The Inspired Manager draws parallels between 40 Islamic and management principles and demonstrates how anyone, particularly those who adopt the Islam faith, can apply the principles described in the Noble Qur'an in their role as a manager.
During my 2nd assignment in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (over a decade ago) I worked with Maaz Gazdar who is now an IT and Business Manager at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Thuwal, which is 80km north of Jeddah along the Red sea coast. Maaz and his colleague Shabeer Ahmad published a book called “The Inspired Manager” which Maaz kindly sent me a copy of, back in 2011.
I read the easily digestible 95 pages whilst flying between Spain and London and in addition to furthering my appreciation of Islamic principles, I could not help but think; “if more managers of this or any faith read this book, they might well be inspired (as the tile of the book suggests) and motivated to make greater efforts in applying the principles of their own faith to their day-to-day role as a professional manager.” This would undoubtedly create an improvement in the way in which projects and programmes of any nature are managed across the Middle East and further afield.
Maaz and Shabeer divided the book and its 40 principles into three sections:
Section 1: Qualities of a Manager
Section 2: Best Management Practices
Section 3: Leading Teams
In an effort to provide an insight into the type of principles that have been written about, I have listed below, the 6 principles contained in the shortest section of the book – “Best Management Practices”.
Principle 17: Remove Ambiguities
Principle 18: Establish Written Agreements
Principle 19: Pay Full Wages and Settle Debts on Time
Principle 20: Do not be wasteful
Principle 21: Plan and Action Well
Principle 22: Think Out-of-the-Box
If we look closer at Principle 18, it is not difficult to recall from personal experience the many instances when misunderstandings and even project failure have been caused by lack of documentation – from project plans to the minutes of meetings. Such a fundamental shortfall in good management can be seen in projects and programmes across many organisations. To many, Principle 18 might seem like good common sense, but the reality is, such common sense is often missing across projects that cost incredible amounts of money.
The authors write; “Islamic jurisprudence is adamant that agreements should be recorded. This means that agreements must be written down in a clear and simple manner.”
After making specific references to the Qur'an, the authors continue by writing; “The wisdom here is that written agreements eliminate assumptions and reduce the sources of disputes. This Islamic principle is applied in business as well as in other areas of life.”
This is just one of the 40 principles; but all of the Principles in this book can be said to be good common sense, and good ethics. However, the fact that they play an important role in the Noble Qur'an, should further inspire any Muslim professional to become a better manager.
Razi Fakih – acting CEO, Bank Al-Bilad, Saudi Arabia wrote;
“The Inspired Manager is really an inspiring publication that clearly demonstrates the convergence of modern management principles towards Islamic teachings.”
The book is an insightful read for both Muslim and non-Muslim managers and you can read more about it and buy it here.