Bhaartiya Shaastras lay great emphasis on the Leadership mindset and it starts with thinking about larger good.
Here are a few sutras which will help you assess your mindset and gently finetune it, as you move ahead.
एकं वा इदं विबभूव सर्वम्।
It is the One, which has been modified as all this.
This solemn truth lends great guidance to the actions and interactions of the Leader.
The sacred books reveal that the Dharm of the Leader – should be completely unbiased and fair (as all are mere manifestations of the divine consciousness). The welfare of not just humans, but of all fellow beings, is the highest responsibility of each Leader – imagine the standard of actions with such mindfulness.
As a Leader, are your actions aligned with this high ideal?
साहसे खलु श्रीः वसति।
Chanakya Sutra 15.5
Prosperity, verily, lies in boldness.
The Acharya of Leadership, Chanakya states one of the cardinal principles of Prosperity in this Sutra.
Chanakya asserts that Leadership is not for the faint hearted: we are told that the purpose being creation of Prosperity, it has endless challenges for the Leader. The messages from this simple Sutra are – 1. Creation stage often requires going against the tide 2. In the next stage, boldness makes the Leader prioritize consolidation over hurried expansion 3. It takes courage to diversify and expand the organisation’s offerings at the right time 4. The ultimate risk is being willing to renew and reinvent when all is going well, says Chanakya.
As a Leader, how are you balancing caution and risk taking?
रोगशोकपरीतापबन्धनव्यसनानि च। आत्मापराधवृक्षाणां फलान्येतानि देहिनाम्।।
Disease, grief, pain, bondage and calamities – these are but the fruits of the trees of offences, committed by one self.
This Sutra from Narayan Bhat gives a very powerful dose of self vigilance to the Leader.
It explains that the Leader has to heed the fact that every single action has consequences. As a Leader, the caution is especially since the consequences impact the entire team/ organization. Keeping the purpose of the highest good of all in mind, the Leader has to sow the seeds only of welfare, harmony and prosperity by way of beneficial actions – such consciousness is a must have skill for the Leader.
Today, evaluate, do I consider the far reaching consequences of all my actions proactively?
प्राणात् अपि प्रत्ययः रक्षितव्यः।
Chanakya Sutra 17.7
Trust must be protected (by the Leader), even with one’s life.
Chanakya, the Acharya of governance expounds the foundation of followership, in this Sutra.
Chanakya busts the myth that Leadership is based on the charisma of the Leader: we are told that Followers follow when faith has been established in their hearts. Trust is engendered through a strong, courageous and virtuous character. The ultimate test is being willing to lay down one’s all to stick to one’s word and principles, says Chanakya.
How many team members can count on your support in their difficult times?
स सीतालक्ष्मणसखः सत्याद्गुरुमलोपयन्। विवेश दण्डकारण्यं प्रत्येकं च सतां मनः।।
Helping his father not to swerve from the truth, Sri Ram, along with Sita and Lakshman, entered into the Dandaka forest and into the heart of every good person.
The great master, philosopher & poet Kalidas counsels the Leader on the importance of commitment to both purpose and values.
The Leader gains the confidence, trust, support and affection of the populace through his/ her devotion to the right path – they are always observing and following the Leader. Kalidas implies that many unfavourable circumstances will test the virtues of the leader, and it is then, that the Leader must not hesitate to walk even the razor’s edge for the larger good.
Are you perceived as a brave Leader who will face any danger for the team and organization?
स्वजनं तर्पयित्वा यः शेषभोजी सः अमृतभोजी।
Chanakya Sutra 13.7
One who provides the benefits to one’s people before enjoying it by oneself, (then) gets everlasting enjoyment.
Chanakya, the great Acharya of governance, further elaborates the foundation of followership, in this Sutra.
Chanakya asserts that Leadership is that, where followers come first: we are told that Leadership is not about control but rather about service. Prosperity is a “cycle” of circulation. Hence, whatever benefit comes to Leader, on behalf of the organization, has to be first distributed to the junior rungs, then the next and so on; the Leader is the last in line. This kind of Leadership alone sustains organizations, says Chanakya.
Are you grateful for the privilege to serve as a Leader?
मन्दोतकणठाः कृतास्तेन गुणाधिकतया गुरौ। फलेन सहकारस्य पुष्पोदगम इव प्रजाः।।
The Leader mitigated the longing of the people for his father by exceeding (his father) in virtues; just as when the (mango) fruit appears, its blossom is scarcely remembered.
Pandit Kalidas, the great poet philosopher, has constructed a beautiful Shlok on how Succession planning in Leadership should be.
Telling us about Raghu, the son of Dilip, he reminds us that the Leader is one responsible for: 1. Planning a succession well in advance 2. The next Leader is one who can take the organization to newer heights and 3. One who can delight all the stakeholders. The responsibility of the preceding Leader therefore is to make this possible. Succession is that which elevates the organization’s reputation for performance, demonstrates the Raghukul, says Kalidas.
Think about your own weaknesses and strengths as a Leader – how are you ensuring the next one raises the bar?
अरावप्युचितं कार्यमतिथ्यं गृहमागते। छेत्तुः पार्श्वगतां छायां नोपसंहरते द्रुमः।।
Fitting hospitableness should be shown even to an adversary, visiting the (Leader’s) home: the tree does not withdraw its shade even from the one who (intends to) cut it down.
This Sutra from Narayan Bhat beautifully explains that the wise Leader must always operate on the basis of understanding the nature of the other person, be it adversary or ally and never on emotion.
This advice may sound counterintuitive, but therein lies the insight – hostility or hospitality should not be nurtured on the basis of the other’s behaviour, rather on the basis of purpose or intent. The Leader is generous and always striving to get all stakeholders aligned to the organizational purpose.
What emotions overcome you when you encounter a dissenter or disruptor? Introspect now.