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Back to the Future - Gita and Leadership

by Aarthi Kalyanaraman *


Page - 2

Hence, there is an urgent need to re-examine prevailing management disciplines - their objectives, scope and content. Whether it is individual or organizational behavior, motivational theory, game theory or leadership models, all facets of modern management can be discovered in ancient literature like the Ramayana,
Mahabharata, Bhagavad Gita and Arthashastra, which provide insights from ‘management-by-values’ point of view.

The sociologist Max Weber conceptualized a leader as a charismatic personality whose exercise of power was rooted in the followers identifying with the leader and their strong belief in him or her as an authority. Leaders must have the customary characteristics which enable them to inspire their adherents and gain their commitment to a common vision.

In Hinduism throughout the ages, Krishna has remained as one of the most charismatic leaders, who with his great power of intuition, adapted himself to every situation and inspired his followers to stand up in their hour of truth, and accomplish the tasks expected of them.

Krishna, we traditionally have been told, was a dispassionate, objective and impartial man. He has been presented to us as a role model because he responded to misfortunes with fortitude and courage. A compilation of Krishna’s qualities as a leader and a manager indicates that Krishna was independent and assertive but also respectful, was firm in his decisions, was open and forthright, was both duty-bound and honor-bound, did not misuse power, delegated power to lieutenants, motivated troops honorably, and led from the front. Krishna sought feedback from people, made common cause with people in similar straits, identified enemies and challenged them directly.

Krishna takes on a variety of leadership roles both before and during the Mahabharata war. The two most prominent roles Krishna takes are that of a servant-leader and the transformational-leader.


* Contributed by -
Aarthi Kalyanaraman,
Currently student of PGP-I at BIM, Trichy,
Article published in KRIYA, August'06 Issue, the monthly magazine of the institute.

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