PROPHET MUHAMMAD’S ﷺ LEADERSHIP SECRETS
Leadership is the action of leading people. And Over the years, Muslim and non-Muslim historians have written many books about Prophet Muhammad, as a leader, highlighting the divinely guided qualities of his personality as the final messenger of Allaah The Almighty. One such recent book is by British management scholar John Adair, called The Leadership of Muhammad, where he discusses how Prophet Muhammad's understanding of the tribal norms of Arabia helped him become an inspirational and effective leader.
In the book, Adair focuses on the qualities and personality traits that made Prophet Muhammad, an exceptional leader, political authority and a humane role model. Some aspects of the leadership values espoused by the Prophet, that enabled him to transform all of Arabia and subsequently, most of the world with his teachings are given below. 
And We made them leaders guiding by Our command. And We inspired to them the doing of good deeds, establishment of prayer, and giving of zakah; and they were worshippers of Us. Quran Surah 21:73
And those who say: "Our Lord! Bestow on us from our wives and our offspring who will be the comfort of our eyes, and make us leaders for the Muttaqun" (pious) Quran Surah 25:74
And We made from among them leaders guiding by Our command when they were patient and [when] they were certain of Our signs. Quran Surah Sajda 32:24
The Prophet, sallallaahu 'alayhi was sallam, used to lead from the front and lead by example: Ali said, 'In the heat of combat when we met and faced the enemy, we shielded ourselves behind the Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, and there was no one who was closer to the enemy than he was'. [Ahmad: 2/64]
In the early days of his mission, to spare his followers persecution, he arranged for them to migrate to Abyssinia, which was ruled by a Christian king known for his just rule, for their own safety. He bore the safety and wellbeing of his Companions uppermost in his mind, which is the hallmark of a true leader.
The whole life of the Prophet, was spent in establishing and strengthening Islam and delivering the Message that Allaah The Almighty had entrusted him with. He, never faltered or weakened, not even when faced with countless difficulties, because of his complete faith in Allaah The Almighty. The Companions also believed in Islam with all their hearts. Moreover, one of the reasons Islam continued to spread after the demise of the Prophet, was because they continued to believe in, fight for and uphold Islam.
In the cave of Thawr, hiding from the polytheists who were pursuing them on their flight to Madeenah, Abu Bakr voiced his apprehension to the Prophet. The Prophet, reassured him and told him that Allaah The Almighty was with them. Certainly, He would never forsake His Messenger, and this was just what happened. The polytheists did not find the Prophet, and Abu Bakr. Thus, we get a valuable lesson here, that the leader should not show despair or hopelessness in front of his followers, but should fill them with confidence and be as encouraging and comforting as possible. [Sahih Al Bukhari: 3653, Muslim: 2381]
Confidence is the key to success. Without confidence, one would be holding back on pursuing one’s dreams, sabotaging own efforts, or even refuse to make trials at all. It is the door to make plans work and take actions. Confidence or i’tiqad was taught by the Prophet (SAW). He always assured his followers that they are the true champions, even in the face of a strong superpower enemy.
The Prophet had a vision and mission, and his strategy was very clear and bright. Vision is long-term goal or a dream in the future that we wish to achieve and present with a unanimous determination and tireless work. The strategy is a choice of ways to accomplish a vision or goal. For example, to deal with allies in the Trench War, the Prophet had to dig trenches. [Sahih Al Bukhari: 4104]
Qur’an 3: 159 and Qur’an 42: 38become the foundation of deliberation in Islamic law. The Prophet was a Prophet and Messenger who was always guided by Allah. Despite this, in managing his people, the Prophet still prioritized deliberations among his friends in making decisions. This is one key area to the success of the Prophet as a leader. He used deliberations in resolving various problems of life.
“… and consult them in the affairs. Then when you have taken a decision, put your trust in Allah, certainly, Allah loves those who put their trust (in Him).” Quran Surah Al’e Imran 3:159
“… and who (conduct) their affairs by mutual consultation, and who spend of what We have bestowed on them;” [Quran Surah Shura 42:38]
In carrying out various missions, the Prophet always employed accurate calculations and planning. He started the mission and duties in stages that were very clear. Who does what, where, why, in what way, and when, are not unusual for the Prophet. His principles as applied to planning were very good and helped him attain success in most affairs.
What is meant by strong leadership here is decisive leadership that is authoritative, charismatic, and steadfast in upholding the principles of the organization. The Prophet and his friends are persons who have strong leaderships. Leadership is built upon the values, culture and norms, love, obedience, and affection. Strong leadership was enforced by law and discipline, supported with a noble character and full of seriousness.
Another key point to the success is the Prophet’s shrewdness in making use of intelligence in various wars. Data monitoring, observations, and audit were then used as an essential tool for decision making, so that decisions are taken based on actual facts.
Teamwork is defined as “a joint action by a group of people, in which each person subordinates his or her individual interests and opinions to the unity and efficiency of the group.” Teamwork is the key to a successful mission of the Prophet. Such cooperation often takes the form of large and small. For example in the hijra to Medina, the Prophet established a small team led by him with the division of duties, responsibilities, authority, and an awesome strategy. (Sahih Al Bukhari: 3905)
Prophet was a very communicative person. His communication usually involved the liver, the feelings, and thoughts; thus his actions were real. This would ensure that the messages conveyed greatly affect the heart, mind, and soul of his subordinates. Communications made by the Prophet were very diverse, ranging from good words, good deeds as an example, feeding the needy, poor, and even occasionally joked with his friends.
Prophet took suggestions on various occasion from his companions. His statement, "And when he seeks your advice, advise him." Sahih Muslim 5379 This means that if he seeks consultation with you regarding some action, as to whether he should do it or not, then advise him with that which you would like for yourself. Thus, if the action is something that is beneficial in all aspects, then encourage him to do that, and if it is something harmful, then warn him against it. And if the action contains both benefit and harm, then explain that to him and weigh the benefits against the harms.
Joy and sorrow are common phenomena in life. A leader must understand it all, so he may demand to have a sensitive nature and care for subordinates and colleagues. The Prophet was the best example on a sensitive issue and concerns for others. He shared in the joys and sorrows with his best friends; in contrary to most leaders of today.
The Messenger of Allah gave tasks to his companions in turns. The primary objective of this action is to train men to occupy a variety of assignments and a variety of different positions. Thus, candidates will be born leaders who are mature and have high-flying hours.
One of the Prophet’s tips for preparing a great cadre is to appoint temporary officials when he had to leave Madina. The appointment of such has many benefits. Among others, to avoid a vacuum of leadership in an organization in performing their duties, responsibilities, and authority; to view and assess the competence of subordinates in a more serious task; and as a means of promotion or career development.
The Prophet also had a very good administrative system. This is evidenced by the Charter of Medina, Hudaibiya agreement, and preaching through letters to kings. Even the Messenger of Allah had a personal secretary in charge of records and any revelation of what happened in Medina.
The Prophet was a human being that always gave praises and motivations to his companions. He had more rewards than punishments. He provided beautiful and good titles to his wives and friends alike.
No matter our expertise, hard work, good plans, strategies, and our sophisticated facilities, we surely need to support with prayers. All these cannot achieve the desired results except with the permission of Allah (SWT). The Prophet understood this, therefore he prayed a lot. He taught us prayers for complete success in this life and hereafter.
The Messenger of Allah smiled when he met his friends, when he was arrested by anger, or even when he was in the judicial council. This pure noble man smiled from his lips softly until the final seconds of his life. No wonder he was able to melt the hearts of his friends, wives and everyone who met him. Such leadership was exemplified by the Prophet.