You just had an angry outburst at work, and you’re fuming – It’s the third one this week, and you don’t like this feeling and want to deal with it, but you’re unsure how. Suddenly, you hear a knock on the door. You don’t want to talk to anybody, but then notice it’s your company’s Chief Murabbi officer. You sigh, knowing what this conversation is about, but you welcome it because he’s here to help talk through your recent outbursts and support you with your spiritual and emotional well-being as you tackle this challenge.
I’ve been speaking to several CEOs, HR Directors, and managers at companies worldwide (small and big). They all face a consistent challenge of managing people’s spiritual and emotional challenges that get in the way of doing their best work and impact team and organizational performance. Challenges like envy, anger, ego-centricity, gossip, lying, arrogance, etc.
Typically, companies tackle the above challenges through ‘cognitive’ interventions like training, coaching, and giving feedback. However, some spiritual and emotional challenges can only be dealt with through a deeper, heart-centric, and spiritual-based approach.
Enter – The Chief Murabbi Officer.
A person or function/role whose sole purpose is dedicated to the spiritual and emotional well-being of leaders and employees at an organization.
The Arabic word “Murabbi” carries layers of meaning – at its core, a Murabbi is one who nurtures souls. This role is often viewed as belonging in formal educational contexts like schools and madrasahs. However, the essence of a Murabbi is someone who oversees the spiritual and emotional development and care of others. In some cultures, Murabbi is referred to as an elder person, someone who is wise (age and experience of life), and who is respected, and is invested in nurturing souls through spiritual and emotional intelligence.
We have the best example of a Murabbi in Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who said “I was sent to perfect good character.” (Muwatta). You often see/hear reports of him gently, and compassionately correcting behavior and advising how to deal with some of the tough human spiritual and emotional challenges we face each day.
The Chief Murabbi is not an organization’s psychologist – nor an organization’s chaplain but a combination of a counselor, psychologist, and executive coach, with sound character and good standing – who can speak to people about their spiritual/emotional challenges and become a safe space for people to discuss these issues with them.
Imagine you visit your company’s Murabbi when you’re struggling with envy, and you want to speak to them in privacy about this topic, and they’d listen to you and give you practical ways to deal with your heart’s disease.
Or imagine getting a visit from the Chief Murabbi Officer when you have an angry outburst at an important meeting at work, and they’ll speak to you about what triggered that anger and how best to tackle it next time.
So many issues can be resolved through facilitated conversations with Murabbi officers that won’t have to go to HR for disciplinary measures, issues such as arrogance, toxic or inappropriate behavior, gossip, or taking undue credit.
For small organizations, this can be one person (ideally the leader). For larger organizations, this can be a function with multiple/qualified Murabbi officers. Some workplaces may need at least two Murabbi officers, one for male staff and the other for female staff, so men and women can feel comfortable being vulnerable with their respective officers.
Other notable features of this role:
- It must be a highly respected role, so I’m giving it the C-suite title “Chief Murabbi Officer.”
- It needs to be a well-paid role on par with a leader in the organization and have a close working relationship with the C-suite and board members.
- The person must have a proven track record of people management from a spiritual tradition, e.g., an Imam with a track record of managing a diverse community or a trained Islamic psychologist/counselor.
- Their primary responsibilities include:
- To advise and counsel leaders and staff on spiritual and emotional challenges
- To encourage good ethical behavior and advise against inappropriate behavior
- Be the spiritual guide for the organization
- The person must understand the corporate environment and its various emotional and spiritual challenges.
- Must be likable and trustworthy, and people feel safe talking to them.
- Bonus: They must be trained in the Barakah Culture paradigm of productivity that we teach here at ProductiveMuslim.
Are organizations ready for such a role? I would like to see if an organization is willing to experiment with this role for 12 months and measure the impact this role has on leaders and staff’s well-being.
Share your thoughts with me on LinkedIn if you’re interested in exploring this role.