July 14, 2011

Leadership Lessons from Ramayana

What are the primary qualities of leadership? What are the effective management skills? How many of us can answer these questions? Although we have theoretical definitions for these concepts, where did the concept of leadership and management evolve is a billion dollar question?

The field of business and leadership has been enriched by learning's from various disciplines of knowledge. It is said that the corporate learning's are driven from our great epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata.

So here are a few lessons that we can comprehend from Ramayana and how it can be applied in the corporate world.

Lessons of Hindu epics Ramayana have formed part of teaching on leadership, management and governance at prestigious institutions like the Wharton Business School of the USA, the Indian Business School of Hyderabad and many Indian Institutes of Management.

Vivek Man Singh, President VTG at Cisco Systems mentions in his book. 'Leading the Ramayana way' that Leadership begins where logic ends, it surely gets lonely out there, but you show the valor, walk the talk, and your teammates are sure to follow you.

A clear vision for yourself and for your followers:

"The world steps aside to a person who knows where he or she is going," says the great Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. A foreseen vision will always be a motivating factor to focus on the goal and to not get deviated. Every leader needs to have a clear vision of what he is aiming for and what will it bear him in future. Also he needs to think in parallel to his followers who will support him to achieve his goals. Emotional intelligence is very important for a leader. In the case of Ramayana, Rama's clear vision was to rescue his wife Sita and defeat the evil forces. This clarity about the goals as well as the process enabled the army to put its heart and soul in the battle to rescue Sita.

Essential characters of a leader:

For being a successful leader 3 primary skills required are Technical skills Cognitive and Analytical skills Emotional intelligence(EI) EI twice as important as the other two attributes. It is an embodiment of motivation, empathy and social skills.EI is an experience driven. In the battle field of Ramyana, Rama narrates to Vibhishan that the leader was a charioteer and the wheels was made of character, courage, ethics, and valor and the horses drawing the chariot signifies strength, energy, passion. Rama went on to describe that the reins of the horses resembled forgiveness, compassion, consistency and equanimity.

The Weapons of a leader:

Knowledge, strategy, intelligence, skills, commitment, and a restraint of ego are very important factors for a leader to fight a mammoth battle. In the climax of the Ramayana battle, Rama proclaimed to his army 'Arm yourself with these and no war will be lost,' and that is what got him a jubilant win over Ravana forces.

A Balakrishnan,Management guru, feels that the lessons from Ramayana can also be applied in modern management of organization, especially the leadership qualities of Lord Ram in administration of Ayodhya.

There are many modern management concepts such as EQ, MBO, Kaizen, strategic planning, organizing principles and etc where its origin can be traced from Valmiki Ramayana

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