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Muhammad Basheer Juma. All rights reserved by the Author under copy rights Act of Pakistan. Translator: Sabih Mohsin. Reviewed by. Abdul Ghani Saeed.

I cannot succeed except with the help of Allah; in Him do I trust and to Him do I turn for everything. 11:88, Al-Quran

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HIGHWAY TO SUCCESS A PROGRAM FOR SUCCESS IN CAREER AND PERSONAL LIFE THROUGH SELF DEVELOPMENT AND TIME MANAGEMENT By Muhammad Basheer Juma

Translated by Sabih Mohsin Reviewed by Abdul Ghani Saeed

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HIGHWAY TO SUCCESS

A SELF DEVELOPMENT PLAN For Success in Career and Personal Life Author: Translator: Reviewed by

Muhammad Basheer Juma All rights reserved by the Author under copy rights Act of Pakistan Sabih Mohsin Abdul Ghani Saeed

The book was written originally in Urdu under the title, ‘Shahrah-e-Zinagi per Kamyabi ka Safar’.( A Journey of Success on Highway of Life) Publisher:

Time Management Club Publications, 52/1, Khayaban e Hilal, Defence, Phase 6, Karachi PO Box 8545 Karachi Cant.75530, Pakistan Phone 0092 300 8296005 and 0092 300 2910683

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Fazleesons Publications Niaz Ahmed, Abdul Rasheed, Faisal Rasheed and Muhammad Salman

Distributor:

Fazlee Book Super Market, Urdu Bazar, Near Radio Pakistan-Karachi-Pakistan. Phone 0092-21-221 2991 [email protected] Kitab Sirai, Al Hamd Market, Gizni Street, Urdu Bazar, Lahore, Pakistan. Phone 0092-42-732 0318 [email protected]

Price

Hardbound US $15/Paper back US $10/-

Website

www.timemanagementclub.com

No part of this book (paper or electronic) may be reproduced or transmitter in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Time Management Club books are available at special quantity discounts to use as premiums and sales promotions, or for use in corporate training programs and for educational institutions. Please contact [email protected]

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Dedicated to THE LEADER OF MANKIND Hazrat

MUHAMMAD

Sallallah-o-Allaih-e-Wa-Sallam (Peace be upon Him)

BOOK REVIEW DAWN MAGAZINE SUNDAY NOVEMBER 23, 1997 (on orignal book in Urdu) A SUCCESS JOURNEY ON THE HIGHWAY OF LIFE The book is a guide to success in life. It is comprehensive and highly readable. Its author Basheer Juma is an accountant by profession. The main theme of the book is the man himself and the time he spends till the end. The planning and the careful usage of time, so that maximum benefit may be derived out of it is the real thing, which matters in life. The author is very clear in his perceptions and has divided his topics in a classified manner, discussing them in persuasive style. Also the text is lucid and brief without much sermonizing, though putting due emphasis on honest living. Some charts in the last pages of the book have also been included for those who face some problems in their lives. They can pick a chart of their choice and act accordingly. Some inspiring anecdotes from the lives of Islamic personalities provide added reading pleasure. Hardbound, the book has been immaculately produced.---HA

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT The author is thankful to all those who helped or guided him in any manner in the preparation of these articles and in the publication of this book. The author is thankful to his teachers, professors and principals of educational institutions where he spent his formative years. The author is thankful to Mr Sabih Mohsin for his enormous hard work in translating the Urdu script of the Book. The author is also thankful to Professor A G Saeed for taking pains in reviewing the translation and making material improvement in view of his enormous experience in the field of marketing, teaching, training and human development. The author acknowledges the assistance provided by Mr Sohaib Ayab. The author appreciates the continued guidance, support and encouragement by his elder brother Professor Zakarya Juma Memon and sister Mariam Haji Muhammad. The support and help of family members Ashrafunnisa, Ibrahim, Humera, Abid, Sadia, Omer and Faisal Abdul Sattar were a source of inspiration. Prayers are for the parents who spent their lives in heat to provide us shelter.

Personal thanks To my teachers:, Mr Ansaruddin, Mr Abdul Razzaq Farooqi, Mr Muhammad Nabi Fauq, Mr Nazeer, Mr Aleem, Mr Tahir Mamdani, Mr Abdul Haq Afroz, Professor A W Qureshi, Professor Anjum Aazmi, Professor Masood ul Hassan, Professor Syed Imam Ashraf Sabswari, Professor Nawab Alam Farooqui, Professor Abdul Hafeez Qureshi, Professor Shauket Ali, Professor Azizuddin, Professor Abrar Ali Jaffery and Professor Muhammad Shareef. To Mr Ebrahim Sidat, Chief Executive of Ford Rhodes Sidat Hyder (Ernst & Young Pakistan) for his continuous guidance and support in technical and administrative matters and also in the field of self development and time management. Mr Ahmed Dawood Patel, Chairman-Ford Rhodes Sidat Hyder (Ernst & Young Pakistan) for his encouragement and persuasion for this type of work. The author has learnt a lot from his habit and style of doing and executing things in a minimum possible time. Mr Nasimuddin Hyder for his appreciation for this type of work and practicing “do it now” approach. Mr Farid Khan, Mr Najam I Chaudri, Mr Khalid Rafi, Mr Sohail Hasan, Mr Masood Zain, Mr Foiz ul Alam, Mr M I Naseem, Mr M Nafees, Mr Farrukh Seer and Mr Shabbar Zaidi for their encouragement and support during my association with A F Ferguson & Co and thereafter. To Mr Khurram Jah Murad, Professor Khursheed Ahmed, Dr Ejaz Shafi Gilani, Shaikh Mehboob Ali, Syed Munawer Hassan, Mr Tasleem

87 Alam Manzar, Muhammad Hassan, Tasneem Ahmed, Abdul Malik Mujahid, Mahmood Ahmed Farooqui, Muhammad Hussain Mehanti, Mian Tanveer Magoon, Qari Hafiz Raza ul Mustafa al Azmi, Molana Mushtaq Ahmed and Molana Ashfaq Ahmed Siddiqui for their guidance To Mr Munaf Atara for his encouragement and providing me an opportunity to be in Sharjah for a week – that time was utilized for reviewing this book and making necessary corrections. To my friends Ilyas A Sattar, Fazlur Rehman, Mansoor Shaikh, Khalid Rehman, Aslam and Ashraf Haji Muhammad, Naveed, Javed and Junaid Zakarya, Hanif Kamdar, Arif and Ather Ghazipura, Ishaq Noor, Faisal Khanani, Abdul Ghaffar Piddah and G M Chottani for their silent support. To those concerned friends who sent me interesting articles and books---Mr Gibrail Amin, Najam Abbas, Mr Khalid Waheed, Mr Masoodul Hassan, Mr Ihab, Mr Ahmed Adil and Mr Waqar Elahi, Mr Nadeem Naseem, Mr Humayun Qureshi and Mr Asim Ali Qadri. Also for the help provided by Dr Shakil ur Rehman Farooqui and Mr Abdul Rehman Hingora. To those who helped me in finalizing the urdu text of this book— Mr Sajid Ali Siddiqui, Mr Nazir Laghari, Mr Safeer Hassan Subswari, Mr Kaleem Chughtai and Mr Abdul Salam Salami. To Mr Zareef and Mr Mr Sarwat of Information System Technologies for developing the website www.timemanagementclub.com. To my colleagues Mr Salim Chinoy, Mr Pervaiz Muslim, Mr Aqeel Merchant, Mr Mustafa Khandwala, Mr Majid Khandwala, Mr Waqar Ahmed Khan, Mr Omer Morshed, Mr Asim Siddiqui, Mr Iqbal Saleem, Mr Waqar Hyder, Mr Khalil Waggan, Mr. Shariq Ali Zaidi, Mr Riaz A Rahman, Mr Qamrual Islam, Mr Ejaz Ahmed, Mr Nasim Akber, Mr Muhammad Junaid, Mr Tariq Jameel, Mr Shibli Islam Rehan, Mr Shakaib Arif, Mr Omer Chughtai, Mr Omer Mustafa Ansari, Mr Aftab Salahuddin, Mr Tariq Feroz Khan, Mr Arsalan Khalid, Mr Shabbir Yunus, Mr Sharjeel Jameel, Mr Amin Tharani and Mr Shahzad Hussain. To Mr Abdul Rasheed, Naveed Shamshad, Niaz Ahmed, Sajjad Shah, Abbas Ali and Joseph James for their support in processing my work in this field. To Mr Tariq Fazlee for his dedication in the designing of the book, Jameel Ahmed Khan for supervising the production process, Faisal Rasheed and Muhammad Salman for layout designing and Sajid Fazlee for his efforts in marketing the original book. To training executives of various organizations for inviting the author to deliver lectures on self and time management. To Dr Farhat Hashmi of Al Huda International for prescribing this book to the students of Al Huda and consequently sending the message contained in this book to various families.

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ABOUT THE BOOK Time is an invisible reality of life. In fact, ‘time is life’. He who utilizes time properly, traverses his journey to success without much hassle, provided that other factors are in his favor and Allah is making things easier for him. The main subject of this book is man and proper utilization of his time. The contents of this book were printed for the first time in the form of articles in Pakistan’s popular Urdu newspaper Daily Jang from 1989 to 1992. Subsequently, the same were broadcast as brief talks on Radio Pakistan’s national network programme, Subh-e-Pakistan, from July, 1992, to August, 1993. In 1995, these articles were published in the form of a book by Jang Publishers and later, by Milad Publications and Al Fateh Publications. This book provides guidelines for better time management; avoiding time traps; overcoming lethargy; planning; personality development; conversation skills; interpersonal skills; teamwork; delegation; and selfdevelopment. The book also includes charts and forms to help the reader in implementing the ideas presented herein . A number of prayers/ supplications (dua) have also been included for success in this world and in the hereafter. This book is meant for those who are desirous of making their lives disciplined, balanced, effective, active and purposeful. Perhaps, these are the kind of people sought after by success itself. Look out for success; it may be knocking at your door!

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THE AUTHOR Muhammad Basheer Juma is a Chartered Accountant (CA) by profession. He did his CA from the Institute of Chartered Accountants, Pakistan, in 1980. Now he is one of the partners in the firm Ford Rhodes Sidat Hyder & Co.( A member firm of Ernst & Young) with which he is associated since 1986. Earlier, he worked in A. F. Ferguson & Co. (A member firm of Price WaterhouseCoopers) from 1974 to 1985; first as Assistant Manager (1982-3) and then as Manager. He studied at the Government College of Commerce and Economics, Karachi, for his bachelor’s degree in Commerce after matriculating from the Madressah-eIslamia Secondary School, Kharadar. Muhammad Basheer Juma has worked as an auditor throughout his career. While working with A F Ferguson (PWC) and in Ford Rhodes Sidat Hyder (E & Y) he has had the opportunity to observe closely the working of numerous large and small public, private and multinational organizations. He started writing for Daily Jang in 1989 for its Friday edition. Later, those articles were broadcast as brief talks in Radio Pakistan’s national network programme, Subh-e-Pakistan, for about a year. He also delivers lectures based on these articles at various institutions and organizations. Contact P.O.Box 8545, Karachi Cant.-75530 Pakistan E mail [email protected]

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Disclaimer The author has made the best effort to provide reasonable information on the subject covered. However the author and publisher assume no responsibility for any errors or omissions. By reading this book either in paper or electronic form, you acknowledge that you assume full responsibility for the use of the materials and information contained in this book and the related website and other electronic formats. Under no circumstances will the author or publisher be held liable for any loss or damage caused by use or reliance on the information and material published or electronically transmitted or contained in the resources referenced in this book and the related websites and other electronic formats. If you don’t agree to these terms, you should not read this book in either form.

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To the readers The subject of this book is self-reform and personality development. The book covers matters related to managing time and human relationships. After reading this book, if you feel that it is useful for your family members, friends, relatives, co-workers, business circles and others, including schools, colleges and madaris (religious institutions), you may present this book as a gift, on your behalf or on behalf of your organization. Advertisement of your organization may be inserted in the end and a message from the head of your organization may be included in the beginning of the book in case of bulk orders. Such expenditure can be met through your organization’s budget for image-building and advertising. Gift of books to madaris and other educational institutions should be treated as an investment for the future and fulfillment of a social obligation. Readers are requested to volunteer for the sponsorship of this book by distribution of hard copies in the educational institutions. For online sponsorship please visit the websitewww.timemanagementclub.com in sponsorship section. Readers are also requested to take lead in contacting philanthropist for publication of this book on behalf of their own and family trusts. Let us serve the society in this manner as well. If this book helps in improving the quality of life, it would be a Sadqa-e-Jariyah (continual charity). This book is also available online in Urdu and English languages on www.timemanagementclub.com For translation and publications rights and licensing arrangement kindly contact at PO Box 8545, Karachi Cant. 75530-Pakistan or email [email protected] For bulk orders with the insertion of additional pages for advertisement and messages, kindly contact [email protected]

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Contents Preface: Be Your Own Judge

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PART ONE The Importance Of Time, Wastage Of Time And Procrastination

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1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Time Is Life Individual And Collective Wastage Of Time Procrastination, Lethargy And Slackness Procrastination: Various Forms And Causes Procrastination: How To Handle It

PART TWO Individual And Career Planning 6. Planning 7. Discipline Through Diary 8. Career Planning: Creating Your Own Destiny

19 36 47 54 63 71 73 79 87

PART THREE Personality Development

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9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

105 109 113 118 124

Impressive Personality Elements Of An Impressive Personality Intellectual Components Of A Personality Impressive Personality: Moral Character Destructive Elements Of Personality

PART FOUR The Art Of Conversation

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14. 15. 16. 17. 18.

133 138 143 146 151

Success Through The Art Of Conversation Weaknesses Of Communication Mischiefs Of The Tongue The Journey To Success Telephonic Conversation

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PART FIVE Life In The Office

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19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25.

159 163 168 174 179 184 191

Human Relationships In The Office You And The People In Your Office A Pleasant Office Atmosphere Your Field Of Action Punctuality Eliminating Discord The Power Of Money

PART SIX Success In The Practical Field

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26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31.

197 209 211 224 230 235

Teamwork Delegation-Getting The Work Done Definition, Scope And Purpose Of Delegation Meeting As Means Of Building Organizations How To Conduct A Meeting Minutes Of The Meeting

PART SEVEN Individual Capabilities

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32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44.

245 247 249 251 253 257 261 263 264 266 273 276 281

The Thought Process The Art Of Listening The Art Of Rapid Reading How To Improve The Memory The Art Of Writing The Ability To Think And Decide Moderation And Austerity Dress And Sobriety Self-assessment Qualities Of Leadership Guidelines For Leaders Challenges, Demands And Response Importance Of Prayers (Supplications)

PART EIGHT Organizing Your Personality Through Forms And Charts

295

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In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful. BE YOUR OWN JUDGE It is not very often that one sits on judgment on oneself. The process requires enlisting of one’s weaknesses, shortcomings and failings; and analyzing the internal and external causal factors. The reason why such a review is not undertaken frequently is the fact that it requires the will and the courage to face the truth and reality, however bitter or disgusting. Ordinary mortals are not sufficiently bestowed with these qualities. However, at times, under the pressure of, or as a reaction to certain events, one suddenly turns to introspection, evaluating past actions, weighing the present circumstances and planning for the future. For such a self-appraisal to be rewarding, one has to examine one’s performance without any leniency or complacency. This accountability to one’s own assessment ultimately leads to success. With some effort, one can develop the habit of taking up a self-assessment every night before going to sleep. One needs, only a few minutes to do this. As a result of this, the next 24 hours present ample opportunities for well-planned actions. With a clear vision of objectives and goals, one can move on with success and confidence. Everyone—young or old, man or woman, rich or poor—can do introspection at the end of the day and rise to a new day of determination. In one cycle of day and night, there are 1,440 minutes. This is the quantum of wealth and of resources that every human being is endowed with, without any discrimination. The book focuses on success in this world, and in the world hereafter, through judicious utilization of time at our disposal.

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According to a oft-quoted saying, it is easier to wake up a person who is asleep, than to awaken a person who think he is wakeful. We know the state in which the Pakistani people and the Muslim World are placed. They are all awake but have no desire to get up. They know very well what is wrong with them and are also aware of what is needed to set things right, but unfortunately they lack the will to act. This book aims at awakening them from slumber in a friendly manner. This book has been written for those who possess a desire to be successful. One who has the will would also be able to find the way. This book aims at helping the readers in removing the hurdles on their way to success. Let us take one step forward today. Tomorrow, it would be two steps and the day after, it might be four. Let us maintain this pace for a month and then see how far ahead we move. It is for man to make an effort, to put the digit 1. Allah helps him by placing a number of zeros after it. There is an Arabic saying which states that one who knocks the door and makes an effort, finally enters the house. May Allah reward this humble effort with success. Muhammad Basheer Juma March 23, 2006 (English translation completion date)

May 19,1992 (Original book-Urdu version-Pakistan-date)

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Importance of Time, Wastage of Time and Procrastination

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PART ONE The Importance Of Time, Wastage Of Time And Procrastination 1. Time Is Life

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2. Individual And Collective Wastage Of Time

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3. Procrastination, Lethargy And Slackness

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4. Procrastination: Various Forms And Causes

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5. Procrastination: How To Handle It

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TIME IS LIFE Time is life. We can achieve success by utilizing it judiciously. For this purpose, it is necessary to: realize the importance of time; analyze the causes of wasted time; work out a strategy for a better utilization of time; and be conscious of our responsibilities in this context.

IMPORTANCE OF TIME Time is a unique resource. It is a highly perishable commodity and there is no way to conserve it. It is like ice that melts away if left to itself. There is no substitute for time. You can neither use it nor waste it in advance. You cannot bring back the time that has passed. You can not put a barrier between two points in time because its flow is continuous. Just as the movement of the sun and the moon or the rotation of the earth cannot be stopped or altered, the continuity of time, too, cannot be disrupted. The time that has passed away is no longer usable. To spend time in lamenting on the lost time is a further waste of time. Plans can be made to utilize the time that has yet to come, but it cannot be utilized in advance. We can only utilize the time that is currently at our disposal. Time cannot be bought or sold, nor it can be let out or rented. One cannot have more than the time allocated in the form of life. Every individual has his own capital in the form of time. When one gets up in the morning, everyone—young or old, rich or poor—receives a purse of 24 hours, nothing more nothing less. He is free to do with it as he pleases: consume it in his best interest or waste it to his eventual loss and sorrow. Obviously, he must act in his own interest. The demand for time exceeds its inelastic supply thus its supply can never be equated to its demand. Time is priceless yet it is valuable. It’s value varies with the nature of goals that one sets for oneself. Every task requires time for its fulfillment and every

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action takes place at one time or the other. We always grumble on the scarcity of time and yet we tend to postpone things for some other time. But that never happens. We are so engrossed in our daily chores that we can hope to have leisure time only when we die. But, again, we have no time to ponder over this aspect. Conviction about frailty of life, inability to predict death, and belief in accountability after death, are the sources of strength and inspiration for effective utilization of time. Comparing time with money, wealth or gold is not fair. Distribution of wealth is unequal, while time is available to everyone in equal measure, 24 hours a day, no more and no less Unfortunately, for most of us, the time spent in earning money or acquiring means of livelihood is the best, if not the only utilization of time. Life extends much beyond making money or winning favors. We must realize this; and we must strive to earn and save something for the life hereafter, as well.

TIME ACCORDING TO THE HOLY QUR’AN In Surah Al-Asr, Allah declares by Time that Man is in a great loss, except for the following. Those who believe in God Those who do good Those who exhort others towards truth Those who exhort others towards steadfastness Explaining the Surah, Imam Fakhruddin Razi writes: Asr or Time is the framework within which wondrous events keep occurring. It is within the confines of Asr that Man acts and suffers all that befalls him—be it happiness or sorrow, poverty or riches, peace or conflict. The time of human life is, therefore, supremely important and precious. Imam Razi further states: “I learnt the meaning of Surah AlAsr from an ice seller who urged people to have mercy on the man whose asset was melting away. Hearing his lament, it occurred to me that this is the meaning of the holy verse, ‘By the Time, Man is in great loss.’ Frittering human life is like melting ice. Man would, therefore, end up in sorrow if he wastes his time or spends it in wrong pursuits.”

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In the same context, Sheikh Abul Fattah says: Loss and deprivation is in store for those who do not value time and waste all of it that is available to them. The time of life is soon spent and one who has not used it properly, is left empty handed. Surah Al-Furqan (25:72) declares: The servants of God are those who do not bear witness to falsehood and when they come across anything indecent, they pass by it with dignity and grace. SAYINGS OF THE PROPHET (PEACE BE UPON HIM) The last Prophet (Peace be upon him) is quoted to have said: ‘Among Allah’s bounties, there are two which are not made proper use of. These are health and time’. (BukhariTirmizi) ‘He whose two days are equal in accomplishment, is a sure loser.’ (Sunan al Daylami) ‘Man would not move even one step away from Allah till he has answered the five questions: In what pursuits was his life spent? In what manner was his youth spent? How did he earn his income? How did he spend his earnings? How much of his knowledge (of good) did he put into practice? (Tirmizi)

Part of someone being a good Muslim is his leaving alone that which does not concern him.(Sunan al Tirmidi)

SAYINGS OF THE HOLY PROPHET’S COMPANIONS Hazrat Abu Bakar Siddique (R.A.) used to pray thus: “ O Allah, keep us not in darkness; forgive us for our delusions; and make us not unmindful of time.”

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Hazrat Umer’s (R.A.) prayer used to be: “O Allah, make my time gainful and cause me to put it to good use.” Hazrat Ali (R.A.) is reported to have said: “Let a day’s task be completed that very day as the following day will dawn with tasks of its own.” “Today is the opportunity for action; reckoning is for tomorrow when opportunity for action will be afforded no more.” [Tomorrow will be the day of reckoning, with no opportunity for action] “Praiseworthy is he who realizes the value of opportunity (for good deeds) provided by life (while it lasts), puts it to good use and prepares well to meet death.” “Devote your choicest hours in seeking the pleasure of Allah to whom belongs all the time, anyway.”

OTHER SAYINGS What is life except the time which we utilize from the moment of our birth till the instant we die. If precious gold is lost, we might regain the whole of it or even more than what we had lost. But the time which has been spent or lost, can never be regained. And that is why time is more precious than gold, diamond or any kind of jewels and pearls. In fact, time is another name for life. Careful planning and appropriate management of time is what is needed for success. The wise refrain from giving the right advice at the wrong time. They strive for always doing the right thing at the right time. Time is like a sword. Time is fluid, never static. One who realizes the obligations of time, discovers the reality that is life, because time is just another name for life. Other sayings emphasize the value of time and advise against wasting it. History bears witness to the fact that all those who have been successful in life, owe their success to judicious utilization of time.

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TIME AS VIEWED BY SCHOLARS Someone came to Aamir Bin Qais, a religious scholar and said to him “Come on. Let us talk. “ He retorted, “Well, then ask the sun to stop.” The pious man knew that, to talk aimlessly was to waste time. That was why he asked the sun to be stopped so that the flow of time was stayed and none of it was wasted. It was a polite manner of refusing to participate in a time wasting activity. Sheikh Muhammad bin Salam Al-Baikundi was one of the teachers of Imam Bukhari. Once, when his pen broke, he asked as to who would like to give him a new pen for a dinar. He was prepared to spend one dinar, a substantial amount at that time, to get a pen immediately so that he could continue writing without wasting time. Fatah bin Khaqan was a minister in the court of the Abbasid Caliph Al-Mutawakkil. He always used to keep a book in his sleeve. Whenever he got even a brief break in his official work, he would take out the book from his sleeve and start reading. Whenever anyone visited Ismail bin Ishaq Al-Qazi at his residence, he was found engaged in reading. During adulthood of Ibne Rushd (Averos, to the West), there were only two nights when he was unable to find time to read. Imam Ibne Hareer Tibri never wasted a moment in his life. He used to write fourteen pages every day. He did not spend a single moment of his time in any unproductive activity. Al-Bairuni, a great scholar, never wasted time. It is said that only a few minutes before his death, he was engaged in a discussion on some scholarly issue with a Faqeeh (an expert in jurisprudence) who had come to enquire about his health. Allama Ibne Jozi, author of around one thousand books and articles, criticizes those who waste time in fun and frolic, wander in the streets, staring at the passerby or commenting on price fluctuations. Imam Fakhruddin Raazi, who was the author of more than one hundred books, often lamented the time that was wasted in eating and drinking.

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Allama Shahabuddin Mahmood Aaloosi, divided the night into three parts: one for resting, the second for praying and the third for reading and writing.

TIME WASTERS Following is a list of factors that lead to wastage of time. After reading these the same may be classified into four broad categories., as under: A. Personal and Psychological B. Social and related to society or culture C. Conceptual or relating to understanding D. Economic Following are a few indications which may lead us to understand our time wasters: Trying to do everything and learning through trial and error results in wastage of time. We should be able to learn from others and to benefit from their experiences. Trying to be exceedingly obliging often leads to wastage of time. We should commit only what we can deliver; otherwise we should learn to say no. Perfectionism also leads to wastage of time. One is likely to leave tasks unfinished in pursuit of perfection. Application of effort without the required skill and understanding of what is involved, often results in wastage of time. Lethargy and procrastination are big time wasters. The ‘some-other-time’ attitude and ‘will do it tomorrow’ are time traps. According to a wise saying, tomorrow is a word found in the dictionary of fools. You meet lots of losers on the road to success who waited in vain for a better tomorrow. Leaving things half done, is a big time waster. Attempting one task at a time and taking it to a conclusion, is far

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better than starting several tasks all at once, and then leaving them half done. Lack of self discipline, lack of emotional control and lack of appreciation for ground realities, lead to wastage of time. Lack of attention to important affairs, lack of feedback on tasks in hand, and lack of follow up, are all timewasters. Not every acquaintance is a friend; and we need not give time to everyone up to his/her contentment. Absence of goals and priorities in life. Commuting also time consuming. When it is inevitable, one should find something to do during commuting to utilize this valuable time. In our society, private functions like wedding parties, generally consume five to six hours each time; which is a criminal waste of a precious resource. Absence of written job descriptions, lack of delegation, coordination and control in organizations lead to mismanagement and wastage of time. Complicated procedures, small task and frequent tea breaks, in which our government offices excel, lead to a massive wastage of time in un-productive work, which results in burdening the nation under heavy taxes. Cricket frenzy also costs the nation millions of man-hours every year. Adhocism and quick fixes are also responsible for a significant part of the time lost every day. Lack of ability to take decisions and to assume responsibility, lead to postponement of important decisions and actions, resulting in wastage of time. Excessive paper work and red tape are a bane to progress.

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Lack of appreciation for punctuality and productivity also contribute to loss of time. Not providing the required training and not preparing functionaries for responsibilities that lie ahead, leads to massive wastage of organizational time. Aimless telephone calls, lengthy conversation and lacing the essential with the superfluous, is a drain on time. The above list can be extended according to individual circumstances and experiences. However, it is better to categorize our time wasters into the main categories either as listed above, or internal and external or controllable and uncontrollable.

SYMPTOMS OF POOR TIME MANAGEMENT Those who often display one or more of the traits mentioned below, are considered to the mis-managers of time. They need to do some self analysis and soul-searching to improve their performance. Never find time to attend to important matters. Spend more time on urgent tasks to prove one’s indispensability. Unnecessary late sitting in the workplace. Taking work home. Giving too much time to paperwork, procrastinating and waiting for the ‘right’ time and mood to work. Involvement in others’ work at the expense of one’s own assignments. Self-perception of being indispensable. Attending too many meetings and conferences. Inability to say ‘no’ when circumstances warrant so. Remaining under pressure, upset and hard-pressed most of the time. Not being able to finish within time.

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Not paying the utilities’ (gas, electricity and telephone) bills within due dates. Running out of petrol when driving a car or riding a motorcycle. Not finding time to accompany one’s family members to the doctoring case of illness. Try marking yourself against this checklist. It may lead to the beginning of an improvement process.

WASTING THE EMPLOYER’S TIME IS A BREACH OF TRUST Talking about work ethics, Al-Shaikh Zahrani, a renowned Muslim scholar, said in his address to a Juma congregation: “Considering the Muslim Ummah as a whole, the way work is done today in offices and business places, is largely at a variance with the way Allah expects us to do. Some consider it enough to be in the office on time and to stay there till the closing time. They do not bother to evaluate how effectively their time was utilized; were they productive or did they just while away part of their time in gossip and other wasteful activities? The latter is a Khayanat (breach of trust). Almost all of us are guilty of this breach. We need to realize it and take measures to avoid it.

SUGGESTIONS FOR EFFECTIVE USE OF TIME According to an Arabic saying, “One who knocks at the door and makes efforts, manages to enter.” Why not knock at the door to a successful life by learning to manage our time more effectively? Start putting just a few of the following ideas into practice and open the door leading to a better life. Al-Rahman, (the Kind), would value as pearls, the sweat that would flow as we toil. Be conscious of the importance of Time. Understand that by time management we are able to: Make the best use of available time

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Increase its availability by proper utilization Achieve targets and deadlines Become more effective To have peace of mind, productivity at work and happiness at the job and home To increase our chances of success in our endeavours as we are better able to utilize and control ourselves, our time and our resources. Determine our priorities in life which is really the secret of success in achieving, not just the difficult, but also the impossible. Determine your aim in life, the very purpose of your existence; and then prepare yourself for it. Prepare a list of short term and long term plans (goals) for achieving these aims and objectives. A goal is an objective you want to achieve. A plan is a specific way of reaching that goal. Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now. This would lead to a more effective utilization of your time. Try to be effective. Audit your thoughts, particularly those that tempt you to indulge in time-wasting activities. Make a list of your time wasters, including those that emanate from your attitudes, habits, incompetence and personality traits. You have to be honest with yourself. Discuss with your reliable colleagues and the mentors the traits, habits and attitudes which result in wastage of time. Make separate lists of the tasks which are to be completed within a week, a month, a quarter and a year. Also make a daily “To do” list. Assign priorities, targets and deadlines and sequence to perform and also make amendments as and when required. Preferably use columnar book, diary or cards Make a complete list of tasks you initiated at one time or another but have not yet concluded.

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Develop the habit of taking all your tasks to culmination. Find ways and means of utilizing the time wasted in transit and in waiting for things to happen Review these lists from time to time. Write down every promise you make and everything you need to remember right away. Do right things rather than just doing the things right. According to Peter Drucker the effective person do the right job and the efficient person just do the job right. Organize, develop and train members of your team. Try to understand their problems and points of view. Define their individual duties and assign tasks. Keep reviewing the progress and providing guidance and encouragement. Stick to your schedule but be flexible when needed. Identify your prime time, the time of the day at which you are at the peak of your efficiency, and take up your most important tasks at that time. Differentiate between the urgent and the important. Some thing which is important as well as urgent is going to be your priority one. Your have to inventorize your projects and “to do” items and set priorities according to marks assign on the scale of importance and urgency. Also keep in mind our religious values and accountability to Almighty Allah and the day of judgment. Ponder for a while on things you routinely do and amongst these, identify tasks which others can do instead, if only you would allow them to. Learn the technology. Use internet, email and short messages services and save your time and utilize it for better engagements and projects. Learn to use the telephone effectively by minimizing unnecessary salutation and other formalities. Try to be more effective at the psychological level; try to understand and realize the difference between being

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just present in your work place and being effective and try to improve your potential accordingly. Try to achieve more and be more effective in less time through the employment of improved methods. Be moderate in all your activities, whether they concern prayers, socializing, business, politics, eating or planning for the future. Learn to plan your work. If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail. Work with full involvement. Take a break whenever needed. Rest for a while after lunch. Smile when you talk to people. Don’t react seriously to every thing people say. Don’t allow a task or your work as a whole to become an obsession. Plan to put the time spent in travel and in waiting , to best possible use. When you leave your work, leave work. Other commitments now merit your full attention. Use your leisure hours more effectively. Find time to read books, newspapers and magazines. Get involved with healthy pursuits such as adult education, religious education, games and sports. Spend some time regularly on self- development. This is job as well as a project. Give time to this project regularly. This project requires your serious attention. Do not make a trip if the work can be done otherwise. Have all items on hand before starting a job. Make a list of purchasing while going to bazaar. Consolidate or group your errands and tasks. Use Tony Bozan’s mind maps aproach. Have weekly or monthly list photocopied, give columns for quantity and amount to facilitate the

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accountability to the some one you are responsible to. Keep the map of bazaar in your mind and make the sequence accordingly. Never visit a friend without informing or calling him. Admit one’s mistake. It will keep you comfortable and team player. Try to avoid those mistakes and improve your skills for survival. Learn how to excuse the work if you are not able to do it or your priorities do not permit it. Train your self for saying no or politely excusing the job or work you are not able to do it or which is not your priority. Retire early and arise early Work smart rather than hard. Have a place for everything and keep everything in its place. Make constructive use of your waiting time. Clean up as you go. Put things away when you are finished with the work. Don’t buy anything unless you have a place to put it. Don’t buy things just because they are on sale. Refuse to buy things that need special attention and care. Don’t try to do more than one thing at a time. Ask yourself “ What is the best use of my time right now” Make a poster of this question and keep in front of you while you are working or studying. Always consider that today is the last day of my life. Build your day around high pay-off activities; schedule less important items for the time left over. Set deadlines. Make them specific.

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Get help. Sometimes you cant do your work alone. Keep yourself motivated. Reward yourself and your team for their good work. When you are in an eastern culture, note down work you have delegated and keep following it up rigorously. Avoid a trip in person if you can do the same through a letter, fax or email or using short message service of mobile phones. The work or job that are neither important for you nor urgent but have been assigned to you, you can handle them by paying someone else to do them. (Housekeeping work) The above list is an indicative list. You can group them according to your circumstances and also can categorize as mentioned in matter of time wastage.

TRAITS TO AVOID Procrastination (postponing things repeatedly without any reason) is to progress what cancer is to health. The symptoms of procrastination are: sitting on tasks, avoiding taking decisions, just thinking idly and not acting. To overcome the tendency to procrastinate, it is essential: that we recognize it for what it is: a harmful habit and enemy number one of progress, that we make a list of our habits or attitudes inclined towards procrastination and start fighting them on a psychological level, that we set our priorities and tackle tasks accordingly, that we appropriate time for different tasks and try to complete them within the allotted time,

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that we do not put aside difficult tasks for a later date, but take them up as a challenge. The last Prophet (Peace be upon him) asked of Hazrat Abu Amamah, “How is it that I see you in the Mosque also at times other than those of prayers?” Replied Hazrat Abu Amamah, “ I have worries and owe money which I have not been able to repay for a long time now.” Said the Prophet (Peace be upon him), “Might I not inform you of a prayer which will resolve your worries and ease the financial burden?” Said Hazrat Abu Amamah eagerly, “Why, yes O Prophet of Allah, yes!” Said the Prophet (Peace be upon him), “Say thus mornings and evenings: O, Allah I ask for thy protection from worry and sorrow; I ask for thy protection from helplessness and laziness, from miserliness, cowardice and indebtedness and from domination by other men. Says Hazrat Abu Amamah, “When I did as the Prophet (Peace be upon him) had advised, Allah resolved my worries and eased my burdens.” In addition to reciting the above prayer regularly, we should develop the will to act and to take the work in hand to a conclusion. It is often observed that indebted persons delay the return of loans despite being in a position to pay back. This very psychological trait is also responsible for delay in the completion of various tasks. Despite having the time, the ability, and the resources to carry out these tasks, we put them off. The following measures, help in overcoming the tendency to procrastinate. Force yourself to act , adopt the ‘here and now’ attitude. Don’t go for perfection. Try meeting all the requirements that a task demands for its completion, but do not try to be a perfectionist. Some people have a habit of trying to appear very busy even when no real work is at hand. In an office environment, such persons have the entire desk cluttered with files to create an illusion of being awfully busy. They should get rid of this attitude. They should, in fact, derive happiness from taking tasks to conclusion. Be a clean table man. Let only those papers be on the table which pertain to work actually in hand.

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Do not over-react to developments and situations. Avoid rage. In fact, learn the right way of being angry at the right things and at the right time. Getting red in the face is no big deal, any one can do it.

OBLIGATIONS OF ORGANIZATIONS, MANAGEMENTS AND THE GOVERNMENT Time can be utilized more effectively if organizations, managements and governments, help the individuals by taking certain measures from suggestions listed below: Different organizations situated in the same locality should observe different working hours in order to reduce traffic jams. Organizations should educate employees about their responsibilities and powers. Employees should be provided with formal job descriptions. One-on-one counseling should be done as and when required. As a bare minimum, there should be a regular annual counseling session with each one of the employees. Organizations should improve communication among employees and between employees and management. It is the management’s responsibility to ensure that ‘political activities’ in which the unproductive employees tend to indulge, get short shrift and is not allowed to take root. Management should provide a mechanism for interpersonal contacts among employees. This would lead, among other things, to team work and higher efficiency. Governments must do research to determine the time of day when employees’ efficiency is at its peak. In many government and non-government offices, afternoons are characterized by low productivity and killing of time. If the timings, on the pattern of those observed during Ramazan, are introduced throughout year, say 7 am to 2 pm, the throughput can be substantially increased. The following additional advantages can be expected to accrue as a result of this change.

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Employees will not lunch out, thus avoiding a hazard to health and extra expense. Organizations will save on free or subsidized lunches. Thus the government will receive more tax. Employees reaching home early would be able to devote time to their children’s education. Education will become easier and expenses on private tuition would be saved. People would devote their evenings to finding solutions of civic problems. Time will be available for healthy entertainment. Improvement of one’s job prospects through higher education would be possible. If permitted to do so, people could take up part time work to improve their standard of living. People would get up early and would need to go to sleep early; which is good for health.

PRAYERS Musnoon(narrated from Prophet Muhammad Sallallah-o- Alaihe wa sallam) prayers from Al-Hizbul Azam are quoted below. Reciting these in the morning should lead to the day passing off well. “Allah is free from all imperfections. He is the high, the most exalted, the Great Provider. I seek the protection of these words of His (which are all embracing and have no harm in them) from any mischief of any of His creations. I seek protection of Allah’s name, which would prevent harm from any one, in heavens or on earth. He hears all and knows all. We begin the day with the belief that all power belongs to Allah and all praise is due to Him and there is no God but Allah. There is none to claim a share in His power. He rules alone. All praise is to Him. His praise is absolute. O Allah, I seek from Thee the good in this day and in the hereafter. O Allah, I seek Thy protection from the evil of this day and of the hereafter. O Allah, I seek Thy protection from laziness and dotage. O Allah, I seek Thy protection from the punishment of hell and of the grave.”

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INDIVIDUAL AND COLLECTIVE WASTAGE OF TIME If you are asked to account for the 8,760 hours at your disposal each year, most probably, you would be able to recall around 70 percent of it, which is spent in your office or business place, in sleeping and in commuting, and the like. For the rest of the hours, you will have to strain your memory. If you are asked to give separate figures for the time utilized in meaningful activities and in purposeless squandering, it might prove to be a difficult task. It is so because we have not determined our aims and objectives. And it follows from this fact, that we have neither decided upon the ways and means to achieve them, nor have we made any plans for it. In fact, we do not have the will to have such aims and objectives. Obviously, when no goals have been set, we can neither allocate any time for their attainment nor can we account for the time utilized in purposeful activities and the time wasted in aimless doings.

LIFE WITHOUT ANY GOALS Most of us have set no life goals. Our lives are like a journey without a pre-determined destination. We neither learn anything from the past, nor do we prepare any action plan for the present, nor do we care to plan for the future. Under these circumstances, we cannot achieve anything for ourselves or for our families or, on the collective level, make any contribution for the well-being of our people and the country.

WEALTH AND TIME Wealth and time are two of the most common resources available to us. The difference between the two can be explained by the use of an analogy. These two are like two tanks of equal size filled with water. The tank which represents wealth, is fitted with a tap so that you can use the water as and when you need it. If you keep the tap closed, the water in it would not be wasted. On the other hand, the tank representing time has no tap; it has

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a hole in the bottom which cannot be closed in any manner. So, even if you are not prepared to use the water, it would continue to flow out from the hole and go down the drain. Obviously, by instinct, you would try to utilize the water coming out from the second tank to some purposeful use because, otherwise, it would be just wasted. So, time is draining out every second and we have no means available to stop it from being wasted and to preserve it for use at a later stage. Even with the help of the most modern technology we do not have any device to find out how much water is there inside the tank, that is to say, how long we are going to live. Therefore, the best course for us is to make the most judicious use of this resource, while it is still available and not to waste it through trial and error where we already have the results of past experiences of our own or of others.

TIME WASTERS To find out where time is being wasted, we shall have to make an enquiry in three directions. First, we shall have to examine the individual traits. Next, we shall have to find out how much time is utilized collectively on the efforts to enhance national productivity and what part of it is squandered on unproductive activities like intrigues and conflicts. Finally, we shall look into the time spent on meeting our social requirements and see whether the same are being met adequately.

ANALYSIS OF INDIVIDUAL TRAITS On the individual level, one has to be conscious of his obligations towards his family. It is not good to turn into a machine for making money and to treat your home just like a hotel where you go only to take some rest. Keeping this in view, let us examine individual traits that result in the leakage of time and what can be done to facilitate better utilization of time.

Having A Purpose In Life It is important to determine the purpose of your life. Then the goals should be determined. The same could be divided into short-term and long-term goals. If we do not carry out any such exercise to fix our targets, then time would just fly away leaving us behind.

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Prioritizing After ascertaining the purpose and fixing the goals, the next step is to assess the resources and the tools available to achievethem. In this connection, it would be useful to find out as to what tasks, if fulfilled earlier, would help in attaining the ultimate goals. This is what we call prioritizing.

Appraise Your Habits We should do an honest appraisal of our habits and try to get rid of those that are time wasters. For example, just lying in the bed after you are awake; lying in the bed after the morning prayers for a few minutes and then going into a sleep for hours; spending hours on telephone or otherwise with friends gossiping; and misplacing articles of essential use and then losing time in tracing them out. One should try to get rid of such habits. On the other hand, it is a good habit to jot down the important tasks of the day, personal and official, on a piece of paper or in a digital diary. One has to do self-assessment and selfreformation.

Disciplined Life Discipline in life plays a positive role and eliminates complications which cause delays in taking decisions. We often react very quickly to others’ views or actions. This is not correct. A disciplined person would take into consideration all the aspects, before reacting.

Team Work If you do not feel comfortable while working with others, it would result in wastage of time and failure in life. If you are selfcentered or self-righteous, you cannot develop understanding with others. On the other hand, if you are able to establish a rapport with your co-workers in the office, it would not only benefit your organization, you would also make gains on personal level.

Guiding The Subordinates Judicious utilization of time requires that you get good output from your subordinates. To achieve this, the first requirement is that you must have a full grasp of the work they do. Next, you

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must know who among your subordinates, is the most suitable for what kind of work. Various types of work should be assigned to them according to their aptitudes and skills. Finally, you must supervise their work and review it from time to time. A successful manager/supervisor should be able to recognize the capabilities of his juniors and should also have the guts to prepare them for higher responsibilities. Sometimes, you have subordinates who are incompetent, but you cannot get rid of them because they are there on the strength of their links with some influential persons. Under such circumstances, the best course is to make them useful persons through proper training and development programs.

ANYLYSIS OF SOCIO –ECONOMIC AFFAIRS Now let us examine how time is wasted collectively in offices and business places, affecting national productivity.

Job Description A job description should be made available to every employee as it makes him aware of what he is expected to do. If you have not been given any such document, you may prepare it on your own so that you know what you are supposed to do.

Work And Capability If your assignments are not commensurate with your qualifications and capabilities, you should try to find the work that suits you better. If your seniors do not agree, you may look out for a change of job.

The Flow Of Papers In an office environment, there is a constant flow of papers and files from one desk to another. Much depends on their timely movement. Any break or delay might result in losses or emergencies. You should, therefore, be careful not to withhold any paper either due to lethargy or negligence, or because of your inability to take a quick decision.

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Meetings Meetings are frequently held in offices and often, these are not required at all. One should try to avoid those meetings where nothing of consequence is likely to come out.

Socializing Often, people waste their working hours in chatting over a cup of tea. Similarly, visitors drop in without prior appointment and without any serious purpose. All these activities are unproductive and wasteful.

Telephone Calls When you make a telephone call, you not only leave aside your own work but you also interrupt another person. Telephone should, therefore, be used only for important and urgent matters and you must be brief and to the point. Inside the office, message slips may be considered as substitutes for internal calls.

Intervention By Seniors Unnecessary intervention by seniors into the routine work of their subordinates often results in wastage of time.

Office Politics A lot of time is wasted because of office politics. The phenomenon is in itself destructive and affects the efficiency of the employees. Besides this, time is wasted in meaningless discussions.

Layout And Procedures The layout of a workplace, office, showroom, factory or store, can also cause loss of time. Similarly, the systems and procedures may cause delays or slowdowns, and hence the loss of time. If you are authorized to do so, you may introduce changes that eliminate the negative factors. If you have no such authority, you should make suggestions to the management. The least you can do is to make necessary adjustments and adaptations to minimize the loss of time due to layout, system or procedure.

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Labour Unions There can be no doubt that labour unions play a significant role in safeguarding the interest of the workers. But, sometimes individuals use it for their personal ends and ambitions. Under such a situation, a lot of uncalled for commotion and agitation disrupts the working of the organization, resulting in huge losses of manhours.

SOCIAL AND COLLECTIVE RESPONSIBILITIES We often fail to fulfil our social obligations and, on the other hand, waste our time collectively. This aspect is discussed below.

Need For A Balance It is our responsibility to look after our family and attend to their needs be it health, education, recreation or general welfare Next, we have some obligations towards our neighbours and fellow citizens. Further, we have to pay attention to civic matters as well which can be tackled only through collective efforts. For the fulfillment of all these social obligations, among other resources, time is of prime significance. But for most people, this is a scarce commodity because they spend almost all of it in making money or spend it in wasteful activities. Normal working hours for offices are from 9 in the morning to 5 in the evening which are often extended further to finish the day’s work. Similarly, the markets are usually open for twelve hours daily. That leaves us with little time for our responsibilities to the family, the neighbours and the society. Most of us have become money-making machine. We do not have enough time to spend with our children. This is not the correct approach towards life. Religion, too, has granted certain rights over a person to his family, his neighbours and relatives. We must, therefore, strike a balance between the time spent on earning our livelihood and the time to be given to the home and the society at large.

Problems Of Commuters In big cities, offices and industrial units are usually concentrated in some localities. As a result of this, during the rush hours, the flow of traffic becomes one sided. Consequently, not only time is wasted

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but it becomes a health hazard too. Such a situation arises because the cities have not grown under a plan. We must act for the posterity and develop our cities in a manner that would not give rise to such problems for the future generations.

The Need To Say ‘No’ Politeness does not demand that we should not decline to do something which is beyond our powers. By agreeing to do the impossible, we simply commit a breach of promise which hurts the other party more than a refusal would. And in that process, precious time is also lost. Under such circumstances, a better policy is to say a polite ‘No’ straightaway.

Avoid Emergencies It has become our national trait that we always act only when the situation has gone critical or emergency is declared. From large government establishments to small private set-ups, most of the work is performed under emergency conditions. The reasons are many and varied: lack of planning and consultation; and postponing decisions and actions to the eleventh hour, are a few of them. This tendency not only creates problems but also costs a lot of money. There are instances where a piece of work which could have been done by simply writing a letter, had to be effected in emergency, by sending someone by air.

Business Without Any Agreement We often conduct business without entering into a proper agreement. Joint ventures are launched without determining shares of the concerned parties. Within families, business is conducted jointly by a father and his sons or by several brothers, without clearly laying down the shares in equities and profits and other terms and conditions are not mutually agreed. This practice results later, in bitterness and contentious situation which often lead to litigation consuming time and other resources.

Craze For Cricket

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Active interest in sports is good for health. But a passive interest to the extent of a craze is a sheer waste of time. In our country, the widespread enthusiasm for live commentaries on cricket matches, has spread beyond reasonable limits and happens to be a huge time waster.

News Mania In today’s world, it is certainly important to keep oneself adequately informed on domestic and international affairs. But is it necessary to devote much time to listening to the same items of news on the radio and the so many television channels now accessible, which we have already read in detail in the morning newspapers? There is a need for moderation in the craze for news too.

POINTS TO PONDER Self Assessment We must make an assessment of how much time we spend on meaningful activities, and how much of it is just wasted. Are we fulfilling our obligations towards our families, our relatives and the society at large? There is a saying attributed to Hazrat Umar Farooq Raziallah ta’ala unho, “Be your own judge before you are judged by others.” Assess yourself before you are assessed.

Performance Appraisal When we start a business, we keep an eye on the returns. If the return is not reasonable, we draw a schedule of income and expenditure and try to find out where things went wrong, or where there is a room for improvement. We must make a similar assessment of our own performance and find out how judiciously we have been able to utilize our time and make adjustments and alterations to use this precious resource profitably. To achieve this, we shall have to make a daily plan and review the outcome on a weekly basis.

Chart Of Daily Activities

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Make a chart having six columns entitled, Time, Performance, Engagements, Profitable, Wasteful and Useful. Under these columns, mention the timings with intervals of 15 minutes. Fill the chart regularly for one week. You will have to spend some time on this chart but it would be helpful in diagnosing the malady. After one week, examine the entries in this chart with a view to find out: How close have you moved towards the achievement of goals, aims and objectives set by you? Which and when were the longest intervals without any interruption? Which were the timings when interruptions generally occurred? How much time was spent on meetings? Summary of the issues on which time was spent. How much time was spent on long term objectives? What should be the line of action for your own reformation? What steps should be taken to increase the efficiency? The management guru Mr Peter Drucker suggests the following for performance improvement: Confine your efforts to a limited number of tasks. Eliminate what is of no use to you. Learn to utilize your time in a better way. Avoid decisions that would lead to unprofitable and unproductive results. Review and evaluate your views, ideas, ambitions and feelings.

How to judge your own capabilities

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Author of the managing your time (published by Zondervan Books), proposes a chart to judge one’s own capabilities. The chart covers human relationships, personal traits and methodologies. You may assess yourself periodically according to the points given below and, InshaAllah, you will have a far better tomorrow. Are you capable of benefiting from knowledgeable persons? Do you command respect and recognition? Rapport with colleagues / Implementation of your instructions Relationship and understanding with your superiors and subordinates How far are you able to understand individuals so as to maintain your relationship with them and to ensure output from them, in accordance with their status and competence. Ability to work with your subordinates in a pleasant and effective manner Ability to communicate directly with the concerned individuals to remove their misunderstandings, and to solicit their suggestions and advice Ability to listen to others and to encourage them to narrate their thoughts and feelings? Motivating individuals working in different departments to give their best performance Formal and informal relationships with superiors Ability to utilize the time fully, that is, full sixty minutes in an hour Taking logical decisions and sticking to them Drawing up an action plan so as to achieve the predetermined goals? Control over office documents and ability to use the

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various reports and other information gainfully Ability to find out facts that could help you move ahead Ability to delegate without losing control Problem-solving and conflict-resolution Ability to dispose off the day’s work without fatigue Ability to work with concentration Ability to remember events, proceedings, ideas, facts, concepts, plans and undertakings Prioritization of tasks and assignments to achieve the goals within prescribed time? The above aims at self-improvement. If you are able to improve yourself, it would be good for you, your family, your organization and for the country at large. Let us set our aims and objectives, prepare plans, and be accountable for the time we spend.

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PROCRASTINATION, LETHARGY AND SLACKNESS A child was bothering his father engaged in some serious work. The father thought of a strategy to keep him occupied till he finished his job. He took a page from an old newspaper on which a map of the world was printed. He pointed out the countries, rivers, mountains and the continents, and then tore it into pieces and gave it to the child to put it together so that the map is reconstructed accurately. The man was wonderstruck when the child returned within a few minutes with the map reconstructed correctly. “How could you do this so quickly?” asked the father. “Well, while you tore the paper, I had noticed that there was a large photograph of a man printed on the other side. I reconstructed the picture of the man which was easy and the map on the other side was put together automatically.” said the child. So, even the most complicated situation can be sorted out if viewed from different angle or perspective.

THE NEED TO REFORM OURSELVES If we can re-mould ourselves and discipline our lives, then all the distortions and aberrations in our personal lives, office, neighbourhood and the society at large, would automatically be set right. However, we often fail to bring together the torn pieces. This might be due to the fact that: The will is not strong enough. Lethargy and slackness have crept into our nature. We are not conscious of our objective in life and even if we are aware of it, we have little interest in achieving it.

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We have fallen prey to procrastination. We delay our decisions. When opportunity knocks at the door, we do not have even the courage to respond to it.

OUR ENEMIES Lethargy, laziness, slackness and procrastination happen to be our enemies. These are more harmful than the use of narcotics. A drug addict gets isolated from the society while a person given to these habits harms the society from within.

TOMORROW NEVER COMES Imam Abdur Rahman Ibne Juzi ( 511-597 A.H.) has written in his book, Minhaj-ul-Qasideen: He who postpones his tasks till tomorrow, is bound to suffer a harm because he adopts opposite attitudes in respect of two similar situations. The example of a person given to postponing his work for tomorrow is like one who has to pull down a tree but, finding the tree to be too strong, defers the action till the next year. Little does he realize that as time passes, the tree would become stronger while he would become older and weaker. If he is not able to pull down the tree today, when he is comparatively stronger and the tree weaker, how would he be able to do so tomorrow when the tree would be comparatively stronger and he weaker?

WHAT IS PROCRASTINATION? The tendency to delay action on urgent and important matters on flimsy pretexts is called procrastination. Sometimes, we do not pay attention to outstanding issues simply because we are not in a mood to do so and find excuses like lack of time or the requisite peace of mind. We delude ourselves into thinking that it would make no difference if we take it up later. Thus, we squander the precious resource of time, given to us by Allah. The Prophet (PBUH) has said: “ At daybreak, Time declares, ‘O children of Adam ! I am the creation of Allah and a witness to your actions. You may utilize right now as much of me as you can because I am not going to come back.”(Allama Suyuti-Jama ul Jawame)

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In another Hadith, the Prophet (PBUH) says, “A true Muslim is worried about both, his past about which he does not know how it will be judged by Allah, and his future in respect of which he is ignorant of what has Allah decided for him. A person must, therefore, make good use of his life for his own sake; use his worldly actions for the sake of the life hereafter; take advantage of his youth before old age takes over; and of his life before death rings the curtain down. Imam Ibne Juzi says that every breath that a person takes, is too precious an asset to be compensated for adequately.

HIDING BEHIND TOMORROW The word ‘tomorrow’ is often used by us as a shield behind which we hide shame and regret for wasting time. It is said that there is no other word in human vocabulary, which is responsible for as many broken promises, unfulfilled expectations, acts of carelessness and negligence, stupidities and ruination of lives. In fact, ‘tomorrow’ never comes. If we really want to achieve success in life, we must take care of ‘today’; and tomorrow will take care of itself. There is another false reasoning often propounded by those taking refuge behind ‘tomorrow’. They argue that if an action can wait till tomorrow, why take it up today. They hope in vain that tomorrow may be more conducive than today. This approach is harmful for us on all levels—individual, collective national and international.

FINDING EXCUSES FOR PROCRASTINATION Under the tendency to procrastinate, we delay tasks which happen to be important in relation to our personal or national interests and, instead, while away our time in trivialities. This is done to find an excuse for not doing what was actually needed. Referring to a person doing something other than what is urgently required of him, Imam Juzi says that he is like a sick person who, instead of taking the medicine, wastes his time in learning how to prepare the medicine. He says further that a person is lucky if he chooses the most important and leaves the rest, and considers action to be of supreme value.

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EFFECTS OF LETHARGY Lethargy is a disease but the person who suffers from it remains unaware of his affliction. It is a state of highly enjoyable intoxication. An individual, a nation or an entire society might become its victim. It leads to dire consequences. Guidance has been taken from the book “Procrastination, why you do it, what to do about it” by Jane B. Burka, Ph.D and Lenora M. Yuen, Ph.D. They have classified these effects into External and Internal.

External Effects Financial loss Differences with the boss and earning his wrath Loss of trust and respect Losing the job Suffering accidents or physical pain Loss of good relationship with friends and well-wishers Differences with colleagues and contemporaries and earning their annoyance Feuds with friends and family members Imposition of penalties by government agencies

Internal Effects Inferiority complex Self-pity Worries Withdrawal Restlessness

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Regrets Suffocation Physical pain Sick feeling Loss of face Losing one’s calm.

Awakening the One Who is Awake Lethargy prevents us from achieving our objectives, both the worldly ones and those of the hereafter. Regret and selfcondemnation become our destiny. It goes without saying that it is easy to awaken someone who is in slumber but it is very difficult to awaken the one who is already awake. We are awake but do not want to get out of the bed. The timing of two things is very difficult to know. First, one who goes to sleep, does not know exactly when was he overcome by sleep. Secondly, a nation whose tide is falling, is never able to discover it when it begins. The root cause of our fall and degradation stems from lethargy and unawareness of the objectives. Consequently, from our personal matters to national issues, everything has become exceedingly complicated and failure has become our destiny.

Lethargy, A National Malady If you look around at yourself, your household, your organization, the society you live in, and the quality of governance, you will find lethargy and slackness everywhere. This is a national affliction that precedes decline. The sources of the affliction must be examined and eliminated. While it requires a strategic plan and substantial resources at the macro-level, we should also have microlevel plans for reforming individuals.

Can’t Afford to Wait Each one of us should do a self-assessment to find out how much time he or she has wasted waiting for leisure and for an opportune moment to make a beginning. Also, draw a list of what you had wanted to achieve and what you have actually achieved.

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Find out if there were some reasons for the failure or was it only the result of self-indulgence, lethargy, slackness and lack of fear of accountability by the Almighty. Let us make an effort to shun lethargy and to make ourselves accountable in respect of attitudes, actions and inertness of our minds and our bodies.

Talk To Yourself Imam Ibne Juzi has stated: Every morning, after having performed the essentials, one should detach oneself from everything and talk to his own self. He should tell himself, “O my own self, my only capital is my life. If it is lost, there would be nothing to gain from. “A new day has just begun and, having deferred my death, Allah has given me another chance to do some thing good. O my own self, thou must regard it as a new lease of life. Save this day from being lost. Thou must realize that the 24 hours in one day and night are like 24 closets. On the Day of Reckoning, these closets would be thrown open and the quantity of good stored in them would be assessed. If this quantity is large, the closets would be filled with Nur (light) and the person would be so happy that if that happiness is distributed among all the residents of Hell, they would forget about their pain. But if, on the contrary, there is more of evil than good in them, then instead of Nur (light), there would be darkness and stinking smell in the closets and the person concerned would feel such anxiety and indignity that if this feeling is distributed among all the residents of Paradise, it would spoil all the blessings endowed upon them”. For those who do not care to act, there would be another treasure which would be empty. There would neither be happiness in it nor sorrow. This would represent the time which they wasted. Everyone who wasted his time would then be repentant in a manner like that of a person who was in a position to make a large profit but lost that opportunity. Everyone must ask his own self to act today so as to fill every closet with good deeds and not to leave any one empty. Hazrat Umar (R.A.) has said, ‘ Assess your own self before the Day of Reckoning arrives. Weigh your actions yourself before

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the same are weighed (on the Day of Judgment), and prepare yourself for the grand Day of Judgment.’ It has been stated in Surah Haaqqah, ‘You would be judged on that Day and nothing would remain hidden from you.’

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PROCRASTINATION VARIOUS FORMS AND CAUSES OF A HUMAN WEAKNESS The Czar of Russia signed a declaration on March 12, 1881, in which he had expressed the desire to call a session of the national assembly to devise ways to establish a constitutional system of government in the country. But this had come too late. The next morning, before the contents of the declaration could become known to the public, the Czar had been assassinated. An action delayed, is an opportunity lost.

IDLE MORNINGS, WASTED EVENINGS Quite often, it so happens that while we are still thinking of visiting a hospitalized relative or friend, he is already back home. There are hosts of tasks we plan but hesitate to implement, waiting for an opportune moment. How many times we propose to do something after taking a little rest, but the ‘little rest’ stretches for hours at a stretch. How often we propose to perform a task after reaching home in the evening a bit earlier than usual, but the evening turns into a night of inaction. And it is in this manner, that the nights chase the days and the days follow the nights till the cup of life is emptied without any significant achievement.

TASKS AFFECTED BY PROCRASTINATION We are overtaken by laziness in so many affairs of our life. In youth, it is education, preparation for examinations and planning a career. Later on, it is in the matter of confronting challenges, in putting up good performance, and in expressing our sentiments. Whatever might be the profession, everyone has his own peculiar way of being lazy and lethargic. In preparing following list, guidance has been taken from the book “Procrastination why you do it, what to do about it”. The authors have listed tasks which are usually affected by procrastination. This list would help you judge for yourself and to find out your own areas of weakness.

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Household Affairs Repairs requiring skilled labour. Disposing off the junk Repairs and maintenance of vehicles Payment of utility and other household bills Purchase of household items Tasks related to the care of the family

Office Matters Punctuality in reaching the office Punctuality in meetings and visits Maintaining telephonic contacts, particularly making a return call Taking decisions Disposal of paper work Preparation of reports, etc. Discussing individuals’ matters and giving them a sense of participation Appreciation of good work done by colleagues and others Transforming proposals and creative ideas into actions and realities Sending bills to customers Talking to the concerned superior for promotion or a raise in emoluments Discussing official matters with superiors Attending courses for promotion or personal development

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Personal Matters Finding time for exercise and other health related matters Adopting a strategy for weight reduction, in case of over-weight persons Giving up smoking or other addictions To see the doctor or visit the barber

Social Relationships Seeing or calling friends and relatives Correspondence with friends and relatives Inviting people Visiting friends and relatives To give/send gifts/greeting cards on various occasions. To observe punctuality in attending social gatherings. To seek help, without compromising self-respect. To make others aware of your anger or irritation. Bringing to an end unproductive relationships.

Financial Matters Submission of income tax returns on time Preparation of annual Zakat statement and disbursement thereof Maintaining a proper account of income and expenditure Preparing a personal budget, keeping in view the resources Investing the savings

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To contact the bank with regard to periodical statements and other matters Payment of various bills Re-payment of loans Collecting / reminding for outstanding payments

Ethical Matters We often fail to act promptly in respect of ethical aspects involved in our social relationships. We should assess our approach, particularly in relation to the following: Seeking forgiveness when you are at fault Settling disputes with family members, relatives, coworkers and business partners. Returning things borrowed from others, particularly money and books Seeking forgiveness and Tauba for deficiencies in meeting Huqooq-ullah (Allah’s rights), Huqooq-e-Rasool Prophet’s rights (Peace be Upon Him) and Huqooqun-Nas (Peoples’s rights) Condoling the afflicted and praying for the departed soul Praying for an easy disposal of your personal tasks Keeping promises

Other Matters Priorities are not fixed in accordance with the requirements so that routine tasks often take precedence over important assignments. We find excuses for not performing important tasks, and later, blame external factors for the resultant harm. We are prevented from achieving the targets because of our own negligence and the resultant mental pressure

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affects our efficiency. If something is to be completed on a particular day, we start working on it on that very day, even if we had enough time throughout the preceding week, not only to plan but also to accomplish the task. Our attitude is reflected in the common practice of making a passage by placing cement blocks or large stones in the water accumulated in the lanes and on the roads, after the rains, although proper arrangements made in advance by individuals or by the municipality could have obviated the need for this makeshift arrangement. During the interval between two examinations, time is often wasted in watching movies or having some other kind of fun, on the pretext of relaxation, although that time is too precious to be lost in this manner. Similarly, on off days, our priorities go topsy-turvy; instead of starting the day early (e.g. going to the market early in the morning to be able to choose better stuff) we spend our time in reading newspapers, although that could be done later. Since we do not subscribe to a basic philosophy, the objective of life, a firm policy with a proper planning and the ability to extract the best output from individuals, are lacking in our national life, it always remains subjected to emergency measures and adhocism. Governments and the institutions often take steps that save their existence from immediate extinction but destroy the foundations of the nation.

EXCUSES FOR PROCRASTINATION It is human nature to find excuses for doing something wrong. In case of procrastination, we justify our inaction on the following grounds: Non-availability of proper material. For instance, black ink is normally used for writing but I had blue ink. Or, rickshaws and taxis were not available due to strike; and minibuses were crowded.

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‘I had been working for hours. I went to bed for a short nap but when I got up, it was morning.’ ‘This type of work requires dynamism. Since I lack in it, the work could not be done.’ ‘The week is now coming to a close. What’s the use of making a beginning now?’ ‘Why should I ask when I know that the answer would be a firm no’ Here are two instances in which a successful effort was made to overcome procrastination. You, too, can develop your own methods with some effort. Sitting late in the office, Mr.X received an important message for a colleague on telephone. Neither a pencil nor a piece of paper was readily available. It was also likely that he might not be able to attend the office the next day. So, he picked up a carbon paper from the typist’s desk and a piece of paper from the waste paper basket. Then he placed the back of that piece of paper under the carbon paper and wrote the message on it with the help of a match stick. Thus the message was conveyed to the colleague the next day in spite of an almost impossible situation. Mr.Y shifted to his newly constructed flat. Next morning, there was a knock at the door. It was the newspaper hawker asking him if he wanted to have a newspaper every morning and if so, which one? Mr.Y was curious to find out as to how did he know that they had shifted there. “It was simple. I saw in the balcony clothes on the lines.” said the hawker. The point to be noted here is that the newspaper hawker did not wait even for a single day, although he could have deferred his enquiry on the pretext that Mr.Y had shifted there only the previous evening and might be too tired to respond to such an enquiry. Thus he could have delayed the action easily. And in that case, there was a possibility of his losing this business because Mr. Y could have himself got out for newspaper hawker and contacted someone else.

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NOW OR NEVER Procrastination can be overcome with the help of a positive approach as envisaged below. Why wait for tomorrow, why not today ? I am tired today. If I finish this task in half an hour, I can sleep peacefully. Oh, my favourite television programme would be on the air tonight, after 15 minutes from now. It is preceded by 5 minutes of commercial time. So, I have 20 minutes to finish some, if not all, my chores and then enjoy the programme. I don’t have the proper equipment for this work. But let me try if it can be done with some others. Today is the last day of the week; therefore, this job cannot be done within this week. Nevertheless, I can make a beginning. A tree takes several years to grow fully. If the seed is sown today, it would mean one day less.

CAUSES OF PROCRASTINATION There are a number of factors that cause one to procrastinate. Some of these are listed below to help you do some soul-searching. Wrong Priorities Routine matters often demand urgent attention, preventing prompt handling of important tasks. The fault lies in fixing priorities. Fear Of Failure The fear of failure often makes one defer one’s important assignments. For example, if a student has made up his mind to get the first position in the matriculation examination, he might not appear in it this year fearing that his preparation is not sufficient to win that position. This approach is not correct. We must work hard with

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better planning and and required techniques and should wait for the better result. Having A High Opinion Of Oneself Some people have a mistakenly high opinion of themselves and, therefore, consider the performance of certain tasks to be below their dignity. Others presume that they are infallible. Hence, if the myth of their infallibility is at stake, they defer the action. Being Indispensable Instead of delegating the work to others, some people try to do everything themselves under the illusion of being indispensable. This is a wrong notion. One must prepare others for executing delegated authority. Displaying Anger Display of anger or of irritability is often followed by a feeling of remorse. Under such feeling, one becomes temporarily incapacitated to deliver. Incompetence Balance should be struck between organizational needs and individuals’ capabilities. Lack of competence may also be the cause of procrastination. Reinventing The Wheel Some people waste their time in trying to achieve what has already been achieved. One should take advantage of such achievements instead of trying to do it all over again. Imbalance Balance must be maintained while performing tasks of various types. If extraordinary efforts are made in one direction, work may suffer from lack of proper efforts in others. Forgetting Accountability To Allah

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We often forget that we are accountable to Allah for a judicious use of our time our talents, our wealth, our status and also to fulfill our obligations to the family and to our employer. That too results in procrastination. Life will be much more easier if we are cognizant to this fact.

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PROCRASTINATION HOW TO HANDLE IT Has it ever happened to you that you have made up your mind to do something and have also planned for it, but the action is delayed, and in the meantime someone else does it. Obviously, the credit goes to the one who does it first. Once a new product was launched by a manufacturer. It was quite successful. But due to slackness, in seeking registration with the Patent Office, another party got the same product registered in its own name. Subsequently, the patent holder issued legal notice to the manufacturer who had already launched the product, to stop producing it. Though it was unjust on the part of the other party but the original manufacturers had to suffer a big loss as a punishment for their lethargy and negligence. Procrastination and lethargy lead to financial losses, accidents, family feuds, and strained relations with relatives, friends and superiors, turning the procrastinator into a defeated person. We keep on deferring for years an action that would hardly take a few minutes. And, in consequence, suffer huge losses. It is a different matter, though, that we always find excuses for negligence in important matters.

WHY DO WE PROCRASTINATE Procrastination is a malady, like addiction to narcotics, which keeps a person intoxicated and oblivious of realities. The factors that often lead to it, include the absence of a clear objective in life, the fear of failure, having a mistakenly high opinion of oneself and aversion to delegation. In material matters, procrastination leads to material losses but if it occurs in matters of religion, particularly in the case of the five-times-a-day prayers, it takes one on to the course to Munafiqat. (hypocrisy)

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THE NEED FOR ACTION Procrastination can be overcome only by action. It is a jihad, a continuous jihad against one’s own self, and that is the only cure for this malady.

THE ACTION PLAN In one of the ghazwat, (battles in which the Prophet (PBUH) participated), the Prophet (PBUH) drew a few lines on the ground. The author of Hadith-e-Difa’a, Major Akbar Khan says that it was an action plan for the battle. In all the matters of life, to think before an action and to plan for it, is not only wise but also the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH). Planning is essential to eradicate the ailment that is responsible for heavy losses.

SELF-ASSESSMENT As the first step toward formulating an action plan, you should honestly draw a list of the fields of activities in which you suffer from procrastination. These may be classified under the following categories: In matters related to the Huqooq-ullah and the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH). In matters related to the Huqooq-ul-Ibad: Obligations to your family, parents, other relatives, neighbours and friends. Household matters Office or business related matters Financial matters In matters related to your career In matters related to your own self

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Now, try to improve yourself. But do not take hasty decisions. Change gradually, step by step.

SOME SUGGESTIONS FOR OVERCOMING THE TENDENCY TO PROCRASTINATE 1. Daily Planning And Self-Assessment Find a few minutes every morning and evening, to think about your life and assess your objectives. Allama Ibne Juzi has written in his book, Minhaj-ul-Qasedeen, that once he found Hazrat Shibli Abul Hasnain Nuri sitting perfectly still. On asking, he replied, “ I have learnt this from a cat; when it intended to attack, it would sit still for a few moments, so still that even a single hair would not move.” A few minutes given to such an assessment of your situation every day, would indeed be helpful in overcoming lethargy.

2. Clear Objectives And Segmentation With clear objectives, you can turn the whole task into several segments, for ease of action. For example, on a day off you decide to clean the furniture in your room which consists of chairs, a table and two almirahs. The work can be divided into segments: cleaning the table and the chairs, and cleaning the almirahs. Then you should estimate the time that each part of the work would require to be completed. Accordingly, one part can be taken up before the Zohar prayers and the other, after it You can also make up your mind as to how you should proceed. In the case of chairs and the table, you can do the cleaning with a duster and then arrange the files on the table after filing the loose papers in it. The almirahs have to be emptied before the cleaning and the clothes have to be re-arranged in it afterwards. Perhaps you would like to spray some kind of germicide in the room after completing the cleaning. You may seek the help of other family members as well.

3.

Balance And Persistence

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In whatever you do, you must maintain a balance and be persistent. Never become complacent after a small bit of success like the hare who lost the race to the tortoise. With persistent efforts, others can beat you despite your clear advantages over them.

4.

Be Realistic

You must be realistic in assuming responsibilities. The wellknown management expert, Peter Drucker emphasizes the need for keeping the list of one’s assignments and responsibilities as short as possible. People generally commit themselves for more than their capacity and this leads to failure. In the last Ayat of the Surah Baqrah, Muslims have been told to pray for not overburdening themselves, just as done by those who preceded them. It has been mentioned in the accounts of Mairaj-e-Rasool that the Prophet (PBUH) saw a person trying to lift a bundle of wood. When he failed to do so, he added some more to the bundle. The Prophet (PBUH) asked as to who he was. He was told that he was a person who could not carry the load of responsibilities and amanats, yet continued to accept some more of it.

5. Incomplete Assignments Make a list of all the work that is still lying incomplete. Now you have to decide which of these are to be taken up for completion and which are to be abandoned. Do not strain yourself unnecessarily.

6.

Have A Deadline

Fix a time limit for every task to be done. It is unlikely that you would complete a work within a reasonable period of time unless you fix a target and a deadline. Of course, these should be fixed after making a realistic estimate of the time required for completing the task. The amount of work that we do in an examination hall within three hours, cannot be completed even in three days, under normal circumstances. The simple reason for this is the fact that in the examination hall, we work under the pressure of time limit which enables us to do more than the usual.

7. Utilizing Time Gaps And Waiting Periods

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Try to utilize small intervals of free time for some useful work. For example, while waiting for the breakfast to be served, you can scan the newspaper. Some people write letters while waiting for their flights in the departure lounge. Some use tape recorders while in transit. Some prepare for examinations while commuting between home and place of work.

8. Identify Your Prime Time Identify the time which you find is best for concentration and allocate it for the most important tasks. You can also re-arrange the sequence in the list of your daily tasks and adopt the one with which you find yourself to be more efficient. Understand the significance of concentration and try to achieve it.

9.

Hoping For The Appropriate Time

Do not keep on deferring your work in the hope of doing it at the ‘most appropriate’ time because such a time may never come. Do not be discouraged by failures. Keep on trying again and again. Remember the story of Tamerlane who learnt from an ant how to make persistent efforts despite failures, and finally ruled his part of the world.

10. An Honest Attempt Do not keep on deferring the tasks that you find difficult to perform. Learn to face the challenges. Inculcate the ability to turn the impossible into possible. Poet Rabinder Nath Tagore narrates the incident when the sun asked before it set, “ ‘Is there any one to take my place?’, ‘Yes, I’ll try.’ replied the flickering earthen lamp.” Man is expected to make an honest attempt because that is all he can do; the rest depends on the Will of God. A peasant simply makes an effort by sowing and tilling the land, the rain and the weather on which the growth of the crop depends, are beyond his control.

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11. Have A Daily Target Set and prioritize daily targets. For the sake of spiritual satisfaction, perform at least one good job everyday that brings happiness to others. If you have excess of fresh bread, give the surplus to the poor. If you have some more, dry and preserve it to be given to pet animals or to be fed to fishes. That would bring spiritual bliss to you.

12. Preserve Your Energy For Important Tasks Do not tire yourself by excessive ordinary routine work. Preserve your energy and spend it on performing the more important tasks.

13. Take The Less Crowded Route Take the less crowded route and also the one where there are fewer roadblocks. Follow this rule in every aspect of your life so that you may be able to move faster, without losing much of your time.

14. Delegation Of Work And Responsibilities You cannot fulfill your official tasks properly if you try to do every thing yourself. Prepare your colleagues and subordinates to share the work with you. If they need guidance or training, provide it. If you find procrastinators among them, help them overcome this weakness without hurting them. Make yourself amenable to team work.

15. Be Fair To Yourself Work hard but never ignore the importance of relaxation and diversion. You need it to keep yourself fresh and active. You must allocate sufficient time for this too. You should not become a workaholic. You must have a balanced personality.

16. Guard Your Interests It is good to help others but not at your own cost. Do not

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sacrifice your well being in the hereafter or your worldly interests for the sake of others.

17. Encourage Yourself If you achieve some success then celebrate it. You may give a treat to yourself, your colleagues and to your family.

18. Now Or Never The best way to get rid of the habit of procrastination is to believe in the motto ‘Now or never’, and to act accordingly.

19. Follow The Teachings Of Islam If we follow the teachings of Islam, we would automatically get rid of lethargy and procrastination.

(a)

Salat: Islam has fixed the timings for the Salat, five times a day. Since the timings have been indicated, there is no room for procrastination.

(b)

Dua (supplication): Islam teaches that one should seek guidance and assistance from Allah through Dua. You should allocate a few moments in the morning and again in the evening for Dua which may cover various aspects including: freedom from laziness, sorrow, indebtedness and asking for a clean happy life and a comfortable death

(c)

A hadith: The Prophet (PBUH) once said, ‘A person who fears, begins his journey in the earlier part of the night and the person who begins his journey in the earlier part of the night, reaches his destination safely.’ Remember: Islamic day (24 hours) starts from the sunset. It begins from the night. We have to prepare ourselves at the beginning.

(d)

Learning from Ramazan-ul-mubarak: The holy month of Ramazan-ul-Mubarak provides a valuable training not only in abstinence but also in judicious use of time. With extra engagements of Sehri, Iftar and Taraveeh, one becomes more particular about punctuality and effective utilization of time.

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2

Individual And Career Planning

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PART TWO Individual And Career Planning 6. Planning

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7. Discipline Through Diary

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8. Career Planning: Creating Your Own Destiny

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PLANNING Khalil Gibran says that he was convinced of God’s justice and equity when he discovered that the dreams of a poor man’s son were similar to those of a rich person. How dreams are related to life, is a separate issue, but dreams surely do bring certain images to human mind. Keeping in mind this pronouncement of Gibran, it can be said that any person, rich or poor, highly educated or illiterate, employer or employee, bureaucrat or politician, can indulge in day-dreaming about his own life. If these dreams are realistic and lead to lofty objectives, and if the necessary resources are available, or can be made available, then day-dreaming is part of long term planning. If a student or a junior employee makes such plans, aiming at attainment of higher position and status, or to achieve some noble objectives, then it may be termed as career planning. Planning can be carried out on annual, half-yearly, quarterly or monthly basis. But what we are talking about, is planning of daily or weekly affairs, within the framework of a long term plan, and keeping in view the superior objectives of life.

WHAT IS PLANNING? Experts have defined planning as: A script that provides guidance in making better decisions. A pre-meditated procedure for action related to an assignment or task that we want to perform.. A procedure that would prevent us from doing a task in a wrong manner. The best procedure to achieve the objectives.

PLANNING IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS Planning is, in fact, a picture conceived while day-dreaming. We just want to turn it into reality by making use of our resources. Planning comes naturally to successful individuals. It is also the

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weakness of the unsuccessful. For a Muslim, planning is all the more important because we believe that on the Day of Reckoning, every individual would be accountable for the way he or she utilized his/her time. Islam also enjoins upon each one of its followers to guide his immediate folks (family, colleagues, etc.) in planning their affairs.

ELEMENTS OF PLANNING The elements of planning for better time management are: A clear vision of the objectives of life and a serious attitude towards their attainment A strong determination to achieve these objectives Ability to identify and acquire the resources required for achieving the goals Cognizance of hurdles in planning Identifying and interacting with persons who could help in planning Managing time and setting priorities and targets, keeping in view the objectives, availability of human and other resources and problems in implementation. Proper co-ordination and distribution of work amongst different members of the organization Appropriate timing Periodic review to remove the flaws and modification of the plan in case of unforeseen problems Being grateful to Allah and to those who contribute to success in planning

Mental Preparation Planning makes us mentally prepared for the task. For success in this competitive world, one must step into the field fully prepared. Inadequate preparation results in unsuccessful operations.

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To be effective, preparation should be regular and in accordance with the need of the hour.

Direction In individual as well as collective concerns, the direction should be determined after thorough assessment of the situation and available resources. Determination of correct direction and streamlining of the thought process are the cornerstones of planning. Proper planning meets success, sooner or later. On the other hand, proceeding in a haphazard manner results in disasters. If you face difficulties, despite proper planning, you would discover where the fault lies, rather than blaming others or guessing what went wrong where.

Personal Traits Required For Planning To plan effectively, it is essential to have a balanced personality. Order, continuity, thinking ability, humility, gratitude, analytical ability, self-evaluation and improvement; ability to motivate, train and discipline others, and the ability to learn from one’s own mistakes, are the other essential ingredients of a planner’s personality.

Categories of Plans On the basis of its duration, a plan may be termed as longterm, medium-term, short-term, or daily plan.

Long-Term Plans: A long-term plan may be spread over a period of five years or more. It may be a development plan for an organization or an individual. In any case, it requires utmost dedication and long-term commitment.

Medium-Term Plan: A medium-term plan covers one to three years. For example, a student faced with financial handicaps, might plan to take up a job after matriculation or intermediate and then continue with his higher studies to attain the goals of his long-term plan. Alternatively, he may take up a job, save enough money, and then resume his studies.

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Short-Term Plan: Short-term plans may cover anywhere from a week to a year. These are more action-oriented and easier to review.

Daily Plan: A daily plan is the most important type of plan. If you can find time for this, then all other types of planning become viable. First, you jot down all the work or activities that is to be done on each day. Next, you prioritize official (job related), personal and social commitments for the day, keeping in mind your job related responsibilities and timings and the sequence on modus operandi of the work to be performed and activities to be carried out.

Planning Procedure It is not at all essential to have a costly diary or charts or electronic devices to prepare a plan. The important thing is to write down the objectives and the courses of action. To begin with, you can use a small notebook. A daily plan does not require more than a few minutes. Start with a daily plan to develop the habit and to acquire the skills of preparing, reviewing and implementing more elaborate plans.

Long and Short Term Planning For long and short term plans, the list of tasks to be done should also indicate the order of priorities along with deadlines. Allocate a separate page for each one of the tasks. For example, if your target is vertical mobility, the list of things to do may include: improvement in academic qualifications; personality development; acquiring new skills; and public relations. Now, write down what you actually propose to do under each of these headings and also mention the course of action to be followed in each case. You may draw a flow chart for this purpose.

Daily Plans Components: Components of daily plans are: daily chores, pending work, and new assignment. The nature of these tasks might be personal, official or social. Timing: You may prepare your daily plans early in the morning, on arrival at work, or a day in advance. An important aspect of daily planning is an honest appraisal of the day already

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spent. It is better to do the planning before going to bed. Requirements: While drawing up your daily plan, you should consider as to which of the listed tasks can be done in a better way today and at which moment. You should also be able to differentiate between what is `important’ and what is ‘urgent.’ Allocate your prime time for creative assignments and important tasks. Avoid anger and confusion while leaving for work in the morning and on arrival at the workplace. Do not try to dispose off your work in a hasty or emotional manner. You must be calm and well-composed. By throwing tantrums, you might succeed in some cases but not always. Format: Design your own format according to your requirements and convenience. You may start with a prioritized daily to do list on a piece of paper or card. Take up one task at a time. Assign symbols for letters, phone calls, personal contacts and other matters. Use different signs (e.g. arrows, crosses and tick marks) for the tasks accomplished and unfinished. Include the unfinished tasks in the lists for subsequent days. Electronic devices, soft wares and schedulers are quite helpful in this respect. Appraisal: Appraise your performance on a day-to-day basis, with the help of daily to do lists. Make A Start Today And The Goal Is Not Far Away

Every morning, you must wake up with a firm determination and a will to act according to your plan. Do not forget to pray to Allah for success. You may include in your daily routine the following prayers, quoted from Hizbul-Azam: O Allah, I ask you for all the good that is carried by this day and the days to come; and seek your refuge from all the evils that might be there in this day or in the coming days. O Allah, I seek your refuge from lethargy and from extreme old age.

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O Allah, forgive me for my sins and bless my home and bless me with plenty of Rizq (means of livelihood ). O Allah, I am a weak person, give me strength; I am in disgrace, make me respectable; I am needy, grant me sustenance.

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DISCIPLINING THROUGH DIARY There are occasions in life when one makes pledges to oneself regarding the future course of his life and prays to God for the fulfillment of these affirmations. Such occasions are: Birthday and other anniversaries Escape from a serious accident or witnessing one Visiting a person on his deathbed, participating in a funeral, or visiting the graveyard. Taking up a new job or launching a new business. Financial stringency, hardship or other crises Eid (festival )days. Shab-e-Qadr. (27th of Ramazan or odd nights of last ten days of Ramazan) Beginning of the New Year These are the occasions when one realizes the brevity of life and the need to do what one wants to do, right away. Such occasions also add to one’s determination for making every moment of his life better than the previous one.

CALENDARS AND DIARIES Calendars and diaries are in peak demand at the beginning of each year. From the head of an organization to the junior most employee, everyone is keen about diaries and calendars. Various organizations spend millions of rupees on these two items. But, what follows is disappointing: Diaries are either treated as show pieces or passed on to children who use a diary like a notebook or scrapbook. Sometimes the lady of the house uses it for her daily accounts, laundry list or recipes.

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Calendars are used for decorating walls or covering school books and notebooks. In short, every year a large part of the huge amount spent on printing diaries and calendars, supposed to be tools for selfmanagement and public relations, goes down the drain. Unfortunately, some organizations design their diaries in a manner that even the employees of the organization itself cannot use it to meet their requirements. In fact, nothing substantial is gained from this enormous expenditure and the money spent on it is wasted like the money spent on balloons, lighting, posters and handbills. In our society no one gives in their diaries a statement or sheet which account for time spending (daily, weekly and monthly) and analysis of activities. We can ameliorate this wastage by: Producing inexpensive diaries having more space and flexibility. Using diaries as diaries and not as scrap books to make them cost effective Using diaries as tools of collective accountability.

ADVANTAGES OF CALENDARS AND DIARIES We can get the best out of calendars and diaries if: Calendars make us conscious of the passage of each day, motivating us to act. A diary is used as a tool to discipline ourselves and to coordinate our actions. The diary is properly maintained as a reference, a tool for self-awareness and self-accountability, and for promoting the thought process. Maintaining A Diary Maintaining a diary helps in drawing up annual, monthly and weekly plans. It is also helpful in preparing the daily schedules so that the 1,440 minutes of the day are utilized in a proper way.

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A diary also makes it possible to assess for ourselves if we have really spent our time in accordance with the set goals of our lives. It also gives an idea as to how much of the planned work is still undone. If the time taken by each task is also indicated, we can eliminate leakage of time. Thus, the diary helps us in carrying out a process of selfaccountability. A diary is a record of all of our activities, responsibilities, important matters and information of immediate nature. The record of accomplished tasks in the diary gives us a sense of achievement. It can be used as an evidence and proof

SUGGESTIONS FOR MAKING A DIARY MORE EFFECTIVE Effectiveness of a diary can be enhanced by adding the following features: More space for writing; one full page for each date Same design for all members of an organization Useful information and data related to vocation/profession of the user. Blank pages to jot down goals and objectives and also the strategies to achieve these. Two blank pages facing each other to design a planner, if not already printed in the diary A six inch scale to draw additional lines/columns for maintaining records of prayers, studies, and the like A pocket to keep photocopies of the Identity Card, passport and photographs. Personal information, particularly the information related to health and emergency phone numbers Highlighting of important events on the full page calendar. You can devise a personal code using the alphabets. For example, you can write ‘M’ by the side of an encircled date for a marriage ceremony and ‘B’ for a birthday party,

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that you have to attend. You can mention the other details on the respective pages for these dates. In some diaries, space is provided for maintaining a monthly account of income and expenditure. You can record a summary, if not the full details. As far as the daily pages of the diary are concerned, we would not like to impose any thing upon you because these pages are like the dress one wears which one selects according to one’s own likes and dislikes. However, we would like to mention some methods and you can adopt the one that you like or evolve something of your own. (a) One method is to divide the page into two equal parts vertically by folding it. On the left hand side, you can mention the tasks to be done in the order in which they come to your mind. You can then divide the half page on the right hand side into columns. One of these columns may be used for recording the nature of the task such as a telephone call or an invitation to dinner etc. In the next column you can indicate the priority of the task. In the third column, you can record the completion of a task. If it has not been completed on that particular date, you can indicate this by using another symbol and if you have deferred it for some other day, that too should be shown by using a different symbol. You may choose and assign these symbols yourself. In the last column, you should indicate the time taken in the completion of that particular assignment. (b) The other method would be to divide the entire page into several columns. Each column can be used for a particular type of work or engagement. For example, one column may be used for phone calls and the other for visits that you have to make. In the phone calls column, you may write the name of the person, his phone number and the purpose of the call. In the visits column, you may write the name of the person to be visited, and the place and time of the visit. In the column for tasks to be performed, you may indicate its nature, the names of the persons involved and its priority. In the column for reminders or assessments, write down the name of the persons involved and the nature of work.

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In preparing your schedules, you must find time for prayers and religious studies as also for your family, relatives, friends and the discharge of social obligations and for the reformation of self and the society. In following your schedule, you should not be so rigid as to become a slave of the diary and the clock. Set aside one hour every day to attend to unforeseen tasks of urgent and important nature. You must avail your annual leave from work. If you cannot afford an outing, you may utilize it for improving your skills. Remember, relaxation enhances your creativity and also offers opportunities for self-improvement.

ALTERNATIVES TO A DIARY Some people do not like to maintain a regular diary. They may opt for one of the following alternatives: A notebook which might cover a month, a quarter or six months. A bound set of customized charts Pocket cards, also known as Memo cards or ‘To Do’ cards Flip charts, white boards and table planners Digital diary and electronic devices

MAXIMIZING THE CHANCES OF SUCCESS It is certain that we cannot achieve hundred per cent success in all of our plans. That is why we need to set priorities. Failure to achieve a full measure of success should not discourage us. The following may help in minimizing the incidence of failure: Do not try to do too many things at the same time Clarify objectives Set/determine priorities and then stick to them Self-confidence

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Acquire the information necessary to complete a task Self-discipline Regularly review methodology Avoid frivolities that distract attention Avoid living in the past; face the future with courage and confidence Raise the level of conviction and determination Believe in your ability to perform the task Only those who know themselves, get rid of their shortcomings and polish their positive traits, ultimately succeed. They utilize their time gainfully, live a disciplined life and assess their own performance on a daily basis. Sher Shah Suri, who ruled India for five years only, did much in the fields of administration, reformation and development, as would have required centuries for others to achieve. He maintained a balance in his routine and in other affairs. He used to say that ‘a man is great if he spends all his time in constructive activities.’ We reproduce below, a day’s schedule of engagements of Sher Shah Suri, in a diary format.

A. From Mid-night To The Fajr Prayers Rest, taking a bath, offering Nafil prayers, supplications (Dua) and Zikr-o-Wazaif Assessment of activities and accounts of the various departments Issuing directives to officers for the next day Preparing his own schedule of engagements for the coming day

B.

From Fajr Prayers To Noon After offering Fajr prayers, Wazaif and Namaz-e-Ishraq; meeting government officials

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Enquiring about the needs of the people, listening to their complaints and solving their problems Inspecting the army, armaments and state of readiness for military action Interviewing candidates for army recruitment Reviewing financial health of the state Meeting envoys and other important personalities. Disposing off various requests

C.

Lunch And Zohar Prayers Meetings with Scholars and Mashaikh at lunch Rest and personal matters Offering Asr prayers with the congregation and recitation of the Holy Quran.

DAILY PLEDGE An Non Governmental Organization (NGO) has suggested its members to adhere to the following as a pledge on a daily basis: I shall treat this day as only one of the days in my life and would not attempt to resolve the problems of my entire life within the span of this one day. I shall try to keep myself happy. I shall try to strengthen my mental faculties, seek to learn something useful and try to read something thoughtprovoking. I shall try to adjust myself instead of compelling others to adjust to my plans. I shall endeavour to satisfy my conscience in three ways: by doing something good by not doing something bad and by not complaining against anyone who has hurt me.

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As far as possible, I shall try to be nice, speak gently, avoid criticising sarcastically and would not issue commands to anyone except myself. I shall chalk out a programme for myself, even though I might not be able to implement it fully. I shall keep it free from two flaws: haste and indecision Freeing myself from everything else, I shall contemplate about my life for half an hour. I shall not allow myself to be pressured by anyone against enjoying the things of beauty created by Nature. PROCLAMATION Renowned scholar Allama Ibne Juzi, the author of Minhajul Qasedeen (511-597H) suggested a diary in which one should record ten merits and ten demerits that he finds in himself. And then, he should strive to enhance his merits and, at the same time, try to reduce the number of his demerits. Benjamin Franklin also mentioned a checklist of 13 merits to be recorded in a proper diary. Hazrat Junnaid Baghdadi (R.A.) used to say, “You must keep on measuring all the time, how close have you drawn to Allah and how far have you gone from the Satan; how close have gone to Paradise and how far have you pulled away yourself from Hell.” When you start writing in a diary, your eyes are immediately drawn towards the clock which tells you at every click that one more moment is gone from what had been allocated to you by the Creator. Time is a resource endowed upon everyone equally. With determination, self-discipline, and capabilities that you possess, utilize it effectively. You shall be held accountable for the time granted to you.

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CAREER PLANNING CREATING YOUR OWN DESTINY Life is full of contradictions. There are people who are rich and possess all the amenities of life. Yet, they are restless and complain of a void in their lives. On the other hand, there are the teeming millions who live in abject poverty but, despite their miseries, appear to be content and happy. We are seldom satisfied with what we have. We assess to worth of a person by his wealth and material possessions, which are not distributed equally. It is like reaping a harvest. Different people use different methods and tools and end up with different quantities. However, everyone gets opportunities in life. The one who avails of it, is the successful one. Basic necessities like air, water and natural light are freely available to everyone. Similarly, every individual gets 1,440 minutes daily. The faculties of thinking and dreaming have also been endowed to everyone. In the final analysis, it is the ability to use all these resources effectively that makes the difference.

A COMMON DESIRE A desire that is common among all human beings, is to live a decent and respectable life. Despite immense problems, most of us aspire to rise in our private and public lives. But we find that many of us are not suited (duly prepared for the jobs assigned) to our pursuits and life styles. Many of us take up a vocation without meditation or planning. Some of us are pushed by circumstances of other compulsions. What we need to do is career planning. By deliberating further on career planning, we hope to persuade the parents and teachers to prepare their children and students for an effective role in national development.

WHAT IS A CAREER? Career means adopting a vocation or profession to earn one’s livelihood. Since little thinking has been done in this country (country to which writer belongs) in this direction, it would create

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problems if we differentiate between the two. So, let us assume them to be synonymous. To choose a good career for oneself generally means to select a means of livelihood, which is in line with one’s capabilities, physical condition and aptitude. Such a selection would give him satisfaction in his work and that would lead him to success at every stage. According to experts, career may be defined as: Personal experiences related to work or trade. The adoption for life, of a certain field for employment or business. To pursue a profession like that in medicine, law, armed forces, etc., in which there exists ample room for future advancement and development.

WHY A CAREER PLAN? The life of a person is a constant struggle because the responsibilities that he carries, make it necessary for him to possess material resources needed for its proper discharge. The head of a family has to provide for the members of his family not only the basic needs such as food, shelter and clothing, but has also to care for their health and to equip them with proper education to enable them to earn, a respectable position in the society. To acquire such resources, one has to take up a job or to engage in some kind of a business. And this activity, undertaken to fulfill his/her financial needs, is known his career. Thus, it is through his career that one not only fulfils his own desires but also gets respect and position in the society. The responsibility of supporting one’s immediate family and other dependants, is one which cannot be avoided. This responsibility can be met appropriately only by adopting a suitable profession. This is not only the usual course but also the path to success and respect in the eyes of others.

DETERMINE YOUR DESTINATION Every person must determine his destination even if at first, it seems like dreaming. The next thing to do is to find out how it can be reached. This is not simple as there may be more than one

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paths leading to it. Now it is for him to assess his resources and to measure the difficulties lying in the way and then decide as to which course is to be followed. In this process, one should not be overawed by the hurdles but should devise ways to utilize resources available to him in the most appropriate manner. There are people who achieve their goals in a short time because of their vast resources while there are others who are not so fortunate, and have to wait longer. Again, there are people who, like the hare in the fable, relax and take more time to reach the destination while there are others who, like the tortoise, are persistent in their efforts and arrive at the destination despite lack of resources. In short, besides knowledge of destination, one must also know the route and the requirements for reaching the destination. When one is set out for his/her destination, one can take small breaks to rest but one should never fall asleep. There is an Arabic saying, ‘ Those who seek high positions, must not sleep at night’. Move forward with good intent. It is for the Almighty to provide more for you and to elevate your position. He can strengthen your dwindling resources and turn the thorns in your way into supports to prevent you from falling.

NEED FOR DETERMINATION To move forward in life, one needs determination. Sometimes it gets lost under the shadow of affluence and sometimes it gains strength from the weaknesses and miseries. Francis Bacon has said that he had seen great men rising out of indigence. One need not be frightened by difficulties as these only make one more determined. Jalal uddin Khawarzam Shah stated to have said that “Don’t be apprehensive of miseries and deprivation and darkness, look upward, the moon and stars—they shine in darkness. Stars themselves are the messengers of light and breaking dawn. Move ahead to build your future. We owe to our coming generations, we can say that our predecessor have pledged our future by indebting us but we can undo this and make our future bright for ourselves and our coming generations. Wherever you are, assist and guide the ones around you.

EARN FOR TOMORROW Everyone earns for tomorrow. For a Muslim, tomorrow means the life hereafter. We must try and pray for worldly gains

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as well as those which matter in the life hereafter. The Prophet (PUBH) said, ‘O Allah, help us in our religions by giving us the worldly gains, and help us in the life hereafter by giving us piety and sobriety (Tuqwa).’

ISLAMIC VIEW OF CAREER PLANNING When a Muslim speaks of career planning, he looks beyond the life in this world. To plan merely for a worldly career is like an animal picking up food from the ground on which it walks. But if one’s planning includes the considerations for the life hereafter, then it is like that animal having wings too, which enable it to fly over trees, mountains and the rivers. If career planning covers the life hereafter as well, that would help make this life more meaningful. Everyone has the right to strive for a better life in this world. But one should seek help from his worldly gains in respect of his religion (deen). And this would strike a balance that would result in piety (Tuqwa) which, in turn, makes his journey on the highway to life hereafter easier.

THE NEED FOR CAREER PLANNING We are considered to be a retrogressive nation. We are hasty and emotional, and can give or take a life on a petty matter. We have education but there is unemployment. We have money but our legislation, especially the one related to taxation, is such that the money goes waste instead of being utilized in setting up industries. Highly educated persons are doing clerical jobs while abilities of educated and well-trained women are not used beyond their cooking skills and house keeping activities. The present stage in our national life demands everyone to act in a dynamic manner. These very educated people can undertake the career planning of their children if they are parents and of their students if they are teachers and of their colleagues if they are workers or managers. Even if they are unemployed, they can form a group of people from various fields and start career counseling, thereby finding work for themselves.

SELF-EMPLOYMENT If you know your destination, and if you have determined it as a Muslim, then it is not necessary to take up an employment

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with a high status in government or private sector. You may start a modest business undertaking. You have just to write one (1) and it is for Allah to put a zero on the right hand side, making it ten. The solution to the problem of unemployment lies largely in self-employment. This too, needs career planning. The main consideration should be that the fish remains inside the pond and the bird in open air, that is, you select your business keeping in view your skills and aptitude.

HOW CAN PARENTS AND TEACHERS HELP? Parents and teachers can help children plan their careers in several ways. Some of these are discussed below.

Finding Out What Interests Them Assessing children’s natural inclination towards any particular career, should not be deferred till the high school leaving examination. It should be identified at a much earlier stage. In our society, the parents, particularly the mothers, crave to see their children become engineers and doctors despite the fact that these professions have become saturated and many of those obtaining degrees in these fields, are faced with unemployment. Secondly, the parents never care to find out the child’s aptitude. They cannot be blamed for this because very little has been done in our country to create such awareness. Parents and teachers should have a dialogue with the children to find answers to the following questions. What pleases them? Which subjects they like and which ones they dislike? Do they like teamwork? Do they perform better under pressure or in a calm environment? What are their hobbies and pastimes? The answers to these indicate the direction in which the child would like to move in the future. Parents should seek guidance and advice from teachers, scout leaders, friends, relatives and the

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learned persons.

Guiding, Not Instructing Try to find out the child’s own inclination. Some say, ’I want to be a pilot.’ Others want to be soldiers. Sometimes, a child acts like a doctor, examining the younger brother or sister for an imaginary illness. Others are often seen engaged in ‘setting right’ a toy motorcar or motorbike, like a mechanic. These innocent activities indicate their natural tendencies. Talk about the careers that they might pursue in the future and discuss with them the advantages and disadvantages of adopting a particular career. That would help them in taking their own decision in selecting a profession.

Experiential Learning To find out their aptitude, take the children to various places of work: hospitals, factories, courts and your office. In this manner, they would get acquainted with various professions. There was a time when such tours were conducted by schools. Now running a school is an industry and the owners are too busy minting money to take care of this aspect of imparting education. Anyway, the children must get opportunities for such experiential learning. In our country, we do not have proper skill development programs through which students could get training in factories and offices, during vacations. This could also be an effective method of discovering a young person’s natural inclination. Educational institutes, hospitals and social welfare institutes are no more considered safe appropriate any more otherwise these were the portals which could provide best knowledge about children’s aptitude by indulging them in activities after their secondary education. Vacations and part time employment can help a great deal in knowing ones aptitude and natural talent.

THINK ABOUT YOUR FUTURE There is lack of planning in respect of future, as to what jobs will arise and their requirement in numbers. People are preparing without considering the future prospects.

Unity Of Thought The child aspires to become a pilot while the mother wants

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him to be a doctor. Each of them is thinking on a different plane; the mother is driven by sentiments and the boy is perhaps not fully aware of the rigours of the profession he wants to take up. The boy does not like to hurt his mother’s desire and, therefore, he slowly drifts towards a third option which finally disappoints both of them. Under such circumstances, it is better to seek expert opinion or the advice of a well-informed and knowledgeable person in the family. Such conflicts cannot be resolved without understanding and accommodation.

Flair For Business Some children have the aptitude for doing their own business. The fact is that those who like to work independently, are willing to face hardships and do not crave for status, can be expected to succeed in business. To assess this aptitude, children should be allowed to work as interns in business organizations.

Gender Justice A woman’s possessions are her own and she is responsible for the payment of Zakat on it. She should try to enhance her possessions to be able to pay Zakat on time. Though our religion permits women to work and take up various professions, we often prevent them from doing so. There are households where qualified female doctors take care of the kitchen only and the money spent on their professional education goes down the drain. Why does a woman need to be equipped with professional education if she has to run the household only? Those who do not want their wives to work, should not seek brides with professional education or training. Parents should educate their daughters in fields that are particularly suited to women, such as medicine, nursing, teaching, computers, fine arts and tailoring. In these fields, women can also set up businesses of their own. Field of information technology is very suitable for ladies as it involves lesser interaction with “Na Meharam” (prohibited) males and is rewarding too.

Changing Careers It is not necessary to stick to the same career throughout one’s life. If the circumstances change, a change in career may be desirable. To make such a switch over is not opportunism but a

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foresighted action. It is not advisable to stick to something merely for ego satisfaction.

Career Counselors Career counselors help in career planning and development by advising and not by taking decisions on behalf of the persons seeking guidance in this respect. Usually, they help in three ways:

Creating Self-awareness Those who select their careers without a knowledge of their capabilities, often end up in failure. Some positions offer good salaries but little opportunity to utilize one’s capabilities, blocking prospects for promotions. Career counselors help you discover yourself. This is done through different types of tests and other techniques. Counselors form their opinion, and advise accordingly.

Supplying Information Career counselors are supposed to collect the information about various professions, business and employment opportunities. This information is vital in making the choice of a career.

Assistance In Seeking Employment A career counselor can also help in preparing effective CVs. He can guide in preparing for and interview and sometimes also train people for particular fields.

Need for Career Counseling Career counselors are needed because they make it easier for you to choose the right career. In the absence of such counseling, one generally has to go through trial-and-error, wasting a lot of time and energy. Since a career counselor has the relevant information, he or she can guide you in choosing and pursuing the right career. Career counselors are also experienced in dealing with employers. They can, therefore, help you in preparing for employment interview as well.

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Career counselors can help you further in following aspects of career development. Testing your aptitude and suitability for different jobs Handling employer’s direct and indirect questions during the employment interview Familiarizing you with the prospective employer’s main concerns (e.g. profitability, compatibility) Preparing your bio-data keeping in view the requirements of a particular employer Making adjustments on the job Changing career to maintain a balanced mix of your aptitude and skills (a lawyer specialised in handling divorce cases and was quite successful. But when he started feeling frustrated, his counsellor advised him to turn to re-conciliation between estranged couples. He did that, and was immensely successful

HUMAN NEED AND CAREER PLANS According to Abraham Maslow, there are at least five kinds of basic needs that motivate human beings to act. These are:

Physiological Needs These include personal needs like food, shelter and clothing. The hope for the fulfillment of such needs makes a person to act and move forward.

Security Needs A person needs protection against the fear of the loss of his means of livelihood, of property and of his life. He acts to secure such protection.

Social Needs Man is a social animal. It is in his nature to live in communities. For this, he has to meet certain obligations to others.

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Internal feelings and Emotional Satisfaction Fulfillment of the above mentioned needs gives one the feelings of strength, self-esteem and self-confidence, which brings satisfaction and happiness, essential for a successful life.

The Desire To Go Up After attaining a certain level of satisfaction one experiences a natural urge to move further ahead. This desire to go up further, happens to be the driving force behind all the hustle and bustle of life.

EMPLOYMENT OR SELF-EMPLOYMENT: THE CHOICE IS YOURS! Whether you work for yourself or for others, to be successful, you must prepare a plan and fix your targets. It is said that every profession is essentially a trade. A laborer who carries a load on his head is also a trader in the sense that he sells his physical strength. Similarly, an office clerk sells his mental labor while a doctor, an engineer and a manager, too, are traders who sell their skills to earn their livelihood. The choice of a career depends on discovering for yourself as to which of these ‘trades’ gives you the happiness which comes by effective utilization of your capabilities and skills. Employment and business, both offer equally good careers. One can move from one to the other, or may even manage to pursue both simultaneously. The basic requirement for a career is education. But it is not essential to hold a Master’s or doctoral degree. Two years’ formal education after matriculation is sufficient for some careers. However, if you have the resources, you should continue your education further. You must choose a career at this stage. If it is a profession like engineering, medicine or law, it has its own requirements of formal education. In other fields, you can continue your education along with your employment or business. In either case, you must consider the following: a) If you have to take up an employment, what should be the entry level and to what level can you rise. In addition, you must decide the nature of organization, group or business you would like to join. Some people are more concerned with the position

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while others may give importance to the group or nature of business. Behind each one of these, sub-conscious motives, which may not be discernable. b) If you want to do business, what would be its nature. It could be related to production and/or marketing of goods and/or services. You should also consider various legal entities, viz. proprietary, partnership, or a joint stock company. One should consider all these aspects and then take the decision.

THE MOST SUITABLE PROFESSION To find out which profession suits you the most, you should consider the following:

1. Skills Different skills are required for different professions. A person must possess the ability to make a good and convincing conversation if he wants to take up sales or the practice of law as a profession. Command over language and ability to communicate are prerequisites for a journalist.

2. Education Choice of education should be according to the requirement of the profession. For example, one who aspires to become a doctor, must opt for premedical group in the Intermediate Science examination.

3. Intelligence Educational qualification without intellectual development is worthless. Intelligence enables one to apply his knowledge and experience in tackling problems. Good memory adds to intellectual development which is essential for success in any profession.

4. Aptitude Different individuals can learn and perform different tasks with different degrees of competence because of their natural inclinations. Some can grasp the technical aspects quicker and, therefore, perform better than others. While choosing a profession, one must take into consideration the aptitude.

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5. Interest Personal interest also counts. It makes things easier. If your profession is consonant with your interest, your work becomes a pleasure, and you never get tired.

6. Personal Circumstances Personal circumstances play an important role in the choice of career. For example, a young man belonging to a low income family may be required to share the responsibilities of supporting the family by taking a job immediately at a relatively younger age. Nevertheless, he can continue his education in a night college or through Open University. One should face personal circumstances, favorable or unfavorable, in a realistic manner and find a way out.

POST-CHOICE PROBLEMS Your struggle does not end with the choice of a career. Once you have taken the decision, you should plan to acquire professional education, training and/or experience that is required to enter the profession. Every profession has its own demands. Assess your capabilities and try to strengthen those which might be helpful in meeting these demands. Hard work is the key to success. Those who have nothing else, can depend on hard work for success. And those who do possess other assets, would still need hard work for moving ahead at a faster pace. If you want to achieve your goals in life, get used to working effectively and in a smart way. Difficulties are a part of life. You might face some in your career too. But you should not panic. You should face it with fortitude. Once you get into the career of your choice, do not become complacent. Try to gain further proficiency in your profession. Remember, the process of learning never comes to an end. Whatever career you choose, you must work with sincerity, honesty and a sense of responsibility.

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FOR THOSE WHO SEEK EMPLOYMENT In seeking employment, you must take care of the following: Take up a job that makes you happy Choose an organization and a position that facilitates the process of learning from each other. Seek to work under a good supervisor Join an organization that makes you feel worthwhile

FOR THOSE WHO OPT FOR BUSINESS To be meaningful, your business should be profitable to you, your family and to humanity at large. It should provide means of livelihood to others, as well as be of some good to the country. You must, therefore, be clear about the following: What would be the legal status of your business? Who would own it and how the profits would be shared? How would it commence and what would be the subsequent steps? How would the initial capital be raised and how would the receivables be recovered? Who would be the target customers? Which market segment in terms of demographic profile and geographic location? How would the business be organised ? How would the problems related to hiring of employees and procurement of plant and machinery be tackled? How to keep the expenditure under control? How to increase profitability? What would be the development plan?

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TRY TO BE ON THE TOP Never think that you have learnt all that was to be learnt. Make an honest effort to meet the demands of your profession and seek perfection in your skills. Reaching the highest point in professional development, leaving millions behind, is difficult but not impossible.

TOWARDS A SUCCESSFUL CAREER Once you reach a stage in your career where you are assured of a steady income, the following steps will help you go further up.

1. Communication Communicate with others keeping in mind their status, nature and caliber.

2. Listening and Learning Listen to others and learn from their knowledge and experience.

3. Interpersonal Relations Develop harmony and working relationships with colleagues and subordinates.

4. Dynamism Develop a dynamic personality and motivate the workforce.

5. Respect for Seniors Respecting seniors and carrying out their instructions seriously.

6. Respect for Subordinates Acknowledging subordinates’ rights and their association with the organization.

7. Time Management Manage your time and your subordinates’ time in an effective manner.

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8. Decision Making Analyze the situation logically and take meaningful decisions that serve the interest of the organization.

9. Planning and Implementation Develop, supervise and implement realistic plans, in view of the objectives, resources and capabilities of the human resource.

10. Training Develop a culture of life-long learning and training on-and-offthe job for continuous development.

11. Delegation In consonance with their competence, delegate tasks to your subordinates without losing control.

12. Concentration Work with concentration and avoid procrastination, particularly when faced with difficult and demanding tasks.

13. Skill Development Keep yourself up-to-date through regular study of related literature and develop new skills through training and practice.

14. Honesty and Confidentiality Work with honesty and observe confidentiality of sensitive information.

15. Sense of Achievement Try to finish your assignments within deadlines, without fatigue, and with a sense of achievement.

16. Sense of Responsibility Work with a pervasive sense of responsibility, irrespective of the degree of supervision, extent of accountability and level of satisfaction with remunerations. This will boost and accelerate you for the goals you have set for yourself.

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Personality Development

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PART THREE Personality Development 9. Impressive Personality

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10. Elements Of An Impressive Personality

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11. Intellectual Components Of A Personality

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12. Impressive Personality: Moral Character

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13. Destructive Elements Of Personality

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IMRESSIVE PERSONALITY Khalil Gibran writes: ‘A stone fell into a pond and gave rise to waves which spread in all directions. Inspired by this, a tree on the periphery also dropped a leaf in the water. But it raised no sound and did not give rise to any waves. I told the tree, “ O fool! Only those can create a stir who carry some weight.”’ This is an allegory and a fact of life. Scores of leaves together could not match the stir created by a single stone. An organization is also like a pond. Some individuals lend strength to organizations and lead the way to success. On the other hand, in some cases, the presence of a large number of persons, fails to prevent a disaster. The reason is often found in the personality of individuals managing organization. If the persons on the top lack positive personality traits and unassailable character, they float like leaves on the surface without making any mark, or contributing to organizational development.

HOW PERSONALITY HELPS It is often observed that two persons may join an organization at the same time and may be given similar goals, targets, subordinates and authority; but with the passage of time, one of them becomes more popular among his colleagues and subordinates, who spend time with him and carry out his orders. He finds time to discuss with them the issues of individual and organizational nature and seeks their advice in making decisions. He is able to develop an effective team to achieve organizational objectives. With their collective efforts, the organization grows. The individuals who work for the organization also grow to become managers, senior executives and leaders. They are liked and admired by their followers, who see challenges as opportunities and try to benefit others. They act according to the Hadith, which says that the best among you are those who benefit others. Such persons are blessed with team spirit and a sense of belonging to the organization they work for.

OTHER SIDE OF THE COIN The other person, who does not have an impressive personality, often becomes the object of ridicule. He can neither give any

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substantial output nor is able to make others work productively. His orders and instructions are ignored. His subordinates excel in finding excuses. Everyone tries to befool others. This results in failure of the organization and the individuals associated with it. They lose face. The organization has to undergo reorganization through a major ‘Operation Clean-up’ resulting in dislocations and terminations.

CHARACTER AND PERSONALITY: KEYS TO SUCCESS Personality and personal character play key roles in the success of every individual, irrespective of his/her occupation and status. At higher level in the organizations and in business technical skills are estimated to contribute only 15 per cent to the development of an individual, while the remaining 85 per cent is the contribution of his personal traits. It is because of positive personal characteristics that a person leads a happy life and becomes a source of happiness to subordinates and colleagues. Such a person finds it easy to achieve his goals because he wins over his co-workers and is able to form a sincere and loyal team. He identifies his success with the success of his team. The team also reciprocates by supporting him through thick and thin. Soon, the results begin to show and achievements exceed expectations. Enhanced productivity and profitability also contribute to gross national product and national income. On the other hand, negative personality traits lead to organizational crises. Productivity suffers. Employees have to work overtime. The concept of cost effectiveness loses its significance. Profits are turned into losses. People start pointing fingers at each other. The root cause of all this is the leader who lacks positive personality traits.

SET THE KEY FACTOR RIGHT If we want to improve the functioning of an organization, be it business, family or some other institution, we have to first improve ourselves, by putting in the right place each and every piece of the jig-saw puzzle of our personality, like the picture on the other side of the world map, mentioned in the previous chapter. The society will be taken care of if we take care of ourselves.

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PERSONALITY DEVELOPMENT To build a better personality, you must keep the following in mind: Select an occupation that you really like Try to excel in quality and promptness Train others so that you do not become indispensable for your organization. Organizations should not be dependent on individuals; these should function under properly designed systems. Training and management should be geared up for quick and positive results. Do not ignore your family members. Your career progression should not be at the expense of your family’s progress and prosperity. If you are an officer, your subordinates should be happy with you. And if you are a subordinate, your superiors and your colleagues should like you. Your affairs should be so straight that you do not suffer anxiety and stress-related disorders.

THE TIME TRAP Some people take time management too seriously and to the extent of a phobia. While talking to others, they keep on looking at the watch. Under the pressure of time, their behavior on the phone becomes disgusting. They try to give the impression that they are too busy to oblige others. Their rude behavior makes them unpopular. Some of them do so under the influence of books written in the West, which can be of use only in a materialistic and selfish society. We belong to the East where people respect their values, traditions and believe in helping others and in sharing their grief. If we want to utilize our time in a better way, then we must try to bring changes that are in conformity with our traditions. We must keep these principles in mind in the process of personality development.

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PERSONALITY DEFINED Personality has been variously defined by experts as under: Personality is the aggregate of a person’s physical, social, psychological and behavioral attributes. The existence of an individual and his experiences form an entity that is his personality. Personality is a term wider than Individuality because it extends over all the psychological actions and feelings of an individual. Personality has also been viewed as an individual’s “most striking or dominant characteristics” (Hjelle & Ziegler) Personality is an individual’s unique way of making sense out of life experiences (George Kelly) Sigmand Fraid described personality as a composition of three elements: id, ego and superego. Personality represents an evolving process, subject to a variety of internal and external influences. Personality comprises of six major attributes.: Appearance, Manners, Intelligence, Knowledge, Skills, and Character (A. G. Saeed in “Salesman Ki Shakhsiyat,” Business Magazine, July 1988). Keeping the foregoing in mind, we shall now discuss methods of personality development for personal gain as well as for playing a positive role for collective good. As they say in Arabic, ` One who knocks and strives, finally enters the door.’ The Prophet (PBUH) has said, `A human being is like a mine of gold or silver. Those among you who were good in the era of ignorance, are also good as followers of lslam. The good traits in one’s character constitute his precious capital and happen to be the key to his success.’

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ELEMENTS OF AN IMPRESSIVE PERSONALITY Fearing damage to be caused by a flooded rivulet, a group of the inhabitants of a nearby town tried to stop the flow of water. They were unable to do so because the flow of water was too strong. Another group attempted to block the flow of water at the source. They too, failed because if the water was stopped at one point, it would push through another. Then, a third group tried to change the course of the overflowing water so that the water irrigated farms and orchards instead of damaging the town. Reservoirs were also built to save the surplus water for future use. The third group succeeded in not only averting the disaster but also in enriching the agricultural land, while the first two wasted their time and efforts. A person with an effective or impressive personality is capable of changing the course of events to his own advantage. At the present stage of our national life, we also need to develop strong personalities to meet the requirements of both, our faith and our worldly existence. It is necessary to chalk out a program to develop such personalities.

ELEMENTS OF PERSONALITY DEVELOPMENT 1. Ideological bases You should try to understand the basic concepts of the ideology of life that you subscribe to. And this belief must be firm enough to reflect in your thoughts and actions a true awareness of your objectives in life. We are Muslims and must look out for what is Huq (Truth). We should do some soul searching and try to get rid of those weaknesses that allow Baatil (Falsehood) to sneak in. We must not permit ourselves to be lured into something that is not appropriate for a Muslim.

2. Knowledge and action The knowledge that you have acquired of the concept of life, should be reflected in your actions. Truth and honesty are the basic principles of every creed and religion. If you preach it but do not

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practice it, you lose your credibility. Submitting to temptations and making short-term gains by telling lies or evading obligations can neither give you peace of mind nor lead you to success.

3. Sincerity in intentions and actions According to our religion, an action is interpreted in the light of the intention behind it. Sincerity in intentions is, therefore, very important. Actions must be taken with full awareness of the intention behind it. It is said that even if a person makes the intention of doing something good but does not get the opportunity to carry it out, Allah the Merciful and Beneficent, rewards him for that intended action too. So, it becomes necessary for us to scrutinize our intentions.

4. Sense of Responsibility Each one of us is responsible for the welfare of others, we have to look after and protect the interests of the members of our families and our subordinates and colleagues. Government officials are also responsible for spending the taxpayers’ money judiciously. Businessmen are responsible for the well-being and prosperity of their employees and the development and progress of the business.

5. Fortitude To remain firm in the face of adversities is an important element of personality. And when a person acts in a way that yields desired results despite difficult and threatening situations, he possesses rare quality called fortitude. It is not always necessary to react to every threat. Sometimes it is expedient to avoid a confrontation and to endure what cannot be cured. The decision to act firmly or to take it easy, should be taken after considering the outcome of each option. The most essential requirement for a person placed in a difficult situation, is not to lose his peace and presence of mind.

6. Modesty Modesty (Haya) helps movement in the right direction and provides protection against all kinds of evils.

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In the words of our Holy Prophet (PBUH), ‘ Haya is a part of Iman (Faith) and it does not give anything but khair (Good). Be considerate to others. That would strengthen your Haya.

7. Moderation The Holy Prophet (PBUH) has ordained moderation in all aspects of life. Ibne Khaldun says: ‘You must adopt moderation in every action of yours because it is an indication of greatness and a guarantee for peace and security.’ Moderation is an essential element of personality. Moderation in work and leisure, income and expenditure, private and public affairs and all other matters leads to development of a balanced personality.

8. Patience: tolerance and abstinence Patience is of two kinds: tolerance of a physical strain; and abstinence from self-indulgence, whether it relates to gratification of one’s appetite, desire for sex, urge to earn and accumulate wealth, or settling scores with adversaries. Patience is required not only in difficult situations, but also in times of prosperity.

9. Sustainability and Regularity Sustainability and regularity in all affairs, helps in taking rapid strides on the road to success. This is facilitated by principles, policies and plans when enacted and implemented religiously.

10. Fear of God and the life hereafter Fear of God and fear of the life hereafter, are the cornerstones of an impressive personality. These are also significant factors in enhancing efficiency, guarding against involvement in evildoing and squandering of time and other resources.

11. Wisdom According to a saying of our Holy Prophet (PBUH), he who has been endowed with wisdom, is a blessed person. Wisdom may be defined as judicious use of knowledge. According to Ibne Qatiba

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(RA), a wise person is the one who blends knowledge with action. Wisdom is the source of discretion and moderation.

12. Allah is with us We must believe that God is with us all the time. We should make honest efforts, use the right methods and then leave the rest to God. The feeling that God is with us, prevents us from doing wrong and motivates us to do the right things. This feeling also gives rise to infinite motivation and strength to act, and ultimately turns the tide in our favor.

13. Self-restraint and Self-assessment Man is easily overwhelmed by the feelings of jealousy, suspicion, greed, anger and lust. These are the feelings that make humanbeings an easy prey for Satan’s evil manipulations. One must, therefore, guard against these feelings and keep them well under control. Besides this, one must also undertake a self-assessment daily, preferably at night before going to bed. It would be better if this is done in writing.

14. Dua/Supplication Prayers (Dua) makes a significant contribution to personality development. We must pray to God for an honest source of sustenance, protection against evil desires, for a firm determination, for the creation of helpful conditions and for better capabilities and an impressive personality. A better team to work with and warming the coldest of hearts. We must have trust in God for the grant our prayers. Once the residents of a village were called to gather in an open field for Namaz-e-Istasqa (prayers for rains). A little girl also proceeded to the venue of the prayers with an umbrella in her hand. Someone asked, “We, are praying for rains; why are you carrying an umbrella?” The girl replied confidently, “It may start raining soon as a result of our prayers.” For success in life, we need to have a trust of this kind in all affairs.

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INTELLECTUAL COMPONENT OF PERSONALITY An urban dweller invited a relative from a village to visit his house. For the villager, every thing in the house was amazing. But his wonder knew no bounds when he went into the bathroom. There was neither a pitcher, nor a bucket nor a drum filled with water. He kept on wondering as to how did they manage without water. Since villager was used to fetching water from a distant reservoir he failed to notice the pipelines with running water. Some people in our midst are like that villager who knew only his own way of transporting water and could not perceive anything different. Such people are lost in their own thoughts and cannot see beyond their nose. 2. An American went on a visit to some Central Asian country where they did not have electricity. One of the locals showed the American a chandelier which ran on oil and asked him if such a thing was used in his country? The American said that it was used only in some places. The local thought that America was so underdeveloped that even this means of light was available only in some places. Many amongst us are also like the person who only knew of his own measures of progress. We are not used to notice and observe things outside the shell we live in. To us, our immediate environment is our total universe. 3. In its early days an automobile looked like a fast-moving horse-drawn carriage. An American villager visiting New York was astonished and enquired about how those carriages were able to run so fast. He was told that these were fitted with engines of 100 horse power. He purchased a 100 h.p. machine, took it back home and fitted it into his horse-drawn carriage. When he drove it, the horse pulled it with its usual strength and the carriage moved with the same speed as it did previously. The man was disappointed because he did not realise that for the engine to be effective, the entire carriage had to be redesigned.

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There are many amongst us who, impressed by the material progress made in the West, borrow a few ideas from there and try to introduce these in our own society. Little do they realize that the two societies have different bases, values and traditions and, therefore, something from the one cannot be adopted by the other without due modifications.

HUMAN INTELLECT Those who are blessed with presence of mind can solve difficult problems. Once a fledgling fell into a 2x4 inches hole with a depth of 20 inches. Those who saw the bird falling into the hole were wondering how to pull it out. A young boy who was around thought for a while and then started pouring sand into the hole at short intervals. As the level of sand rose inside the hole, the little bird also kept on moving upwards. After struggling for about an hour he succeeded in bringing the little bird out. A woman was thirsty. She came across a well but there was no bucket to pull water out of it. So, she descended into the well and quenched her thirst. When she came out of the well, she found a dog which was also thirsty. She again descended into the well, filled her leather socks with water and brought it out for the dog. She too used her wisdom and was successful. Man has made remarkable achievements by using his intellect, reasoning and logic. He has produced new varieties of food and clothing, and constructed gigantic dams, bridges, high rise buildings, factories, homes and so many other useful things. He mines for precious minerals and metals like fuels, iron, zinc, gold, silver, copper and tin. Man has been able to do all this by using his brain effectively.

WISDOM IS THE BENCHMARK Wisdom is the highest blessing for mankind. It is the means through which man recognizes his creator and sustainer. According to the Holy Prophet (PBUH), the person who is blessed with wisdom, is blessed with abundance of wealth. Codes of behavior are formulated, appreciated and implemented through intellectual analysis and logical reasoning, which also helps in classification of human knowledge into meaningful categories and branches. Abu Zakariya (R.A.) has said, “Every true believer would enjoy Jannat according to his own intellect.”

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CHARACTERISTICS OF A WISE PERSON According to Allama Ibne Juzi, “A person can be judged for his wisdom by his reticence, poise and mannerism. A wise person shall take up the course that would ultimately prove to be better than other options. And he would avoid that which would finally turn out to be harmful; and strive only for that which is feasible.” Hazrat Abu Durda (R.A.) says that a wise person is the one who is courteous to his elders and does not belittle his juniors. He is not boastful in his conversations, follows the norms of etiquette while socializing, maintains a strong relationship with Allah (SWT) and protects it from any damage while performing his worldly tasks. Wahab bin Mamba (R.A.) quotes the sage Luqman addressing his son, ‘O my son! The wisdom of a person is not perfect unless he possesses the following qualities: He is not arrogant. He is inclined towards doing good. His worldly needs are restricted to only those items which are necessary for his existence. He spends his surplus wealth. Never gets tired of acquiring knowledge. Does not behave overbearingly for fulfilling any of his own needs. Belittles any act of kindness he does to others but overrates anything anyone else does for him. Considers others better human being and rates himself low. He feels happy if he finds some one in a better position than himself and tries to adopt his good qualities. If he finds others in an unenviable situation, he hopes that with Allah’s mercy they would ultimately get through, while he might not be able to make it. According to Malhab bin Abu Sughbah, he who ponders more and speaks less is a great person.

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OTHER COMPONENTS OF HUMAN INTELLECT ARE: 1. Positive Thinking Positive thinking plays an important part in personality development. It guards against disappointment and serves as source of energy. A glass of water which is half full for a person with positive thinking, is half empty for one given to negative thinking. The former finds some hope and a positive aspect even in bitter and unfavourable situations. He considers every obstacle as an opportunity and finds a way out. On the other hand, a negative thinker suffers from frustration and inferiority complex. By looking at the darker side only, his thoughts and actions become feeble and he loses his determination.

2. Gratefulness To God Gratefulness or Shukr implies utilization of Allah’s bounties in an appropriate manner. A person who utilizes something for a purpose for which it was not created, is thankless. To employ a noble person for a work below his dignity or to assign an ordinary task to a person with high capabilities, is also thanklessness. Assessing one’s human and material resources accurately and utilizing these effectively is an essential part of gratefulness. Having good intentions is thankfulness of heart, praising Allah is an expression of thankfulness by the tongue. According to the Sufis, Allah’s bounties are like wild animals, which must be kept chained with the shackles of gratefulness.

3. Self-Awareness Understanding one’s self and its demands is important. Every human being is intrinsically good. We should realize and utilize our potential. We should not make our existence felt by showing anger or by giving orders, nor should we become too submissive. We must strike a balance between these two extremes. We must act according to our knowledge and according to what we believe to be right. If flowers can spread their fragrance, water can soften the hard ground and winds can make the leaves swing, why can’t we change the society with our moral values and strategic skills.

4. Analytical Skills It is necessary to analyze circumstances, events and casual factors

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to foresee the consequences and to formulate an action plan accordingly.

5. Determination Keep your determination high and your intentions clean. Strive to turn them into actions. Determination without action is of no use. You must act. One must not be afraid of difficulties as these spring up only to enhance your capabilities just as darkness is there only to turn the stars brighter. Once you come across a red signal on the highway of life, do not feel disgusted. Just relax and wait for the signal to turn green. Adversity is not perpetual. Difficulties precede comforts. Determination and perseverance help tide over difficulties. Of course, one must try one’s best and then leave the rest to Allah. If the intentions are good, and the efforts have been made in the right direction, with commitment, the results would be obtained as desired, perhaps even better. If one is not rewarded for the efforts made in the world, one should look forward to the rewards in the hereafter. The society in which we live, is dominated by evil-doers and that is why we often get evil in return for good. Yet, we must act with dignity and patience.

6. Hard Work For any significant achievement, one has to work hard. We must be able to estimate the amount of hard work involved in any proposed undertaking and be prepared for it. Sixth sense has been the source of guidance for many towering personalities.

7. Sense Of Responsibility If you go to bed without putting off the stove, you cannot rule out the possibility of the house catching fire from it. If such a mishap occurs, the responsibility would lie on you not because you failed to act when you were asleep, but because you failed to act before you went to sleep, when things were under your control. A person with a good personality possesses an immense sense of responsibility that prevents mishaps and the losses arising from them.

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MORAL CHARACTER A person is judged by his dealings with others. If he possesses certain qualities, which come to light during his contacts with other people, his personality emerges as effective and impressive. These qualities includes benevolence, truthfulness, humbleness, forbearance and keeping one’s promise. A person with these traits is not only satisfied with himself but others, too, would be happy with him, making it easier for him to move forward. Others may not necessarily reciprocate such behavior; nevertheless, one can continue to be nice to others with determination.

1. BENEVOLENCE This is a psychological condition belonging to one’s inner self. Its presence is, therefore, revealed only through one’s interaction with others. Benevolence or Husn-e-Khalq has been defined variously as under: To be nice about others in prosperity as well as adversity. (Abu Bakr Wasti) To seek approbation of God in all situations. (Abu Usman Maghribi) The most respected form of Husn-e-Khalq is raising one’s tolerance limit so high that one never thinks of revenge. Instead, one shows kindness to enemies and seeks forgiveness for them from Allah. (Sehel Ibne Abi Abdullah) There are three traits indicative of Husn-e-Khalq: To avoid haram, to seek halal and to be generous to the kith and kin. (Hazrat Ali R.A.) There are four constituents of Husn-e-Khalq: generosity, love, being well-wisher and affectionate. The Prophet (P.B.U.H.) said, “On the Day of Judgement, nothing would carry as much weight for a Muslim as Husne-Khalq, and Allah is not pleased with anyone who is of bad nature and speaks ill of others.”

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2. TRUTHFULNESS The Prophet (PBUH) has said, “ Undoubtedly, truth leads you towards goodness which, in turn, takes you to the path to Jannat” According to Imam Ghazali (R.A.), there are six stages of truth: Speaking the truth under all circumstances and every situation. Seeking nothing but Allah’s pleasure in all actions. Strong will, free from hesitation or indecision. Determination to follow the words with deeds. Outwardly actions truly reflect inner self, in all matters, worldly or religious. His relationship with God is based on truth and there is no trace in it of artificiality or pretence.

3. HUMBLENESS Humbleness is a state of mind in which a person is willing to accept a status lower than the one he deserves, hoping to please Allah, his fellow human beings. Thus, humbleness should not be confused with indignity or humiliation swallowed by some for the sake of petty gains. According to Allama Zubaidi (R.A.), ‘modesty is the result of firm belief in the existence of Allah and His qualities— ranging from His severe wrath on the one side to His extreme love and infinite knowledge, on the other. It is also acquired as a consequence of an awareness of one’s own shortcomings. On the other hand, humiliation is result of effacing one’s self-respect for the sake of worldly gains. Humility accords a high status or Fazzelat, while humliation is degradation or Razeelat.’ In the words of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), blessed is the person who can be humble without sacrificing his self-esteem.

4. FORBEARANCE Forbearance is the capability to overcome one’s excitement and agitation in a state of rant and rave. It makes one wiser. Though

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it is a quality which everyone should possess, it is extremely essential for leaders, managers, officers philanthropists and politicians, as they have to go through situations in which they are likely to lose their temper. Once they do so, it becomes almost impossible to continue their work. The Prophet (PBUH) has said, ‘ The one who possesses the quality of Hilm (forbearance) can lead others.

5. KEEPING YOUR PROMISE One who keeps his promises is equally true in his words and deeds and one who doesn’t, violates both. One who does not keep his word, is actually excluded from the echelon of humanity. Allah has made it a part of Faith and a beacon of light for our practical life. It is so because mutual co-operation is a basic requirement of any human interaction. If it is excluded from our lives, then the human society would become the victim of all kinds of disasters. In Surah Moominoon, the Holy Quran declares that, “Successful indeed are.... those who faithfully observe their trusts and their covenants” (23 : 8). The politicians, the officers and their subordinates, factory owners and the shopkeepers—in short, all members of the society— must be particular about keeping their word, if the society is to have peace and harmony.

GOOD HABITS The American leader, Benjamin Franklin, has mentioned in his autobiography, 13 good habits that help in building a good personality:

Temperance- Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation. Silence- Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself avoid trifling conversation Order- Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time. Resolution- Resovle to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve. Frugality- Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; that is, waste nothing.

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Industry- Lose no time; be always employed in something useful; cutoff all unnecessary actions. Sincerity- Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly; speak accordingly.

Justice- Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty. Moderation- Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think you deserve.

Cleanliness- Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes, or habitation.

Tranquility- Be not disturbed at trifles or at accidents common or unavoidable. Chastitiy- Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.

Humility- Imitate Jesus and Socrates. ( Inculcating humility and sincerity; avoiding arrogance and selfishness, as it is harmful not only for the individual, but also for the entire nation. Franklin Benjamin has also suggested a 24-hour schedule for a person and advises the reader to ask himself every morning as to what good work he proposed to do during the day. In the evening, he should analyze an appraise the day’s activities.

LONG RANGE PLANNING Ibne Juzi writes in the chapter entitled, Ghaur-o-Fikr,(thinking) in his book, Minhaj-ul-Qasedeen has said: Everyone should have a notebook in which he should write down all the harmful and also the beneficial qualities and should have a look at it every day. It should suffice to consider ten most harmful traits, because if we can avoid these, we would keep clear of the rest as well. These are: (i) stinginess, (ii) arrogance, (iii) indulgence, (iv) hypocrisy, (v) jealousy, (vi) fury, (vii) craze for eating, (viii) craze for sex, (ix) worshipping wealth, and (x) statusconsciousness.

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Ten desirable traits are: (i) repentance on sinful acts, (ii) forbearance, (iii) reconciliation with destiny, (iv) gratefulness for what one gets, (v) balance between hopes and fears, (vi) disinterest in worldly affairs, (vii) sincerity in actions, (viii) benevolence, (ix) love of God, and (x) humility. When the person is able to overcome one of the harmful habits, he should delete it from his notebook, stop thinking about it any more and be thankful to God for this success. He should understand that this could happen only with support from Allah. He should then turn to the other negative traits and continue deleting them from his notebook as he gets rid of them, one by one, until all of them are deleted. He should then turn to the development of the positive qualities, one by one.

IDEAL PERSONALITY TRAITS In response to a query from Hazrat Ali (R.A.), the Prophet (PBUH) is stated to have said: Ma’arifat (Awareness) is my capital. Intellect is the basis of my faith. Love is the keystone of my life. Shauq (Longing ) is my mover. Zikr-e-Ilahi (Remembering and talking about Allah) is my comrade. `Etimad ( Confidence) is my treasure. Grief is my companion. Knowledge is my weapon. Endurance is my apparel. Reza (God’s approval) is my reward. Ijz (Humility) is my pride. Self-restraint is my calling Yaqeen(faith) is my strength

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Sadqa (charity) is my supporter pleader Itaat (obedience) is my sustainer Jihad (struggle) is my character: and Namaz (prayers) endows me with the peace of mind. What better bases for character building can one look for?

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DESTRUCTIVE ELEMENTS OF PERSONALITY A man saw a scorpion being pushed with flowing water. To save it from downing, he tried to help the scorpion out of the water. The insect tried to bite the man and jumped back into the water. The man again took it out and the scorpion again tried to bite him and fell into the water. When the man was about to take it out of the water for the third time, another person who was watching him, advised him not to do that because the scorpion would not leave him without biting as this was part of its nature. The man replied, if an insect cannot deviate from its nature, why should I, a human being, give up my humanity. Human beings are held in high esteem because of their moral values. They also suffer indignity on account of the evils they do. Some human beings acquires harmful habits almost unconsciously, like a scorpion, in the above anecdote. We must assess ourselves and try to find out if any negative personality traits are responsible for our failure. Are we behaving like the scorpion or like the man who tried to save its life despite the spiteful response. Destructive personality traits may be divided into four categories

1. MORAL IMPOVERISHMENT Greed and miserliness, jealousy and malice, ostentation, lust for power, carelessness, infidelity, arrogance, self-aggrandizement, loss of temper, selfishness, boastfulness, backbiting, narrowmindedness, are all symptoms of moral deprivation.

2. PSYCHOLOGICAL FACTORS Lack of self-control, restlessness, fear of the unknown, superstition, apprehensions, suspicion, pessimism, haste, negative thinking, inferiority complex, despondency, inability to take the pressure of work, extremism, violence, and lack of determination.

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3. INTERPERSONAL RELATIONS Nagging, lack of appreciation for others, seclusion, meaningless conversation and awkward sense of humor.

4. PHYSICAL ATTRIBUTES Lethargy, weak physique, weak memory and poor health.

GUARDING AGAINST NEGATIVE PERSONALITY TRAITS 1. Arrogance Symptoms of arrogance are: (a) Estimating oneself as superior to others in respect of qualities and skills (b) Considering oneself great and others as humble beings. (c) Unrealistically considering oneself as highly talented. The Prophet (PBUH) has defined arrogance as refuting what is right and degrading others. The worst kind of arrogance is the one that restrains the process of benefiting from knowledge, and accepting and following the truth. An arrogant person also avoids getting involved in household chores. According to Ardsher bin Babak, arrogance is the worst kind of stupidity; an arrogant person is, in fact, trapped in the pit of death, but he fails to realize it. The great thinker, Bezerchmeher, says, “The calamity, which does not arouse any sympathy for the victim, is arrogance.” The holy Quran says, “ Do not walk on the earth with arrogance, for you can neither rend the earth asunder, nor can you reach the mountains in height.” Here, it must be remembered that self-respect is different from arrogance and self-aggrandizement. It is a commendable quality which must be found in any person of good nature. Hazrat Hasan (R.A.) used to say, “ To show one’s self-respect in the presence of the rich, is real humbleness (Tawazey). Hazrat Abdullah bin Masood (R.A.) has said, “One who shows humbleness to a capitalist

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and degrades himself for worldly considerations, ruins two thirds of his faith and half of his respect.” The Prophet (PBUH) has said, “It is not proper for a follower of the Faith to degrade himself.” One can get rid of one’s arrogance and pride by making oneself subservient to the needs of fellow human-beings.

2. Rage and Malice Satan is quoted to have said to Allah, “Thou hast created me from fire and him (Adam) from earth.” The Ulema maintain that the characteristics of earth include dignity and calmness while those of fire are rage and restlessness. Once someone asked the Prophet (PBUH) for some advice. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) said, “Never become angry.” The inquirer repeated his request several times and every time he got the same answer, “ Never lose your temper.” When a person is burning with rage, he is blinded and can neither see reason nor take any advice. In fact, anger overwhelms his ability to think. The outward indications of rage are a change in the colour of the face, trembling limbs, loss of self control and a behaviour close to insanity. If one would look into the mirror while in anger, he would hate himself for his ugliness. And it goes without saying that the inward ugliness is greater than the outward. One should try to control oneself in the face of provocation. Avoid instantaneous reaction and let the dust in your mind settle down before you give a response. When overwhelmed by anger, it is advisable, to change the posture from standing to sitting, and from sitting to reclining.

3. Pretentiousness According to the Prophet (PBUH): “ Allah says that if any one does some thing for the sake of some one besides Him, then that act would only be for that being, and not for Him, and He would not accept it.” The Prophet (PBUH) once said, “What I fear the most, is that you might commit a small Shirk (equating others Allah). When asked to explain, he replied, “Riya (pretentiousness).” He then

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added, “On the Day of Judgement, Allah would ask such people to go to those for whom these actions were meant. Would they be able to give them any return for it?” In ‘Islami Akhlaq-o-Ad-Aadaab,’, Mufti Abdul Rahman, writes, “It is obligatory for every Muslim to give priority to the benefits of hereafter over the fulfillment of his desires, to fear the indignity to be suffered on the Day of Reckoning instead of rejoicing a worldly distinction; and to avoid hypocrisy. He should not behave like a hypocrite either with Allah, or with his fellow human beings. Instead of showing off his good deeds, he should use it for persuading others to do the same; he should pray secretly and should refrain from getting worldly benefits from the same. He should prefer to seek God’s pleasure instead of being concerned with the pleasure of the creations of God. Instead of longing for appreciation, he should be fearful of the humiliation that he might have to suffer. He should avoid being pretentious about being a scholar and should not show his pride in his knowledge. He should not adopt a Sufilike appearance to impress others. He should not distribute money and goods just to earn recognition as a generous person. He should not raise hue and cry only to gain sympathies. He should not use his elected office for personal gains. He should not pretend to do justice and should not adhere strictly to rules with the intention of extorting illegal gratification. If anyone praises him, he should adopt self-criticism to avoid arrogance.

4. Greed and Miserliness Hazrat Abu Saeed (R.A.) has quoted the Prophet (PBUH) as saying, “A true follower of the Faith cannot be miser or illtempered.” Some other sayings of the Prophet (PBUH) on this topic are: “Faith and greed cannot co-exist.” “O Allah, I seek your protection from cowardice and miserliness.” “Beware of three fatal things: stinginess; obsession with fulfillment of a desire; and self-indulgence.” Some scholars maintain that the wealth of a miserly person, is inherited by his enemies.

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An Arab, talking of some other people, said, “ They fast over goodness and have their iftar (breakfast) on shamelessness.” He then spoke of another individual as,” For me, he is a small person because he views this world as a big thing.” It is imperative for a real Muslim not to fall for riches; instead consider it as a root cause of so many evils because its abundance involves a person in many wrong doings and keeps him occupied with concerns for its security and further additions to it. While it is good to save for the future, accumulation of surplus wealth is not desirable.

5. Back-biting-(Gheebat) To speak evil of someone in his absence, without being untruthful, is called Gheebat; if the statement is unfounded, then this is all the more serious; it is called Bohtaan. Mimicking is also a kind of Gheebat. Gheebat damages both, one’s worldly interests and also his prospects in the life hereafter. The worldly harm comes in the shape of a quarrel or worsening of relationship with the victim of Gheebat and the damage in the life hereafter is that the good deeds of one involved in Gheebat would be transferred into the account of his victim. The reason for this is the fact that Gheebat is a violation of Huqooq-ul-Ibad and its punishment can be waived off only if the victim forgives the offender.

6. Jealousy-(Hasad) Allah (SWT) says, “Any one who is jealous of a person for the good things that I have given him, in fact, expresses his unpleasantness with me on my distribution among my Ibad (servants).” To feel ill towards people who are better than you in terms of their knowledge, status, glory or wealth, is jealousy or Hasad. It is a fire which keeps on burning inside the jealous person and causes irreparable damage to him. At the same time, the divine rewards for the good deeds of the jealous person continue to be transferred into the account of the person who is the target of his jealousy. To get rid of this malady, one should have a large and accommodating heart. Instead of wishing the bestowed ill, one should try to establish and strengthen his own relationship with Allah, who is capable of bestowing; and try to win His pleasure to be eligible for His blessings.

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7. Inferiority Complex The well-known psychologist, Dr. Morden narrates the story of a person with potential, whose life was ruined merely because, during his childhood, he had to put up with frequent accusations of being ignorant, stupid and foolish. Even after he grew up, he could not assume a position of responsibility because of his conviction about being an incapable person. Many young persons with potential, in our part of the world, also suffer from inferiority complex that prevents them from embarking upon the highway to success. Somehow, if they manage to get on to it, the pace of their progress is miserably slow. No one can travel on the highway to success with the heavy baggage of inferiority complex. Getting rid of this complex requires a proper action plan. Journey to success is much harder ifyou are carrying a disease within. Reputed Christian missionary psychologist, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale recommends the following remedy for this malady: Since this is a sensitive issue, one should seek advice only from persons who can be trusted. Proper diagnosis of the malady Forget your fear and perform the task that you have before you. Study the lives of successful persons and try to remember the main incidents in their lives. Visualize yourself as a competent and confident person. Pray to God regularly; you would certainly attain an impressive personality.

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4

The Art of Conversation

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PART FOUR The Art Of Conversation 14. Success Through The Art Of Conversation

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15. Weaknesses Of Communication

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16. Mischiefs Of The Tongue

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17. The Journey To Success

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18. Telephonic Conversation

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SUCCESS THROUGH THE ART OF CONVERSATION A gentleman went to see a colleague in the profession, apologized for visiting without prior intimation and then started asking questions. When the host was answering his third question, the visitor started cutting him short on every sentence and began giving his own opinion. The host, who was trying to answer the questions in details, finished abruptly because of the visitor’s unhelpful attitude. Immediately thereafter, the visitor mentioned the purpose of his visit: he intended to contest elections to the professional body and had come to seek the support of his fellow professional. All he got in return was a lukewarm response. The host was led to believe from this behaviour of his guest that a person who can not converse properly, can not represent effectively the members of an important profession. How can one who cannot listen to others, be able to solve their problems? How can one who does not have the patience to listen to some one whom he has come to see without prior intimation, become a popular personality and a leader?

CONVERSATION IS THE KEY TO IDENTIFICATION A person came to Aristotle but sat quietly in the sitting for a long while. At last Aristotle asked him to talk to him because it was only through a conversation that he would be able to make an estimate of him. Undoubtedly, conversation is an important means of discovering the real personality of an individual. It is the quality and the style of conversation that makes one calm and confident and successful in life and it is also this factor which often leads one to restlessness, indignity and failure in life.

CONVERSATION DEFINED When two or more persons sit together, it is a meeting. When one person does the talking, it is known as `speaking’ and those who hear him, do the ‘listening’. When the individuals ‘speaking’ and

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‘listening’ in a meeting, keep on changing, the process is known as ‘conversation’. However, it is not proper for all the participants in a meeting to start speaking at the same time or to maintain a silence together. There are certain etiquettes to be observed for speaking, listening and conversation. In fact conversation is an art, a mastery over which brings success.

TOPICS FOR CONVERSATION The topics for conversation can be categorized into three main groups. The large majority likes to talk about personalities. The next priority are events, while a small minority prefers to converse about principles and ideologies. We enjoy talking about personalities and like to base our conversation on some incident or joke. It is seldom that we talk of principles and ideologies though it is necessary for finding a solution of the collective or the national issues.

PURPOSE OF CONVERSATION Some experts have put forward a theory in respect of conversations and if it is adopted by every one, many of the problems could be solved. It states that the purpose of all conversations should be to create mutual affection, sympathy for each other and to promote intermingling. If conversation is undertaken with this in view, then the chances of unpleasantness are minimized and, on the other hand, it would give rise to co-operation and build up confidence in one another.

COMMON INTEREST The topic selected for a conversation should be of interest to all those present. If it is not so, no one would be attentive and the conversation will have to be given up.

PARTICIPANTS Basically, there are three types of people who are addressed in a conversation: (a) those who are equal to you in age and status and are also of the same nature

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(b) those who are senior to you in age and status (c) and those who are junior to you in every respect. Other categories emerge from these three. For example, those who are equal in age but have a different status senior in age but junior in status or junior in age but senior in status.

ENVIRONMENT The next point is to see the environment: the conversation might take place in the office or in a social gathering. If the conversation takes place in a family gathering, then the age consideration would dominate. But if it is a gathering where in addition to the family members, friends and others are also present, then a balance will have to be maintained between considerations of age and those of status. In the case of an office, the consideration for status would dominate yet care must be taken to give full respect to human sentiments and to the age factor. If due importance is not given to age in a family gathering, to balance in a social gathering and to status in an official gathering, then that might create an unrest which might lead to a crisis in the long run. One single individual might occupy three different positions in these three institutions. He might be a senior in the family, an equal in a social gathering and junior in the office, or just the reverse of it. It must be remembered that your position is likely to be different in different environments and you must adjust your style of conversation accordingly.

CONVERSATION AMONG EQUALS When participants in a conversation belong to the same age group and same social status, continuing the conversation and arriving at the right conclusion is the responsibility of every participant. To be effective, every participant should assess his style and hone his skills. Such an uninhibited environment helps in learning the art of conversation and self-development. Discussions revolving around personalities, events, principles and ideologies, help in building confidence and creating greater awareness of collective issues.

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CONVERSATION WITH A SENIOR If you are talking to a senior, you must give full consideration to his official status even if you do not think him to be fit for that position. If you fail to do so, it would lead to chaos. If you degrade or ridicule him, that would create tension. When talking to a senior, you must behave like a subordinate. You may apprise him of your needs and your problems, but you should perform the work assigned to you efficiently and thus contribute to his growth as well. A person who wanted to become secretary to the Chief Executive of a large organization, settled for the position of secretary to one of the managers; and achieved his target by working hard to help his boss become the Chief Executive. It is essential to respect the status and position of the seniors. Keep on improving your own capabilities so that your senior might get inspiration from you to move ahead. Some large-hearted seniors do not mind encouraging their talented subordinates to outperform them. They are the ones who command perpetual respect from their juniors.

CONVERSATION WITH SUBORDINATES The purpose of conversation with a subordinate should be to appraise his capabilities, to assign the tasks accordingly, and to help him improve his productivity. It is imperative to avoid tension in the office and for this purpose, it is necessary to listen to their complaints and to know their problems. Respect your subordinates. Without degrading your subordinates, you must adhere to office discipline, deadlines and quality of work. You may be a hard taskmaster, but you should not be a difficult person. You can get respect by giving respect. You can win the hearts of your subordinates if you allow them to open their hearts to you. You must, therefore, be a patient listener and a soft-spoken supervisor. Unnecessary strictness and rudeness may spell disaster. Some managers know the art of getting the work done without giving any orders. They simply discuss the tasks with their subordinate and the subordinates take care of the rest. This happens only when a senior listens to his subordinates, pays respect to them and cares for them.

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As a senior, you have to guide, encourage and educate your subordinates. When you get their response, you have to analyze and evaluate and provide the feedback. A senior whose subordinates are satisfied with him, has the peace of mind as he is not afraid of office politics and conspiracies.

CONVERSATION IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS The Director of Human Resources of a multinational company, who has reached that position after a long struggle and who is indeed a successful person, says that he has always worked sincerely for his superiors but has never been a yes man. He helped his colleagues, listened to their problems and kept himself in touch with their families. He treated his juniors like his younger brothers and sisters, solved their problems and ignored their weaknesses. He always respected the rights of the workers, talked to them, listened to them and convinced them. Once, some members of the workers union dug a grave, on which they fixed his tombstone. Then they desecrated it by kicking and stoning. Later, the same workers apologized to him; and now come to him to seek his advice on different occasions.

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WEAKNESSES OF COMMUNICATION There are a number of factors that might not permit the message in one’s speech to be conveyed accurately to the listener. A young boy served as a domestic servant in a household. His speech was dominated by a regional accent and pronunciation. One day he came running to his master and said in, what was to him, Urdu, “ Saab, sirya ka bossa mar giya.” The master was unable to decipher the message but from the tone and the excitement of the boy, he concluded that some thing awful had happened. ( The master understood that the King of Syria has died) ‘Well, Syria is a republic with a President as its head of state. There is no king (bossa) there who could die,’ he thought to himself. Unable to reach the message but affected by the boy’s anxiety, the master asked, “Who told you?” The boy pulled the master to the garden of the house and showed him a hatchling lying dead on the ground. The boy made a correct statement but the message was lost due to his wrong pronunciation. The master, misled by the pronunciation, tried to decipher the message according to his own level of knowledge and thinking that led him to Syria and its presidential form of government. And was it necessary for the boy servant to convey this information with so much excitement that his master received it with an importance greater than what was due? All these factors were active in this case of a lack of communication in the boy’s speech.

CONVERSATION: FEELINGS AND PRESUMPTIONS The process of sending and receiving communications is of considerable significance in our day-to-day lives. We communicate our thoughts, feelings, advice and proposals to different individuals through words and gestures. However, quite often our feelings and sentiments overshadow the words that are supposed to convey the message. On the other hand, the person who receives the message , often becomes oblivious of the age, status and intellectual level of the communicator; and is also influenced by his own thinking and presumptions. As a result of these factors, the real meaning

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of the message is often lost. This is a two-way problem and all of us have to face it. On the one hand, we cannot express ourselves correctly and on the other, we are often unable to receive a message with its true meaning. The problem becomes all the more serious when a message is relayed through a number of intermediaries because, in accordance with our common nature, the message undergoes distortion at every stage. The tendency to add something of our own to the messages we receive and forward to others, is largely responsible for misunderstandings.

CONSEQUENCES OF MISCOMMUNICATION Lack of proper communication and mutual understanding has led to disastrous consequences in our national scenario. Essentially, it relates to politics and politicians but it has permeated into the business and bureaucratic spheres as well. The damage to our institutions, lack of profitability in business, disputes among partners, unpleasantness among the directors, issues arising out of union activities, and slow down in production, are the consequences of a lack of willingness to discuss and sort out our problems. The same is true about families and households. This attitude gives rise to differences between sisters and brothers, parents and their children, husband and wife, and between the mother-in-law and the daughter-in-law. It is not that all these differences can be resolved through negotiations but negotiations, during which all options should be kept open, do create mutual understanding which does help in arriving at workable solutions. For our collective and individual problems we should keep these doors open.

A NATIONAL ISSUE Communication gap is a malady that afflicts the entire national scenario. We do not have many institutions to impart training in this important aspect of personality development. Most of the few that we have, are meant exclusive for members of certain institutions, affluent people and the persons to whom corporate sector or employers sponsor and not for the common man.

COMMON MISTAKES Some of the common mistakes and negative attitudes that adversely affect the process of conversations are discussed in the

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following paragraphs.

Nervousness When some people speak, they are so nervous as if they have committed some offence and are now expecting to be punished. Of course, you must be respectful to the person you are talking to, but there is no need to be nervous. Before going to meet any one, visualize the person as affectionate and friendly, arrange in your mind the points you want to discuss with him and speak with confidence. There should be a cohesion in your speech, that is, start a new point only when you have finished with the earlier one. Some people keep on alternating from one point to the other so quickly that the listener gets confused and fails to receive what is intended to be conveyed.

Repetition Some people are in the habit of repeating the same word or phrase several times in one sentence, such as ‘I mean to say…’ or ‘You know…’ This habit is a hindrance to effective communication and must be avoided.

Laughter Your words must not be accompanied by laughing or giggling. When you are narrating a funny incident, it is the other person who is supposed to laugh. But, even if you want to laugh, first you must finish what you want to say.

Clapping Some people are fond of extending their hands during conversations, expecting the other person to reciprocate for a ‘joint’ clapping. There are others who would strike the table with their fist. None of these actions facilitate communication. In fact, these are impediments to effective communication.

Use of ‘I’ The most undesirable practice during any conversation is the repeated use of ‘I’ and ‘my’ in phrases like ‘I told you’ or ‘In my opinion’. It should be avoided except where inevitable.

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Outspokenness Considering it to be a sign of audacity, some people become unnecessarily outspoken. They hurt the feelings of others and harm their own dignity.

Flattery Flattery is generally based on ulterior motives. It must be avoided in all conversations.

Speaking too fast Speaking too fast makes the speech incomprehensible. It must be avoided.

Mumbling Inarticulate speech is incomprehensible. Speaking ineloquently by nature or because of something in the mouth, makes the speech ineloquent. This too, should be avoided.

Being unmindful of others Joining late in a conversation, some people just ignore the ongoing discussion and start speaking abruptly on a topic of their own choice. Then there are others who start one-on-one conversations with some persons, ignoring others. This, unfortunately, happens not only in private sittings but also in official meetings.

Controversial issues It is inappropriate to indulge in controversial issues and uncalled for criticism, as it may hurt others.

Personal matters It is undesirable to discuss personal issues in public. Discussion of personal problems may help in finding solutions if these are brought up in exclusive meetings with concerned persons.

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Temper Losing temper, using threats and abusive language, defeats the very purpose of communication.

Craving for attention Some people are driven by the desire to become the center of attention in every possible situation. This is being over-ambitious. One cannot be the master of all trades; nor can one steer too many boats at the same time.

Children Children’s rights must be respected and they must be given their due attention, if they happen to be a part of the gathering.

Humility Humility is a virtue, but it may be misconstrued as incompetence if it hurts human dignity.

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MISCHIEFS OF THE TONGUE Talking to a colleague, someone said, “I am sure, you must have been a very intelligent child, but you refuse to grow up.” Sarcastic remarks like these are common in our conversations, be it in an office or in a private gathering. Remarks of this type, not only hurt others, but also lead to futile discussions. Such conversation results in little except wastage of time and energy. According to our Holy Prophet (PBUH), “the tongue affects the heart; and the heart affects eiman (faith). According to another Hadith, quoted by Hazrat Ma’az, “ When the Prophet (PBUH) told me to keep the tongue under control, I asked him, ‘Shall we be questioned for what we say orally?’ He said, ‘What else would make one fall flat on his face in the Hell, except the injuries caused by his tongue to others.” Yet another Hadith states, “Whoever is able to hold his tongue, his lapses would be covered up by Allah.” Given below are some more illustrations of the damage done through irresponsible speech.

AIMLESS CONVERSATION The sage, Luqman, was asked as to how he got so much of wisdom. He replied, “I never ask a question that is not needed and never make a conversation that has no purpose.” According to a Hadith, “Allah dislikes three things: talking without a purpose, wastage of valuables and seeking financial assistance when there is no need for it.”

IMMORAL CONVERSATION According to Abu Huraira (RA), the Prophet (PBUH) has warned against immoral conversation that may lead straight to the hell. Wordy duel to establish one’s superiority also falls in this category. According to the Holy Prophet (PBUH), Allah detests those who picks up uncalled for disputes with others.

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MENDACIOUSNESS Those who indulge in verbosity and talk with a twisted tongue have been warned, by the Holy Prophet (PBUH), against divine wrath on the Day of Judgment.

VULGARITY A Hadith says that one must keep away from vulgarity in speech because Allah dislikes it. Jannat is denied to a person given to obscenity and vulgarity. Another Hadith states that a true Muslim neither taunts nor curses anybody; and never indulges in obscenity or vulgar speech.

HUMOR Humorous conversation, within the limits of decency, is desirable. But too much of humor impairs one’s dignity and may lead to misunderstanding or bitterness.

RIDICULE The tendency to ridicule others depicts weakness of human character.

LETTING OUT OTHERS’ SECRETS This is yet another weakness of human character. We should not betray the confidence our friends and acquaintances repose in us by sharing their secrets.

BACKBITING One should not speak about others, behind their backs, in a manner that would hurt them if they ever come to know about it. The Holy prophet (PBUH) is quoted to have said, “ O ye who call yourselves believers, and the faith has yet to settle down into your hearts, you should neither speak ill of other Muslims, nor be inquisitive about their shortcomings. If Allah would expose your shortcomings, you shall have no place to go.”

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RETICENCE He who cannot avoid tomfoolery of the tongue better be reticent and exercise restraint. Reticence is a weapon at the discretion of the knowledgeable, and a shield for the ignorant. Hazrat Abul Darda (RA) once said, “You have been given two ears and only one mouth so that you should listen more and speak less.” Reticence has also been termed as: a prayer without effort; awe without authority; a fort without walls, victory without weapons; a source of comfort for Kiraman Katebeen (the two angels assigned to record virtues and vices of every human being); a castle for the believer; tradition of those given to humility; source of awe for the rulers; a cache of prudence; and a befitting response to the impolite.

THE ART OF CONVERSATION When we become cognizant of our shortcomings and limitations, making amends and espousing good manners becomes easier. Following these lines are some guidelines on the art of conversation.

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THE JOURNEY TO SUCCESS Traveling is a source of inspiration and education. It facilitates observation. Three prerequisites for a journey are: a path; a vehicle; and a driver. Well-built and properly maintained, double carriage roads, milestones, police check posts, medical aid and other amenities at appropriate intervals, and adherence to traffic regulations, make the journey more enjoyable A good driver is the one who is trained, knows the destination and also the way that leads to it. He should have had a good sleep, should not be hasty and must realize that he is responsible for the safety of the passengers. The vehicle used for the journey must be serviced properly. The vehicle should also have enough fuel for the journey. If all of the above factors are taken care of, then there are fair chances of a safe and comfortable journey. In the journey of life, society is the highway, conversation is the vehicle and human mind is the driver. To be safe and comfortable, the journey of life should also meet the above requirements. On a highway, there are some who observe the traffic rules strictly, while there are others who do not. Sometimes the traffic is thick and sometimes it is thin. And there are occasions when portions of the highway are under repairs. On mountains, a vehicle moving away from you might appear from a distance, to be moving towards you. Whatever the situation, the driver (in this case, the human mind) is responsible for reaching the destination (in this case, the purpose of communication). In the journey of life, the driver (human mind) has to steer clear through all complications, difficult and deceptive situations, avoiding pitfalls and providing protection against mishaps. When we drive on the road, we are guided by the road signs, helped through diversions and hampered by roadblocks and barriers, which are all part of the game. Similarly, certain set of procedures have to be followed when you want to communicate with others.

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The first step in this direction is to seek the permission, and see to the convenience, of the person we want to communicate with. Dress appropriately when you go for the meeting and speak politely. Similarly, if someone comes to you with some purpose, help him if you can. But if you cannot, excuse yourself without hurting his feelings. Never keep anyone under false hopes with promises that you cannot fulfill. Write down briefly on a small card, a list of topics which you want to discuss with various individuals. Have a separate card for each person. If you come across any of them without prior arrangement, speak to him on one of the topics mentioned on the card with his name. The same can be achieved through the electronics devices.

CONVERSATION CARRIES YOU TO THE DESTINATION When a vehicle is in use, you take care of things like the fuel, oil, water in the radiator, gear, brakes, steering, and so on. Similarly, while you are about to discuss an issue with someone, you must have full grasp over the subject so that if the conversation takes a turn that you do not want it to take, then you might be in a position to turn it to your own desired direction.

BODY LANGUAGE Besides convincing arguments, there are other ways also to make your speech effective. Some of these are listed below: Positive facial expressions and appropriate movements of your hands, shoulders and other parts of the body, can make your conversation more effective. Changing your posture, standing up, or sitting down, may also help in making the point. Continuous and intermittent eye contacts have different effects. You may opt for one or the other depending on the situation. Speaking with your hand on the shoulder of the listener, or holding his hand, would also convey different message.

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Physical proximity, between you and the listener, also makes a difference. Give proper personal space to the person you are communicating with. Nodding your head in agreement or disagreement, also affects the impact of the conversation. Your appearance—dress, shave, hairstyle, shoes, even the file or the papers you carry in your hands—contribute to the overall effect of your speech. Modulation of your voice may also enliven your speech.

PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES OF A SUCCESSFUL CONVERSATIONALIST To be a successful conversationalist, one must possess the following attributes: Clarity of speech Correct pronunciation Appropriate accent Sincerity Ability to control tension

FORCEFUL SPEECH You can make your speech forceful by taking care of the following: Sequencing of words and sentences Pitch and inflection of the voice Appropriate choice of words and phrases Pace and pauses

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HOW TO BECOME POPULAR You can gain popularity by Responding promptly Communicating in a pleasant environment Adopting a unique style Speaking with confidence Resolving issues Taking interest in others Having a friendly attitude Paying compliments Communicating with prudence Avoiding emotions Speaking politely and modestly

PLAN TO BECOME A GOOD DRIVER A good driver tries to take the vehicle and the passengers to the destination quickly and safely. For this purpose, he must know the way and also the traffic rules. Human mind, which acts like a driver in this context, should possess similar qualities and must have answers to the following questions: 1. What is the purpose of the conversation and what is the expected outcome? 2. Who is the real listener? What is his age, level of education and knowledge of the subject; and how would he respond to the conversation? 3. How would the relationship with the listener be affected by the proposed conversation? 4. What is it that we want to convey? What are our needs and what are those of the listener? Which points need not be

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mentioned, to save time? Which points, in what sequence, will make the conversation more meaningful? 5. What kind of tone and approach would be most appropriate? What should be the order of presenting different ideas? 6. Has a plan for presentation been prepared? Does it include the following points? Objective(s) of conversation Available information Sequence of the conversation How would you respond when the listener agrees, and when he does not agree with your point of view? What kind of words and tone is to be used for keeping open the doors of negotiation and the windows of reconciliation?

MAKE YOUR OWN OBSERVATIONS Some guidelines about the art of conversation have been mentioned above. There are many more to learn through personal experience. Your own observations and evaluation should teach you a lot more. The art of conversation is an asset which can be acquired by every one, rich or poor. However, there is one requirement for acquiring this asset. And that is hard work. Make your journey of life a path to success by avoiding mishaps. Utilize this asset to spread the truth; to earn halal rizq; and to find the way to Jannat-unNaeem.

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TELEPHONIC CONVERSATION Contacts play a vital role in human lives. These are maintained through relationships, interaction, conversations, meetings and ceremonial occasions. When physical distances dampen relations and minimize the chances of personal contacts, telephone plays a vital role in bringing people closer to each other. Telephone has now become an inevitable necessity. Besides curtailing distances, it also saves time. At the same time, it also provides an excuse for avoiding face-to-face contacts, which is not desirable. Given below are some suggestions for making the most of this valuable device.

STAGE ONE: MENTAL PICTURE 1. Before making a telephone call, you must be clear about its purpose: whether you want to get across information, give directions, or persuade your respondent. 2. Determine who is the right person to talk to. 3. You should know the social status and the level of education of the person to whom you are going to talk. You should also be able to foresee his response. 4. Visualize the conditions and the pressures under which the person at the receiving end might be at the time you call. You should also take care of the relationship you have with him and make sure that your call does not annoy him. 5. Besides being clear about what you want to say, you should also be able to guess what the other person would like to hear from you. You may exclude redundant information to make your message precise and effective. 6. You should also decide upon the style of your speech. Select the words and the tone so as to make your conversation fruitful. 7. Jot down important points, names, dates, numbers, places, amounts, and the like, before making a phone call. 8. Maintain a personalized telephone directory for ready reference.

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9. Keep relevant files, correspondence and other reference material handy. You might need these during the call. 10. Make sure you have pen and paper for taking notes during the conversation. 11. Determine the right time to call. This will depend on availability of the right person in the right frame of mind, as well as the cost of the call in terms of time, effort and charges.

STAGE 2: DURING A CALL Precaution Dial the number or tell it to the operator carefully. If your call is put through to a wrong number, you would lose time and money and might also get confused.

Opening If the response is with an Assalam-o-alaikum, you should reciprocate with Wa’alaikum-us-salam. If the person answering your call introduces himself or his organization, or begins with a `hello’ or `who’s speaking ?’, then you should say Assalam-o-alaikum and ask for the person you want to speak to.

In case of several steps It might be the case that you would be able to reach the desired person in several telephonic steps. In that case, you should follow the instructions given in the forgoing para at every step.

In case the line drops In case the line drops, you should try to re-establish the contact according to the technical facilities available in the telephone set.

When the person called is not available In case the desired person is not available, then you must tell one of his colleagues or the operator, your name and the name of your organization. You may also tell him the matter about which you wanted to talk to him or, if that is not possible, you may leave a message indicating the time when you would call him again or requesting him to call you at a given time.

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Concision You should be brief even though you have a lot to say, because the other person might have more important matters to attend to.

Clarity You must be very clear in what you want to say.

Courtesy Always be polite on the phone. Thank the person who has received your call even if he has not been able to give any information to you.

Notes Keep consulting the notes that you had prepared before making the call so that no point is missed.

Pauses Pause at appropriate intervals to facilitate response during the conversation.

Spellings To avoid mistakes, spell out the names of persons and places while asking the recipient to take note.

Summary If the conversation has been long, summarize before hanging up, taking care to re-confirm the dates, timings and important actions to be taken.

STAGE 3: AFTER THE CLOSE Make Notes Immediately after hanging up, you should prepare notes of what transpired during the conversation

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.Follow-up Prepare a plan for implementation of decisions and commitments. Send reminders and reports to the concerned persons, as and when required.

When You Receive A Phone Call Be prompt, polite and co-operative. Familiarize yourself with functions, facilities and requirements of the instrument at your disposal. You should be able to transfer the call from one extension to another, without delaying or dropping the line. After lifting the receiver you should say, `Assalam-o-alaikum’ and identify yourself. Then, you should wait for the caller to reveal his identity and the purpose of his call. If you are not the person he/she intended to call, or should speak to, help him reach the right person. If this is not possible, take down the message for him and ensure its delivery on time. If you are not in a position to continue conversation, you should return the call later. If you are answering the call on behalf of someone else, you should not create an impression that the desired person is trying to avoid the caller. If you are receiving a message or information for someone else, note it down and read it out to the caller so that errors, omissions and misunderstanding, if any, are rectified. Don’t be nervous or hasty when talking on the phone. If the other person is speaking too fast, you should request him to slow down. In a face to face conversation, we can use gestures to assure the other person of being attentive. To achieve this in a telephonic conversation, one should use words and phrases like: yes, ‘ji’ or I see, intermittently. While on the line, don’t divide your attention. If you say

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some thing to someone nearby, it might create misunderstanding or confusion in the mind of the caller. If you receive another call on another telephone, while talking on one phone, you may ask the other person to hold on. But if you feel that the second caller might be having something more important to talk about, you may request the first caller to hold and then attend to the second caller. If, during a telephonic conversation, you have to attend to something more urgent, do not ask the caller to hold on. Instead, you should volunteer to call back. If the line drops, put down the receiver, the caller might call back. When the conversation is complete, repeat the important points and re-confirm numbers, addresses and the like. Ending a call is the prerogative of the caller, and not the receiver.The Prophet (PBUH) did not take leave of a person who came to see him, until the visitor himself wanted to leave. Organize your notes after the call for future reference. If any record is to be maintained, or messages to be conveyed to concerned persons, do not procrastinate. If you have taken down a message, do not forget to put the date on it. In most offices, proper forms are provided for this purpose. You may fill it up and place it on the table of the concerned person. Also, when he comes back to his seat, remind him about the phone call that you had received for him. Otherwise it might be considered against the business etiquettes.

FURTHER GUIDELINES If you suspect having called a wrong number, you should repeat the desired phone number and ask for a confirmation. Never ask the other person to reveal his identity or phone number. After lifting the phone, do not ask the caller to wait. If you are not able to attend to the call immediately, then you should offer to ring him back. The caller would not mind

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it if he appreciates your preoccupation. If a child attends to your call, it is better to talk to him at his intellectual level; otherwise, it would be difficult for him to understand, remember and convey your message to the desired person. On your part, you should train your children and servants to attend to phone calls as and when required. If you attend to someone else’s phone call, avoid giving details to strangers. If you have to keep the receiver down during a conversation to attend to some other business, make sure that the caller cannot overhear what goes on at your end. Avoid phone calls while attending to your guests or visitors. Do not use the phone for obtaining a shopping list from your wife at home. Securing the list before leaving home saves a lot of time. Discourage friends from making personal calls to your workplace during working hours. On a long distance call, you may speak louder; but shouting may distort communication. On the phone, your voice should be soft but clear. Try to be friendly and speak as though you are sitting face-to-face with the receiver. Attending training programs and reading literature on telephonic communication skills are desirable for all those who use telephone; more so for telephone operators, personal assistants / secretaries and client service personnel. Telephone is a time-saving device for urgent and important communications. Do not turn it into a gadget of entertainment at others’ expense.

5

Life in the Office

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PART FIVE Life In The Office 19. Human Relationships In The Office

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20. You And The People In Your Office

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21. A Pleasant Office Atmosphere

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22. Your Field Of Action

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23. Punctuality

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24. Eliminating Discord

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25. The Power Of Money

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HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS IN THE OFFICE In urban life, offices play a vital role, especially in big cities which happen to be the centers of trade and industry. A large part of one’s time is spent in the offices and gradually one’s habits, attitudes and even the point of view about life, are influenced by the life in the office. In some areas, the cultural values and the social relationships too, are shaped by the internal forces operating in offices.

EMPLOYMENT AS A RELATIONSHIP Employment is a relationship that binds together an office and the employees working in it. As a result of this relationship, the employee offers his services, in accordance with the requirements, the rules and the procedures of the office. And the organization, in return, pays him through the office an amount, which is usually fixed, in consideration of the services rendered by him. In such a situation, neither of the two, the office or the employee, is under any obligation to one another. Both of them just carry out their duties and responsibilities under a contractual relationship. In office life, every one has to experience one particular relationship: the one between an officer and a subordinate. It can be said in other words that every individual is responsible for one or more individuals while every individual is answerable to someone.

MANAGER OR OFFICER A manger is responsible for the performance of his office. He usually behaves as an autocrat and often strives to acquire the powers to hire and fire. Usually he suffers from various misconceptions. For example, he feels that the employees working under him are indebted to him because they cannot get a job elsewhere. Another problem with managers is that they try to take themselves the credit of all that is done by their subordinates. As a result of this, the subordinate staff remains deprived of the recognition of their contribution by the higher officers. It has also been observed that managers generally like to have a crisis situation prevailing all the time in the office. They want that their staff should always work

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subserviently to meet one kind of a target or the other. On top of all this, they hope to command the respect of their subordinates but this seldom happens.

SUBORDINATES OR ASSISTANTS The subordinates, too, have their own peculiarities, some of which are listed below. 1. Some of them take their employment as a compulsion or a punishment. They give less time to their work and more to gossiping. They are never satisfied with their lot and keep on finding faults with others without caring to look at their own. They are responsible for creating an atmosphere of dissatisfaction and frustration in the office. Such persons ultimately become experts in office intrigues. 2. There are others who take up a job with the notion that it is a sheltered bus stop where they can relax for a while and take the desired bus when it arrives. Such persons are neither interested in the work assigned to them nor building up a career. 3. The third category consists of those who are with political or ideological groups. Their main interest lies in promoting the political views or ideology to which they themselves subscribe. They are often involved in union activities also. 4. Persons belonging to a fourth group are those who are not willing to accept any challenges. Their main attraction are the fringe benefits offered by the employer such as medical, transport, bonus etc. Such people have no ambitions and do not care to move to better positions. 5. This group of employees considers the organization as a jumping stone where they can train themselves in work and then use the name of the organization for getting a better job elsewhere. 6. Finally, there are those who have certain objectives in their mind, to be fulfilled in their lives. They know their capabilities and try to improve or to change in order to bring them in line with the demands of the organization. With devotion, hard work and the blessings of God, they move forward on the road to success and ultimately arrive at the destination.

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WHAT THE COUNTRY NEEDS The most important group in any office is the one referred to at 6 above. What follows, is addressed to them and those at the helm of affairs in the various categories of offices in the public and the private sectors. These suggestions are based on the views of management experts and on the experiences of those who have had a successful career in this field. These are meant not only for being read but also for being acted upon.

HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS Among the prophets, three things have been very common: they spoke the language of the people to whom they had been sent, they took care to speak at the mental level of those whom they addressed and they grazed cattle. Those three characteristics represented, in modern terms, their skill in creating a sense of belonging, their understanding of the human mind and their capacity for administrative responsibilities. If the managers of today are able to comprehend the importance of these three, we can find the solution to our most complicated problems.Whatever we do in the office, where we have to spend eight hours or more daily, is mostly affected by our ability to take care of human relationships skillfully. This is something which cannot be left to others to look after on your behalf and these principles apply to your household life as well.

A PLEASANT ATMOSPHERE IN THE OFFICE For a pleasant atmosphere in the office, we must be careful about the following points:

No One Is Indispensible One must remember that no one is indispensable. For the best output, teamwork is necessary.

Positive Thinking To make your life in the office pleasant, adopt positive thinking. While facing a difficulty, you should find solace in the thought that this might have saved you from facing a bigger difficulty.

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Also, do not adopt an escapist attitude. Have the bright side in your view and work for the betterment of your organization, your personal matters would automatically get improved.

Prudence To get your views accepted, act with prudence and understanding. No one would submit to your threats, rather you might have to repent it.

Pleasant Disposition Do not get irritated or angered by what others say. Adopt a pleasant disposition. In every office, there is someone who becomes the target of ridicule. If you get irritated easily, you might turn yourself to become such a target.

Be Soft Spoken Always try to be calm and soft-spoken. Don’t be in the habit of shouting, pulling the table or pushing the chair with your legs or you would become the topic of discussions in private. According to one Hadith, a good character, the habit of working with calm and dignity and moderation, form one part of prophet-hood out of 24.

Lend Your Ear Lend your ear to everyone and try to understand him. Convey to him with your facial gestures and eyes that you are listening to him attentively. Don’t try to frighten him away by your actions, such as looking at your watch frequently while he speaks. Don’t get irritated if some one has brought bad news to you. Don’t attempt far-fetched conclusions from what has been said and if you feel it necessary, put down the main points in writing.

Have Some Courage Have the courage to forgive and forget if there was any ill-will between you and your colleagues. Try to understand them and hold yourself from causing any harm to them. Do not feel jealous on their success. Instead, you should congratulate them.

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YOU AND THE PEOPLE IN YOUR OFFICE An office is a small world in itself in which people enter under a contract. These people work together to achieve the goals set for the organization. The office has a head who possesses certain authority and carries some responsibilities too. There is a well-defined organizational structure according to which there are several sections in an office, each of which works under a sectional head who is answerable to the head of the office. Every office has certain rules and procedures which, when followed, create a discipline which is essential for the smooth running of the office. It is necessary for everyone, right from the head of the office to the subordinates, to know their collective objectives, their individual powers and respective responsibilities. If those working in an office fail to maintain mutual respect and individual relationships, then the office faces a crisis situation. Keeping in view their relationships with each other, the staff in any office may be categorized into three types: officers, subordinates and colleagues. Though what follows, is primarily applicable to officers, it is largely helpful in keeping the office environment well-balanced and pleasant.

RESPECT AND SYMPATHY Know What Worries Them If an employee is worried, find out its cause and try to remove it, if you can. If he comes late because someone in the family is ill, do not admonish him. Remember, if a subordinate or assistant knows that his superior takes a personal interest in his affairs, then he would become a faithful and devoted worker of the organization.

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Respect Others Everyone, how ever lowly, has some measure of self-respect for himself and happens to be very sensitive about it. You must give respect to every one not only because of his position and age but also as a human being. Before issuing instruction to someone, it is better to consult him. Being a subordinate, he is bound to carry out your instructions but a prior consultation would give him the respect that would cause him to work with greater care and devotion. On the map of the world, every individual is like a dot. A successful person is the one who can turn this dot into a letter and, subsequently, into a word. A successful manager is the one who makes a sentence out of a jumble of words; and an outstanding executive is the one who can shape these sentences into an article. On a higher plane, a remarkable leader can bring together such articles into a book that would change the current of human life.

Improve The System It should be clearly understood that no one commits a mistake intentionally. So, instead of punishing on mistakes, it would be better to introduce such changes in the system and to improve the training to such an extent that no room is left for mistakes. On the other hand, criminals must be punished immediately to protect the organization from their mischief.

Change Them By Your Guidance Men do not change their habits and ways easily. So, do not make haste in this respect. Talk to them, give them some time and guidance. It is then most likely that they would ultimately change.

Make Them Feel Their Responsibilities When you pass on some kind of responsibility to your subordinate, then you should also give him some authority in the matter and should direct others to co-operate with him in this regard. Once you do this, you should not try to meddle with it any more. If you do that, that might lead to an undesirable situation. That situation would be similar to the one where a traffic

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constable is controlling the traffic on an intersection but, at the same time, an inspector standing nearby is also giving directions to the motorists. That would only lead to a chaos on the road.

Have Contacts At The Lower Levels If the number of employees in your office is large and divided into a number of cadres, then it is necessary for you to maintain contacts with those in the lower cadres also. The contact may not necessarily be a daily affair but you must make it a point, and note it down in your diary too, to meet them on various occasions spread all over the year. This contact might be restricted to a handshake and enquiring about the family or may go even beyond that, depending on the nature of relationship with a particular individual. In any case, such contacts create a sense of belonging. In our society, the two Eids provide a convenient occasion for such meetings.

Know The Working Environment It is also necessary to know the environment in which your subordinates have to work. So, instead of calling them to your room every time for giving them an assignment or a paper, it is better to sometimes go to their seat yourself. You should also know the condition of the windows, doors, the furniture and the electrical fittings because your workers might feel shy in mentioning to you the deteriorating condition of these things although they would suffer on that account. Another advantage of occasional visits to your subordinates’ place of work is that they would become more particular about their attendance and their involvement in work. Successful heads of organizations have often been found to visit the labour canteen and have an occasional meal there in the company of labourers. .

MUTUAL RELATIONSHIPS Accept Your Mistake If you have committed a mistake, accept it earnestly. And that would enhance your respect in the eyes of others.

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Do Not Be Suspicious Do not lend your ears to rumours and do not become suspicious as a result of backbiting by the unscrupulous. If there are differences, sit together, and talk it out. The misunderstandings would be removed. One form of cruelty is that you take a decision against someone without sufficient investigation.

Praise And Encourage When some one does something for you, praise him in the presence of others. That would give him encouragement and he would work for you with greater enthusiasm in the future. If any of your assistants commits a mistake, do not point it out in the presence of others. You should talk to him about it separately. Advise him on how such mistakes might be avoided and that might result in the reduction if not elimination, of such errors.

Avoid Uncalled For Criticism Some seniors indulge in unnecessary criticism because they think that in this manner they would be able to establish their superiority. But this is wrong and it would only create frustration among your subordinates.

Fulfill Promises If you make any promise to your staff regarding increase of pay, promotions or for any other facility, you must fulfill it. If you fail to do so, you would lose your credibility

Recognition Of Good Performance Have some system of recognition of good performance of an employee or subordinate. Even a token award would be helpful. And do not wait for an employee to become old to deserve an award. The awards may be given annually, if not on a monthly or six monthly basis.

Do Not Spy On Your Colleagues Do not look into the papers and files of your colleagues in their absence as they might think that you are spying on them. That would lead to tension in the office.

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MAKING OTHERS WORK FOR YOU Role of Manager The role of the manager or a senior officer is to make his subordinate staff work for the collective good of the organization. His role is basically that of an organizer and coordinator. If you want to make others work effectively, then you must explain to them the significance of their assigned work, the difficulties that might be faced and how to overcome them.

Balance When work is divided between a number of workers, a balance should be maintained as far as quantity of work is concerned.

Consultation Before distributing the work, consult the members of your team on how to proceed. If some good suggestions are made, accept them. This would give them a sense of participation and would lead to teamwork.

Indirect Persuasion An indirect persuasion is better than direct instruction. `Shouldn’t we do it today?’ is a better form than ‘Please do it today.’ No body likes to take orders, but every one feels important if asked to cooperate.

Training You must arrange for the proper training of your workers. It can be in the form of special courses at training centers or on the job training.

Command Their Respect When you assign some work to your staff they should do it willingly and promptly. This is possible only if they respect you. And you can command their respect by your own behaviour.

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PLEASANT OFFICE ATMOSPHERE Relationships between officers and their staff were discussed in the previous two chapters. Now we intend to look mainly into the relationships of colleagues of equal status. Much depends on this kind of relationship in maintaining the atmosphere of the office pleasant.

PERSONAL BEHAVIOUR Mental Level Of The Addressee While you speak, keep the mental level of the addressee in mind. If a point can be explained easily with the help of an example, do not use complicated logic for it.

Be Brief Be brief but clear. Vague expressions or those capable of being interpreted in different ways, should be avoided.

Non-interference In Others Matters You must take care not to interfere in the personal and official matters of others. If the head of some other section in your office seeks advice from you in some official matter concerning his section, only then you may do so. Even an unsolicited advice is often taken as interference.

Find Out The Facts It is very important to find out the relevant facts and statistics before taking any decision. Never take sentimental decisions or blame anyone unless you have concrete proofs in this respect. Do not dislike any one, try to understand him. Failure to observe such precautions might mar the atmosphere in the office.

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Some Precautions 1. Do Not Make Too Many Friends Avoid becoming too social and getting so involved in other people’s affairs that your own career might be adversely affected. Do not go beyond the limits of your responsibilities.

2. Avoid Inviting Personal Friends In The Office Do not invite personal friends or politically like-minded individuals in the office. Also, do not carry out any work related to a political or social organisation inside the office. Use of office stationery or any other material for such purposes is dishonesty.

3. No Personal Telephone Calls The office phone should be used only for official calls. Private calls may only be made occasionally if very urgent.

4. Differentiate Between Official And Personal Work There are some officers who use office facilities like transport and peons for personal work. This should be avoided.

5. Mind Your Manners You must be careful in your manner of speaking as it might lead to misunderstandings. If you are in the company of two or more people, do not take one of them aside and speak to him in low voice as that would hurt the feelings of the others who would feel ignored. Also, while talking aside, do not make gestures with your hands and fingers that might lead others to feel that you were talking about them. If some information is given to you during a conversation, don’t say that you know it, as that would prevent the conversation from moving up to its logical end.

Some Working Rules 1. Judging The Performance In this country, the annual performance reports are prepared confidentially and, therefore, it is affected by personal likes and dislikes of the reporting officers. A better method is to get one part of the report filled in by the employee concerned himself and

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he may also be asked to give an overall grading as well. The other part may consist of the supervising officer’s assessment. Finally, the employee concerned may be asked to give his agreement or differences with the supervising officer’s opinion. However, this arrangement can work only where moral values are still intact and not where the workers’ unions dominate.

2. Don’t Keep Everything Secret It is not necessary to keep everything secret. Of course, there are certain matters which should be known only to the few directly concerned persons. But if even ordinary matters are also treated as confidential, it would only give rise to speculations and rumours.

3. Delegation Of Powers The head of an organization should not keep with himself the power for decision even in petty matters. That would create hurdles in the smooth working of the organization. Having the example of the political system in our country, the officers in corporate bodies and companies, too, often favour a centralized authority but that simply leads to inefficiency and delays in decisionmaking.

4. Avoid Paper Work Unless Essential For matters that are not likely to damage the interests of the organization or its reputation, a telephonic or face-to-face conversation may be used for its settlement. Resort to paper work in such cases would only lead to a wastage of time.

Some Common Mistakes 1. Putting The Blame On Others Never attempt to put the blame on others for your own mistakes. That would simply poison the atmosphere in the organization.

2. Don’t Patronise The Wrong Person If you want to give some extra benefits, it should go only to those who merit it because of their competence and hard work. If you partonise flatterers and the undeserving, it would only lead to tension in the office.

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3. Avoid Argumentation Do not involve yourself in unnecessary argumentation as that would only damage your dignity.

4. Avoid Immediate Dismissals Dismissal from service is an action of the last resort. If there are complaints against any one, you must give him an opportunity to clarify his position, before you take this extreme action against him.

5. Don’t Be Too Tough Do not behave like a policeman in the office. If you are too tough, your subordinates would either try to flee from you or try to get rid of you. You can be soft and soft-spoken to them, without compromising on work.

6. Listen To Suggestions If suggestions are given, listen to it attentively and do not express your disapproval immediately even if you do not consider it worthwhile. Who ever comes to you with a suggestion, usually does so because of his concern for the progress and well-being of the organization. If you reject his suggestion summarily, it would put a stop to his creative thinking.

Working For A Better Atmosphere In The Office It is very sad to note that in some organizations the status of the office is no different from that of a club or a coffee house. The employees, after marking their attendance, get into their personal work or just relax and gossip. Such organizations survive only because of those few who work sincerely. If you want to prevent your office from falling into that category, here are some guidelines.

1. Emphasize The Importance Of The Workers Create awareness in your employees, individually as well as collectively, of their importance to the office. Those who shirk from work because of their association with the Union, should be made to understand that the Union is a means for the attainment of their

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just rights and demands but if it obstructs work, then it is not fulfilling its obligations to the nation and the country.

2. Responsibilities Should Be Well-defined You should have an organizational chart so that every one knows his responsibilities and also that to whom he is answerable. A written job description for every employee would be greatly helpful in the smooth running of the organization.

3. Furniture Layout The placement of tables and other furniture in every section should be made in such a manner as to enable the workers to perform their work with ease and comfort.

4. System And Procedural Manual A manual is helpful in maintaining a discipline in the working of the office.

5. Sell Your Thoughts And Concepts To keep the atmosphere of the office in good shape and to achieve a pleasant office environment, present your own thoughts and concepts to others like a good salesman so that they may adopt the same willingly.

6. Dress Requirements In matters of dress, you should not be so strict as to demand every one to be dressed in a three-piece suit nor you should be so lax as to let them have the courage to attend office in chappals. To maintain the dignity of the office, it is necessary that all the members of the staff are dressed properly, though not expensively or in a too formal style.

7. The Notice Board The Notice Board is very convenient in dissemination of necessary information related to the working of the office and should be effectively used for this purpose. Similarly the emails, internet, networking and technology tools and techniques also be used effectively for the purpose of utilization of time and saving the cost of the organization.

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8. Schedules And Targets Proper planning should be undertaken for carrying out office work. Prepare a schedule for all the work and fix targets. Try to project the concept of teamwork.

9. Brief Meetings Arrange brief meetings in the office. The participants should be informed of the agenda in advance and, if necessary, be given a training to make such meetings a success. Such meetings, which help promoting a sense of participation among the staff, may be used for planning, assessment and for discussing the day to day issues of the office.

10. Better Communication Your office should have a good line of communication, enabling a quick flow of information from one level to the other. Such a flow of information keeps the management alert to meet any kind of situation. It is not advisable to suppress or to withhold information.

11. Be Accessable You must find time to meet your staff as often as possible, at least once a year. You can talk to them not only on office matters but also on their personal problems. Such meetings are very helpful in creating a feeling of understanding and closeness. You should take notes and try to solve the problems mentioned in these meetings. If such meetings are held by all officers at various levels with their subordinates, it would definitely bring a very pleasant change in the atmosphere of the office.

12. Avoid Adhocism All issues must be settled on concrete bases. Adhocism has become very common with us but it is necessary to put an end to it.

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YOUR FIELD OF ACTION In the modern age, the floor of a factory, the office room, tables and files are the fields of action for man. In this regard, one often comes across two entirely different scenes. In the first of these, the office tables and side-cabinets of every one, from the officer to the clerk, are found crowded or bulging with files. Very little space is left on the table for writing purposes because papers and files are scattered all over it. An emergency situation prevails all the time because one or the other official is unable to locate the office copy of an important letter or the working paper of some proposal under consideration. And this frustration often leads to shouting at one another. Such an office is always in the grip of tension. Then there is another office in which the table of the in charge is clean. Files are systematically arranged in side-cabinets and papers are neatly placed on the table in paper trays. The officer or the manager, after having gone through an incoming paper, forwards it with his remarks or instructions, to the concerned official for further action. He also talks to him on telephone or the intercom, if necessary. While the officer knows who, among his subordinates, is responsible for a certain type of work, the subordinates too are aware of their responsibilities and committed to meet deadlines. In such an office, the atmosphere is comparatively tranquil and a visitor is impressed by the neat, clean and dignified look of the office.

Why This Difference? One reason for this difference is that those working in the first type of offices might be trying to give the impression that they had too much of work and were, therefore, too busy to keep the office in order. The fact is that if we work honestly even for six hours a day, it should be sufficient to clear all the work, provided the procedures are correct and there is proper co-ordination between the various sections. Unfortunately, there is a tendency among us to shirk from work and leave it for the officer to tackle with it himself. And it is also

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becoming very common to do something other than office work inside the office and during the office hours. These factors, too, result in the chaotic situation described above. Another important reason for this, is a lack of discipline in the staff. If the senior officers do not observe punctuality, the lower staff, too, cannot be expected to come on time. Or, if the sectional heads do not follow the procedures, how can the subordinates be persuaded to do that? The office with a peaceful atmosphere and a dignified look, owes it all due to the presence of a proper system and procedure and also a sense of responsibility among its staff of all ranks.

Papers And Files Papers and files are a part of the system and the procedures. If its movements and the actions taken on it, are in accordance with a co-ordinated procedure, then the results would be positive.

Types Of Papers And Files The main categories to which files and papers might belong, are mentioned below. Since the purpose of this book is to assist in the grooming of a personality, those pertaining to one’s personal life, have also been included here. 1. Personal papers which include educational, employment and medical records. 2. Family papers related to those members of the family who are dependent on you. 3. Papers related to ownership of property and other legal matters. These may also include, in case you are living in a rented house, the agreement with the landlord and receipts of payment of rent. 4. Papers pertaining to the utilities, insurances and various types of licences. 5. Bank statements, investment documents, loans received or extended to others, payment of Zakat, etc. 6. Important documents like passports, identity card etc.

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You can adopt a filing system that suits you. The various options are: box files, flat files or having a number of large paper or plastic envelopes, one each for every type of paper. In maintaining these records, help can be sought from other members of the family. But in that case, you must find some time every three months to check the papers and documents and its arrangement.

Educational Papers This category includes classroom notes, indices and newspaper clippings. Usually, not much care is taken to keep them in a proper manner. Diaries or small slips are used which are often misplaced. The proper way is to have a separate file for every subject and to have an table of contents. The same method should be used for newspaper clippings as well. Having such papers properly filed, is essential for those who are engaged in higher studies. But even those who have passed through this stage and have now taken up a job or business, do need information on various topics for advancement in their occupation. They, too, should keep such a record which often comes handy. It is also necessary to go through all such papers periodically and decide which of these have lost its utility. Such papers should be sorted out and disposed off. It is no use piling up unwanted papers.

Official Papers If you manage them properly, you would become quicker in decision-making and that would make you more effective in office. Your personality would become prominent and you would be liked by everyone. If the following points are taken care of, it would be helpful in proper management of your papers in the office; 1. Have confidence in yourself. Don’t keep your table full of papers and files just to show that you are a busy person (busy doing nothing). It is preferable to keep all the files in the side cabinet and have only that file or paper in front of you on the table, on which action is to be taken right now. Do not allow newspapers or magazines to occupy space on your table. You should allocate time for their disposal. 2. Every incoming paper is not necessarily important. Sort them

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out in accordance with their relevance to your office and dispose off the rest. 3. Whenever you receive a paper ask yourself: Is it for my information only? Is this information already available with me? Can this information be used ? Under what circumstances, would I need it? What harm would I suffer if this information would not be with me? The answers to these questions would help you take a firm decision about the fate of any paper. 4. It is preferable to have an IN tray for incoming papers, OUT tray for outgoing and PENDING for those requiring study and consideration. Instead of putting these trays on your table, it would be better to keep on the side almirah. The office messenger should know about this arrangement. 5. If for some reason, a large number of papers gets piled up in your trays, take out time to carry out an operation to dispose them off. You should keep a diary or notebook to write down the essentials of a paper which can then be got rid of. 6. Your aim should be to have a neat and clean table. To achieve this end, you shall have to examine the papers on your table several times a day without waiting for leisure. 7. Train your subordinates so that they put up lengthy reports or proposals in a summarized form or with necessary markings so that your time is saved for some more important work. 8. In consultation with your colleagues, work out a ‘flow system’ or ‘mail system’ for the papers received in your office. 9. With the introduction in our offices of photocopying machine and the computer (for typing purposes), there is always an overgrowth of photocopies and drafts in every office. You should try to bring it within limits. That would save both, time

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and cost. 10. Train your men to prepare schedules, reports and financial statements. Teach them to avoid office conspiracies which is a negative activity that results in a wastage of time. 11. Standardised proformas should be used for various types of official information. But the number should be limited. 12. A place should be specified for everything and it must be kept at that place.

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PUNCTUALITY Punctuality plays an important and effective role in the development, progress and prosperity of a nation. Or, in other words, punctuality and regularity are among the symbols of progress, prosperity and stability. Those organizations that are better in these respects have an entirely different look from the rest.

OUR NATIONAL TEMPERAMENT It has been observed that punctuality has no place in our national life. In the public sector, whether it is a government office or a commercial undertaking, office hours are never adhered to strictly. Office workers usually arrive late and leave early. Even the lunch and prayer break, which is officially of one hour’s duration, actually stretches long beyond that. This tendency has become a part of our national temperament and casts a negative effect on our national productivity. On the other hand, in the private sector, the employees come on time but they cannot leave at the end of the office hours because the Seth or the owner arrives several hours late, sits in the office far beyond the office hours and expects the employees to remain in the office till he leaves. It is certainly bad on the part of the owners to arrive late at the office and it is indeed cruel for them to punish their employees with daily late sittings.

DELAYS Late coming is not confined in respect to office only. It is witnessed at almost all occasions like wedding parties, business lunches, religious gatherings and even while reporting at railway stations or airports. In fact, it has become a national trait.

RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE GOVERNMENT AND THOSE IN AUTHORITY In the developed countries, particularly in Japan and the US, there exists a very strong sense of the importance of punctuality. A delay of even a few minutes is regretted. It is true that in our

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country, the limitations of transportation and the attitude of officers and owners have also contributed to a general apathy towards punctuality so much so that now it has become a habit with us. To reform the situation, the government and those in authority should consider the following points and suggestions. The main reason for late coming in offices is the absence of an efficient transport system. This problem can not be solved merely by an increase in the import and local production of vehicles. It also requires widening of roads as well as improvement in the working of the transport system by looking into matters like preparing a time table and strict adherence to official stops. In localities where the total number of workers is more than 500, the heads of the organizations should, after consultations among themselves, fix their office timings with a difference of about 15 minutes so that overcrowding in buses coming to that area is avoided. Transport companies should introduce a ‘Main Stop Service’ which should touch points on the main roads only. The various organizations should run shuttle services from stops on the main road to their offices or factories. This scheme would reduce the pressure of traffic on the roads and would make transportation quicker. Three hours in the morning and three hours in the evening, should be declared as ‘Public transport timings’. During these timings trucks, trailers, push carts and all other slow-moving vehicles should not be allowed to ply on the roads. Along with this, the system of ‘tidal flow’ should also be introduced. Pickups and other hooded vehicles should be entitled, without seeking any formal permission from any government agency, to operate as public transport and these should be protected from police excesses. In every locality, office-goers should, with consultations among themselves, make arrangements so that instead of traveling to their offices in their own cars, they may travel together in the car of one of them, by rotation. This would not only save fuel but would also reduce congestion on the roads.

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Encroachments made by vendors on the pavements and the roads should be removed as they are an obstruction to the free flow of traffic. Due to slow movement of vehicles, petrol and diesel is wasted and the atmosphere gets polluted. The vendors may be provided alternate space in commercial areas. Wherever possible, flexible working hours may be adopted to avoid rush during the normal working hours. The timings of arrival of various sections or individuals should be spread from 7 in the morning to 10, ensuring that everyone should be available in the office during the middle four working hours from 10 am to 3pm. But such a system would require extensive planning, proper distribution o f work and a strict schedule. The government and large institutions should take up a study to find out if the efficiency of a worker diminishes after the lunch break. This can be determined by experimenting with working hours spread from 7 in the morning to 2 in the afternoon without break, in some organizations and comparing the performance of the same persons during the previous office hours.

MORNING WORKING HOURS It is felt that if working hours from 7 am to 2 pm are adopted countrywide, it would be more productive than the existing 9 am to 5pm. Being fresh, the worker would give a better output to the employer. On the other hand, the worker would be free to use his time in the afternoon to earn some more money through a part-time job or business or to utilize the leisure to attend to his family matters or in social activities. Implementation of this idea would help in reduction of corruption. There can indeed be a difference of opinion on this proposal but it does merit a serious consideration.

INDIVIDUAL EFFORTS Individual efforts are also needed in ensuring punctuality. Some such areas are discussed below.

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Some Complexes Some people suffer from the complex that if they arrive at a gathering on time, others would consider them to be unimportant, uncivilized or too eager. Then there are others who suffer from a personal disorder or the inability to estimate correctly the time needed to reach an appointed place. All such complexes, disorders and inabilities should be got rid of.

Estimating Travelling Time A rough estimate of the time needed to reach the appointed place should be made and then a little more time may be added. For example, if you feel that by taking a bus, you can reach your destination in half an hour, then get out 40 minutes earlier. You should have with you some reading material to pass your time, in case you arrive earlier.

Fixing The Time When you intend to visit someone, give an exact time. If that is not possible, give the probable time range i.e. say, between 4 and 5 pm. Similarly, when someone is coming to you, fix the time.

Inform If Delayed If you are getting delayed from the appointed time, inform the person through telephone.

Duration It is better to fix the duration of the visit and its purpose, as well. We often waste our time in meaningless conversation on cricket, politics etc., which should be avoided.

Interval Between Two Visitors While fixing appointments, sufficient intervals should be kept between two visitors so that no one has to wait.

Miscellaneous If for some unforeseen reason, you have become too busy to keep an appointment, seek a change of time or day, through telephone.

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You must have a rough idea of the time taken to travel to various points in the city, taking into consideration the volume of traffic and also the probability of obstructions caused by political or religious processions. Do not make commitments that you cannot meet. If you have been late in arriving at someone’s office once, it should never happen again. Try to arrive at your own office a few minutes before the office time. It is not impossible, you have only to try seriously. When you are hosting a dinner, it is not necessary to keep those who have arrived in time, to wait till late in the night for the late comers. To avoid such a situation, you can mention a time range, such as from 9 to 10, in your invitation. It is necessary to follow the timings yourself. Only then you can ask others to be punctual.

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ELIMINATING DISCORD We often hear or read in the newspapers about ugly incidents taking place in the various cross-sections of our society. Some such incidents are listed below : Violent conflict between two groups of students after the use of some provocative remarks during a college debate. Son-in-law kills his mother-in-law for slapping his child. Separation due to interference by the wife’s father in the couple’s mutual matters and his use of derisive language against the son-in-law. Traffic blocked in the bazaar as two drivers, whose cars faced each other, refused to give way to the other. Family business wound up as a result of litigation among the sons after the death of the father. Two partners of a stable and prosperous business try to strengthen their bonds by marrying the son of one to the daughter of the other. However, after some time the marriage fails and, as a result, both the families and their business is ruined. Spectators fight during a football match between two countries. Allegations and counter-allegations are made which finally lead to an armed conflict between the two countries. A quarrel in the office on ballpoint pens and writing pads results in the suspension of several employees of the office. These are every day incidents from our lives, but these command an important bearing on our collective lives. People suffer from mental illnesses and families are ruined as the path of progress is blocked for them.

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DIFFERENCES, STRIFE AND QUARRELS Mutual relationships can be either pleasant or unpleasant. If it is pleasant, the two individuals understand and respect each other. They readily cooperate and make a joint effort for their collective well-being and prosperity. When it is unpleasant, it gives rise to bitterness and often, each of the two tries to cause harm to the other. Differences, if these are confined only to opinions, are a necessity as it helps in the achievement of progress. But if the differences rise to become a clash of objectives or of personalities, then it becomes destructive. And, where the differences grow so as to create a polarization between groups, then it turns into a strife which leads to disastrous consequences.

WHY QUARREL ? Usually quarrels start with petty matters: someone uses the ballpoint pen or the writing pad of a colleague or uses filthy language against some one, making the atmosphere of the office unpleasant. In fact, such incidents are the results of certain realities and presumptions which should be investigated so that the quarrels are got rid of by the elimination of the root cause. Imam Abu Hamid Mohammad Al-Ghazali writes in his book, Keemiya-e-Sa’adat, “One who can suppress his anger even though he has power, is a gentle person.” But one who does so because of his lack of courage or his helplessness, only keeps on accumulating his anger and hatred which turns into malice. Thus, malice is the result of suppressed anger and it shows itself in a number of ways, some of which are listed below: 1. Jealousy. A person harbouring malice against the other can not tolerate the other person’s happiness and feels happy at his sorrows. 2. Ridicule: A person of this type not only feels happy over the hardships of the other but also teases and ridicules him. 3. He does not speak to the other person and never even greets him with a formal Assalam-o-alaikum.

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4. As the layers of malice keep on piling up in his heart, he starts looking down upon the other person. 5. He not only tries to open up the other person’s secrets but also starts making false accusations against him. 6. He indulges in mockery of the other person in the absence of the latter. 7. He does not care to give his rights. 8. If he gets the opportunity, he can even cause to him bodily harm. These are the results of malice and even the most honest person can not keep himself away from these, if overtaken by malice.

THE ETIQUETTE OF EXPRESSING A DIFFERENCE OF OPINION One must accept the reality that, just as every individual is different from the other, the opinion of one person can also be different from the other. Moreover, every one has his own manner or style of doing things. A difference of opinion can be constructive for the society, if based on sincerity and not expressed merely to show one’s knowledge or ability. On the other hand, if some one says something which is good, then one should accept it. But if it becomes necessary to express a difference of opinion, then one should be polite. Even if the other person is aggressive, one should take it with patience and without showing any anger. A polite and soft approach is usually more effective in convincing the other party. There is a well-known anecdote that illustrates this point. It is said that once there was a competition between the Wind and the Sun as to who can make the person walking on the road wearing a coat, take off his coat. Wind was the first to try. It blew more and more forcefully in an attempt to blow off the coat from the man’s body. However, it resulted only in the man holding his coat tightly to prevent it from flying away. Next, it was for the Sun to try. The Sun began to smile and with this, it became warmer down below on the earth, and the man took off

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his coat. So, in our lives too, one can achieve the desired results by the warmth of affection and not by being aggressive.

TYPES OF QUARRELS In the context of the present discussion, quarrels can be divided into six categories.

Family Disputes A family dispute ruins one’s domestic life. It is usually caused by differences on the bringing up of children, participation in parties and ceremonies, relationship with others including neighbours and household expenses.

Office Intrigues These are the results of a tendency to show down a colleague, incompetence, inferiority complex, use of unfair means and a lack of interest in one’s work.

Disputes Between Business Partners Such disputes arise when there are differences on the use of authority, ownership, and the share in profit and loss. These are more common and frequent when there is no written agreement between the partners, spelling out these aspects in clear terms.

Social Quibbles These arise out of an apprehension with regard to one’s position and respect in the society and also due to an undue pressure of domestic life.

Religious Strife Such strifes occur because of a lack of religious tolerance. One may have a strong belief in one’s own creed but it must be realized that others too have the right to have and practice their own beliefs with full freedom.

Political Conflicts There are the results of differences on sharing of power and the tendency to use unfair means.

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HOW TO RESOLVE DISPUTES Muslims must refrain from disputes. Hazrat Abu Huraera (R.A.) says, “I heard the Prophet (PBUH) say, ‘It is not appropriate for a Muslim to remain cut off from another for more than three days. After three days he should meet him and greet him with Assalamo-alaikum. If the other person gives a proper response, both of them would share the future reward of virtues (sawaab). But if the second doesn’t, the first would be absolved of the charge of cutting off from a Muslim.’’’ Remember, disputes of all categories must be resolved as soon as possible. One should not allow the situation to worsen by delays and by involvement in litigation. A Muslim should not harbour malice against any one for long. It is always better to seek a reconciliation. We are making some suggestions on which you might like to act.

Acknowledge Your Mistake Acknowledgement of one’s mistake plays a pivotal role in ending disputes. If it has arisen due to your mistake, accept it readily. But, undoubtedly, it is difficult because it becomes a question of honour. It is human nature to hide one’s mistakes but covering up a wrong only worsens the situation and a time comes when a mistake the mere acknowledgement of which in the beginning could have settled the matter amicably, leads to the ruin of the person concerned.

Reconciliation When there is a dispute, even if it was not due to your fault, you become involved. You should act large-heartedly but if you do not find it possible to move yourself forward for a reconciliation, seek the help of a third person for this purpose. If you have been at fault, express your regrets for it. That would change the attitude of the other person. The Prophet (PBUH) has said, “ The sin of a person who does not accept the apology of a friend is as grave as that of a highway robber,” and further said that “A momin loses temper quickly but soon forgets about it.” The Holy Quran says that ‘those who suppress their anger and forgive others, are the people liked by Allah.’

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Miscellaneous Besides the above, the following should also be kept in view: Always have a positive thinking. Do not regard the other person your enemy and avoid finding fault with others. In all matters, it is better to keep silent and let others speak. Remove misunderstandings by discussing the issue. In collective matters, adopt an attitude of self-sacrifice. To give up one’s own opinion is a great self-sacrifice. Do not be obstinate and work with patience and tolerance. Keep the collective good in mind and have a reconciliatory attitude. Pray for your friends, colleagues and the parties in dispute.

ARBITRATION Of the various types of quarrels described above, four –family disputes, office discord, business partners’ differences and social strifes—are those which can be resolved through the conciliatory efforts of a third party. In the case of a family dispute, it becomes the duty of those having a close relationship with the family, to help them clear the misunderstandings. Occasions like the holy month of Ramazan, the Eidain, Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi (SAS), the month of Muharram, and the period immediately before the departure of one of the parties for Haj or Umrah, are the most appropriate for such efforts. Such efforts can also be successful when one of the parties might have fallen seriously ill. In one instance of reconciliatory efforts, two disputing brothers were advised to discuss their differences in the graveyard. Accordingly, they went near the graves of their parents and in that environment, they were able to work out an agreed formula for an amicable settlement of their dispute. Remember, it is Satan’s pleasure to see two Muslims—man and wife, partners in business, or colleagues in an office—fighting each other. And the devil’s happiness knows no bounds when one Muslim kills another merely on account of differences of sect, language or political affiliations. It must be remembered that the greatest threat to the Muslims always comes from within their own

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ranks. We should, therefore, adopt an attitude of tolerance and forgiveness among ourselves and if we see a dispute between two Muslims we should immediately start working for a compromise.

PRAYER There is a prayer in Surah Al-Hashr. We must recite it whenever we get the time. It says, “O Allah, forgive us and those from among us who preceded us in having Eemaan. Also, clean our hearts from malice and ill-will against each other. O Allah, Thou are kind and merciful.”

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THE POWER OF MONEY Entering a hospital, a patient found two doors before him. On one of these, it was written, ‘Psychological Treatment’, while the other said, ‘Physical Treatment’. The patient entered the latter. He was expecting to see the doctor immediately on his entrance, but instead, he again found himself in front of two doors carrying plates with ‘Surgical’ and ‘Non-surgical’ written on them. He chose to enter the ‘Non-surgical’ but he again found two doors saying, ‘For those with a monthly income of more than Rs 30,000’ (US $ 500) and ‘For those with a monthly income of Rs 30,000 or less’. Since the monthly income of the patient was less than Rs 30,000 per month, he entered the latter and found himself on the road outside the hospital. The well-known humorist, Mark Twin, once said while addressing a reception in his honour, “My childhood was spent in poverty. We were so poor that we could not afford to have a dog for our security and, therefore, whenever there was a sound of approaching footsteps in the night, we used to bark ourselves.”

MONEY AND THE SOCIETY The two incidents quoted above, only reflect the reality that the society values a person not on the basis of his abilities and qualities but according to his standard of living and the wealth possessed by him. The fact is, it is criminal to be poor. The paradox is that if a wealthy person walks on foot, he is appreciated for ‘taking up jogging’. On the other hand, if a poor person is waiting for a taxi to carry his sick child to a clinic, he is looked down upon for not having his own transport, and even the taxi driver does not treat him well. If a wealthy person comes in a party wearing un-ironed clothes, he is considered either given to simplicity or to the ‘mod ‘ style. But if a poor person does the same, he is considered to be ignorant of etiquette. If a child from a wealthy family plays a prank, he is said to be an intelligent boy while a poor man’s child behaving in the same manner is considered to be ill-mannered. The daughter of a wealthy family, even if she is not good looking, appears to be smart and intelligent because of the make-up she wears and the self confidence she possesses.

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But a poor girl, even if bestowed with beauty, would be considered uncouth. The truth is that the society we live in respects money only. If you were not a person of substantial means yesterday but today you have somehow gathered money, acquired a large house, a new car and begun dressing yourself expensively, the same relatives and other acquaintances who tried to avoid you in the past, would themselves come and meet you with immense warmth. It is, therefore, imperative to utilize our time judiciously to earn money as that would facilitate life.

SET RIGHT YOUR CONCEPTS Under the existing circumstances, it is not possible to change the values of the society. We are, therefore, left with the only option of modifying our own concepts according to the present day realities. With this in view, the following suggestions are made:

Realistic Thinking And Self Confidence It should be clearly understood that despite the tremendous power of money, it is not every thing. Rizq does not mean money only. It also includes other things which bring happiness and calm in one’s life such as a loving family, sound health, good children, affectionate relationships, peace in life and a sound sleep in the night. These things cannot be purchased by money and happen to be just a blessing from God. Let us allocate a numerical equivalent to each of these blessings. Now pick up three or four moneyed people whom you know well. You would find that they are not enjoying most of the above listed blessings. Put their wealth and the numerical equivalents of the few blessings, if any, that they might be enjoying in the credit column and the numerical equivalents of the blessings that they do not possess in the debit column. Evaluate your own position in a similar manner. It is most probable that you would not find yourself far behind the moneyed persons as far as happiness and peace of mind is concerned. That would surely strengthen your self confidence.

Do Not Blame Your Fate We often cover up our laziness and lethargy by giving it the dignified name of ‘trust or faith in God, (Tawakkul). Similarly, when we meet with a failure due to a lack of hard work or sustained

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efforts, we put the blame on our fate. However, the correct position in terms of the teachings of our religion, may be concluded from the under mentioned quotations: The Holy Quran says, “After saying your prayers, go around and look for the blessings of Allah (Rizq).” –Surah Juma. The Prophet (PBUH) has said, ”To seek for a legitimate means of livelihood, is one’s greatest responsibility, after Ibadat. According to one Hadith, “After you have said your morning prayers, you should not go to rest without making a struggle for earning your livelihood.” Another Hadith says,” Some of the sins can be compensated for only by a concern and struggle for earning your livelihood.” Hazrat Umar (RA) once said, “Seek your livelihood in the hidden treasures of the earth.” He further said, “No one from amongst you should give up the struggle for survival by losing his courage.” This saying has been interpreted as implying that it is necessary for every one to pursue one of the many legitimate means or sources of making an earning.

Livelihood Through Employment And Business In our society most people want an employment, preferably a government job where there is less of work and more of authority. It is so perhaps because our existing system of education was conceived by the British and aims at producing clerks with a servile mentality. In our country, there is a dearth of institutes which could provide vocational training and prepare our youth for an independent means of earning a livelihood. Trade and business activities, too, where one can work as a self-employed person, are on the decline. It is not the intention here to discourage the reader from seeking employment or to give up his job if he is already employed. What is to be emphasized is the need for a career planning after taking one’s abilities into consideration. If you are an employee but you feel that you do possess the ability to be self-employed, you

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can make a beginning by starting a small business in your free time. You should not indulge in such activities during office hours as that would be a dishonesty. You can also carry out such an experiment while availing the annual leave from your office. There are so many fields that you can enter. Assess the opportunities accessible to you and then take a final decision after consultation. The point that needs to be emphasized is that you should try to find your independent means of livelihood in trade because if we strengthen our trade, we shall strengthen the country’s economy. Find the courage to take up trade as your means of livelihood and you would gradually find other doors, such as those of an industrialist or a landowner, opening for you.

AVOID THE PITFALLS Money brings with it a number of undesirable accompaniments including pride, arrogance, extravagance and luxurious living. And this is what is harmful for the society. If one is blessed with money in excess of his reasonable requirements, it should be ploughed back to his business or industry, creating openings for many more people. Every one who succeeds in business should take a vow to become a part of Allah’s system of distribution of Rizq by helping those who are struggling for the improvement of their lot or those who have no means at all for a livelihood. His workers would then work sincerely and his business would prosper. Another important point to be taken care of is that when you make money by employing poor but talented people, there should not be any significant mental distance between your own thoughts and ideology and those of your workers. It is also important to start a business which is related to the field in which you possess some experience. You should also take care not to invest all of your capital in one single project because in that case, a failure would make you run into bankruptcy. It is advisable to make a beginning with a small scale entrepreneurship and then move towards small industries. You may, finally, become a full-fledged industrialist. Lastly, you should be able to assess correctly the worth of your resources and have the capability of utilizing them properly.

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Success in the practical field

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PART SIX Success In The Practical Field 26. Teamwork

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27. Delegation-Getting The Work Done

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28. Definition, Scope And Purpose Of Delegation

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29. Meeting As Means Of Building Organizations

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30. How To Conduct A Meeting

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31. Minutes Of The Meeting

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TEAMWORK To produce a pound of honey, the bees have to traverse a distance of no less than 300,000 miles. Since the life span of a bee does not extend beyond a few months, a single bee cannot produce even one pound of honey in its entire life time. Production of honey in large quantities is possible because the bees make a collective effort. In the complicated process, ordained by Allah for the preparation of honey, the important lesson for mankind is teamwork. There are so many things a person can perform well individually within a short period of time. But there are other important tasks that cannot be accomplished single-handedly even by the most intelligent and hardworking persons unless they follow the example set by bees and perform the task through collective efforts. Examples of success through teamwork are abundant in every field of life. The most common among these is the arena of sports where every member of the team has to coordinate his efforts with others for the success of the team as a whole. Many great achievements in man’s scientific explorations were possible due to teamwork. Under the present state of affairs, teamwork is needed in every sphere—social work or entrepreneurship, urban society or rural, military bureaucracy or civilian officialdom.

THREE TYPES OF PERFORMERS All those who perform may be classified into three categories: those who find it convenient to work under others; those who like to rule and want others to work under their directions; and those who can work under any circumstances and are able to adjust themselves well with others in a team. In our country, people belonging to the first category are found in the largest number. The main causes for this are the system of education and the British rule of 200 years in the past. These two factors have given rise to mental slavery. People in this category readily accept, rather seek, subordinate positions. Individuals in the second category are snobs and small in number. Such persons treat their subordinates with contempt. One such

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officer sent for another, only one grade lower to him, and when he arrived in his room, he was asked to go back and bring with him a certain file. The senior officer could have easily asked the other one on the intercom to come to him with that file; but that would not satisfy the ego of the boss. It is the third group of people which is needed the most but are hardly available in sufficient numbers. The concept of teamwork is not yet known to many of us and even those who are aware of it, have not fully accepted it. The seniors feel that the subordinates should work while the subordinates, grudging the salary and other benefits given to the seniors, leave the work to be done by the seniors themselves. It is this attitude which has the country’s journey on the road to progress.

BARKING DOGS We do work collectively but only on emotional occasions, such as arranging funerals. Someone has compared us to dogs. The comparison does hurt but it is true. Like the dogs, we bark collectively at a stranger but if a bone is thrown to us, we fight each other. This example seems to be true in every field. When a business is in the initial stages, all the partners work selflessly to promote it. But when profits begin to show, they start fighting each other. This attitude can be seen everywhere—in business as well as politics.

NEED FOR TEAMWORK We need teamwork in every sphere of life. Collective efforts demand patience. Collective action is possible only by suppressing the rebellious feelings in individuals. No great achievement can be made by a single person. It requires the collective effort of a team. The main obstacle in making a collective effort is the fact that in such a case individuals do not get a projection of the kind that one receives when something is achieved by individual effort. A group composed of persons hankering for individual recognition can never take up any task collectively; and cannot achieve anything worthwhile. A united effort is the only way to make a big achievement as it multiplies the strength of the effort. It is truly said that one and one make eleven and not just two. It is often said, particularly with reference to office and business work, that sometimes a team is unable to give the expected output because of the fact that all the members do not make contributions

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of equal magnitude and the burden actually rests on a few only. It is just like two persons trying to move a heavy object by lifting it. Apparently, both of them are engaged in the task but sometimes one of the two carries the actual weight while the other just holds one end of the object. Undoubtedly, there are many among us who possess such a temperament and this is a negative aspect of teamwork. Yet, on the whole, teamwork is more advantageous. A team is not just a flock of people having common interests or common characteristics. It is a group formed for action, not merely for discussion. Salient characteristics of an effective team are: 1. Every member of the team contributes something and shares its benefits 2. Interdependence among members facilitates collective effort. 3. Strengths and capabilities of some members make up for the weaknesses and deficiencies of others. 4. Evaluation of its utility and performance on a regular basis 5. No barriers of secrecy among the members 6. Mutual confidence and respect for each other 7. Understanding and harmony among members, irrespective of their status 8. The aggregate productivity is larger than the sum of individual efforts Benefits of teamwork are also shared by the industry, the economy, the society and the state. A team never loses its utility if its formulation and organization is based on principles. A team is helpful in decision-making, whether it is marketing or production, as collective efforts and shared decisions open the road to progress. Teamwork is usually opposed by higher officials because they feel that it diminishes their importance. Lack of competence make them feel insecure and apprehensive of losing their indispensability. Though at times immediate gains are also obtained, teamwork is usually a long term arrangement which might start giving good

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results after a reasonable period of time. Teamwork might not bring a revolution, but it does bring about a change. A team is neither a democratic nor a dictatorial institution. In teamwork, decisions are neither thrust nor hands are counted to arrive at a decision. All decisions are made with consensus. The principles of modern teamwork are not much different from the Islamic concept of Shura.’ Teamwork is not possible under all conditions. It works well where a large number of persons are involved in accomplishing a task who can exercise freedom of thought and opinion but not in an environment of rigid control and suffocation. For example, it is workable in football, hockey and cricket but not in chess, table tennis or other individual games. In business organizations, teamwork is highly successful in production and marketing while it can be hardly of any help in accounts and finance because of the rigidity of rules and various types of controls. Usually, teamwork is not even required in such sectors where segregation is necessary. Some of the situations where teamwork is badly needed, are listed below: 1. When the management and leadership become ineffective. 2. When the technology in use is obsolete 3. When the cost of production is rising persistently. 4. When the growth is retarded and profits decline 5. When significant changes in the organization become inevitable 6. When quality and quantity of production need to be raised 7. When employees feel frustrated or insecure; and absenteeism or strife is common.

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TYPES OF TEAMS Broadly speaking, teams can be divided into two types: formal and informal.

Informal Teams Informal or work teams come into existence as a result of team spirit and conducive environment. Several teams may emerge simultaneously in one department and may work continuously on a long term basis. Such teams normally consist of not more than ten members. Members should be selected because of their capabilities and suitability. Sometimes the team members are given the option to choose the membership of one of the several teams in the same department. The prospective members are given a briefing on the scope and responsibilities of the proposed team and are also given some time to think over their decision. The final selection of the team is made after consultation with the leader of the proposed group. It is necessary for the members of a work team to have understanding among themselves and an air of confidence. They should have similar experience and should have worked together in the past. Mutual tensions, differences, politics and rigidity are the hindrances in the process of formulating a team.

Formal Teams A formal or task team is formed for a specific assignment. It is normally a short term team which can also be constituted in different phases as the task goes through different stages. That is segmentation of task in distinct dimensions and respectively forming teams for every segment. In a formal team, members are selected from various fields and work for given assignment or are required to solve a specific problem. Sometimes prospective members themselves offer their services but the membership of a team of this kind also should not exceed ten. All the members should work with determination. Such a team is more useful if it has decision making power. The leader of a formal team must be an individual who is popular and effective and works with determination.

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CHARACTERISTICS OF TEAM MEMBERS Team members should possess the following characteristics.

Willingness and determination Every member of a team must be determined and willing to carry out the task. He should do the necessary home work before participation. Those who are capable but not inclined to contribute something substantial, should not be included in a team.

Interpersonal communication Every member must possess the ability to communicate with, and understand other members of the team. This is a skill that can be imparted and improved through training.

Ability to see things in proper perspective They must have the ability to see things in their proper perspective. It is not good to keep only one’s own interest in mind. Collective interest should be given priority.

SUCCESSFUL TEAMWORK Building a team, and making it work for the attainment of the desired objectives, is an art. Flexibility of the individuals to adjust to teamwork plays a key role in its success. Meetings also play an important role in maintaining an effective team. Given below are some guidelines to make meetings more productive. Informal teams should meet almost daily, or at least once a week, at their workstations for a few minutes to review progress. Whatever the duration and frequency of the meetings, these should be held regularly and punctually. A formal team is normally entrusted with some important task. It may meet at regular intervals or may finish the task in one sitting. Formal meetings should be held in proper conference rooms or other places free from all kinds of interruptions and distractions. In case of formal meetings, the agenda, with brief hints on every item, should be made available to every member in advance.

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The members should be informed / reminded of the rules and procedures at the beginning of each meeting. Every member should be encouraged to participate in the proceedings. Due consideration should be given to the feelings of each and every member. Discussions should be confined to the points on the agenda. Time should not be wasted on jokes, gossips or irrelevant discussions. Thus members should be straightforward and should avoid going in circles. Difference of opinion should be noted and discussed, not disregarded. Everyone should be allowed to express his views without undue interruptions. The meeting should not confine itself only to the presentation of individual views but should also take up an assessment of realities. The main points of the deliberations should be written on a board or on a chart and should later be incorporated in the minutes, copies of which should be distributed among the members. Participants should avoid personal attacks, biased opinions and ego satisfaction. Utility of the meeting and the progress made in respect of its assignment should be reviewed intermittently. Implementation of the decisions should be reviewed regularly. Every member should hold himself accountable for achievement of team objectives. Every member should seek suggestions for his improvement. Members should have empathy for each other. Members may present their views, facts and arguments, but avoid personal attacks.

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QUALITIES OF A TEAM LEADER 1. An effective team leader treats all members alike. He works for the collective good without discriminating between workers and managers. 2. An effective team leader helps and guides the team members toward improved performance, instead of trying to catch them doing something wrong. 3. An effective team leader gives time and attention to each and every member of his team. 4. An effective team leader knows the kith and kin of his team members. 5. An effective team leader is aware of his team members’ activities. 6. An effective team leader tries to understand and solve problems related to his team members’ jobs, careers and personal matters. 7. An effective team leader keeps in touch with the reticent members of his team. 8. An effective team leader expresses his gratitude to all the members of his team. 9. An effective team leader discards all symbols of discrimination, like executive dining rooms, wash rooms and parking spaces, reserved for the senior members of the team. 10. An effective team leader ensures that all meetings are held in a pleasant atmosphere. 11. An effective team leader pays attention to his own training and development. 12. An effective team leader is interested in his mission. 13. An effective team leader believes in Allah; and keeps his eyes on results through struggle, rather than waiting for miracles. 14. An effective team leader is a good teacher, guide and mentor for his team members. He recognizes the talents in his team and facilitates their advancement. 15. An effective team leader enjoys the confidence of his teammates.

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EXPECTED ROLE OF TEAM LEADER DURING THE MEETING A team leader should be careful about the following: Should not try to thrust his own thoughts and opinions. Should not try to point out others’ mistakes and avoid repeated references to it. Should never try to feed other person with words and ideas which he/she is speaking. Should encourage the reticent members to present their views. Should steer the discussion in a decent and meaningful manner. Should avoid repetition of thoughts and suggestions. Should try to achieve consensus and coherence, avoid interpersonal conflicts and restrict the use of authority. Should protect himself and other members from personal attacks. Should inculcate orientation for action. Make himself accountable. Should be willing to listen to the personal matters of members.

LEARNING FROM SUCCESSFUL TEAMS In the developed countries, particularly in Japan, the tradition of teamwork is very strong and the experiences gained in this direction are available in writing. Such work has been undertaken in our country as well, particularly in trade and industry, but very little is on record. A gist of what is available on teamwork, is given below: Teams should be given as much of responsibility as possible. Team members should receive broad-based training, not

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restrained to a narrow field of specialization. It should be assessed if the team is unorthodox and different from a traditional team. A task team should be given adequate powers. A team should be treated as an alternative route to success. Participation in decision making should be encouraged. Teams should be involved in analytical processes

INCULCATING TEAM SPIRIT Some of the factors that can help in inculcating team spirit are:

1. Sense Of Unity A sense of unity is a must for inculcating team spirit. Every member should try to compensate for the weaknesses of the colleagues and seek strength from their abilities.There is no “I” in team. Team has its on distinct identity. All that is needed is to know each other and the related issues. Openness and freedom to express ideas and experience is essential.

2. Sense of Responsibility This is another factor which promotes team spirit. When seniors contact their subordinates working during the night, they help them realize that they share the responsibility with them. This can be nurtured by positive assessment of effective leadership, sharing information and seeing bright future ahead. In other words looking for big picture.

3. Mutual Confidence Team members must have full confidence in each other and also have a good opinion about their colleagues. An environment of confidence makes it redundant to record attendance and eliminates embezzlement of office stationery for home use.

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4. Sense of Belonging Believing that anything beneficial for the organization ultimately benefits the individuals, heightens commitment and strengthens team spirit. Following measures help in achieving this end: Team members are kept informed of the profit and loss position of the organization. Team members can see the outcome of their own performance. Teams are afforded with opportunities to handle difficult situations on their own and to resolve the problems their own creative efforts, rather than immediate help from outside sources. Teams may maintain internal records and should not be asked to provide any information that might not be required. Teams should be told clearly about the limits of their authority and independence.

5. Initiative Compared to individuals, teams are in a better position to take initiative and manage crises.

6. Contacts And Understanding Team members should exchange information among themselves and should collect it from their seniors and subordinates and then use it for their own purposes.

7. Recognition Appreciation of their performance and token rewards are important. These may include: Holding parties in honor of the team members and their family members Nominating the best ‘Team of the Month / Week’

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Making contributions on behalf of the teams to social / charitable causes

8. Harmony Clarity of objectives, interpersonal communication and consensus lead to harmony among team members.

9. Completion Of Assignments All the assignments of the team must be completed. Assignments left unfinished lead to frustrations. Proper assessment and monitoring is essential and to inform the team that how closer they have reached to their goals. The above observations are made in the perspective of Pakistan’s economic, social and political problems. Though it demands some sacrifices, but teamwork is crucial for progress and prosperity of Pakistan.

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DELEGATION GETTING THE WORK DONE THE KEY TO SUCCESS There are many who spent the earlier part of their lives in poverty, living in slum areas. But after a hard struggle, they are now enjoying a prosperous life, living in posh areas. They are, indeed, successful persons. There are two types of the so called successful persons: one, who lives a happy and content life with his family and friends; his subordinates and colleagues also enjoy stress-free environment. He is like the wicket keeper in a game of cricket, performing a hazardous job with dignity and composure, because he is in a protective gear. He stops the fastest ball with remarkable ease and passes it on quietly to a fielder to do the rest of the job. In the other category, we find those who have attained a high position because of their hard work but they are not happy. They come early to the office and stay till late at night. Sometimes, they carry the files to their homes or come to the work on holidays. Children and other family members feel sour about it and their own health is affected adversely. The reason for this unhappy situation is the fact that these persons have not been able to delegate the work to their subordinates. The person in the first category knew well what was the work that he should do himself and what was there to be left for those working under him. Of course, he had to prepare them for those tasks, but after some time they were able to perform it with the same ease and efficiency as he would have done himself. And, therefore, he is no more worried about those tasks.On the other hand, his subordinates too gain self-confidence and earn promotions by performing those tasks satisfactorily. The person who believes in doing everything himself may succeed initially, but when he rises to a higher position, the increased

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workload becomes unmanageable without support from capable subordinates. If the subordinates are not trained and trusted to perform such tasks, he is simply crushed by the workload. It is, therefore, evident that though hard work is necessary for success, after a certain stage, one can be successful only if one can manage others to do the work delegated to them. The concept of efficiency changes as one moves up the ladder of success. Instead of working hard exclusively with his own faculties and resources, the successful person organizes and delegates the work among his colleagues and subordinates in such manner that each one of them takes pride in making his contribution toward accomplishing the task.

SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSMEN Successful businessmen are also of two types: those who retain some decision-making and operational activities for themselves and delegate the rest to the employees under their control, duly trained and groomed for this purpose. They go through daily reports received from their subordinates and issue directives. They are not only doing good business but their employees are also happy with them as they find time to socialize with their employees and their families. Businessmen in the other group are also doing well but they take great pains for this. They attend to minute details; keep cash in their custody; raise trivial objections; and maintain strict secrecy, adding immensely to their workload. Such businessmen are successful to some extent but they are unable to keep pace with the changing times.

THE ISLAMIC POINT-OF-VIEW According to the teachings of Islam, each one of us is accountable for the fellow human-being in the sphere of his control or influence. Thus, a husband, a wife, a daughter and a son are responsible to perform their duties within the family in the same manner as the head of an organization, the chief of an army, or the head of a government is expected to do.

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DEFINITION, SCOPE AND PURPOSE OF DELEGATION Delegation of power and distribution of work may be described as ‘twin principles’ of management. When work is distributed, it often necessitates delegation of power. At higher levels, it becomes essential because without some powers delegated to the person actually doing the work, distribution of work might become meaningless. Delegation of power helps in the progress and development of any organization, in another way also. It prepares a second line of executives who can replace the higher ranking senior officers when the time comes for their retirement or in case someone decides to leave for some other reason. The comparatively junior executives would already have been groomed in exercising power wisely, when they would be required to take up a greater responsibility in the organization.

IMPORTANCE Delegation of power is, in fact, an extension of one’s own capacity for doing more work. If, after assessing the potential of one’s subordinates, a senior officer authorizes them to take decisions within the sphere of their own assigned tasks, they would be able to dispose of the work in less time and thus would be able to perform more of it within a given period of time. Thus the capacity of the team as a whole would increase.

BE A BEE AND NOT A TERMITE A bee is always busy in a productive manner. It collects nectar from flowers and carries it to the hive where it is converted into honey, without damaging the flower. On the other hand, a termite sticks to and destroys whatever it eats. We should behave like bees, active, productive and beneficial to others. By delegating some of our powers to your juniors, we offer them an opportunity to learn and get trained for higher responsibilities in the future. In this way, we help the subordinate as well as the organization. The subordinate’s chances for promotion brighten up; and the organization gets a

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second line of trained and experienced managers.

WHAT IS DELEGATION OF POWER? Delegation of power is the process of empowering subordinates to discharge their duties and fulfill their responsibilities. The person who delegates his powers to someone else, has to plan, schedule, set targets, identify competent persons and assign responsibility along with adequate authority. Responsibility of the one who delegates does not end then and there; he remains accountable for the performance of his subordinate and ultimate achievement of the targets. However, after sometime, the juniors are able to tackle the tasks and make decisions in the same manner as the senior person would have done; and that makes the latter relatively free from the pressure of work. The purpose of delegation is neither to get rid of the difficult or unwanted assignments by passing them on to others, nor to keep the subordinates busy doing nothing. It is the art of achieving results through effective utilization of human and material resources.. If the manager fails to guide and inspire his subordinates, he will ultimately have to do their work too. With this extra workload, his own efficiency is likely to depreciate.

MANAGERIAL TASKS Managers and others entrusted with higher responsibilities usually perform the following tasks: Collection and dissemination of information Noting and drafting Negotiations Problem-solving Consultation Managerial tasks may be categorized as under:

Routine Correspondence, marking the papers to the concerned persons, meetings, consultations and decisions

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Emergencies Handling unusual situations

Creative Work Finding new avenues or courses of action to further and promote the interest of the organization.

ADVANTAGES OF DELEGATION Besides saving the manager from unnecessary pressure on his time and energies, delegation of work and power results in some other advantages as well. With the time saved by delegation, the manager can pay more attention to his creative work which would help the organization in its further development. By associating others with a fresh thinking or approach, it becomes likely that the quality of work might improve. The manager saves time by nominating his subordinates to represent him on various forums. Delegation creates a sense of participation and achievement among the associates and subordinates. Finally, delegation trains the juniors for handling higher responsibilities.

WHEN TO DELEGATE? The proper time to delegate responsibilities is when you find that you do not have enough time to tackle all the matters that you have to deal with and, at the same time, you feel that your subordinates have less work than what they could do within the time they have. But before doing so, you must make sure that the junior person has the capability to accept this challenge. If he does, then you should not hesitate in delegating additional responsibility to him. Remember, by spending one hour on your subordinate’s training, you can save several hours of your own precious time.

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WHAT TO DELEGATE? Work falling under the following categories may be assigned to others: Responsibilities that can be assigned to others temporarily Collection of statistics Preparation of the first draft of a report, assessment or proposal. Proposals for analysis /solution of problems. Routine work. Small items from your collective responsibilities Assignments that pose a challenge to your colleagues Assignments that test the capabilities of your colleagues

STEPS IN DELEGATION Delegation of responsibilities can be done in five steps. Step 1: Write down the work you are supposed to do, in details, in the form of a chart, or bullets. Also mention which of these tasks is to be carried out when and how. Step 2: Specify the tasks that you would like to retain with you. While doing so, consider criteria that enhance your effectiveness in the organization. Step 3: Delegate work in small chunks to facilitate to facilitate comprehension and execution. Step 4:Those assigned the work, should be provided with the requisite resources including funds and powers. There should be a balance between responsibility and authority. Imbalance may lead to corruption or failure. Step 5: Create a sense of responsibility and accountability.

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HOW TO DELEGATE? The following guidelines may help in achieving satisfactory results from delegation: Look for the right person to delegate to. Capability and confidence, in this matter, outweighs experience. Once you select the right person, provide him with resources, Explain to him the objective(s) of the delegated assignment. Equip him with the requisite information and inform him about relevant policies of the organization. Ensure agreement of the person with the objectives and policies; as well as his sense of responsibility and accountability for the tasks assigned to him. You should trust those whom work and power has been delegated. If the person does well, he should be appreciated and encouraged. Do not interfere in their decision-making. Once you delegate a task to someone, you must trust him and allow him to take decisions without any interference. Do not try to influence their decisions with your opinions and preferences. In case of an emergency, help the person arrive at a solution in a manner that helps him do it on his own next time. Under normal circumstances, if the person seeks your help, do not present the solution straightaway. Help him with guidelines to arrive at the solution by himself. Otherwise it would defeat the purpose of delegation and hamper the subordinate’s development. Delegation may lead to mistakes and loss of time, but this is part of the training and development process. Guard against those who find excuses to revert the delegated tasks. Insist on interim progress reports. Set realistic targets. Encourage your subordinates to delegate further down the

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line so that decisions are made at the lowest competent level. Instead of setting aside the decisions taken by your subordinates, give them a chance to review and revise these when required. In any case, do not criticize your subordinates publicly. When you assign responsibility and delegate authority to your subordinates, inform the concerned persons so that they also extend their help and do not hamper the process.

DELEGATE TO WHOM? You cannot delegate to any Tom, Dick or Harry. Choice of the person plays a decisive role in successful delegation. The following checklist may help in choosing the right person. 1. Who among your subordinates can take the challenge and learn from this experience? 2. Who among your subordinates has the requisite traits and capabilities? 3. Is previous experience required for performing the delegated task? 4. Will this experience help in future? 5. Will this assignment serve as a source of training? 6. Will the task be delegated to an individual or a team? What would be the constitution of the team? How to maintain a balance in distribution of authority and responsibility? 7. What is the status and progress of the work already assigned to the subordinates who are being considered for further assignments? 8. How would you manage supervision and monitoring?

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INSTRUCTIONS FOR MAIDEN ASSIGNMENTS Following guidelines will help in delegating a task for the first time: 1. Assess the subordinate’s knowledge and level of understanding about the new assignment; and adapt your instructions accordingly. 2. Explain the significance of the assignment as a whole as well as each part of the delegated task. 3. Use examples to explain the desired results. 4. Ask the person to answer the following questions: What is the nature and purpose of the assignment? What are his responsibilities and powers? At what stages during the assignment would he be required to submit progress reports? What is the time available for completing the assignment and what are the targets? If the answers given are satisfactory, he should be allowed to go ahead without any interference.

NEGATIVE SYMPTOMS Given below are some symptoms of inefficiency due to ineffective delegation. These are catastrophic for any organization. 1. Planning without proper pondering 2. Too many directives 3. Unnecessary controls and undue powers 4. Lack of control and discipline 5. Late sitting 6. Excessive and unfair use of authority and pressure 7. Uncalled-for criticism

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8. Obsession with rules and regulations 9. Disregard for rules and regulations 10. Delays in decision-making 11. Dithering about objectives and priorities 12. Buck passing

PRECAUTIONS 1. Resist perfectionism. Accommodate those who are less than perfect, but have the potential to learn and improve. 2. Do not make yourself indispensable. You can move up only if you allow others to take your position. 3. Your effectiveness depends on the effectiveness of your colleagues. 4. Once you delegate a task to your subordinates, let them complete it. Do not get involved to the extent of becoming a part of the team doing the delegated task. 5. Do not publicize the mistakes made by your colleagues. Delegate only when you are satisfied with their chances to succeed. Follow up with training, performance review and confidencebuilding measures.

WHAT NOT TO DELEGATE? Important policy matters that can be handled only by the top management Maintenance of discipline. It is only for the manager to decide where to tighten it and where to relax. Motivating and morale building is your responsibility. Delegation in this case is harmful Controversial matters should also not be allowed to be delegated. Those who are not capable of training others should not be given this responsibility

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Controlling a meeting and receiving reports on various aspects of an assignment.

WHEN WORK IS DELEGATED TO YOU Before you can delegate to others, you have to prove your worth by doing the work delegated to you, despite ambiguity of direction, incomplete instructions, unrealistic targets and multiplicity of simultaneous assignments. The checklist that follows may be helpful in meeting this challenge. Before accepting an assignment, you should make sure that the authority delegated to you is commensurate with the responsibility. If you feel that it is not so, you should insist upon getting more powers. Instead of taking your problems to your boss, you should examine them yourself, propose solutions to demonstrate your creative capabilities and to improve your relations with the boss. Carry your diary or notepad when you go to see your boss. Note down the instructions and review objectives, responsibilities, authority, targets and milestones. Discuss the targets in particular and jot them down in the presence of your boss. Some seniors assign responsibilities without delegating due authority. This restricts your prospects for growth. To cope with situation, you should send a memorandum to your boss, stating your perception of the assignment, responsibilities and corresponding authority, in the form of an action plan, stating the date of commencement, requesting him to inform you before this date if he disagrees with it or wishes to discuss it with you. This sort of assertiveness is essential to deal with bosses who drag their feet when it comes to delegation. Some seniors practice partial delegation; and then try to shift the responsibility to their juniors at the eleventh hour. This is not an appropriate approach. This practice should be resisted. Some seniors become inconsiderate in assigning work to their subordinates. In such cases, the subordinate should

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work out the details and priorities in consultation with the senior to avoid chaos in the workplace and disruption in family obligations. It is not advisable to disturb your family life to please others. Work out the nitty-gritty of your job with your boss. Assess his expectations vis-à-vis the scope of your work to avoid incongruity between perceptions. When you can find people to assist you in discharging your responsibilities, you should consult others, seek help from libraries, websites and hire the services of consultants, subject to provisions of the budget.

SOME GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF DELEGATION 1. Clarify the nature of work, objectives, requirements and desired outcomes 2. Determine the scope of work for different departments and individuals, using organization charts and written job descriptions. 3. Procedures and limits to authority delegated to seniors and their subordinates should be specified in writing. No one should be allowed to exceed delegated authority. 4. Unity of command and concentration of powers at the top is in the interest of the organization. Everyone should accept it. No one should be allowed to destabilize it. 5. Every organization should have a set of written rules, regulations, policies and procedures. These should be known to all concerned. 6. Communication and discussion of ideas, tribulations and complaints should be encouraged; and procedures should be devised for resolution of problems. House journals and circulars, in English and local languages, may be used for this purpose. Personal counseling and meetings can be also be arranged to take people into confidence.

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REASONS FOR AVOIDING DELEGATION Some seniors avoid delegation for one or more of the following reasons: Lack of confidence in the subordinate. The person to whom the work would be delegated, would not do it properly and the officer making the delegation would be held responsible for it. Lack of time required to explain and delegate It would take more time to explain the work to the other person than doing it himself. Desire to learn by doing rather than delegating. Sometimes the senior officer feels that since he knows little about the work and has no experience of doing it, it would be better for him to do it himself. Apprehension of being superseded by one’s own subordinates The officer might be guided by the feeling that if his subordinates prove themselves able to do the work properly, his own importance might be undermined and he might lose his position. Overconfidence and self-aggrandizement The officer might be possessed by the feeling that no one else can do the work properly except himself. Vulnerability of the organizational head Much depends on the head of the organization as well. If he is unable to maintain discipline in the organization or happens to fall a prey to intrigue, his officers are likely to avoid delegation. Fear of adding to one’s own workload Reluctance to power-sharing Desire to brag about being busy all the time

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Lack of self-confidence Lack of attitude to be a player of the team Lack of discipline Office politics

QUALITIES ESSENTIAL FOR SUCCESS IN DELEGATION You should be broad-minded and confident of your own capabilities so that you are not scared of delegating to your subordinates. Carve out a place for yourself that helps you go up the organizational hierarchy. If you are running your own business, then you should keep certain basic functions with yourself so that others might not be able to cheat you. These functions might include entering into agreement with other parties, signing of cheques and vouchers beyond a certain limit and granting power of attorney. Do not offer shareholding or directorship to someone simply because he can impress others. Give respect to those working under you and create an atmosphere of mutual confidence. Whenever good work is done, it should be appreciated. Develop the attitude and build an environment of trust and confidence. Make people feel that they are trusted. Make your colleagues realize the significance of authority and freedom of action they have acquired as a result of delegation. Appreciate and encourage quality performance. Take the responsibility upon yourself if a mistake has been committed by one of your subordinates. That would give you higher respect and popularity among your staff. When a work has been delegated, normally you should not

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interfere in it. However, if the person concerned seeks guidance from you, it should be readily given. If the assignment is then completed successfully, you should give full credit for it to the subordinate so that he feels encouraged. If some work is delegated to you, you need to have the following traits to perform well: You should be able to understand your senior’s point-ofview without compromising on your freedom (of thought, decision, action) You may disagree with your boss, but once a decision is made, discipline demands that you accept and implement the decision without any reservation. You should have the desire to learn and know the art of getting the work done. You should know what is to be done and have the skills to develop the system and plan the procedures. You should gracefully accept compliments as well as criticism. You should be able to synchronize your aims with your seniors’ objectives and organizational goals.

THE LAST WORD In our country, there is no dearth of capable persons but what is lacking is discipline. Highly talented individuals are so involved in trivialities that they cannot think of more significant issues. Wherever you are, and whatever you do, you must prepare others to carry your mission further. You may keep things under your control because some people may be unsteady and ungrateful; but that should deter you from training and grooming your juniors because the country needs trained and disciplined leadership in all spheres, at every level. On the day of Judgment, we shall all be held accountable for whatever we do, and whatever we have in terms of knowledge, skills, powers and worldly possessions. This realization should help us do better in both the worlds.

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MEETINGS AS MEANS OF BUILDING ORGANIZATIONS According to an old adage, one and one make eleven. We can observe the manifestation of this axiom in our day to day transactions. When two persons join hands to do a piece of work, or join heads to solve a problem, their collective output is always more than the sum of their individual outputs. Two questions emerge as we go deeper into it. First, what is the ideal number of minds which, when put together, would produce optimum results? Second, is it advisable to involve a large number of persons in decision making, or is it better to involve a larger number of persons in executing the decisions made by a relatively smaller group of people? Freedom of expression is the right of every citizen; and public opinion plays an important role in collective matters. Public opinion has been defined as the consensus of opinion of the members of a group of people who arrive at it after giving considerable thought to the issue under consideration and making necessary enquiries and research. This process also facilitates consultative management, which plays an important role in governance, politics, business other institutions. Consultation is essential because: It enables us to examine all aspects and to arrive at the correct conclusion. Consultation with the entire group is a source of satisfaction of the members It serves as a training ground.

A TRAGIC SITUATION It is a tragedy that public opinion has little to do with most of the decisions made in our national affairs. The decisions are taken at the top and forced down the line. That is why, instead of moving forward, we are going backwards.

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Even in case of government departments, business institutions and social welfare organizations, any mechanism for obtaining public opinion or consultations is scarce to find. It is for this reason that we often feel like wasting our time in our collective endeavors.

MEETINGS: FORMS AND FORUMS Meetings are important forums for consultation. Depending on its purpose and scope, a meeting may be termed as a conference, convention, symposium, seminar, session, or rally. Addition of a prefix, like daily, weekly, monthly or annual, specifies its periodicity. Terms like general body, managing committee and board of directors, prefixed to the generic term, meeting, specifies participation. The present discussion is confined to the meetings of relatively smaller groups.

PURPOSES To deliberate on issues of collective concern To analyze problems in the light of relevant information and statistics To take decisions and plan for implementation To promote creative thinking and constructive questioning

ADVANTAGES A meeting provides an opportunity to every participant to express his views and to contribute to the final outcome. This inculcates a sense of responsibility to enforce the decisions with mutual cooperation, positive attitude and self-confidence. This is an investment in the organization’s manpower which is as important as an investment in its material assets. Secondly, the quality of decisions improves as several minds converge on common issues; more relevant information becomes available; better proposals are put forth; and there is improvement in morale, productivity and effectiveness of the group.

DISADVANTAGES A meeting often results in wastage of many man-hours. For example, if a meeting lasting for one hour is attended by ten persons,

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the organization spends 10 man-hours on it. If the outcome is substantial, the man-hours are spent gainfully, otherwise it is a loss. However, quite often a meeting does not give enough gainful output because of the wasteful attitude of some of the participants who indulge in one or more of the following: speaking without any substance avoiding any action making lengthy speeches on points of little significance discussing unrelated issues wasting time on exchange of compliments promotion of interpersonal relations ; and emergence of pressure groups and cliques harmful to collective interest.

TYPES OF MEETINGS According to Dr. Thomas Gordon, there are two major categories of meetings: (a). for exchange of information and (b) for solving problems.

Exchange Of Information Such meetings are held essentially for enhancement of knowledge, development of the thought process, gaining an awareness of others’ performance, and so on. Problem-solving should not be the subject of discussions in these meetings. The number of participants should not be restricted either, Such meetings may be held to: narrate the proceedings of a conference or details of a visit listen to an expert preset personal or departmental reports present performance reports, communicate decisions and /or plans for implementation

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Participants in these meetings are encouraged to ask questions.

Solving Problems Meetings falling under this category may be further sub-divided into five types as explained in the following paragraphs.

1. Identifying Problems: Problems exist in every organization but often the concerned people remain unaware, or refuse to acknowledge the truth. The purpose of such meetings, which might not be required more than twice a year, is to identify the problems. Care should be taken to discuss only the problems and not their solutions. However, some participants are scared of discussing their problems in the presence of the chief executive. To overcome this barrier, participants may be allowed to communicate through spokesmen, or asked to write down the problems on a piece of paper without identifying themselves and drop it in a box.

2. Proposing Solutions: After the problems have been identified, these should be prioritized. Suppose you attend a meeting to discuss the following four problems, out of a list of twenty, identified at an earlier meeting: Employees are leaving the organization as a result of rising frustration Everyone in the organization has started acting independently due to lack of mutual confidence and co-operation. Routine work is being performed on overtime basis. Increase in the number of complaints about products received from consumers. In this meeting you should discuss each one of the above problems, one by one. Proposals for solutions should be presented, but not discussed during this meeting. Each problem is analyzed from different angles. Participants are encouraged to present their ideas. All ideas are recorded for analysis at a subsequent meeting. Such meetings help in developing a sense of participation and raising morale of the participants.

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3. Analyzing Proposals and Making Decisions: After the

problems have been identified and solutions proposed, the next step is to take decisions. Such meetings are very important. Participation should be restricted to a small number, usually four to ten. In this meeting, every aspect is examined thoroughly in the light of the organization’s policies and objectives, before arriving at a decision.

4. Implementing Decisions: In our country, decisions remain unimplemented for a long time because there is no follow- up. This casts aspersions on the effectiveness of meetings. Hours are wasted in meticulous recording of the minutes, followed by months and years of thinking, reminding and waiting for implementation. Such meetings, where the pace of implementation of the decisions already taken is gauged, are necessary for a successful enforcement of the decisions. According to a German expert, to facilitate implementation, the minutes should be recorded under three headings, viz. 1. What is to be done? 2. Who will do what? 3. By when? The group leader should not assume the entire responsibility for implementation, all by himself. Instead, he should delegate the work to other members according to their skills and resources.

5. Regular Meetings: Periodic meetings on a regular basis are

inevitable for some organizations. However, these become ineffective after some time as people lose interest. Training and experience are essential for making such meetings more meaningful.

PRE-REQUISITES FOR MAKING MEETINGS MORE MEANINGFUL Meetings are a forum for the efficient running of an organization and often it is a legal requirement to hold meetings. Following guidelines are helpful in making meetings more meaningful: Selection of participants in accordance with the aims and objects; and prescribed rules and regulations

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Sticking to standard operating procedures Giving due notice to the participants, intimating time and venue of the meeting Intimating the agenda of the meeting in advance Providing working papers / notes Ensuring quorum

PREPARING FOR A MEETING Answering the following questions will help in preparing for meetings: 1. What are the objectives of the meeting? 2. Who are the participants ? 3. When and where the meeting can be held conveniently ? 4. What procedures would be followed? 5. Would it be appropriate to intimate the agenda and background material in advance? 6. What facilities, such as a multimedia projector, or a white board, conference call equipment would be required ? 7. Is it necessary to prioritize the topics and specify time? 8. Can a conflict of interests be expected? If so, how to prevent it. 9. Is it necessary to negotiate in advance with some individuals? 10. How the proceedings are to be recorded and what arrangements will be required for this purpose? 11. If some new members are to attend the meeting, is it necessary to intimate them in advance . 12. What other arrangements, such as receiving the outstation participants, car parking arrangements, etc. would be required? 13. How to ensure communication with, and participation of part-time and standby participants?

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HOW TO CONDUCT A MEETING Meetings that fail to achieve the objectives are a burden on the organization. This happens when the organizers and participants fail to observe the following rules of the game.

AGENDA As stated earlier, the purpose of a meeting is to provide a forum for a meaningful exchange of views among well-meaning individuals; and to solve real life problems through group discussion and consensus. Circulation of agenda, explanatory notes and working papers, in advance, helps in achieving this objective. Prioritization of items on the agenda may also be altered through consensus. The agenda may be prepared by the convener of the meeting in the light of the deliberations in the earlier meetings. Alternatively, it may be prepared by inviting proposals from the concerned persons. Such as inclusion of new issues and other matters of significant importance.

MINUTES OF THE MEETING Normally, the minutes of a regular meeting are presented for approval and signed by the chairman in the next meeting. Alternatively, the minutes may be circulated in advance for confirmation by the members in the next meeting.

BACKGROUND MATERIAL The participants should receive and study, well in advance, a set of working papers, background information and explanatory notes, wherever required, to keep discussions on track and to make the best use of the limited time available for formal meetings. It is also desirable to ask the participants to send their questions, comments and objections, based on the agenda and background material, several days before the meeting to enhance the effectiveness of the meeting.

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PROCEDURE The procedural format of a meeting depends on the nature of the meeting and the leadership qualities of the chairperson. The one described below may be adapted for various business, social and other meetings: 1. Prepare a document indicating all steps involved in conducting the meeting 2. All participants should address the Chair; and seek the chair’s permission to present their views, or to respond to others. 3. Order in transacting business according to the agenda should be maintained. The meeting should be invoked with a prayer for guidance and success in achieving the objectives. This is usually followed by information about abstaining members; confirmation of the previous minutes; discussion of the issues arising out of the minutes and implementation of the decisions made during the previous meetings. Fresh items on the agenda are then taken up in the specified order, which may be changed through mutual agreement.

RESOLUTIONS Resolutions are usually presented in meetings discussing issues of social nature. It is not common in business meetings. One of the participants moves a resolution which is seconded by another. A discussion follows, if necessary. Sometimes amendments are also presented which replace the original resolution or form a part of it. Then voting takes place and if the resolution receives the support of the majority, it is adopted.

TIME FOR QUESTIONS Question time is often allocated in the meetings. The participants might ask the chairman or any office holder, questions related to the issues under discussion, with the permission of the chair.

POINTS OF ORDER Questions pertaining to procedural matters of a meeting which need the personal attention of the chair, are called points of order. For example, if the proceedings are not according to the agenda or someone is not speaking to the point, the attention of the chair

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may be drawn to this through a point of order.

POINTS OF INFORMATION Any relevant piece of information may be brought to the notice of the meeting during a discussion, through a point of information.

DISCUSSION Discussion may be for or against the resolution, but it has to be confined to the resolution. Speakers should not exceed the time allotted to them. Before winding up the debate and voting on the proposal, the person making proposal should be given the right to further elaborate and respond to the comments made about the proposition. Once presented before the house, a resolution cannot be withdrawn without the permission of the house. When a proposition is rejected by the house, it can neither be discussed nor brought under consideration again in the same meeting.

VOTING There are five different procedures for ascertaining the opinion of a house on a proposed resolution.

By ‘Ayes’ And ‘Noes’ When there is little doubt about the opinion of the house on a proposed resolution, the participants are asked to say loudly ‘yes’ ( or ‘aye’) or ‘no’. This procedure is usually adopted in political, emotional and condolence meetings.

By Raising Of Hands Members for and against the proposition may be counted through show of hands

In Writing Participants may be required to express their opinions in writing. It is at the discretion of the Chair to have this done immediately or to put it off for a later occasion.

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By Division For counting the votes for and against the proposition, the members may be asked to proceed to two different rooms, marked for those who support the proposal and those who oppose it. This is known as voting by division and this happens to be in the oldest parliamentary tradition.

By Ballot Votes are cast through ballot papers. This procedure is commonly used in social organizations and in parliamentary elections.

POSTPONEMENT A meeting may be prorogued under the following circumstances: If there is no quorum For the purpose of voting When a resolution to this effect is presented and adopted A meeting, once called, cannot be prorogued unless a resolution to this effect is adopted by the house.

OTHER METHODS OF DECISION-MAKING The foregoing procedure is usually followed in formal organizations and large forums. However, there are situations when it is not possible to spare the time and bear the cost of such formal proceedings. Other methods which are quicker and less expensive are, therefore, employed for making important decisions.These are described below along with their advantages and disadvantages. 1. The chairman or the leader takes the decision himself. This is easy and saves time. However, some may not like it, while others may reluctantly accept it. Such a procedure is often adopted in family meetings where personal ego makes it difficult to arrive at a decision and the head of the family has to use his discretion. 2. Decision is taken by simple majority. This is common and considered to be fair, but leads to division of the group into two or more. Those in minority may not consider the decision

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binding on them. 3. Decisions are also arrived at by developing a perception of consensus. Much depends on the skills of the leader who has to create the feeling of harmony and agreement among the participants. No voting is required and every one considers the decision to be binding on him. This is a time-consuming process and may not always lead to the desired outcome. 4. There is nothing like a unanimous decision, but it requires a lot of effort and experience; and is not always possible. Irrespective of the procedure used for arriving at the decision, the final decision should be reduced to writing and intimated to all concerned. Everyone has the right to express his opinion during the proceedings. But when a decision is taken, it becomes obligatory for everyone to abide by it. Discussion of differences of opinion should end once the decision is taken. This is essential for the collective interest of all concerned. Taking decisions, and ensuring their correctness and implementation, are all parts of the virtuous process of decision making, provided the purpose is betterment of individuals and institutions.

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MINUTES OF THE MEETING It is essential to record the proceedings of each meeting. Every participant should take notes to help in this process. It is only through these minutes that one can see how the decisions were arrived at, and whose responsibility it is to implement them, by when. The minutes should cover the background, the current scenario, forecasts and future plans. Although recording the minutes in proper formats is responsibility of the secretarial staff, yet it is desirable that all participants should acquire this skill to be able to facilitate the process; and to understand, evaluate, appreciate and make use of the minutes prepared for them.

THE ART OF TAKING NOTES Four different methods of note-taking are: Verbatim recording of comprehensive notes in the form of dialogues. Recording only conclusions and resolutions, in legal language. Summary of the proceedings, along with the wordings of resolutions and decisions In business meetings, the usual practice is to record the proceedings in the form of a chart, consisting of three columns to indicate the decisions, names of the persons responsible for implementation, and the deadlines. The last method is the most appropriate one for analysis and accountability. This helps in improving the organizational performance and implementing the decisions. While taking down the notes, care should be taken for the following:

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LANGUAGE The language used for writing the minutes should be: direct, realistic and objective clear, precise and unbiased The minutes should: record the exact wordings of the resolutions refer to documents by correct names and dates The minutes should not: refer to any heated discussion or unethical conversation try to impose the writers’ or their bosses’ point of view use long-winded sentences or dialogues The chairman of the meeting should never take the responsibility of taking notes.

THREE STAGES There are three stages in the preparation of minutes. 1. Use a proper note book, mentioning the date for each entry. Record only relevant points 2. Before presenting it to the chairperson for approval, compare the draft with the agenda to ensure that all items in the agenda have been covered in the minutes. 3. Make sure to include the name of the organization, venue of the meeting, date and time of the meeting, nature of the meeting, headings and sub-headings, and names of the chairperson and participants and also names of the absentees. The above points are further elaborated below, under three different heads.

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1. Before The Meeting If you are entrusted with the preparation of minutes, you should seek the chairperson’s guidance about the format, before the meeting. You should be familiar with organizational guidelines and /or formats specified for this purpose.

2. During The Meeting Write the date, time and place Record attendance, showing names of members on leave /absentees Note the agenda Record confirmation of the minutes and relevant issues /correspondence Use the following heads for recording the summary of the proceedings in the form of a chart: Brief introduction Summary of the discussion Decisions / Required action Responsibility for action Deadlines Assign serial numbers to the items in the minutes Develop harmony between your approach and the participants’ thinking and objectives Ask for elaboration / decision on ambiguous issues Segregate facts from opinions Mind your language; use unambiguous, short sentences. You must have a clear mind and if any proposal made by you is rejected, you should not turn it into a matter of prestige.

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3. After The Meeting Finalize the draft Show the draft to the chairperson or some other responsible member for his comments Issue instructions for typing /word processing, format, layout, etc. Proof-read Finish the job within two days Circulate the minutes among members; and also to others, with the permission of the chairperson File the papers carefully Use a diary or chart to monitor implementation. Those assigned with the responsibility of writing the minutes should guard against: combining the responsibilities of chairing the meeting and writing the minutes disparity in the pace of discussions and recording of minutes blending his own thoughts and opinions with the actual proceedings writing too many names using short-cuts, symbols and acronyms and delay in drafting affecting the status of the participants lapses in recording date, time and place

RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE PARTICIPANTS Whatever the nature of a meeting, it can be fruitful only if issues are discussed and decisions are implemented with utmost seriousness. For successful implementation, we need a monitoring system. Success of the whole process depends on individuals associated with it.

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Participants of a meeting may be categorized into three groups: Those who participate by virtue of their position in an organization Those who are responsible for organizing a meeting, taking notes and secretarial work Those who preside over the meeting The role of each of these three groups may be studied in stages that precede, coincide with, and follow the meting.

Before the meeting, the participants should: 1. Study the minutes of the previous meeting to make sure that the tasks assigned to them have been completed; and prepare to discuss and respond to the expected questions 2. Discuss with the chairperson or the secretary, in advance, if there is any proposal on the agenda 3. Avoid other appointments immediately before or after the meeting 4. Avoid making / receiving telephone calls during the meeting; delegating it to others; and informing the concerned persons about their inability to take calls during the meeting 5. Ensure their presence in the meeting at the right time, preferably before the scheduled time to facilitate acclimatization. 6. Collect and organize facts and figures about the items placed by them on the agenda 7. Study the agenda and mark the items that merit extensive preparation. 8. Inform the organizers of inability to attend; appoint and brief a proxy if the rules permit.

During the meeting, the participants should: 1. Have the required stationery handy 2. Be brief, clear and precis while making presentations

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3. Express their views frankly and honestly 4. Limit the discourse to the agenda items and help others do the same 5. Seek a clarifications where required 6. Should have a positive attitude. Should not hesitate to express their views, so long as they do not violate the rules 7. Make the meeting more meaningful by using their presentation and participation skills, getting things clarified by asking pertinent questions, listening, and preparing the participants for quick and correct decisions. 8. Respect other participants’ rights, and encourage the unforthcoming to express their views 9. Use their creativity to solve problems and resolve conflicts 10. Avoid unnecessary conversation, joking, taunting, ridiculing, humiliating, and other such behaviors that create conflicts 11. Take note of the items on which they are required to do the follow-up 12. Should make this forum more effective; and utilize it to solve collective problems 13. Attend the meeting with an open mind and concern for collective interest of the organization. Should not be upset if their proposals are not accepted by the group.

After the meeting, the participants should: 1. Study the minutes carefully 2. Prepare action plans for the tasks assigned to them 3. Intimate the decisions to their colleagues and assistants entitled to receive the information, but should not divulge confidential information and matters pending decision 4. Avoid complaining against or deriding decision made through consensus

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5. Wait till the next meeting for revision of the decisions already made 6. Should assume responsibility for implementation of collective decisions, despite personal disagreement, if any.

RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE SECRETARY Before the meeting, the secretary should: 1. Get the minutes of the previous meeting and collect all the related information. 2. Prepare agenda in a logical manner and get it approved by the chairman. 3. Circulate minutes of the previous meeting and agenda of the next meeting. 4. Send reminders, where required.

On the meeting day, the secretary should: 1

Arrive at the venue before the scheduled time

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Check arrangements in the meeting room

During the meeting, the secretary should: 1. Ensure availability of the relevant documents 2. Record the proceedings 3. Assist the Chair.

After the meeting, the secretary should: 1. Seek clarification about vague decisions and ambiguous expressions 2. Prepare minutes and obtain the chairperson’s approval 3. Circulate the minutes [ preferably within two days] 4. Follow through the decisions and monitor implementation.

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RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE CHAIRMAN Before the meeting, the chairman should: 1. Study the items on the agenda and collect relevant information. 2. Approve the agenda 3. Ensure dispatch of agenda to all participants 4. Ensure that all arrangements have been finalized

During the meeting, the chairman should: 1. Ensure that the meeting starts at the scheduled time. 2. Introduce (the objectives and) the agenda 3. Encourage all participates to participate 4. Maintain discipline and order. 5. Facilitating proper decision-making. The chairman’s attitude should not be dictatorial. On the other hand, he should try to reduce the distance between him and the members of his team, without compromising his position; create a sense of participation among the members; and minimize their dependence on Him.

After the meeting, the chairman should: 1. Study the minutes and give necessary instructions in the light of the decisions taken therein. 2. Approve the minutes and issue instructions for circulation and follow-up. 3. Create a system for the monitoring of the implementation process.

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Individual Capabilities

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PART SEVEN Individual Capabilities 1. The Thought Process

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2. The Art Of Listening

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3. The Art Of Rapid Reading

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4. How To Improve The Memory

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5. The Art Of Writing

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6. The Ability To Think And Decide

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7. Moderation And Austerity

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8. Dress And Sobriety

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9. Self-assessment

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10. Qualities Of Leadership

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11. Guidelines For Leaders

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12. Challenges, Demands And Response

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13. Importance Of Prayers (Supplications)

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THE THOUGHT PROCESS If you are sitting alone quietly and someone, coming in suddenly, asks you as to what you were thinking, your response would be either of the two. If your mind was engaged in thinking something which you do not want to reveal for some reason, you would try to evade an answer. On the other hand, if you were thinking about a matter in which the questioner might be able to help or guide you, then you would start discussing with him whatever was there in your mind. A thought is something difficult to define. It may be loosely described as a collection of one’s hopes, dreams, apprehensions and anxieties. One can neither draw a picture of his mental state nor put it in writing accurately. Random thoughts are like a blindfolded hen in a closed room which would keep on hitting its head on the walls, without finding its way out. (However, if the same hen were allowed to move in an open space with her eyes uncovered, she would immediately find her way.) Those who have clearly defined targets before them, are fully supported by their thoughts and keep on moving forward. But those who do not have such targets, are lost in the midst of their own thoughts and worries. If you have not followed the above principle in your life so far, you can do it now. Pick up a piece of paper and write down the following: The purpose and aim of your life Targets for a period of five or ten years, with respect to the following: The level of income, position or authority that you want to attain in your employment or business. In family matter, the standard of living that you wish to attain, the kind of education that you want to give to your

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children, the ownership of house and other such matters. In the field of social relations the kind of relationship with others and the level of leadership in certain matters. Examines how and to what extent changes will have to be introduced in your approach in life, to attain these targets. What difficulties and obstacles will have to be faced in this regard. What would be the solution for these problems and difficulties. What would be the line of action for the achievement of these objectives and with what limitations. How would you review the situation (weekly, monthly, quarterly or annually) When you would get involved in a struggle to achieve an objective and all your thoughts would be fixed on it, then you would feel that you are driving very fast on the highway of success. Even if you feel hungry and thirsty, you would like to continue to move forward by another few milestones.

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THE ART OF LISTENING In practice, there are several forms of listening: Conversation between two persons in which one does most of the talking while the other listens to him. A group discussion in which every one participates A gathering, which is addressed by a speaker while the rest listen to him.

CHARACTERISTICS OF A GOOD LISTENER A good listener keeps himself prepared mentally for the topic to be discussed. He should have all the relevant files and information handy with him and should ensure that the speaker is not interrupted unnecessarily. Care should be taken to offer necessary facilities to the speaker and he should be fully assured of your interest in his talk. That would enable him to express himself in a better way. Listen to the speaker carefully. Develop this habit because as you rise to higher positions in your organization, it would become an important part of your responsibilities to listen to other people. Keep yourself mentally aligned with the person who is speaking and try to see the issue from his point of view. Ensure that you remain neutral while listening. If you fail to do so, you would neither be fair to yourself nor to the other person. Listen to the other person attentively from the beginning till the end and jot down the important points. Sometimes it so happens that we form an opinion after listening to the initial remarks and then become inattentive to the rest of the other person’s arguments.

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During the conversation, you should keep on reviewing what the other person is saying and note down the misstatements, misunderstandings and incorrect arguments put forward by him. These can be of use to you for countering his viewpoint. During a conversation, you should note down the important points which might need your attention later. While listening, you should also take notice of the body language of the person, that is, the gestures made by him by his hands, his facial expressions, etc. You may confirm what you might have concluded from what has been said by the other person by taking a pause and telling him in your own words what you have understood. Do not try to formulate your counter arguments while the other person is still speaking because that would divert your attention from what he says subsequently and, thus, you might be put on a wrong track. Do not interrupt the other person unnecessarily and keep your anger or other sentiments fully under control. When you are listening, you should avoid speaking as far as possible.

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THE ART OF RAPID READING Wise men say that one should take up the study of the rules for Zakat only when one has assets valuable enough to make Zakat payable. What is implied in it is the principle that one should spend one’s time only in acquiring that kind of knowledge which is useful to him. As a person goes up in his profession, he is flooded with reading material on administrative and professional topics. Now it is up to him to make a judicious use of all that stuff. He saves his time by avoiding the irrelevant and preserving the relevant for future reference. One must accept the truth that all printed material is not for everyone to read. Just like a bee that selects the most appropriate flower for extracting its juice, you too have to be selective in what you read.

CLASSIFICATION The material received may be categorized as under: Important Urgent Trash Leaving aside the trash material, you may fix your priorities in accordance with your requirements and the time available. The material which is important should be read carefully and points should be noted for further action. The rest may be given a cursory reading.

ALTERNATE CLASSIFICATION Urgent and important Urgent but not important

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Important but not urgent Neither important not urgent (trash) Urgent as well as important must receive top priority. Urgent but not important (e.g. an irrelevant news item; announcement; invitation; call) may be attended depending on availability of time and other priorities). Important but not urgent must be saved for futre reference. Trash should be discarded immediately.

TO READ WITH SPEED It must be accepted that you cannot go through all the reading material and that you have to be selective according to your needs. The ability to read quickly would be helpful to you also in disposing of the files in your routine office work. Rapid reading requires training and practice. You should develop the capability to have an idea of the contents by glancing through the lists, headings and subheadings. A quick glance through the contents, introduction, summaries and conclusions, can be helpful in having an idea of the details without actually going through the entire material. Make notes during the first reading. That might make a second reading unnecessary. Do not ponder over every word or idiom. You might skip some parts as well but care should be taken not to miss something directly related to the central idea. Do not refer back unless it is absolutely essential. Do not read loudly and try to foresee what you might come across ahead in the text. Think of the purpose and benefit before anything.

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HOW TO IMPROVE MEMORY Memory has been defined as the faculty which makes it possible for us to retain and recall what we have seen, heard, observed or felt at any time in the past. The degree of attention and interest in listening, watching or observing, determines the impact and extent of recall. So, the most important rule in respect of memory is that it would be easier to remember something that has made a deeper impact on one’s mind. For a well disciplined memory, while it is imperative to remember what is useful, it is also necessary to forget what is not needed. According to experts, the following factors do not permit one’s memory to function properly: carelessness; fatigue; distraction; and not using one’s mind fully. On the other hand, there are four factors which help in developing a sharp memory: calmness; interest; eagerness; and understanding.

IMPROVING THE MEMORY Experts maintain that memory can be improved by adopting and practicing the undermentioned principles.

Clear Concepts The mind retains that, the concept of which is very clear, for a longer period of time. It is, therefore, necessary for a sharp memory to have your concepts clear.

Association Associating a new idea, object or theme with an already known, understood and accepted one, makes it easier to remember.

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Using The Senses If all the senses are used in respect of some information to be stored in the mind, it becomes easier to remember it.

Moving Objects Moving objects are more likely to be recalled as compared to the still ones.

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THE ART OF WRITING Personal progress depends largely on one’s communication skills. As one rises in status within the organization, one spends less time in technical or professional matters and more in those related to human relationships. In our country, manager is the first step in the ladder of success while the chief executive is the final. The responsibilities of a manager include: To receive instructions from his seniors and to implement the directives. To train and supervise his subordinates Finding solutions to problems. Preparation of plans of various durations, that would make it possible to utilize the capabilities of the individuals to the best advantage of the organization. Marketing of his own ideas and proposals. Trying to maintain quality and standards in every thing. For the successful disposal of the above responsibilities, the manager needs communication skills which are of following types: (i) Oral communication which consists of giving instructions to others and also to listen to others. (ii) Writing skill which includes drafting of memos and reports for internal use and general correspondence with other organizations. (iii) Non-verbal Communication (iv)Visual Communication (v) Interpersonal Communication

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THE PROCESS OF WRITING There are four elements or components of a piece of writing: 1. The writer 2. The message 3. The form, that is, memo, report or a letter. 4. The addressee or the person to whom the message is to be conveyed.

MEDIUM Whatever might be the form of writing, the following points must be kept in mind : 1. You must be clear about the purpose of the writing. 2. Keep the addressee in mind while writing. The approach would be different if you are addressing someone senior to you. Similarly, it would not be the same if the writing is meant for a stranger. 3. The message should be complete in itself and the addressee should not have to seek clarifications, on its receipt. 4. The facts must be verified before writing. 5. The order of the various points should be logical. 6. It is better to have a second look at the writing if it consists of details and analysis.

PRINCIPLES OF WRITING 1. Accuracy: The language should be correct and clear; facts and figures should also be accurate and reliable. 2. Brevity: Be brief. Avoid repetition Using the essential figures only 3. Simplicity: The language used should be simple and easily understandable. The sentences and the paragraphs should be small. Use simple language. Examples and graphs may also be

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used if needed. 4. Comprehensive: All the questions that have been raised must be answered fully and accurately. Additional information may also be added if needed. 5. Clarity: Avoid ambiguity. 6. Etiquette: Always keep in mind the position of the addressee and be respectful to him. Do not try to dominate, and make efforts to maintain the interest of the addressee. Avoid sarcastic remarks and be sincere. Forgive the other person and offer an apology where necessary. Be prompt with your replies so that a reminder is not required.

WHEN TO WRITE Considerable time, effort and resources are required in the process of writing. You should, therefore, satisfy yourself before writing, that it is really required. A decision in this respect can be facilitated by imagining the probable reaction of the addressee to the proposed piece of writing.

Do not resort to writing under the following circumstances: When the matter can be disposed of through a mere telephone call or a face to face meeting When the purpose is just to seek admiration for yourself. It should be more satisfying for you if people praise you by themselves, without your writing anything about the matter. When you are upset emotionally. Give yourself the time to cool down, before you write anything. Remember, a horse race is never started until the dust raised by the previous race has settled.

You must write under the following circumstances: When the matter is complicated. When it is necessary to set the record straight or when there is a possibility of misinterpretation.

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When it is sought to draw the attention of someone in a polite manner. Cannot generalize. When a piece of writing is expected to establish that you have really laboured hard on the issue.

COLLECTING FACTS AND INFORMATION Facts and information play a vital role in business dealings. In our country, as a result of lack of training, the documents containing facts and information submitted by the subordinate staff often waste much of the time of their superiors. This wastage of time can be eliminated if the following aspects are taken care of while putting up facts and information: 1. The facts must be truthful and accurate. 2. The information should not have been delayed and must be according to the needs. 3. The information must be in accordance with the current situation. It should be remembered that information of a particular nature is useful only under a given situation. It might not remain relevant and useful if the situation has changed. 4. The paper should also contain the details necessary to evaluate the existing situation. 5. Information should be submitted at appropriate intervals with proper updating. 6. Information should be presented in the correct perspective covering the past, present and the future. 7. Information must be relevant and should have been acquired from resources within the organization or without it. 8. Information should be presented by using the modern techniques The art of writing is a vast topic. An attempt has been made to cover only the more important aspects. It should also be remembered that since English is the working language in the country as well as on the international level, command over this language is certainly an asset for anyone aspiring for a better future in any field.

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THE ABILITY TO THINK AND DECIDE All the time in our lives, we are engaged in taking decisions because there is a decision behind every action. The running of the government machinery, the conduct of a business and our personal affairs,everything requires decisions every moment.

Decisions are dependent on the following factors: Environment in which you live and which provides you the source of earning. Problems that are an obstruction for you. Your thoughts. Self-assessment, which enables you to examine as to how far the decisions taken in the past, have helped you to achieve your goals.

While taking a decision, the following considerations are kept in mind: Goals that you have set for yourself Possible results of your decision Resources required for implementation of the decision. Implementation process Decision-making is the process of choosing one of the options available. Avoiding decisions because of one’s weakness or lethargy, often proves to be harmful. But deferring a decision as a part of a strategy, may be useful.

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ESSENTIALS OF AN EFFECTIVE DECISION MAKING PROCESS Standing operating procedures should minimize the need for making fresh decisions in routine situations Decisions should be correct and timely. Decisions should be based on correct and relevant information.

PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES No decision should be taken on sentimental grounds The first step should be to collect the relevant information and an analysis of the same. Undoubtedly, experience and intuition do play an important role in taking decisions, yet the facts should not be ignored. It is advisable to consult the experienced people The timing of a decision is often a very delicate issue and due care should be taken not to announce it before the opportune moment has arrived

THE PROBLEM-SOLVING PROCEDURE CONSISTS OF: The first step is to see if the problem is of a routine nature. If so, then the responsibility for its solution must have already been assigned to someone who should take care of it. But if the problem is to be solved by you, then you should try to understand and analyze it. For a better understanding of the problem, you may talk to those involved and try to assess its impact and possible outcome. Carry out an investigation and collect all the relevant information. Be clear about the results that you want to attain through your solution and have your objects and targets in view while taking a decision in this regard.

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Also, have the risks in mind. Guidance from Allah should also be sought through Istakhara. The Holy Prophen ( peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) also observed: “One who observes “Istikhara” is never disappointed; and the one who takes counsel is never put to shame; and the one who observes economy does not have to depend on others”. (Tabrani) Once a decision has been taken, formulate the procedure to implement it. For this purpose, acquire the services of competent persons and assess the progress from time to time.

PERSONAL QUALITIES OF A DECISION-MAKER According to reputed Islamic scholars, a person acting as judge or otherwise entrusted with the responsibility of taking decisions in any set-up, should possess the under mentioned qualities: 1. He should be mature, a Muslim and a free person. 2. He should be pious and should possess the knowledge of the laws of the Shariah. 3. Should have no consideration for money and flatterers. 4. Must be intelligent and should possess the ability to understand complicated issues. 5. He must be soft spoken but not weak, strong but not rude. 6. Should be careful in spending but should not be miserly. He should be generous but not wasteful. 7. Must have a strong personality capable of frightening an evildoer. 8. He should be wealthy and from a good family so that he may not be influenced by considerations of money.

PRINCIPLES OF DECISION-MAKING 1. One must act with sincerity and fear of God. 2. Decision must be taken only after all the aspects of the matter have been fully understood.

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3. Decision must be in accordance with the Islamic law. 4. If one finds it difficult to arrive at a decision, then one must consult others. 5. Everyone must be treated equally while making a judgment. 6. Encourage a weak-hearted witness to come out with the truth. 7. Decision must be taken immediately in a case where the party has come to attend the hearing from outstation. 8. Avoid irritation, anger and rudeness while conducting a hearing. 9. Avoid all that might influence your decision such as accepting presents. 10. Do not be guided only by arguments. Try to uncover the real intentions. 11. Try to make the two parties reach a compromise. 12. An accused person should be treated as not guilty until [and unless] proved [to be] guilty.

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MODERATION AND AUSTERITY The Prophet (PBUH) has said, “Wealth is something good, provided it is in clean hands.” In another Hadith, it has been stated that one who is the slave of money , is a doomed person. The sage, Luqman, advised his son to pray for halal income because a person unable to make both ends meet suffers in three ways: his faith becomes weak, he loses his wisdom and also his sincerity. Above all, people start looking at him with contempt

MONEY AND MORALS Morals are linked with money because money happens to be at the base of many good attributes as also at the root of many evils. If a person is unable to pay back a loan, he may resort to telling lies to gain more time for repayment. Poverty often leads a person to take to crimes. On the other hand, if a person is able to make some savings, after meeting his normal requirements, it gives him strength and enhances his self-esteem. Moderation helps one build his morals and makes him aware of his rights. A moderate person looks out for ways and means that would enable him to earn his livelihood with honesty and dignity, that is to say, he ensures the following: The earnings are halal. Someone else’s rights have not been encroached upon. His endeavours might help others as well, to earn their livelihood. A moderate person is also cautious in his spending. He knows that happiness cannot be secured only by making more and more money. Actually,it comes from judicious spending. One can make savings by controlling his expenses. And savings are helpful in emergencies like illness and unemployment and also in the attainment of some cherished goal such as higher education of children, purchase or construction of one’ s own house or the marriage of children.

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It is necessary to inculcate the habit of avoiding unnecessary and lavish spending. If one goes on fulfilling all kinds of wishes that come to him, there can be no end to it. One has to control himself and seek satisfaction in austerity. It is also important to avoid ostentation. A person given to it, often ends up in ignominy.

MAINTAIN A BALANCE Just as a balance is necessary to be maintained between one’s income and expenses, it is also important to have it between one’s expenses and savings. Savings should not be built up at the cost of essential needs.

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DRESS AND SOBRIETY A delegation of the tribe Abul Qais came to Madina to see the Prophet (PBUH). On arrival, all the members of the delegation rushed to meet the Prophet (PBUH). But Manduz, the leader of the group did not act hastily. After dressing up properly. He went to see the Prophet (PBUH) who liked and appreciated this attitude. The first impression that a person creates is through his dress. In our society, most people are carried towards either of the two extremes: either they would be lavish or too careless about their dress. According to Dr. Hasanuddin Ahmad, Islam prescribes good and clean dress. Men are not to wear silk and a dress of red colour but women can use it and the jewellery as well. However, women must hide their beautification from strangers. Dr. Ahmad maintains that the purpose of a dress is not only to cover the body and to protect it from the rigours of weather but it should also indicative of Taqwa, that is , fear of God. Another requirement of a proper dress is that the person who wears it does not appear to be mentally ill. Since the bodies of men and women differ in shape, the clothes worn by them should also be different and should meet different standards. The third requirement of a proper dress is that it must be clean according to requirements of ‘taharat”. One should not be misguided by satanic instincts in the choice of a dress. For example, it should not fail to cover the body adequately. One should also take care to choose a dress that might goes well with his personality and does not injure his dignity.

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SELF-ASSESSMENT One piety person, Tauba bin Samma, was used to self-assessment. One day he found that he had become 60. When he calculated the number of days in his life, it came up to 21, 500. He was fearstruck by the thought that even if he had committed only one sin in a day, he was responsible for 21, 500 wrong-doings. The actual number of his sins must be much higher because one definitely commits more than one sin in a day. He was so frightened by this thought that he fell unconscious and later, died. Everyone must account for every moment of his life. It is said that if a person throws a small stone in his house at each wrongdoing, the house would soon be filled with stones. Man forgets his sins but all that is recorded in his account with Allah. Shaddad bin Aus has quoted the Prophet (PBUH) as saying, “He is wise who is one who keeps his desires under control and does only that which would be beneficial to him after death; and deficient is the one who engages in the fulfillment of his desires and expects Allah to be merciful to him.” Hazrat Umar (RA) has said, “Make a self-assessment before the Day of Judgement and weigh your actions before the same are weighed, and prepare yourself for the final reckoning.” Hazrat Hasan (RA) has said, “ Allah will be kind and considerate to the person who, before actually doing anything, examines whether the intended action is for Allah or for someone else, and if it is not for Allah, then he refrains from it.” Before and during each act, we should ask ourselves if the motive behind it is the fulfillment of our own desires or submission to Allah’s commands. If it is for Allah, then we should take it up, otherwise give it up. Hazrat Junaid Baghdadi (RA) says, “You must continue to assess at every moment, how close have you gone to Allah and how far from the Satan, how near to Heaven and how distant from Hell.” Allama Juzi (RA) advises, “One should start his day with the

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determination that he would not indulge in such-and-such acts and would take up such-and –such actions. At the end of the day, he should examine what he has actually done so that, like a trader, he should know whether he is ultimately going to gain or lose.

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QUALITIES OF LEADERSHIP In our society, leadership is considered something confined to politics only although it is needed in every sphere of life. What we need are people with leadership qualities having adequate knowledge of both, the requirements of the modern age and the dictates of religion, to provide guidance to their respective groups, in every segment of the society.

WHO IS A LEADER? A leader is one who, making use of his personal qualities, influences the minds of the members of his group in such a way that they begin to think, feel and act in the manner that he wants them to. A leader usually possesses extraordinary capabilities as compared to those whom he leads, and that is why his followers accept him as their leader. He motivates them for the attainment of specified objectives. Although a leader happens to be a member of his group, he is distinct from the rest. A true leader guides others through his foresight and does not seek obedience by the force of authority. Leaders in the fields of art, science and literature, are individuals who attain superiority in their work in the respective fields. It is necessary for managers and other senior executives to possess qualities of leadership because it is only then that they can make their juniors work in a better way. An effective leader is not only able to give guidance but can also get settled controversial matters and get implemented difficult decisions. He is also able to make his subordinates work with greater interest and devotion.

QUALITIES OF A LEADER A person capable of providing leadership to others, usually possesses, the following qualities: A leader never keeps on nagging about the lapses committed by his co-workers or subordinates.

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He possesses a clear thinking and can express himself easily. He is always impartial and just. His will power is strong and he strives to achieve his objectives with devotion. His personal knowledge and experience is quite extensive and his co-workers are impressed by it. He does not like to follow the beaten track and tries to find new methods to improve the performance of his team. A leader has self-confidence and enjoys the confidence of his team. He also tries to build up the self-confidence of his co-workers. To achieve all this, he tries to understand the requirements of his position and acquires the knowledge of the role played by his predecessors. He respects his coworkers but, at the same time, imparts training to them and keeps on reminding them of their assignments. He tries to build up the urge to work among his team members and encourages them by praising their efforts and ignoring their mistakes. He tries to discover the unrevealed capabilities of his colleagues and wins their hearts by sharing with them their happiness and griefs. A good leader always gives credit for success to the members of his team and uses the word ‘we’ in his conversation to emphasize teamwork. A leader should always be optimistic and should remain hopeful even under the most unfavourable circumstances. In fact, with his tact and devotion, he can turn a hopeless situation into a fruitful opportunity.

HOW TO BECOME A GOOD LEADER Courage and a strong will are the essential requirements for making a rapid progress and for leadership. Experts recommend four techniques to develop these qualities: 1. Never miss an opportunity to learn something and to groom your ideas.

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2. Express only your positive thoughts so that the will to act is developed. 3. Reject your negative thoughts so that you may not become a victim of frustration and inaction. 4. Maintain your own personal file having a progress chart of your performance.

ELEMENTS OF LEADERSHIP A. Personality: You must discover your personality and also try to build and develop it. For this purpose, you must take care of the following: Be clear about your objectives. Plan your personality. Identify the damaging habits in yourself and try to get rid of them. Identify the good traits that you must have in yourself and make efforts to develop the same in yourself. The characteristics that you will have to give up to develop a good personality are: Being suspicious. This weakens your ability to act. Being worried unnecessarily. This is a negative line of thinking which makes one indulge in self-reproachment Being apprehensive. This neither permits one to progress nor to prepare for it. are:

The characteristics that you will have to inculcate in yourself Faith. This is the focal point of your personality. Try to strengthen it. Confidence. Be confident of what you have and know what you can acquire in the future. Try to strengthen this confidence.

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Courage. Be determined to face any situation. For a better personality, you should strengthen your faculties pertaining to : observation, creativity, power of taking a decision, power of expression, administrative ability and knowledge. On the other hand, you should eliminate: self-reproachment, hyper sensitivity, selfishness, ill-temper, weakness of will, revengefulness, anger and jealousy.

B. Popularity: It is necessary for a person aspiring to become a leader, to be liked and held in high esteem by those in his circle. To gain such a position, one has to work hard and give sacrifices. During a survey, when a group of persons was asked as to what qualities do they want to see in a leader, the reply of the majority was: intelligence, good humour, and friendliness. Besides these, truthfulness, sincerity and honesty are also among the qualities which help one to command respect from others. Selflessness and expecting only the least from others, also help maintain a pleasant atmosphere. Keep your moods under control and try to be happy. A smiling face is always welcomed by others. Your appearance also counts. You should be appropriately dressed and your behaviour should be dignified and in keeping with your age and status. You should be soft-spoken and careful in the choice of your words and the language. You must follow the rules of etiquette and also respect others. You can praise their good habits and recount their achievements. Avoid speaking too much about yourself and take interest in a conversation if you are a part of it. Remember names of those with whom you come in contact. Seek help from Allah in having success in winning the hearts of others.

C. Miscellaneous: Dr Herbert----- advises the following for those who aspire to become leaders: Develop the ability to make quick decisions.

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Always take decisions independently. Take into consideration all the aspects before taking a decision and then stick to it Never get disheartened by failure or defeat. Instead, learn a lesson from it and continue your efforts. Do not be overwhelmed by the risks involved in implementing your decisions. Impart proper guidance to your followers and reward them for their faithfulness. Always have a lofty goal as your objective. According to some other experts, quality of leadership can be improved building up one’s faculties of observation and foresight. It can also be achieved by strengthening your memory and the abilities for analysis and creative work.

RESPONSIBILITIES OF A LEADER The first step is to fix the goals. The leader can then allocate targets to the members of his team and advise them on how to achieve the targets quickly and efficiently. Unity of command is a good principle. And, therefore, all the instructions should come from the leader. It is also helpful to set an example and the leader should do something himself that would inspire others to follow. A proper distribution of work among the members of the team is also an important responsibility of the leader. Every team member should be fully aware of his area of work and should be made answerable for it. All the members of the team should be kept well-informed about the changes in prevailing conditions, according to their requirements.That would help in extending their vision and in coming out of their shell. The leader should keep himself informed of the problems and the needs of the members of his team, and try to help them out. He should also protect their collective interests.

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According to a Greek philosopher, one cannot expect to lead others until he is able to control and guide himself. To become a good leader, one must possess foresight, a good memory, the ability to assess, a strong creativity and the power to act. Allama Mavardi gives the following requirements for a leader: Ability to identify truth, Good health, Wisdom, Valour and Boldness. According to Farabi, a leader should possess the following qualities: Physical fitness, Ability to think and understand, Good memory, The ability to arrive at the truth, Power of expression, Avoiding things of pleasure, A lack of fondness for eating, Distanced from luxuries, Love of truth, Large-hearted, Love for justice, Aversion to suppression and tyranny, The power to administer justice and Fearlessness in performing his duties.

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WARNINGS Muaqqal bin Yasar, a governor under the Umayyads, has been quoted as saying that the Prophet (PBUH) has said that if a person who was ruling over a Muslim population, dies under conditions where he was not honest to those he governed, then Allah would not allow him to enter into the Jannat The Prophet (PBUH) once said to Abdur Rahman, “ O Abdur Rahman, never seek the position of a governor. If you get it at your own request, you would be trapped by your own desires. But if you get it without seeking, Allah would help you.” Once Hazrat Umar Farooq (R.A.), addressing the functionaries of his government, said: “O functionaries of the government! No humility is more fruitful and more liked by Allah than the humility of a Chief. Similarly no lack of understanding, sentimentality and thoughtlessness is as damaging and as undesirable than those in a Chief. Allah abhors the most the luxurious living and ignorance of a governor.” Once an advisor of Hazrat Umar bin Abdul Aziz (R.A.) advised him to have some rest. He replied with a sigh, “I have no time for rest. I would get it only when I report back to Allah.” Allama Syed Sulaiman Nadvi writes that if the government is a body, then all its functionaries, big and small, are its limbs. It is they who make a government good or bad. If the common man is pained by them, the government would be considered to be bad and if they feel happy with them, then the government would be called a good government. An Islamic government must not regard its functionaries as mere workers: being themselves Muslims, they too are a part of the government. Their emoluments are just a compensation for the time that they give, the object of their work is just to seek the pleasure of Allah. It is the duty of the functionaries of the government to enhance the honour of their country, government and the system, by their character, high morality, honesty and sense of responsibility. Whatever has been stated above about leadership applies equally to those running the government machinery, private offices and businesses.

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GUIDELINES FOR LEADERS According to a saying of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), every one shall be held accountable for his followers. For the guidance of a Muslim who happens to be responsible for those under his influence, some principles enumerated by Hazrat Umar (R.A.) are reproduced below from Fiqah-e-Umar, by Dr Muhammad Rawas Qilaji of Dharan University, Saudi Arabia: 1. It is wajib (obligatory) to appoint a chief or Ameer. 2. The chief (Ameer) should possess the following qualities: (a) Should be an adult and mature person. (b) Must be a follower of Islam. (c) Should possess the knowledge of Shariat. Someone asked Hazrat Umar (R.A.), “what is better for me, to preach the religion of Allah fearlessly, or to reform myself and keep myself occupied in prayers He replied that if one carries the responsibility of being the Ameer, then he should issue orders in accordance with the instructions of Allah, fearlessly. But if he carries no such responsibility, then it is better for him to concentrate on his own reformation and to be a well-wisher of his chief. According to Hazrat Umar (R.A.), no one is fit to be a ruler except one who is: soft-spoken but not weak, strong but not rude, careful with money but not a miser and generous but not wasteful. Hazrat Umar (R.A.) never assigned any work to a person who was not willing to do it and, thus, he always got the best performance.

RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE CHIEF OR AMEER Whereas the Chief or the Ameer has been given a high position by Allah, he has to shoulder great responsibilities as well. According to Hazrat Umar (R.A.), these include:

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Preaching of Islam and providing religious education to the people. To give protection to Islamic teachings so that dissenters or conspirators might not be able to distort it. To protect the territory of Islam To safeguard the rights of Muslim citizens. To impart justice to the people, such as: Protecting the rights of the suppressed. Providing a position to a person in accordance with his abilities. To be fair while imposing taxes or land rent. To be fair in providing the basic needs to the poor. The following are helpful in maintaining justice: The Chief should not remain aloof from those for whom he is responsible. The Chief should himself look into the problems of his people but if he does not have enough time for this, then he should seek the cooperation of trusted individuals for this purpose. For resolving more complicated issues, the local chief should consult the Ameer-ul-Momineen as he enjoys a better understanding of issues and a more mature outlook. He should keep himself informed of the conditions in which his people are placed. He should safeguard the property and wealth of the people. The government should be run in a moderate style. When Hazrat Umar (R.A.) appointed Abu Moosa Asha’ari the governor of Basra, he advised him to be cautious in the use of baton and lashing. He asked him to act in a manner that would be soft but not weak and hard but not oppressive.

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The army should not be over-burdened. The tenets of Islam should be established.

FURTHER REQUIREMENTS Ameer-ul-Momineen cannot be expected to fulfil his responsibilities adequately unless he acts on the following: (a) Acquires sincere and genuine deputies. (b) Keeps himself informed of the activities of government functionaries. (c) Makes the government functionaries accountable and ensures punitive action which may be financial or physical. (d) Consults others. (e) Provides guidance to the general public by setting personal examples like: i.

Keeping himself and members of his family free from all blemishes.

ii. Follow the rules himself and make his family members do the same.

RIGHTS OF THE CHIEF The Chief must be obeyed in all matters except when it is against the commandments of Allah. Every follower must be a well-wisher of the Chief.

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CHALLENGES, DEMANDS AND RESPONSE The setting sun declared, ‘Is there anyone who might take my place’ A lamp flickering inside a hutment replied, ‘Yes, I’ll try.’ On January 1 every year, morning papers carry the photograph of the last sunset of the previous year. That reminds us that another year of our life has passed. And then, as we look at the new year’s diary, we feel the urge to achieve something significant during the new year. ‘Yes, I’ll try,’ says the little lamp flickering inside us. While we begin the new year with lots of hopes, ambitions and aspirations, within no time, we are so overwhelmed by routine matters, trivial affairs and mundane miscellanea, that we lose track of the passage of time, till the calendar on the wall reminds us that the year is about to end.

TAKE YOUR OWN ACCOUNT A year is composed of 12 months or 52 weeks or 365 days or 8760 hours. Try to recall how you spent these hours. How much of it was used for constructive activities and how much of it was wasted. What could have been achieved in this time, and what was actually accomplished. True, no one can keep an account of all the hours, yet one can certainly do some soul searching and assess one’s overall performance in any given year. Be accountable to yourself before you stand accountable elsewhere

WHAT DOES A YEAR DEMAND ? Each year makes a different demand which emerges on the basis of the events taking place and conditions prevailing during the previous years. This demand actually presents a challenge which must be met. If we analyze the events and conditions prevailing in our country for the last several years, we arrive at the following conclusions:

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1. Ours is a deteriorating society with falling values. We have neither been able to have our own culture nor have made any significant effort for it. 2. We are a suppressed and indebted nation. We have mortgaged our future with the lending countries and now being subservient to them in many ways, we have to follow their dictates in different directions. 3 We are the product of the educational system devised by Lord Macaulay, the object of which was to produce people who would remain dependant on the British even after they leave the subcontinent . The truth is that those managing the affairs of this country have not been able to establish its ideological identity because of this educational system. There have been bunglings of both, the administrative and the financial kind. Corruption prevails in the official machinery and tax evasion is rampant. 4. Today, in every part of the world, efforts are being made to destroy the collective power of the Muslims and to usurp their wealth. Their economic, political and military interests are being damaged by internal dissensions and by other means, , as a result of which they are becoming weaker day by day. Such harsh realities should make us realize that we must wake up, we have to face the social crisis created by the martyrdom of many in the recent past and also the situation arising out of the plundering of the wealth of the Muslims by these powers. 5. Our new generation is currently a victim of unemployment, lack of confidence, ideological crisis, addiction to narcotics and an agitational temperament. No efforts have been made to guide them or to bring them back to the right path. 6. The taxation and revenue collection system as also the functioning of the police department, have only helped the growth of black money and the opportunities for theft. Those who possess wealth, do not declare it because they have not been provided with adequate protection. The tendency for tax evasion has grown because the taxation system is such that it discourages honesty and truthfulness; and also because everyone among the tax collecting personnel has a price at which he would sell himself. Another important factor is the fact that the rate of taxation is so high that the taxpayer has the feeling that he is being robbed of the fruits of his labour. But those who could

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be the major sources of tax revenue are out of the government’s reach. This whole affair is at the root of ill-gotten wealth and financial and moral crises faced by the nation. 7. The system for income tax has been so formulated that it promotes the prevalence of interest and discourages the profit and loss sharing system. The interest paid to the banks can be deducted from the taxable profit as expenditure but , on the other hand, if a profit is paid on this amount which is less than the interest, then it is not deductible as expenditure and would be added to the profit for taxation purposes. The profit and loss system in the banks today is just confined to papers. As a result of the existing political system, the unbalanced system of official and business setup and an ignorance of the will of the people, has given rise to a leadership which has been to the assemblies and the ministries all the time, but their attention has been confined only to the personal benefits of the positions that they have held and not towards the duties and responsibilities that go with such positions. As a consequence of this, the real power slipped into the hands of the bureaucracy and public servants became the rulers of the public. These are the factors which have to be kept in mind while planning for the future.

PREPARING TO MEET THE DEMANDS Everyone can add to or modify the list mentioned above according to his own judgement. The above list has been prepared keeping in view the requirements of the Pakistani nation and the Muslim Ummah in the national and international perspectives. You can make additions to it considering your own personal predicament. Some demands are not vocalized; yet these produce feelings, fears and desires. The idea is not to prepare an exhaustive list of demands. Only some ground realities, which are widely accepted, are reiterated in the hope that these would receive due consideration for individual as well as collective good so that our future generations inherit from us hope and courage instead of a heavy burden of debts.

POSITIVE THINKING A major cause for deterioration on the national level is the way we think. A crisis of thought has been created by two hundred years of subjugation by the British and about 50 years of servitude

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to the slaves of the British. The bureaucracy has been trained to get everything done through orders. Our institutions are producing graduates whose education serves no purpose other than earning a living. Neither their capabilities are explored, nor they are prepared for some more significant mission. When someone is not assigned to do what he is capable of, then he stagnates and is overtaken by a negative thought process because of frustration. It is, therefore, responsibility of those who are at the helm of affairs to inculcate self-confidence among the citizens; to bring about a change in the government and business modus operandi; so that people might overcome this crisis of thought and be able to make tangible contribution toward building the nation. Politicians, whether in office or out of it, and bureaucrats too, should feel their responsibility with regard to inspiring self-confidence among the people and changing their thinking. It appears that the politics of our politicians is confined to mass media and they do not consider themselves answerable to anyone else. We expect our elders and those who possess the opportunity to address the nation, that they would use this opportunity to inculcate courage and determination in this nation. We would also urge upon the businessmen and the industrialists that they and their employees should make efforts to improve their system so that there is no injustice or exploitation. If your peon gets a monthly salary of Rs 3000 (US $ 50) while your dogs get bones worth Rs 6000 (US $ 100) every month, then you should be prepared for the reckoning in the grave. Bureaucrats are also requested to serve the people instead of working for their targets of large bungalows and bank balances.

PROTESTS Our people are inflamed at the slightest provocation. An accident on the road leads to putting vehicles on fire and a petty quarrel in the office leads to agitation by the workers’ union. A more sensible attitude in this respect is warranted so that time and energy are not wasted.

FAMILY AND BUSINESS FEUDS As a result of feuds of this kind, many prosperous families and growing profitable businesses, have been ruined. In such cases, one should come forward for a compromise solution. If you make

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some sacrifice, you would get the same in return. Let your ego not dictate your actions.

QUALITY OF PERFORMANCE We need to improve the quality of performance on the collective level. Though it is difficult to meet the requirement for capable people but the performance of the available talent can be improved a lot by training and we can enhance our productivity in this manner.

SPENDING Most of us are engaged in wasting our resource in the so-called raising of our standard of living which is actually just an effort to adopt the western ways.There is a need to spend money judiciously and that would lead to a life of self –dependency which is the need of the hour.

THE NEW GENERATION Every educational institution, youth association, and welfare organization must make efforts to help the new generation acquire the capabilities needed in the modern age. In this regard, programs can be formulated in which the youth may be trained in various arts including conversation, writing, management, preparation of CVs and appearing for a job interview. The youth may also be persuaded to take up self-employment. Evening institutes may be established for imparting training in computer, nursing etc. Government employees should also be allowed to set up such institutes. Roving groups may also visit rural areas to facilitate such training programmes among the rural youth.

JOINT EFFORT Everyone should try to achieve the following in a year: a. to turn at least one individual to think in a positive manner, b. to guide at least one individual in the choice of his career c. to help at least one person to get an employment, and d. to help at least one couple get married. The setting sun is asking, “Is there any one to take my place” Come forward and say, “Yes, I shall try.”

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IMPORTANCE OF PRAYERS (SUPPLICATIONS) In Falsafa-e-Dua, Allama Fazal Ilahi Arif writes: “ Dua is a part of human nature. Whenever we are in some difficulty, our hands automatically rise for Dua. The cry of the heart takes the form of words and this spontaneous call becomes Dua.” Dua is an instinctive process. Human beings confess their helplessness before a superior Being and considering Him to be Merciful, seeks His help. According to the Holy Qur’an, whenever man suffers in any manner, he turns to Allah; and leaves all others ……….. Hence, the only proper manner of dua is to seek from none but Allah.

EFFORT AND ACTION MUST BE SUPPORTED BY DUA The author of Falsafa-e-Dua further maintains that appropriate efforts and well-planned actions may not lead to success unless supported by dua. We need Divine support under all circumstances. Often, we miss our targets despite the efforts because these are devoid of divine blessings. Hazrat Ali (R.A.) once said, “I had certain plans which could not materialize and some resolutions which remained unfulfilled, although I had taken the correct course and made all the possible efforts. I then realized that there is someone far more powerful than myself and that I cannot succeed unless He wants me to succeed” Dua undoubtedly helps our intentions to get materialized and that is why Allah has said in His Last Book that the fate of a battle depends on dua despite preparedness.

SEEKING PEACE OF MIND THROUGH DUA When our expectations are not fulfilled, we become sad. Another reason for anxiety and sorrow is the tendency of seeking more and more. If one desire is fulfilled, one often hankers for

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another and still another. So, there is not end to it, and one is ultimately led to dissatisfaction and frustration. That is why our religion places so much emphasis on contentment. Seeking God’s help or Dua, brings peace of mind because normally one would not do so in respect of unjustified desires and thus the list of wishes is often significantly curtailed. Thomas Carlyle maintains that if we do not consider happiness as the ultimate goal, then we would get it automatically. On the other hand, when we crave for happiness, we are disappointed and frustrated. When we seek Allah’s help through Dua, then it is not directly for happiness or peace of mind but for the fulfillment of a desire or for the solution of a problem. It is gratifying that after having prayed for something, one feels satisfied and relieved, even if the problem remains unresolved. According to the holy Quran, ‘prayers result in peace of mind and heart.’

DUA AND HUMAN CHARACTER Prayers ensure support from Allah and provide relief from tension. One who sincerely believes in the efficacy of prayers is never disappointed. According to the Holy Qur’an, says, those who have transgressed against themselves need not despair, nor should they give up the hope of being blessed by Allah, the Most Merciful. The best benefit of Dua is the sustainable change it brings about within a person. It drags him out of dark alleys of despair; helps him move from disparagement to exaltation; and from impurities to purity.The purity of desires, submission to the will of Allah, and the feeling of His being around, effect a revolutionary change in human character.

DUA IN THE LIGHT OF THE QURAN Given below are translations of some of the verses in the holy Quran about Dua. Call Allah, making your obedience unadulterated. O, Prophet (SAAW) , when my men ask you about me, then tell them that I am very close to them and when anyone beseeches me, I respond by accepting his Dua. They

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should have faith in me so that they take the right course. Your Rab says that beseech me and I shall respond to you. Yes, keep on praying to Allah for his kindness. Beseech Allah with humility and humbleness.

SAYINGS OF THE PROPHET (PEACH BE UPON HIM) The Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH) makes it clear that Dua is the essence of all prayers. According to Hazrat Abu Hurairah (R.A.), the Prophet (PBUH) said that for Allah, there is nothing as sublime as Dua. According to one Hadith, the Prophet (PBUH) said that if a Muslim makes a prayer in which nothing offensive to Islam or the severance of a relationship has been sought, then the person making the prayer is granted by Allah, at least one of the following privileges: i.

What is sought for, is granted.

ii. The prayer is included in his plus points for the Day of Reckoning. iii. He is saved, as a compensation, from something evil. After listening to this, the Companions said that now they would also be praying. The Prophet (PBUH) responded by saying, “Yes, you should. Allah is benign and His benignity has no limits.” Another Hadith, quoted in Jama-e-Tirmizi, says that a prayer is granted also in the shape of protection from an impending calamity of equal harm. Hazrat Ibne Masood (R.A.) has quoted the Prophet (PBUH) as saying that “You should ask for Allah’s graciousness as He likes to be asked for something.” According to another Hadith, Allah says that if the entire mankind from the first man to the last, along with the Jinnat, stand together at one place and ask for certain things, then after granting them all that they want, my reserves would not be diminished even by that extent to which the ocean loses its water by sinking a needle in it and then taking it out. The Prophet (PBUH) has advised the help of Allah to be sought

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even for very ordinary needs like salt or shoe laces. It has been mentioned in Jama-e-Tirmizi that one should pray with sincerity and conviction because Allah does not accede to a Dua which has been made carelessly and with indifference. The same book also says that if one wants one’s prayers made during a period of trouble and crisis to be acceded to, then he should pray all the more during his period of prosperity and peace. The book adds that Allah is too beneficent to turn down the request of anyone and allow him to leave empty handed.

WHOSE PRAYERS WOULD BE ANSWERED The Dua- or prayers of only those would be answered who possess the following qualities:

Faith In Allah The first and foremost requirement for a prayer to be answered favourably, is complete faith in Allah. Saheeh Muslim says that one who makes a Dua must have the belief that Allah is all powerful and nothing is beyond His capability to grant It is said that once the inhabitants of a village arranged for Namaz-e-Istesqa to get relief from a long period of drought. When the villagers started gathering outside the village for this purpose, a little girl was seen carrying an umbrella. When she was asked the reason for carrying an umbrella while it was not raining, she replied that she believed that their prayers would be answered and it should start raining after the prayers. If a dua is made with this kind of faith and trust in God, it is definitely granted. When Hazrat Saeed bin Masab (R.A.), who sold honey, was approached by a poor woman begging for a bowl of honey for his ailing son. he asked his assistant to hand over a can full of honey to the woman. Out of sincerity for his employer, the assistant pointed out that the woman wanted only a bowlful of honey. When the master kept silent, the woman repeated her request. Hazrat Saeed repeated his instruction to the assistant, who reminded the boss that the woman was begging for a very small quantity. At that stage Hazrat Saeed (R.A.) told his servant that the woman was asking according to her capacity and he was giving according to his capacity. So, when we pray for something, we do so according to our capacity but Allah grants it in His own bounty and we must

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have firm faith in His endless bounties when we ask Him for something.

Attention And Concentration Half-hearted efforts bear no fruit. Dua should also be made with full attention and concentration. The Prophet (PBUH) has said, “Dua must be made with the belief that Allah would grant it and you should know that He does not accede to prayers made halfheartedly or playfully.”

Forgiveness And Benevolence The primary objective of any Dua is to seek the blessings of Allah, the rest are secondary objectives. So, when we expect kindness and forgiveness from Allah for ourselves, we too, should offer the same kind of treatment to others. If we can not tolerate the slightest lapse on the part of a fellow human being, how can we hope Allah to be Merciful to us We should forgive and be kind to others and then, on the basis of such actions, seek exoneration from Allah.

Whimper And Whine It is desirable for Dua to be accompanied with whimper and whine. In this state, a person is seized of fear and hope—fear for the retribution for one’s sins and hope for Allah’s kindness. Nothing is good or bad in itself ; it is its use that makes it so. It is the humility behind whimper and whine that attracts the mercy of Allah. Hazrat Abu Bakar Siddique (R.A.) once said in his Khutba, ‘ O, folks, I advise you to fear Allah, to praise Him, to aspire for His blessings; to dread His retribution; and to say your Dua with complete submission to Him.”

Halal Income One reason for our prayers not being granted, is that our earnings are not halal. To us, the concept of halal and haram has become confined only to meat and other eatables. We start vomiting even at the mention of ham, but we accept bribes so freely as if it were as halal as the milk of one’s mother. A Hadith makes it abundantly clear that until and unless one’s means of livelihood is halal, his Dua cannot be granted.

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Doing Good And Avoiding Evil It is the responsibility of every Muslim to advise others to do good and avoid doing evil. In Islam, it is believed the Dua of a devotee, who also discharges his worldly obligations, is more likely to be granted than the prayers of a recluse. The Prophet (PBUH) has said, “ Either of the two must happen: either you would continue doing good and avoiding evil or Allah’s wrath would fall upon you and if you will pray to Him then, He will not listen to you.

ETIQUETTES FOR DUA i) The Prophet (PBUH) used to lift his hands upwards at the time of Dua. ii) It is appropriate to recite Hamd and Sana, followed by Durood, before asking anything for oneself. iii) When you intend to pray for someone else, you should first pray for yourself. iv) One must say ‘Aameen’ after the Dua. v) During the Dua, one should make a confession of his sins and seek Allah’s forgiveness with fear. Humility and humbleness are only to be expressed in front of Allah. One should also make a pledge from the depths of his heart, to refrain from wrongdoing in future and should then stick to it.

SOME PRAYERS Given below are the translations of some of the prayers from the book Al-Hizbul Azam by Mulla Ali Qari. You can choose the relevant prayers according to your circumstances. And then you can say them either in the morning at the time of planning for the day or at night while assessing the day’s performance. The etiquettes as mentioned above should also be observed. If possible, the Dua may be preceded by Surah Fateha and the last two verses of Surah Baqrah.

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O Allah, give us what is good, in this world as well as in the life hereafter, and protect us from hell. O Allah, give us Thy blessings and set right whatever we have done. O Allah, enlighten me and make my work easier. O Allah, widen my understanding. O Allah, I have been cruel to myself, kindly forgive me. O Allah, I need whatever Thou wilt bestow upon me. O Allah, forgive us and those of our brethren who have asserted their faith in Thou before us, and make us not the enemies of the faithful. O Allah, Thou art kind and merciful. O Allah, forgive us for our mistakes and shortcomings and also forgive us for what we have done by exceeding the limits prescribed by Thou. Strengthen our positions and help us in our fight against the infidels. O my Allah, I seek from Thou all that is good in this day and after it, and beg Thy protection from all that is evil in this day and after it. O my Allah, I seek Thy refuge from laziness and old age. O Allah, I beg for Thy relief from what is evil in this world and in the world hereafter. O Allah, I seek Thy forgiveness and compassion in my affairs related to my faith, worldly matters, family matters and my wealth. O Allah, grant me enrichments in my eye sight, hearing and in my body. (This prayer is to be made thrice.) O Allah protect me from what is around me, on my left and right, and over me and beneath me. Undoubtedly, we are safe after having faith in Thou; accepting Islam as our religion and Hazrat Muhammad (S.A.W.) as our Prophet. O Allah, grant me enrichments in my eye sight, hearing and in my body. (This prayer is to be made thrice.)

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O Allah, I seek Thy protection from worries and grief, from helplessness and lethargy, from cowardliness and miserliness, and from the pressure of borrowing and from dominance by others. O Allah, decorate us with the embellishment of faith and make us one who knows the right path and can also guide others to it. O, Allah I seek that kind of faith which is complete and of Nijaat (absolution) in the life hereafter. I also beseech for Thy Compassion, Protection, Forgiveness and Support. O Allah, I seek your mercy and forgiveness for my sins. O Allah, give me more knowledge and Thy guidance. Undoubtedly, Thou art the most Generous. O Allah, forgive me for my sins, accommodate me in my house and grant me plenty of rizq. O Allah, open the doors of Thy mercy upon us and make our access easier to the doors of rizq marked by Thee for us. O Allah, grant me good morals because no one can do that except Thou, and keep me away from bad morals because no one can do that except Thou. O my Rab,(Cherisher) grant me the taqva (piety) that Thou have ordained as my share and make it pure as Thou art the One who can do that in the best manner. O Allah, help me in remembering Thee, in thanking Thee and in offering my prayers to Thee in the proper manner. O Allah, grant us plenty in Thy blessings, Thy mercy and in the rizq granted by Thee. O Allah, Thy blessings are more abounding than my sins and Thy mercy is more plentiful than my deeds. O Allah, Thou art the most forgiving; so, forgive us all. O Allah, I seek Thy protection from a situation wherein Thy present blessings are lost and Thy mercy takes a different

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course, away from me, and from Thy anger and retribution. O Allah I seek Thy protection from knowledge that is not beneficial; from a heart which has no fear for Thou; from a prayer that would not be answered and from a greedy self that would never be satiated. O Allah, I beseech for Thy protection from an evil day, an evil night, every evil moment, an evil companion and an evil neighbour. O Allah, I seek Thy protection from obstinacy, disunity and immorality. O Allah, forgive me for my sins, whether committed intentionally or unknowingly as I have to face retribution for all of these. O Allah, Thou art the one who can change a heart. Change our hearts towards Thine obedience. O my Creator, help me; and not anyone against me. Give me victory and do not give victory to anyone against me. Give me wisdom and do not give anyone the wisdom that might be used against me. Give me guidance and make it easy for me to take the right course. Help me against those who commit excesses on me. O Allah, make me thankful to Thee, make me the one who always talks about Thee; make me fearful to Thee; make me obedient to Thee, make me the one who turns to Thee with humility and with whimper and whine . O my Allah, accept my Tauba, [repentance]; wash out my sins; grant my prayers; make me persistent on my arguments ; make me truthful; fill my heart with Thy guidance and clean it from filth. O Allah, make my love for Thee dearer to me than the love of my own life and of my family members; and stronger than the desire for cool water. O Allah, give me love for Thee and for him, the love for whom would be helpful to me in front of Thou. O Allah, I seek Jannat and all that would take me closer to it; and I seek Thy refuge from Hell and from all that would take me closer to it. And I beg Thou to make all decisions

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favourable to me and I also beg Thou to make the end results of all the decisions already made by Thou, to be good for me. O Allah, make the end results of all our tasks to be good for us and save us from humiliation in this world and retribution in the life hereafter. O Allah, I seek from Thou a pure life and an easy death and a place of return where there might not be any humiliation or degradation for me. O Allah, I am weak but turn my weakness in seeking Thine approval into a strength. carry me by my forehead towards what is good and make Islam the centre of my happiness. O Allah, I am weak, make me strong; I am dishonoured make me respectable; I am needy, give me rizq (bounties) O Allah, I beg Thee to get me released from my sins and set right all my tasks; purify my heart and protect my genitals; (indulgence in acts of vulgarity) light up my grave and forgive me for my sins. O Allah, bestow upon me Thy blessings in my hearing, my eyesight, my soul, my looks, my habits, my immediate family, my wealth, my life and death; and my actions. O Allah, grant me patience and make me grateful. Give me humility and make me great in the eyes of others. O Allah, I seek Thy forgiveness for my sins and Thy guidance towards the path of success; I seek Thy refuge from the evil of my own self; and Thy help to repent in a manner acceptable to Thee, because it is definitely Thou who is my Sustainer. O Allah, the God of our Chief , Muhammad (SAW), forgive me for my sins and rid me of my anger. Keep me under Thy protection from the mischief of those who misguide others, as long as Thou keepeth me alive. O Allah, make me reconcile with Death and grant me plenty in what has been ordained for me so that I make no haste for what has been deferred by Thou; and seek no delay in what his been destined for me by Thou for the present.

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O Allah, Thou listeneth to me and Thou canst see me wherever I might be and in whatever situation I might be. Thou knoweth me from the inside and the outside; there is nothing about me that is hidden from Thou. I am in grief, I am in need, I am a complainant, I seek refuge, I am in deprivation, I am fearful, I confess my sins; I beg as a helpless person; I wail before Thee just as a sinner and disgraced person wails. I pray to Thou like a frightened person in great distress; O Allah, do not disappoint me in granting to me what I ask for. O Ye who is better and stronger than any one else, to whom people beg for their needs, be kind and merciful to me. O Allah,

protect me just as a kid is protected.

O Allah, we beseech Thee to give us the heart which is full of wailing and of the desire to turn to Thee. O Allah, be kind to me in making every difficulty easy for me ; undoubtedly, it is very simple for Thou to turn a difficulty into something easy and I seek ease from Thee in this world and also in the life hereafter. O Allah, give us success. O Allah, free my heart from worries and grief. O Allah, You make the choice for me and give me what is better. OAllah, I seek Thy mercy that would straighten out the tangled affairs for me; make me regain what has been lost, elevate me and make my actions pure. O Allah, give me the Eemaan faith and the Yaqeen, belief that would leave no room for Kufr, and give that Mercy with the blessing of which I get Thy kindness in this world and in the life hereafter. O Ye that giveth calm to one’s heart, I beseech You to save me from retribution in the Hell, from death and from the ordeal in the grave, just as Thou saveth people in the sea from storms and accidents.

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O Allah, I seek from Thou all that good which I have not yet wished or asked for, or not even thought of, but of which Thou have promised or is about to bestow upon one of your creations. O Rab [Cherisher] of all the worlds, whatever I seek is because of Thy mercy. I seek from Thou peace on the Day of Promise [Judgment ] and the Everlasting Paradise, Jannat, in the company of those who bear testimony to the ultimate truth,who bow before Allah, and who always keep their promise. Thou art merciful, affectionate and the master of Thy will. O God, make us mentors of the righteous type; and not the ones who go astray and mislead their followers.Make us enemy of Thy enemies and friend of Thy friends, so that we love those who love Thee because of our love for Thee and be inimical to Thy enemies because of their animosity towards Thee. O Ilahi, this is my prayer and Thou have to grant it. [only You can grant it]. O Ilahi, give me noor in my heart;[fill my heart with Your Noor], fill my grave on all its sides with noor and also fill it in [bless] my ears, eyes, hair, blood, brain, bones— and every part of my body with Your Noor. Grant greatness to my noor and make it perfect. I offer tasbeeh to [praise] the One only [the Only One] for whom tasbeeh can be offered. [Who is worthy of praise]I offer tasbeeh for [praise] the One who is Great and Merciful, whois Exalted and Beneficent O Allah, I seek Thy protection from the woman who would make me old before I become old because of my age. And I seek protection from siblings that would create nuisance for me; from wealth that would make me suffer Thy wrath; O Allah, keep a watch on me with Thine eyes that never sleep and take me under the protection of Thy strength which is beyond anyone’s perception and have mercy on me by virtue of Thy power which can prevent me from dying ; all my hopes rest on Thou. There are so many of Thy blessings for which I never thanked Thee and Ye had put me under so many ordeals wherein I showed no patience. But Thou never deprived me of any thing when I did not thank Ye and Thou never embarrassed me when I failed to exercise patience. And Thou art that kind of being who did not speak ill of me when I did something wrong. O Master of the Goodness that can never be destroyed and O Giver

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of Rewards that can not be counted, I beg Thee for Darood On the Prophet (PBUH) and his descendents. O Allah, we get rid of our enemies and the cruel people by Thy help. O God, help us in our Deen By giving us the Duniya and protect our lives hereafter by bestowing upon us taqwa; Keep a watch on my affairs in my absence and do not leave my affairs to me when I am present. O Ye, whom the sins of the erring can do no harm, and O Ye who suffers no losses by forgiving, forgive me that which hurts Thou not. Thou art a great Giver and I beg Thou plenty in my belongings and in my earnings and protection from every calamity. I seek Thy protection and wish to be thankful to Thou for this protection. I have no strength and no power but I seek to be in no need of help from other people only with Thy assistance, O Allah. O my Rab, my Rab, my Rab… O God, bestow upon Muhammad (SAW) Thy Mercy of the most exclusive kind, till eternity. O God, bestow Thy Mercy of the most exclusive kind, upon Muhammad (SAW), who was selected our Chief and Rasul Before the creation of the Loh and the Qalam. O God, bestow Thy Mercy of the most exclusive kind upon our master , Muhammad (SAW) who possessed the best of morals and habits. Ilahi Bestow Thy Mercy of the most exclusive kind upon our Chief , Muhammad (SAW), who was given the best of wisdom and knowledge.

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Forms and templates

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MOLDS FOR IMPROVING WORKING METHODS At building sites we often see how blocks are made: cement, sand and water in predetermined proportion are poured into steel molds. The mixture is leveled and exposed to open air and sunlight. The result is properly shaped blocks which are used in the construction of buildings and in decorating them. In respect of human beings, building blocks likewise go into the making of personality. In the following pages, some possible “molds” in the shape of forms are suggested to be used for the purpose. You may choose from these, the ones best suited to your purpose. You will do well to remember, however, that as in the case of the cement building blocks, the corresponding ingredients (sincerity, purpose, determination, perservance, human relations) in the right proportion should be poured into the “molds” and exposed to the right environment for the aimed at results to materialize. Following are the forms attached herewith:

A. LONG TERM PLANNING AND GOAL SETTING A-1 Stock taking

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A-2 Future plans inventory

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A-3 Goal planning

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A-4 Swot and calculated priority based planner

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B. RECORDING OF TIME B-1 Time log

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B-2 Time record and analysis sheet

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B-3 Procrastination record

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C. DAY PLANNER (S) C-1 Day planner priority based

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C-2 Day planner diary page

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D. ANALYSIS OF PROBLEM AND SOLUTION D-1 Analysis of problems and difficulties

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D-2 Analysis/solution of interpersonal disagreements

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D-3 Solution to problems and difficulties

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D-4 How to solve a problem step by step exercise

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E. OFFICE RELATED MATTER E-1 Self designed job description based on experience 312 E-2 Delegation planning - routine work

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E-3 Individual delegation

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E-4 Project delegation chart

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E-5 Paper work disposition sheet

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E-6 Agenda for meeting

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E-7 Meetings record

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E-8 Meetings, decisions and actions

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