To Love is to Lead

Whenever I think about leadership I try to always think of Verse in the Quran Surah Al-Imran Verse 139 ( 3:159 )

فَبِمَا رَحْمَةٍ مِّنَ اللَّهِ لِنتَ لَهُمْ ۖ وَلَوْ كُنتَ فَظًّا غَلِيظَ الْقَلْبِ لَانفَضُّوا مِنْ حَوْلِكَ ۖ فَاعْفُ عَنْهُمْ وَاسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ وَشَاوِرْهُمْ فِي الْأَمْرِ ۖ فَإِذَا عَزَمْتَ فَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُتَوَكِّلِينَ

So by the special mercy from Allah , [O Muhammad], you were lenient with them. And if you had been rude [in speech] and harsh in heart, they would have disbanded from you. So pardon them and ask forgiveness for them and consult them in decision making. And when you have decided, then rely upon Allah . Indeed, Allah loves those who rely [upon Him].

This verse revealed after the battle of Uhud, when 70 of the companions (Muslims) were killed including the beloved uncle of the Prophet (SAW) – Hamza. This tragic incident happened as a result of some Muslims not following the plan in the battle – by leaving their sniper post. This strategic decision, by Muhammed (SAW), to his archers to not leave this ‘sniper’ post at all costs was somehow misinterpreted by the archers. They thought the battle was over and they left the post sadly. The result of this was disastrous and costed many lives.

So obviously Muhammed (SAW) was upset and had every right to be as a soldier and especially a leader. Then the above verse came down and instructed our Prophet (SAW) to be soft and lenient.

Not only to be lenient but to forgive them as well. Allah takes it even further and mentions “consult them in decision making”

Now why would the Prophet (SAW) need to consult them. They just messed up? They did not follow the order? People were killed? Another point is Muhammed (SAW) was more knowledgeable, senior, aware and wiser – He (SAW) also received revelation from Allah through Angel Jibreel (AS).

This leadership lesson reminds us that it is not the obedience of your following that is important. The most important thing is the love of your following. They must love you and they must know that you love them and if there is any doubt, you must remove it.

Let us look at one of the bestselling books on leadership called “The Leadership Challenge” by James Kouzes & Barry Posner – these gentlemen are the world’s preeminent researchers on leadership. They have studied the science of leadership for over 3 decades but what is really interesting is that they reveal the “Leadership Secret” in the 25th edition of their book in the conclusion.

Guess what the best kept leadership secret is? Four letters – It’s “LOVE!” – love is what fuels the vision of every leader. Love for the vision, love the work that you do, love for the people who do the work with you and for you. Love for the people you blessed to serve. Just love for the process and love of life.

Our Prophet (SAW) taught us well via this amazing verse.

That is leadership.

Listen to the full lecture by Nouman Ali Khan via MuslimCentral


Ego = Edging God Out


So I have been in my new HR role for about 9 months now and people are asking me “Khalil you’ve spoken to a few JHB and CPT consultants, surely you can pick up trends and challenges – what are they?” Well it’s really difficult to, but what I do know is EGO is the ENEMY.

Yes, ego is our problem and we all have it to a certain extent. Ego is your unworthy belief in your own importance. Now don’t confuse Ego with Confidence. Confidence is real. Confidence is earned. Ego is fake, Ego is something your grandmother told you, you can do? 🙂

Marina Abramovic, very well known performance artists –  said that “the second you believe in your own greatness, that’s the death of your creativity.” What I am saying is that ego stops us from doing our best work.

Ego stops us from giving credit to the people who really deserve it.

Ego allows the managers to take on more responsibility than they should.

Ego stops us from doing what is best for the client, project and for the company.

So are the solutions. I don’t know – I can think of 2 ideas though:

1.      We all heard of fake it till you make it. How about make it so you don’t have to fake it.

2.      And lastly – just try and be humble.

There is this book by James Kerr called Legacy. He studied The New Zealand rugby team, the world champions. Very interestingly what do you think they do every time they win a match or tournament?


They sweep – 2 or 3 of them literally sweep the floor. Why would professionals at that level do something so silly? Because they understand the importance of being humble, it helps them build character – that Glory is Fleeting – that ego is the enemy. While the country and parts of the world is celebrating their victory. While children are dreaming of being an ALL Black. These guys at the height of their achievement are sweeping the floor. The dust is always collecting – so sweep every day!

They have an internal mantra – better people = better All Blacks.

So I want you all to stand. Lift up your imaginary glass – repeat after me. Better People = Equal = Better [Your Company Name]