Nine (9) Dimensions of Ethical Leadership


There are three competencies of a leader which are necessary to inspire the followers on the path towards the destination. These competencies serve as a beacon of hope and encouragement for the followers to overcome the hardships likely to be encountered on the way. These are (i) the loftiness of vision (nigah-buland), (ii) heart-touching communication (sukhan dil-nawaz) and (iii) passionate soul (jan pur-soz) with empathy. 


To develop these competencies, a leader must experientially learn three lessons and embody them as virtues in his personality; (i) truth (sadaqat), (ii) justice (adalat) and (iii) courage (shujaat). The character of the ethical leader becomes an embodiment of these virtues and a living example of these lessons. 

The spiritual journey of an ethical leader consists of inculcation of three habits: (i) reflection (tadabbur) and (ii) self-awareness (khudi/khud agahi) that liberates the leader from the confines of the mundane, and opens the door to the secrets of nature and leads him to discover the purpose of life. Awareness of this purpose drives the loftiness of his vision, and keeps him motivated for (iii) relentless effort (amal paiham) towards achieving the vision and overcoming any disappointments. 

1. Loftiness of Vision (nigah bulund)


Foremost among the competencies required of a leader is the loftiness of the vision. A vision that goes beyond the career prospects designed for fulfilling your personal and family needs. The vision should focus on removing the darkness from the world, and to illuminate every place on this earth, and not just your house and your life. Your vision should have the nobility and selflessness for the greater good of people as explained in my post Why Education and Why Higher Education.

Examples of such visions include the famous “I have a dream” speech by Martin Luther King  (MLK) in 1963. This was a time when blacks could not sit on the same seat as whites, when blacks could not study at the same schools as whites, when blacks could not go to the same restaurants as whites, and in such a dismal environment he had the courage to boldly and thunderously proclaim his vision: 

“Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.
And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. 

It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. 

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” 

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. 

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. 

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. 

I have a dream today! ” [MLK’s I Have a Dream Speech]

MLK never lived to see the tremendous progress made towards the realization of his dream. He was killed in 1965, shortly after he made this speech. The landmark event happened in 2008 when USA elected a black (Barack Obama) as president. However, the situation is still not perfect as blacks and whites in USA are still struggling to throw away the legacy of racial discrimination ingrained over four centuries of black slavery. But, there is still hope as both the black and white communities try hard to make MLK’s dream come true in its entirety. The dream keeps on inspiring and energizing generation after generation of new leaders and their followers building greater and greater momentum. 

33 years befor MLK’s speech, Iqbal espoused his dream for a separate homeland in his Allahbad Address in 1930 for Muslims in sub-continent where they had been enslaved and colonized by the British since 18th century. 

“I would like to see the Punjab, North-West Frontier Province, Sind and Baluchistan amalgamated into a single State. Self-government within the British Empire, or without the British Empire, the formation of a consolidated North-West Indian Muslim State appears to me to be the final destiny of the Muslims, at least of North-West India.”

A small part of the dream was realized in 1947 when Pakistan came into existence, but we quickly forgot that it was just a partial fulfillment of Iqbal’s dream, and much more was required to be done to fulfill the other components of the dream that envisioned this new “homeland” as a springboard for serving the nation and humanity. 


Unfortunately, we have used this country for self-aggrandizement, pelf, plunder and for acquiring wealth by hook or crook.  Selfish pursuit for more and more has destroyed the purity of our purpose and our unity. It has made us oblivious of our duty towards our fellow human beings. We have forgotten the message of brotherhood and love for others.


The challenge for the upcoming leadership is not to lose hope and continue the strive to turn the tide of despair, doom and gloom. Ray of hope for us is the discernible awakening of transformational and ethical leadership in our youth. 

2: Communication that Touches the Heart (sukhun-dil-nawaz)


Second essential competency of the leader is the ability to touch the hearts and minds of the people. This can only happen if your message is coming out from the depth of your heart. Your intention should be seeped with sincerity and selflessness that will only come from the purity of your purpose. The purpose should be to enable the visions of the followers and not to achieve your own selfish agenda. This communication stands in stark contrast to the manipulative agenda of “behavioral change” often taught in courses of Organizational Behavior, which emphasize  “conditioning” through extrinsic motivators of carrot and stick to increase the equity value of organizational share holders! This contrast represents the essential difference between leadership and management.


Inability of a leader’s communication to address the hearts of the followers creates mistrust, disillusionment and eventually leads to their estrangement.

3. Passionate Soul (jaan-pur-soz)

The spirit of a leader is fired with zeal, and fervor. Passion (soz) is love with a single minded determination underlying his decisions. He is not held up by analysis-paralysis and planning which is devoid of action. His actions emanate from a passion fired by faith in the goodness of people and faith that good would eventually prevail upon the evil. Difficulties, obstacles, hindrances and barriers do not discourage him but actually firm up his resolve.


This passion provides the intellectual guidance and mobilizes the march of the followers. It provides the compass that continually gives direction towards the destination and allows for countless opportunities to recoup and recover from set backs, and to circumnavigate around insurmountable obstacles. 

4. Truth (Sadaqat)

Being true to what is in your heart, your words and your actions is sadaqat as exemplified by your character. Hypocrisy can not remain hidden as people will eventually find out about it sooner or later. They can even sense it through your facial expressions and nuances of your actions. A leader’s life is under a microscope where his every utterance and every action is linked, connected and evaluated. The highest standards of this are from the life of the Prophet (pbuh) where his enemies called him every thing but were forced to admit to his being Saadiq, an embodiment of truthfulness.

Irrespective of what Machiavellis, Goebells and the others of their ilk promote, truth always prevails over falsehood in the long run:

You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time. Abraham Lincoln

An important element of this attribute of sadaqat is being true to your commitments (sadiq-ul-waad). Not to give your word unless you are fully committed behind it and are willing to make every effort in meeting this commitment.

In our culture we typically commit and then conveniently forget and take it very lightly. We turn off our cell phones instead of apologizing for not having met our commitment because we lack the moral courage to face the truth. We would rather hide from the embarrassment of trying to give excuse upon excuse to the person with whom we have been making mis-commitments. In our degeneration, it is common to make fun of mis-commitments with out of context quotes such as “woh waada hi kya jo wafa ho jaye”, or even boasting as “topi karana”, and take it lightly when politicians routinely go back on their words. We misuse the prayer “inshallah” to mean “actually I do not intend to meet my commitment but would only do so if Allah wills and forcibly compels me to”. The misuse of this prayer is not a recent phenomenon. It was prevalent even a century ago as quoted by Mirza Farhatullah Baig in his famous book  “Deputy Nazir Ahmed ki Kahani kuch un ki, kuch apni zabani”. No wonder the current state of our nation and our leaders is where we find ourselves.

In missing our commitments, we forget that it is classified among the major sins in all the religions and cultures. In Islam specifically it is classified in the category of gunah e kabira for which there are serious consequences and a difficult and involved process of “tauba” which involves among other stipulations, redemption, i.e. mandatory making of amends in this life with the person with whom mis-commitment had been done, and explicitly seeking his forgiveness, failing which that person can stake a claim on the day of judgement. 

5. Justice (adalat)

Justice and fairness is what differentiates an ethical leader from an opportunistic leader. Justice and fairness requires deep introspection and hard effort. The minimum level of justice is an eye for an eye and an ear for an ear. However, justice demands looking at the context and all the emotional and social factors before coming to the judgement. Not only the letter of the law has to be adhered to but also the intent of law need to be justified. Benefit of doubt always goes to accused.

In our lives we want the last bit from the other, but are not willing to yield even an iota. We expect others to give their fullest but we falter when we come to our personal actions. These double standards do not work. A standard for others and another for ourselves will not inspire. It is for this reason that many great powers lose their moral pedestal and eventually their leadership.

Ethical leadership requires climbing towards the highest level especially in matters dealing with the disputes related to the person of the leader. He is expected to err towards magnanimity and not strictness, even foregoing his right, and forgiveness (Ufv). 

6. Courage (shujaat)

Courage is what it takes to boldly go where no one has gone before. Courage is what it takes to stand up and withstand the opposing winds. Courage is to overcome your fears and apprehensions and uncertainties. Courage is what it takes to get out of your comfort zone and to stretch out in uncharted waters. Courage is to face forces more stronger than you with determination and resolve.

This courage comes from the faith in your destiny and from the purity of your vision and serves as beacon which can lift you out of the darkness brought about by the clouds of confusions and uncertainties . 

However, highest form of courage is in being able to control your anger as per Hazrat Ali’s quote:

The most powerful person is the one who is victorious over his anger with his forbearance.[Al-Rayshahri, Mizan al-Hikmah, # 15027]

Overcoming your anger is also a sign of emotional intelligence and maturity. 

 “Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within every body’s power and is not easy. ” — Aristotle

and as wonderfully explained by Bahadur Shah Zafar not to consider someone as having intelligence unless he can demonstrate restraint in a state of anger by the remembrance of God, and can show restraint in the state of abundance of wealth through such remembrance:

Zafar aadmi usko na jaaniye ga ho voh kaisa hi saheb e fahm o zaka
Jise aish mai yaad e khuda na rahi, jise taish mai khauf e khuda na raha

7. Reflection (tadabbur)

Reflection enables us to discover our destiny and the calling of our inner self. It is deep introspection about our relationship with this universe and humanity. Why are we here, what is our purpose, why there is so much suffering and why there is so much injustice and exploitation. This requires time alone with oneself to make connections with one’s experiences and observations. Unfortunately today we are afraid to be alone with ourselves. We are also afraid to be in company of the others. We are happy to be “alone together” with our mobile phones and tabs as explained in ted talk Connected but Alone. Our ability to have conversation with our own self and with people has dwindled. We are happy to press the “like” button without reading and skip most of the writing and latch on to just the soundbites. Our attention span has decreased to at most a few minutes (2-4) of videos. Our ability to brood over complex issues and intricacies of life has dwindled.

A leader must have reflected in depth about the complexities of life. He should have the ability to compare and evaluate the two extremes; one extreme representing his spiritual calling and the other extreme representing logical formulation and intellectual trade offs. Unless your reflection ties together the two extremes through an introspection of your experiential learning and study of secondary sources into a meaningful coherence, you will not be able to touch the hearts and minds of your followers with your communication. 

Shepherding and reflection has been the sunnah of all prophets; Prophet Mohammad, Moses, Jesus and others (peace be upon them).  A shepherd is often alone on the mountain slopes or on the wide expanse of the grazing grounds on plains with his flock of sheep giving him ample time for reflection about the realities of life and their connection with human destiny. Shepherding developed the skills of keeping the hungry, the energetic, the young, the tired, the old, the expectants of the herd together and moving towards the destination with love and firmness. 

Also note the concentration and reflection that prophet Ibrahim (as) did in the cave at night about the stars, moon, and the sun during the day, and prophet (pbuh) performed alone in the cave of Hira up in the mountain and far from the city that often continued for several days at a stretch. Reflection is the hallmark from which a leader derives his essence. 

وہ شمع اُجالا جس نے کیا چالیس برس تک غاروں میں

اِک روز جھلکنے والی تھی سب دنیا کے درباروں میں

ظفر علی خان – 

8. Self-Awareness (Khud-Agahi): Discovery of Purpose 


Output of reflection is self-awareness, self-consciousness, self-assessment and a deep sense of your destiny in a harmonious relationship of self with nature. This is also referred to as Khudi, khud-agahi, khud-ehtisabi, and khud-shanasi. This passionate energy is the secret of life, which reveals itself through self discovery of your life’s purpose that can then enable communication that can touch the hearts and minds of the people. 

Lack of self-awareness and khud-shanasi leads to selfishness, self-aggrandizement, and self-projection (exemplified often by the smart phone selfie phenomenon). 


From this self-awareness and khud-shanasi emerges the realization of one’s destiny as embodied in the loftiness of one’s vision. The discovery of one’s destiny as embodied in one’s purpose of vision is the secret that liberates us from the confines of our daily routines and enables us to make our lives sublime. It allows us to soar up beyond the day to day confines of our lives, where  we are entangled in a seemingly endless cycle of day chasing the night till one day our time to leave this world arrives.  

9. Relentless Action (Amal Paiham)

Leadership is not only about having lofty visions, it is about sustained effort and relentless actions in the face of adversity.  The dogged determination of a leader resembles the rapids that are formed with a trickle of water dropping from a glacier, which then combines together with other such trickles to form a small stream, which in turn combines with other such streams to form a river with white water rapids roaring down the slopes of mountains and valleys creating ravines and paths through gigantic rocks that impede their way. Whenever these rivers enter from rocky mountainous slopes into plains, they transform from a thunderous torrent to a mellifluously gentle streams signifying the melodious rhythm of the water music. Similarly, the leader marches with his followers who keep on joining together with other converts and with synergy he leads them stridently in the face of opposition.  But as soon as the leader is in the company of his friends, he transforms himself from a determined adversary  to a gentle accommodating person.

An unassailable optimism guides this movement of a leader towards the goal and helps in overcoming the seemingly insurmountable  barriers. 

 ‘The world makes way for the man who knows where he is going’– Ralph Waldo Emerson.

If you want to see how people set aside space for a man who knows where he is going just go to the mutaaf of kaaba and see how the people make way for those who are running towards their goal. One can do this experiment in any crowded place or crowded market where people are so close to each other that even walking without brushing with others is not possible. In such a crowd if you assume a posture of brisk walk and start walking with determination, you will see that the crowd will start creating space for you.


To summarize, ethical leadership is characterized by a life of perpetual struggle where your most important implements include your deep faith in the truth and selflessness of your vision, your relentless and sustained effort, and an all conquering love for the people.

See Also:

[Based upon the Talk delivered at CBM in June 2015 in the class on Transformational and Ethical Leadership on the request of the faculty member Mr Shiraz Ahmed] 


Images of Iqbal’s couplets, their transliterations and most of the translations are copied from

[1]  Iqbal’s Bal-e-Jibril-046: Na Tu Zameen Ke Liye Hai Na Asman Ke Liye

Nigah Buland, Sukhan Dil Nawaz, Jaan Pursouz
Yehi Hai Rakht-e-Safar Mir-e-Karwan Ke Liye

High ambition, winsome speech, a passionate soul
This is all the luggage for a leader of the Caravan.

[2] Iqbal’s Bang-e-Dra-163:

Sabaq Phir Parh Sadaqat Ka, Adalat Ka, Shujaat Ka
Liya Jaye Ga Tujh Se Kaam Dunya Ki Imamat Ka

Read again the lesson of truth, of justice and valour!
You will be asked to do the work of taking on the responsibility for the world.

[3] Iqbal’s Bang-e-Dra-009: Bache Ki Dua

Door Dunya Ka Mere Dam Se Andhera Ho Jaye
Har Jagah Mere Chamakne Se Ujala Ho Jaye

World’s Darkness may Disappear Through My Life!
May Every Place Light Up With The Sparkling Light Of Mine!

[4] Iqbal’s Bang-e-Dra-163:

Hawas Ne Kar Diya Tukre Tukre Nu-E-Insan Ko
Akhuwat Ka Byan Ho Ja, Mohabbat Ki Zuban Ho Ja 

Greed has splintered the mankind into little pieces;
Become the statement of brotherhood, become the language of love.

[5] Iqbal’s Bal-e-Jibril-009: Digargoon Hai Jahan, Taron Ki Gardish Taez Hai Saqi

Nahin Hai Na-Umeed Iqbal Apni Kisht-e-Weeran Se
Zara Nam Ho To Ye Mitti Bohat Zarkhaiz Hai Saqi

Iqbal is not despaired with the desolation of his land:
A little rain is what this fertile land needs for the blooming harvest, oh Saki!

[6] Iqbal’s Bang-e-Dra-120: Jawab-e-Shikwa (جواب شکوہ) The Answer To The Complaint

Dil Se Jo Baat Nikalti Hai, Asar Rakhti Hai
Par Nahin, Taaqat-e-Parwaaz Magar Rakhti Hai

Whatever comes out from the heart, has the potential to make a great impact,
Even though it does not have wings, but has the capacity for great flight

[7] Iqbal’s Bal-e-Jibril-015: Wohi Meri Kam Naseebi, Wohi Teri Be-Niazi (وہی میری کم نصیبی، وہی تیری بے نیازی)

Koi Karwan Se Toota, Koi Bad-Ghuman Haram Se
Ke Ameer-E-Karwan Mein Nahin Khuay Dil Nawazi

Some got separated from the Caravan, others developed mistrust of the guide
Because leader of the caravan lacks the ability to touch the hearts of the followers

[8] Iqbal’s Bal-e-Jibril-124) Masjid-e-Qurtaba (مسجد قرطبہ) The Mosque of Cordoba

Ishq Faqeeh-E-Haram, Ishq Ameer Junood
Ishq Hai Ibn-Ul-Sabeel, Iss Ke Hazaron Maqam

Love is the commander of marching troops,
Love is a wayfarer with many a way‐side abode.

[9] Iqbal’s Bang-e-Dra-163:

Guman Abad-E-Hasti Mein Yaqeen Mard-E-Musalman Ka
Byaban Ki Shab-E-Tareek Mein Qindeel-E-Rahbani

In the abode of doubts of existence is the conviction/faith of the Muslim hero;
In the darkness of the desert night, it is the candle of the monks.

[10] Iqbal’s Bal-e-Jibril-015: Wohi Meri Kam Naseebi, Wohi Teri Be-Niazi (وہی میری کم نصیبی، وہی تیری بے نیازی)

Issi Kashmakash Mein Guzreen Meri Zindagi Ki Raatain
Kabhi Souz-o-Saaz-e-Rumi, Kabhi Paich-o-Taab-e-Razi

I have spent my nights in the deliberations of this conflicting tug of war :
At times it was the heart wrenching passion of Rumi, at others it was the intellectual wrangling of Raazi.

[11] Zafar Ali Khan

Woh shama ujala jis nay kiya, chalees baras tuk gharoan mai
Aik roz jhalaknay walay thi dunya k sub darbaroan mai 

The lamp that lit the cave for forty years
Was one day going to illuminate all the courts of the world

[12] Iqbal’s Bang-e-Dra-163:

Tere Seene Mein Hai Poshida Raaz-E-Zindagi Keh De
Musalman Se Hadees-E-Soz-O-Saaz-E-Zindagi Keh De

The secret of life is hidden in your breast—then tell it;
Tell the Muslims the account of the burning and passionate purpose of life.

[13] Iqbal’s Bang-e-Dra-163:

Khudi Mein Doob Ja Ghafil ! Ye Sir-E-Zindagani Hai
Nikl Kar Halqa-E-Shaam-O-Sahar Se Javidan Ho Ja

Immerse yourself in your self, my forgetful one, this is the secret of life;
Come out from the fetters of evening and morning, become immortal.

[14] Iqbal’s Bang-e-Dra-163:

Guzar Ja Ban Ke Seel-E-Tund Ro Koh-E-Byaban Se
Gulistan Rah Mein Aye To Joo’ay Naghma Khawan Ho Ja

Pass like a river in full spate through the mountains and the deserts;
If the garden should come your way, then become a melodiously singing stream.

[15] Iqbal’s Bang-e-Dra-163:

Yaqeen Mohkam, Amal Peham, Mohabbat Faateh-E-Alam
Jahad-E-Zindagani Mein Hain Ye Mardon Ki Shamsheerain

Firm faith, relentless effort, the love that conquers the world—
These tools are just what you need in the continuous struggle of life.


The ideas in this talk are inspired from Iqbal and were developed during the training programs I conducted on Strategic Visions for and have undergone further reflections. 

The post contains some specific terminologies defined by Timelenders such as vision, loftiness of vision, purpose of vision, character etc. 


  1. Anonymous Avatar

    Dr Syed Irfan Haider highlighted three main competencies of a leader which are necessary to inspire those around them. These competencies are loftiness of vision, heart touching communication, and passionate soul. However, according to book true north there are five main dimensions of an authentic leader such as pursuing passion with purpose, practicing solid values, leading with heart, establishing enduring relationships, and demonstrating self-discipline. The dimension of pursuing purpose with passion is only similar to the competency described in the blog. In this blog, a different approach has been taken to build these three competencies in a leader. According to the blog, a leader can only develop these competencies by learning the lessons of truth (sadaqat), justice (adalat), and courage (shujaat). On the other hand, these lessons are not mentioned in the first chapter of True North. Another interesting difference between this blog and the book “True North” can be identified in the spiritual journey of an authentic leader. In accordance with this blog, the journey of an authentic leader consist of three habits such as reflection (tadabbur), self-awareness (kudi/khud agahi), and relentless effort (amal paiham). However, there are three phases described in the book true north under the heading of the journey to authentic leadership. These three phases are preparing for leadership, leading, and giving back to the society. Most importantly, there has been great importance laid on the concept of self-awareness in the book true north. According to book “TRUE NORTH”, self- awareness is extremely important because the better you know yourself; the more likely you are to choose the right path. Most leaders see the process of gaining self-awareness as crucial to their ability to build strong relationships. Those who are comfortable with themselves tend to be more open and transparent. Leaders who know their strengths and weaknesses can fill their skill gaps with colleagues who complement them.

  2. Reflection and Self Awareness ae there in the blog as Khud Agahi or Khudi. Also, note that giving back to the society is often the natural outcome of understanding your purpose of life which comes through reflection. Also note that this aspect is captured by the loftiness of the vision which means going beyond your personal agenda.

  3. Anonymous Avatar

    Common factors:
    Self Awareness in true north is highlighted as Khud Agahi in blog which helps a leader in knowing the purpose of his life and keeps him motivated towards his vision.
    Touching the hearts and minds of the people (Sukhun Dil nawaz) is one of the 5 dimensions of an authentic leadership which is leading with head and heart that ultimately defines the purpose and the intention of purity and selflessness.
    The true north compass actually gives a deep insight about the passion to work on unfulfilled goals, which normally comes from the life experiences and stories of a leader. The passionate soul( Jaan- pur-soz) also determines the passion which is required to overcome difficulties, obstacles, hindrances and barriers and gives direction towards destination.
    The first phase of life where a leader is preparing for leadership is actually his character formation by rubbing up against the world which can only be achieved through relentless action (Amal Paiham) described in the blog.

    The driving source in a leader’s life according to true north is his life experiences whereas; according to the blog it is his spiritual journey which helps him in discovering his purpose of life.
    Truth, justice and courage are few lessons which are not directly highlighted or separately discussed in true north as they are in blog.

  4. Anonymous Avatar

    The blog which sir has written has added a lot of knowledge in the minds of the reader. As a reader , when i went through the blog it taught me the vital lessons of being an authentic leader. The blog highlights certain factors which are the key necessities to become a leader who is loved and admired by his followers. These factors were that a leader must have a vision, a communication style that touches the heart of people and can also connect to them. The leader also must have a passionate soul and the power of speaking the truth, to be fair, courageous, rent less in action and self-aware of himself. The TRUE NORTH book, however lies its great emphasis on “framing your life story”, which plays an important role in becoming an authentic leader because it keeps the leader connected to the background he came from and with that quality he can actually connect and comprehend people well. Once the leader has framed his story he can find the purpose ,and with that follows the other key dimensions which are following solid values, building long lasting relations, self-discipline and a great support team. So , the whole journey of becoming an authentic leader isn’t a smooth one it is about trial and error. The leader becomes authentic one when he learns from his mistakes and failures along with that he also takes the responsibility of constantly developing himself.

  5. Anonymous Avatar

    This blog written by Dr. Irfan Haider clearly outlines the main characteristics of an authentic and ethical leader that are also mentioned in the book True North. A leader should be passionate about his work. He should have communication style that not only allows him to connect with his subordinates but inspires them. Leaders should have a clear vision of what they want and where they want to be because without vision they would be direction less. Through vision leaders try to not only change their life but they try to change the world as mentioned by Dr. Irfan where he gave the example of Martin Luther King. Leaders are selfless and they think beyond their boundaries and are very passionate about what they do. To be an Authentic leader one must be honest to himself and to others. they should be able to listen to others feedback no matter if its positive or negative as also mentioned in True North. A leader has self reflection that provides them great insight about themselves and they do not lack introspection and they connect their lives with their past experience and frame it in a way that motivates them to reach their goals. They do not see themselves as victims but they gain from those experiences. A leader should be courageous and should be able to make tough decisions in life. True North is an internal compass that guides a leader throughout his life and for that a leader needs to work relentlessly and consistent efforts are required because this True North make leaders aware about themselves and keep them on the right track. So this blog clearly sums up the 1st chapter of True North and all these characteristics are also mentioned that are required to be a great leader.

  6. Anonymous Avatar

    Ethical leadership has been described brilliantly in this blog with the help of Iqbal’s poetry. All nine dimensions make a leader ethical and some of them are also the basis of authentic leadership discussed in the book “True North”. The first and foremost requirement for an ethical leader is described as loftiness of his vision, Nigah Buland. It sets a direction for the followers towards the destination that has to be reached. That is what is discussed in True North as well. The leader should know his destination as to where to take his followers to and should be well aware of it. The basic commonality here is the aspect of self-awareness. The leader should be aware of himself and his potential. It enables self-realization leading to a meaningful and purposeful life that gives satisfaction to the leader as person. The opposite would be of course selfishness and living just for oneself and not caring about the purpose and meaning as to why one exists and what was he brought in this world for. This is the concept of Khudi given by Iqbal to reach the highest level of self-realization and to lead a purposeful life full of satisfaction. Demonstrating self-discipline is a part of being an authentic leader and that is what Mr.Hyder has discussed too as a dimension of ethical leadership and called it Amal Paiham, Relentless action even in the face adversity. That is what makes an ethical leader stand out in the crowd. The self-discipline aspect of an authentic leader requires him to be firm, calm and composed and deal with situations in the best possible manner and that is only possible if he is at his best. True north mentions another aspect of authentic leaders as practicing solid values and not compromising on those values, and so does Iqbal say when he speaks about Sadaqat, Truth. An ethical and authentic leader will never compromise on his values and be always truthful and honest and that is what makes him a Sadiq. A very inspiring and thought provoking blog.

  7. Anonymous Avatar

    The topic is ethical leadership and what better way is there to set the foundation of ethical leadership than self-awareness. The concept of Khudi is somewhat similar to self-awareness. To realize who you are and what your potentials are, what your purpose is, where are you headed, what you stand for and how to make your life meaningful, these all are the areas that become much clear once a leader indulges in Khudi. The Book True North shows one the direction in which self-awareness can be found on the way and realize your potential and self-worth. The book highlights five key areas on which authentic leadership is based, which are pursuing passions with purpose, practicing solid values, leading with heart, establishing enduring relationships, and demonstrating self-discipline. A person can follow his passions only when he knows what he wants and that is where Khudi and True North coincide. Another key area is establishing enduring relationships and the main ingredient for that is good communication, which Iqbal calls sukhan dil-nawaz, heart touching communication to win over people and solve problems through heart touching communication and speaking power. It is worth noting that Iqbal has highlighted this as a part of essential equipment that the Mir e Karvan – the leader of the caravan has to be equipped with if he wishes to reach his destination effectively and efficiently, which is far away and a difficult one to reach since the terrain is not a simple one. One last thing necessary for the journey would be the amal paiham-relentless effort towards achieving the vision and overcoming any disappointments that maybe cause due to some temporary setbacks. It is an inspiring Blog and the writer has put in tremendous effort in describing it in the best possible manner.

  8. What does one reflect on? What is the relationship of reflection with one's experiences?

  9. How does one connect one's life experiences to develop a coherent story? How does one connect the dots?

  10. Khudi & khud agahi are not synonyms. As Iqbal clearly says:
    “مرا طریق امیری نہیں فقئری ہے
    "خودی نہ بیچ.غریبی میں نام پیدا کر
    Here, selling khudi denotes compromising on self esteem. I don't know what you call self esteem in Urdu.

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