ASSIGNMENT 2 Leadership Lessons from Indian EpicsIntroductionIn this modern world , the art of Management has grow to be a component and parcel of everydaylife, be it at residence, in the office or factory and in Government. Indian epics and mythologyprovides numerous solutions to day-to-day problems becoming faced by individuals. Epics such asthe Bhagavad-Gita, Mahabharata and other people are the storehouse of invaluable understanding,which can be utilised to tackle challenging situations in the corporate world. Be it the Arthasashtraor the Ramayana or the Mahabharatha they are a store house of management knowledge andwisdom. These lessons are relevant in the 21st century for us because these paradigms ofmanagement implicit in them are not objects of archives but living lessons for generations to come,
without over sighting the truth that they at greatest supplement or support existing principles orpractices of management.Lessons on leadership from The RamayanaRama -the true leader:One of the few major and greatest epics of India, is the Ramayana that has been written by theGreat Sage Valmiki. Ramayana is the story of how leaders can be made. It draws attention to thepower of a leader and explains in what situation this power can be used to take life and in whatsituation the same power can be used to give life. It demonstrates how there are situations when amanager is called upon to take a tough call and situations where the manager is expected to becompassionate. It highlights following qualities of Lord Rama:Dharma or RighteousnessLord Rama followed “Dharma” or the value of “Righteousness” throughout his life in all his activities.The Word “Dharma” in itself becomes the first and foremost principle of the path to true leadership.In today’s world where people have no time to relax and are ready to do anything to get what theywant, there is a tendency to forget .But a true leader is the one who realises the value ofrighteousness in all his activities.Being humbleWhen Lord Rama was asked by his Father to get ready to become the next king or the very next daywhen he was asked to go to Jungle for 14 years, he did not show even a discomfort in his attitude,but as a true leader, humbled down and accepted what the superiors wanted him to do. Beinghumble at all times is again an important quality of a true leader.CourageThe most rightful and suitable quality of Lord Rama is the quality of Courage. Courage comes fromthe mental and soulful stability to take both happiness and sadness in the most composed and calmmanner. It is the firm heart that can take any feelings in the same pattern that is really a courageousone or a brave heart. It is the quality of a leader that he must be ready to put himself in a big riskwhen it demands for t the situation where he fights for the truth and the well being of his people.Lord Rama had the most deserving and the most remarkable courage as a Prince that has ever beendisplayed by any one from the Past. This indeed is the prime quality of a leader who wishes to takebig risks. He needs pure heart and confidence to display such courage in each of the decisions hetakes. He needs courage to take calculative risks, he needs courage to accept major changes, heneeds courage to face the competition, accept his weaknesses, and to remain modest and calm inall days - no matter if they are fine or not.
Lessons on leadership from The Bhagavad GitaThe Bhagavad Gita, one of the sacred books in Hinduism, is basically appealing on the account of thecontents of the book; it contains the tried-and-true methods of gradually and carefully reachingthese higher planes of consciousness; it is not about religions but more on rising above our worldlymiseries and afflictions; it’s about being greater than our mundane problems or (leadership)troubles. The Bhagavad Gita is a small part of the Mahabhrata. On the eve of what promised to be agreat battle, Krishna of the Bhagavad Gita was driving the chariot of Arjuna, the warrior-hero. Thetwo armies were ready to engage; Arjuna seemed confident of victory but all the same was troubled.He foresaw that in the battle he would kill members of his own extended family who were fightingon the other side. He was very reluctant to do this, and one way to avoid it would be to refuse tofight. Luckily, there was someone he can ask for advice, his charioteer, the god Krishna. TheBhagavad Gita was Krishna’s reply. The following shlokas highlights the qualities of the effectiveleaders :Bhagawad Gita (Chapter 18:45)Translation:Keenly devoted to his own natural duty, leader attains the highest perfection.What it means: Leaders must be aware of that role and be prepared to respond to the responsibilities imposed bytheir position. As stated in the Bhagawad Gita(Chapter 18:45).Perfection is attained when a personattends diligently to his duty. Leaders have a duty to effectively influence others, and this duty canmanifest itself in a number of different approaches, however, the leader must maintain his/hervalues and not waver from those duties and values.Bhagawad Gita (Chapter 3:21)Translation:
The leaders have to lead the way. Others are there to follow. He sets the standards by his deeds.Others follow by example.What it means:Most of the world population follows trends or others who they perceive as role models. They loveto imitate. They get influenced easily. The above shloka from Bhagawad Gita (Chapter 3:21) brings ina nutshell the idea of leading by example. Leaders need to practice what they preach otherwise theylose their credibility. The erosion of leadership traits in today’s brand of leaders is primarily due tothe absence of this aspect. The leader must be a good role model and express the values of theorganization through his/her behaviour.Bhagwad Gita (Chapter 3:4)Translation:Man does not attain freedom from action by abstaining from action; not does he reach the state ofwisdom/perfection by renunciation.What it means:One of the major lessons from the Bhagawad Gita(Chapter 3:4) is that proactive behaviour is veryimportant. No leader can attain goals by refraining from action; nor can he reach perfection bymerely refusing to act. The leader needs fulfil his responsibilities by taking aggressive action. Inactionis not an option that would lead to good results. Being proactive requires a degree of wisdom ,otherwise the action will lead to failure.Bhagwad Gita (Chapter 5:4)Translation:It is the ignorant, not the wise who say that knowledge and right action lead to divergent results .Aperson engages in even one, gains the result of both.What it means:Wisdom, combined with right action is essential for good leadership according to the Bhagawad Gita(Chapter 5:4). To lack either one produces poor results. If a leader is unwise, and acts, harmfulevents may occur. If the leader is wise but fails to act, harmful events may occur. The Gita tellsleaders that they will be forced from time to time to make difficult decisions, and that they must usetheir inner wisdom to guide them in making the correct decision. The Gita also implies that wisdomis a necessary precondition for the selection of good leaders. While training and development are
important to organizational success, leadership qualities are viewed as being more innate anddeveloped through introspection.Bhagawad Gita (Chapter 5:18)Translation:The wise look with same eye on a Brahman, endowed with learning and culture, a cow, an elephant ,a dog and a outcast too.What it means:Leaders promote equality and fairness among followers. They see everybody equally and do notdiscriminate their followers. Leader gives fair treatment to all people.Bhagawad Gita (Chapter 12:13)Translation:He who is free from malice towards all beings, friendly and compassionate, rid of ‘I’ and ‘Mine’,balanced in joy and sorrow, forgiving by nature.What it means:A good leader is one who is incapable of hatred towards any human being, who is kind andcompassionate, free from selfishness, without pride, equable in pleasure and in pain, and is forgivingThe leader should be a humanistic leader, a person who acts without self-gain, and who has greatpersonal concerns for followers. Good leaders are filled with a positive force and seek to do good bytreating others with compassion and kindness.Lessons on leadership from ArthashastraArthashastra, the treatise on Economic Administration was written by Chanakya( Kautilya) in the 4thcentury before Christ. It consists of 15 chapter, 380 Shlokas and 4968 Sutras. In all probability, thistreatise is the first ever book written on Practice of Management. It is essentially on the art ofgovernance and has an instructional tone.
Chanakya wrote this treatise for his swamy (the king) Chandragupta Maurya and stated in its prefacethat it has been written as a guide for "those who govern". Chanakya was interested inestablishment and operation of the machinery through which the king preserves the integrity andsolidarity of the State and generates power.It is astonishing to observe that several concepts of present day management theories have beenexplicitly explained by Chanakya in his work. As in the present day management, the importance ofvision, mission and motivation was captured in Arthashastra. In Arthashastra, Chanakya (c. 350 - 283BCE) lists seven pillars for an organisation."The king, the minister, the country, the fortified city, the treasury, the army and the ally are theconstituent elements of the state" (6.1.1).The main pillar mentioned is the the King who represents the leader. According to him the essenceof leadership lies in its acceptance by the subjects. He therefore, advises never to forget the twopillars of the art of governance: Nyay, the justice and Dharma, the ethics. He also decries autocraticbehavior as a leader is visible and people follow the leader. Hence he advises to introspect toidentify his atma doshas, i.e. deficiencies to improve or develop himself. He further advises to studydeficiencies of his cabinet members and take steps to improve upon them. He states that Mantriscould be incompetent, Senapati could be over ambitious, Purohit may not consider the present daypractices or traditions while enacting laws or justice, which might lead to injustice. As regardsYuvaraj, he advises specific training to prepare him for the eventual succession. He states that theYuvaraj should be trained in three specific areas: Arthashastra (economic administration), Nitishastra(foreign affairs) and Dandaniti (political science).THE KING (The leader)Translation:King is responsible for wrong doing of his subjects, preceptor for the wrong doings of the king,husband is responsible for his wifes faults, teacher for the disciples fault.What it means:Leaders have personal responsibility for the organizations performance in executing the mission.However, this means much more than accepting the consequences of your actions. It means takingownership of your programs and processes and becoming personally invested in their success -- orfailure .Great leaders take on a sense of personal responsibility for the organizations success as awhole and take the steps necessary to see that it is a smoothly working entity, rather than acollection of processes and people.
Translation:There is no official coronation ceremony held to declare that lion is the king of the jungle. Hebecomes king by his own attributes and heroism.What it means:The coercive style is most often associated with a military commander during battle, where thetroops are directed in detail regarding what to do, and sometimes, how to do it. The association ofthe coercive style with battle is sound and root in evolutionary leadership theory. Like all otherleadership styles, there are two universal factors that determine if the coercive style is positive ornegative. The first is empathy. There are four of levels or types of empathy, and at the risk ofexpanding my list of things to address another day beyond reason, for now, take away that empathyis possibly the single greatest impact on effective leadership. Without the ability to connect withyour followers on an emotional level, your leadership will nearly always corrode your relationshipsand minimize your effectiveness.The second factor, which while closely related, is definitely not synonymous, is intent. Withoutquestion, when a leader’s actions are perceived as in the best interests of the group, followershipcan thrive. By contrast, when a leader’s actions are perceived as being in the best interests of theleader, followership erodes insufferably. Empathy alone is not enough.Lessons from other ScripturesDifferent Upanishads, Vedas, Smrutis, and other ancient Indian scriptures also include teachingswhich can be directly or indirectly applied to management. The Kathopanishad is 1 of the mostcommon of all Upanishads. The “capacity to take decisions” is the actual test of a manager’s caliber.The mantra in this Upanishads mentions, at each and every stage in a man’s life he is confirmed bythe necessity to select between two courses of action. 1 is sreyas which appears painful in thebeginning but painful in the end. In managerial terms, sreyas may well be regarded as the hardalternative although preyas is the soft alternative. The Taittiriya Upanishads lays down thequalifications of those who are worthy of becoming looked up to as precedents. In the YakshaPrashana episode,Yaksha asks “which path to choose?” and Dhramputra answers: The path thatexcellent men of yore had traversed in the past is the path we need to follow.Conclusion
We can see how relevant and critical aspects of leadership we can discover from our scriptures. Theancient spiritual text present in these Indian epics contains recommendations for the modernpractice of management. They represent the struggles encountered by all humans in everydayactivities including the struggles of leadership. They provide advice to modern day leaders andsuggests important leadership qualities that could be very helpful to them.Bibliography:http://www.bhagavad-gita.orghttp://www.iimb.ernet.in/~mahadev/samskrit_mgmt.pdfhttp://www.citehr.com/106595-bhagwad-geeta-management.html#post418866