As the founder of Grameen Bank and the pioneer of microcredit, Muhammad Yunus has transformed the third world with his visionary leadership. Microcredit is the innovative banking program that provides poor individuals with small loans so that they in turn can become agents of change by launching their own businesses and beginning to address the issue of poverty within their communities. Through his action of making microcredit a reality, Yunus epitomizes Sashkin’s idea of visionary leadership.
According to Marshall Sashkin, there are three major aspects to visionary leadership. “The first consists of constructing a vision, creating an ideal image of the organization and its culture. The second involves defining an organizational philosophy that succinctly states the vision and developing programs and policies that pith the philosophy in practice within the organization’s unique context and culture. The third aspect centers on the leaders’ own practices, the specific actions in which leaders engage on a one-to-one basis in order to create and support their visions” (Sashkin 403).
Muhummad Yunus believes that poverty can totally be conquered in his lifetime is the right approach is adopted. This viewpoint is based on his belief that the inherent ability of the poor can be unleashed once they are given the opportunity to help themselves (muhammadyunus.org). His dream of addressing poverty through an economic development lens became a reality with the establishment of Gramee Bank in Bangladesh, which recognized that credit without collateral is a fundamental right of the poor. Grameen Bank was a grand success and has been widely replicated all over the world. Yunus was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for his transformative work in micro-financing.
Finally, I wanted to highlight a fourth type of visionary leadership, which is displaying respect for self and others. This quality is what sets Yunus apart from most leaders. He is not only addressing the overwhelming global issue of poverty, but is empowering and enabling others to become leaders in their community.
Shashkin states that “one of the characteristics of visionary leaders is that we feel good around them because they boost our sense of self-worth by paying attention to us, by trusting us, by sharing ideas with us, by making it clear how important we are as persons” (407).