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Insights From World Religions

After all, prophets (Buddha, Jesus Christ, the Rabbis, Prophet Mohammad, Mahavir et al) were great leaders of their people too. Some insights from these leaders of men are given below

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We all err in thinking that the concept of  leadership was invented in the late 20th Century by management gurus. Many classic works of  literature and history express the meaning of  leadership, for leaders have always interested poets and historians as a subject.

After all, prophets (Buddha, Jesus Christ, the Rabbis, Prophet Mohammad, Mahavir et al) were great leaders of  their people too. Some insights from these leaders of men:

Values: In Jainism, there is a strong emphasis on values and self-discipline. Every Jain is encouraged to minimise harm to any living being and live a life of simplicity and respect. Values serve as a leader’s “internal anchor”, seeking approval not from people but from the Higher Self, God or the Universe. Values aid or assist leaders in self-disciplining themselves.

Living in the present: Being grateful, and counting their blessings, leaders often take ‘the road less travelled’, taking a long view rather than expect instant gratification. Leaders understand the shortness of  life - that life is a droplet of water in the vast ocean. They are able to apply a broad-stroke vision.

Knowledge and Wisdom: Keep on climbing mountains. Never stop learning and adapting. Any person, especially a leader, is never too old to learn new tricks, one just has to keep one’s mind stimulated. A commitment to lifelong learning helps one expand and grow.

Learning From Pain And Hatred: “To err is human” and one learns well from one’s mistakes. Leaders overcome difficulties through pain, suffering or any other adversities. “Although he (Jesus Christ) was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered.” (Hebrews 5:8).  

Honesty and High Integrity:

Buddha said, “Let the wise man do righteousness: A treasure that others cannot share, which no thief can steal; a treasure which does not pass away. (Khuddakapatha).

Being Contented: “As water clings not to the lotus, so the tranquil clings not to the senses.” (Jara Sutta). Leaders should have peace of mind, avoiding greed, envy and other distracting emotional troubles and anxieties. This is tantamount to Lao Tzu’s “use the light, come home to your true nature. Don’t cause yourself  injury: This is known as seizing the truth.”  

Relating With People: One should not be exclusive; Unsuccessful leaders are cut off from their people. They have no rapport or connections with their people; often, they cannot relate well with their people.  

Practising Universal Love: One should not be selfish. This is beautiful. “Lov(ing) thy neighbour, Jesus had compassion for the crowds”.  Leaders should be practising universal love; there should indeed be love and compassion for ourselves and others.  

Persuading People: We learn well from stories told to us in schools and in books. The Talmud, for example, has great stories, and great stories have the power to draw the heart; they capture our hearts.

Leaders who truly learn and employ the wisdom of  the ancient texts, have the power to move their organisations (or nations) from good to great.  

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Magazine 14 October 2017

Piyush Sharma

Piyush Sharma is a modern management practitioner and ancient philosophy enthusiast

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