

Up to a point.

Yet, it is less than open in its ways.

It is authoritarian, arbitrary, capricious, conniving, calculating, secretive, underhanded, despotic, tyrannical and dictatorial.

In a word, it is un-Islamic.

It hides, twists, manipulates, covers up, distorts, doles out, delays, rations and manages information.

It fiddles with facts.

It doctors data.

It fudges reality.

It falsifies records and documents.

Frames, colors, packages and presents facts, people, places, events, objects, issues to suit its purposes, policies, preferences, passions and predilections.

Gives currency to false interpretations and conclusions.

Promotes self-serving and misleading spins on events and issues.

Uses euphemisms to mask, mitigate or mutilate reality.

Scatters red herrings.

Fosters false belief and perception.

Nurtures naiveté and demands blind trust.

Knowingly mixes truth with falsehood.

Facts with opinion.

Reality with fiction.

At times, quite cynically.



Such leadership generally un-, dis- and mis-informs the group, the organization, the community, the nation or the people it purports to represent, serve and lead.

It, thus, lies and cheats.

Hides and distorts.

Denies and disavows.

Bullies and bickers.

It dithers, prevaricates, obfuscates, muddies the waters and throws a cloak of confusion over truth.

Such leadership is generally patronizing, cynical, conniving, calculating, condescending and a prisoner of expediency of one kind or another.

It routinely misleads the rank and file.

And keeps them in the dark.

It resorts to subterfuge, maneuvering, manipulation and sleights of hand as means of dealing with its followers.

Rather than trust, openness, information, education and persuasion.

It hides behind the fig leaves of “Permissible Lies” and “Plausible Deniabilities.”

It operates in devious, often ruthless and Machiavellian ways.

It stifles talent and initiative.

It kills or discredits dissent.

It squanders resources.

It generally fails to consult.

Or give account.

Or delegate authority.

Or encourage and facilitate participation.

Or share power.

It reacts negatively, defensively, haughtily, arrogantly, imperiously and scornfully to questioning, criticism and suggestions from those it purports to lead.

It uses evasive, delaying and devious tactics.

It resorts to cover ups and rationalizations.

It operates through secrecy, subterfuge and manipulation.

Above all, it is not – and does not consider itself to be – accountable to the group, the organization, the community, the nation or the people it purports to represent, serve and lead.

It does not hold itself accountable for its actions and policies.

It does not hold itself accountable for the fruits and consequences of those actions and policies.

It does not hold itself accountable for the philosophies, processes and procedures that it followed and which produced those actions and policies.

Nor does it hold itself accountable for the resources and treasures which it squandered in the pursuit of its misguided and self-serving actions and policies.

Resources that it often plundered at the pretext of pursuing its actions and policies for the betterment of those whom it purports to lead.

Resources that it raised from and in the name of the group, the organization, the community, the nation or the people it purports to represent, serve and lead.

Such leadership, though in fact part of the corrupt model, may be referred to as the authoritarian or imperial model of leadership.

It is the Shahinshahi Model of leadership, to use, once again, an Urdu expression.

Or call it the Zillay Ilaahi model – the model of leadership that holds power by what used to be called divine right

That is to say,

This type of leadership tries to play god.

Or behave like royalty.

It is, in effect, imperial, imperious leadership.

In the ultimate analysis, it is the leadership of the stick and the whip.

Of the boot and the spur.

Of the sword and the gun.

And of their many modern variants and sundry sophisticated substitutes.

It is the leadership of the jungle and the wild – and of the beast.

It is a fossil from primitive and pre-civilized times.

From times when the darkness of tyranny filled the earth and when might constituted right.

Almost the only right.

When the lion invariably and unquestionably got the lion’s share.

For no other reason or right than being a lion.

The most ferocious and feared animal around.

When kings ruled by “divine right.”

And potentates prevailed simply because they inherited the mantle or could muster the most muscle.

When merit came with birth, and achievement followed ascription.

This type of leadership predates the struggles by masses of humanity throughout the globe for independence, freedom, dignity, justice and equality.

It thumbs its nose at the suffering and sacrifices of hundreds of millions of people in pursuit of the most basic of human rights.

Throughout Asia, Africa and Latin America.

And Europe and the United States.

In almost all parts of the world.

And in almost all cultures, creeds and philosophies.

This leadership predates the United Nations’ Human Rights Charter.

And the Geneva Conventions.

It predates the French Revolution and its powerful notions of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.

It predates the Glorious Revolution and writing of The Rights of Man.

It predates the American Revolution and revolutionary Patrick Henry’s timeless cry: “Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of slavery and chains? Forbid it Almighty God! As for me, give me liberty or give me death!”

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