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Friday, August 10, 2018



Leadership is too broad a term that refers to too many things and attributes.

Besides, fundamentally leadership varies from domain to domain.

There are some quotations with almost omnipresent and universal relevance and the impacts through what they convey are so strong that I almost tend to apply them in different contexts and  in various topics.

Readymade templates of reference

One set is for the reverence that we must show to the purple pages of past glory of human race which are documented and passed on to us as readymade templates of reference which thereby save lot of energy and time from repeating certain experiments and experiences.

These two following quotes convey them

“If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants”- Isaac Newton

 Shakespeare once said “I have bought golden opinions from all sorts of people”.

Direction to avoid proceeding without bias

Then there is preferable processes  which at least give direction to avoid proceeding without bias

These two following quotes convey them

William Lyon Phelps puts it, “One of our secrets of life is to keep our intellectual curiosity acute”. 

Or as Thomas H. Huxley says, “Sit down before fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever and whatever abysses nature leads, or you will learn nothing.”

Why certain domains dominate the discourse at certain times?

How and why certain domains have dominated the discourse or narrative or acted as preferred frames of reference to perceive the world to enable human beings to decipher the world.

The following  quote captures that

“Humans have a need for a stable frame of reference. Religion apparently fills this need. In effect, humans crave answers to questions that no other source of knowledge has an answer to, which only religion may seem to answer. However, a sense of free will must be given in order for religion to appear healthy. An authoritarian notion of religion appears detrimental.”- Erich Fromm,

Later on, it was philosophical ,intellectual reasoning, then scientific processes ,then socio-political schemes ,followed by technological development and so on.

Universal reality and the open ended processes of evolution

Then there are some quotes that  reveal the inevitable universal reality and the open ended 
processes of evolution

These quotes reveal them perfectly

“In the end nothing less than the whole of everything can be the truth of anything at all”- William James

 “We live in a changing universe, and few things are changing faster than our conception of it”-Timothy Ferris

 “There is no tomorrow. There is only a planet turning on its axis, and a creature given to optimistic fancies”-Robert Brault

“Evolution itself is an open ended and indeterminate process”… “Given the remarkable progress in our understanding of biochemistry, molecular biology, and evolution as a whole … we have failed to develop concepts, ideas, even a language that could capture the dance of this life” - Guy Murchie

"Either you deal with what is the reality or you can be sure that the reality is going to deal with you." - Alex Haley

Willingness to go beyond all our confirmation bias and comfort zones to emancipate

The following quote presents that well

"The important thing is this: to be able to give up in any given moment all that we are for what we can become." --DeSeaux

So, coming to leadership we need to tread carefully countering all sorts of  criticisms and  controversies.

First premise is that  there is no single template of leadership that fits for  all domains.

Therefore, the  term leadership  eludes both over generalization and over simplification.

However , there are some basic qualities/ characteristics/ aspects that are almost indispensable for any leader in  any domain.

If we sprinkle a bunch of terminologies into a sieve of wordle then we may be able to discern a few terms  that  refer to the basic qualities of a leader.
Leadership is neither an abstract philosophical concept  nor a concrete structure  meant  as a container.

So, all hyperbolic sensational sayings, claims, quotes on leadership may not be of relevance in all contexts because leadership is not an abstract philosophical concept.

Similarly, any straight jacket rules of  dos and don'ts  may not hold much water  as leadership is not a concrete structure  meant  as a container.

we need to keep the refrain that leadership is predominantly contextual.

Of course,  as in many human activities here too there are reference manuals from that past as well as intelligent visualization of the future and the present contexts which give room for maneuvering to manifest what is expected of a leader.

How can we evaluate a leader

Leadership too, to reiterate, is like many things, contextual and obviously, there are vast differences between a political leader, business leader, religious leader etc.

This, I feel is much required because leadership is mix of many things and skill sets both of which are acquired over time through many ways.

Leadership also involves effective unbiased observation, unconditioned grasp and perception of the pulse of the domain at a particular time and place in which one is a leader.

Leadership in brief is a very delicate mixture of instincts, impulses, inculcated intelligent methodologies, intrigues, interpretations, innate responses and many other important things.

Besides, even within specific domains and contexts we also have multiple nuances to be adopted and executed depending on the evolving situations.

Leadership qualities

Among the many aspects required of a leader the predominant features may preferably be an attitude of flexibility; ability to take initiatives with clarity and conviction;  be the change that one expects from others; proper perspective and involved commitment with total intensity and intense totality; the perception of multiple nuances of existing contexts and situations along with a cleverness, alertness and capabilities to predict and to be prepared to deal with emerging and evolving situations; be capable of  seeing through the complexity of  a problem and slice its multitude of components into simple units and conceptualize and offer solutions.

"The role of leadership is to transform the complex situation into small pieces and prioritize them." --Carlos Ghosn

Art of articulation is a vital virtue of any leader

Articulation must be a communication that offers simple solutions , uses diplomatic vocabulary and leaves a lingering impact in the mind .

“Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand.” – Gen. Colin Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State

A leader has to initiative and not imitate.

A leader as Barbara Marciniaksaid has to initiate,

“Everything changes when you start to emit your own frequency rather than absorbing the frequencies around you, when you start imprinting your intent on the universe rather than receiving an imprint from existence.”

"...The goal is not to speculate on what might happen, but to imagine what you can actually make happen...." Gary Hamel in Leading the Revolution

“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.” – Michael Jordan, Hall of Fame basketball superstar

“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” ~ John C. Maxwell

Inside my empty bottle I was constructing a lighthouse while all the others were making ships. ~Charles Simic

"One of the tests of leadership is the ability to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency." --Arnold Glasow

 "A leader is one who sees more than others see, who sees farther than others see, and who sees before others see." --Leroy Eimes

Leader has to lead through personal capability as example

“A person always doing his or her best becomes a natural leader, just by example.” – Joe DiMaggio, former New York Yankees outfielder & Hall of Fame Baseball Player

You can't lead anyone else further than you have gone yourself. ~Gene Mauch

“If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then, you are an excellent leader.” 
Dolly Parton

Courage of conviction clearing away fear factor and hesitation

Leaders are visionaries with a poorly developed sense of fear and no concept of the odds against them. ~Robert Jarvik

“You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.” ~ Christopher Columbus

Be the change

"When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world. I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation. When I found I couldn't change the nation, I began to focus on my town. I couldn't change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family. Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family. My family and I could have made an impact on our town. Their impact could have changed the nation and I could indeed have changed the world." -Author Unknown on Changing the World.

Being sensitive to the needs of  the led and injecting sense into shared values

"...In a very real sense, followers lead by choosing where to be led. Where an organised community will be led is inseparable from the shared values and beliefs of its members..." Dee Hock - The Art of Chaordic Leadership

 "The greatest leaders mobilize others by coalescing people around a shared vision." --Ken Blanchard

"One will weave the canvas; another will fell a tree by the light of his ax. Yet another will forge nails, and there will be others who observe the stars to learn how to navigate. And yet all will be as one. Building a boat isn't about weaving canvas, forging nails, or reading the sky. It's about giving a shared taste for the sea, by the light of which you will see nothing contradictory but rather a community of love. ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Citadelle, 1948, translated from French [Thanks, Garson O'Toole!

"A good leader leads the people from above them. A great leader leads the people from within them."--M. D. Arnold

"All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership." --John Kenneth Galbraith

Leader must direct through impact and inspire others

“The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been.” ― Henry Kissinger, former U.S. National Security Advisor and Secretary of State

 "A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don't necessarily want to go, but ought to be." --Rosalynn Carter

“Leadership is not about titles, positions, or flow charts. It is about one life influencing another.” ~ John C. Maxwell
"A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus." --Martin Luther King Jr.

The real leader has no need to lead - he is content to point the way. ~Henry Miller, The Wisdom of the Heart

"A leader is a person you will follow to a place you would not go by yourself." --Joel Barker

Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence. Sheryl Sandberg

Leader as force multiplier

Leaders don't create followers, they create more leaders. ~Tom Peters

 "The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers." --Ralph Nader

“Power isn’t control at all~ power is strength, and giving that strength to others. A leader isn’t someone who forces others to make him stronger; a leader is someone willing to give his strength to others that they may have the strength to stand on their own.” ~ Beth Revis

"Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others." --Jack Welch

 "As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others." --Bill Gates

Leadership is about compassion and listening

 "A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent." --Douglas MacArthur

"You cannot be a leader, and ask other people to follow you, unless you know how to follow, too." --Sam Rayburn

“Ninety percent of leadership is the ability to communicate something people want.” – Dianne Feinstein, U.S. Senator

Leadership is a wholesome package of multiple facets all of which are responsible to ensure maximum possible happiness, peace and prosperity to the maximum number for/to whom the leadership is answerable.

However, for all types of leadership there could be certain common and broadly defined universal aspects of wisdom which in my humble opinion could be like the following list, irrespective of whether they are sanctioned or sanctified by any ideological, social or religious isms.

Wisdom- the ultimate test of leadership

The following list is based on the view that wisdom is the work shop where works of evolutionary trends and experiences of everyone in it emerge to express wisely the essence of everything to enlighten everyone.

A wisdom which prioritizes living in the present context and along with practicing certain time tested values which have relevance in present context but with global perspective to bequeath a livable planet, a lovable society with lovely infrastructures and improved living conditions;

A wisdom that evaluates everything and everyone with contextual relevance and based on the inherent attributes or merits of what or who is being evaluated without extrapolating any presumptions, opinions, judgments, perceptions, expectations, ideologies, doctrines, identity based ideology and so on;

A wisdom which is willing to make minor adjustments, small compromises, spontaneous cooperation to create compatible and conducive atmosphere with humility devoid of any egocentric or ethnocentric pride;

A wisdom with the realization and a perspective that must be aware that life is a constant process of learning of the multiple dimensions of many things and the various dynamics of those dimensions involving the constant interaction and interrelationship with everyone and everything.

A wisdom that is willing to accommodate multiple methods or means of life with some overall tolerant attitude embedded on humanitarian concerns towards all human life and environmental or natural concern towards all other species.

A wisdom that gets its clarity of understanding through a churning process that takes into consideration several aspects from the practical to the philosophical to the all fantasies of the mind.

A wisdom that both visualizes and works towards creating a synergy and synthesis amid varying constraints and demands in the overall interest of  all human beings and all other life forms on this planet.

Leaders must get to know as many ideas and to get an idea of how to exercise options.

 “The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas.” ~ Linus Pauling

So, leadership is a package and pact.

The script of leadership may be embedded with certain repetitions as leadership has to be constantly and repeatedly reminded of its priority of  the role and responsibilities rather than the mere position of authority though that is also an important component of leadership. 

I shall explain the package in detail later on..

"...A key psychology for leading (is to).. retain absolute faith that you can and will prevail in the end regardless of the difficulties, and at the same time confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be... Create a culture.. for the truth to be heard. Creating a climate where truth is heard involves four basic practices:

1 Lead with questions, not answers.
2 Engage in dialogue, not coercion.
3. Conduct autopsies without blame. and
4. Build red flag mechanisms that turn information into information that cannot be ignored."

Leadership does not begin just with vision. It begins with getting people to confront the brutal facts and to act on the implications..." Jim Collins - Good to Great


The whole import or essence of the topic is to explore and understand the CONCEPTS involved behind every term of the topic.


Now let us get down to understand what the terms mean and from there the concepts that they convey.

The two words "karma" and "dharma" are both of Sanskrit origin. They are complementary in their meaning.

Karma-[karman] - "act, action, by extension it means the universal principle of cause and effect, action and reaction that governs all life.That’s why this term has heaped upon itself a horde of connotations forming a carapace of meanings wherein the original essence of the term has been lost and along with it the concept that it represented. Every term in Sanskrit especially used in specific contexts has immense intrinsic value.

Unfortunately we in our enthusiasm either to denounce its importance or announce its significance have injected our own interpretations, justification etc and have distorted it.

That’s why the term karma too conjures up a variety of images ethical-moral, psychological, metaphysical, mystical and mundane ranging from a rigid law of merciless retribution to deterministic fatalism and has been interpreted in terms of deterministic horizontal relationships. Karma therefore simply put is act or action that takes place both inevitably [happenings beyond our control and comprehension- to these we can only react wherein our attitude plays a part] or through intentional and involved voluntary initiation [action which we perform and herein we are in total control or at least comprehension of the factors that contribute to the action] in both types of deeds /cases Dharma is a complementary and both are interconnected.

In fact Karma and Dharma are like the horizontal and vertical planes of a staircase that contribute to the growth and emancipation of human beings. 

Even if Karma is understood in the narrow sense as fatalism Dharma is the freewill. So, correctly understood fate and freewill are like the horizontal and vertical planes of staircase that enable you to evolve.

How is Dharma complementary and interconnected to inevitable happenings and voluntary actions?

In the case of inevitable happenings Dharma manifests itself in the form of proper attitude based reactions to the happenings.

In the case of voluntary happenings Dharma requires you to perform or act in the best interest of humanity as per the situation and as per the laws of universally applicable ethical and moral values.

So, probably Karma includes within its gamut only

Kind Appropriate Righteous Magnanimous Actions

That’s why the key to the spiritual life is the transmutation of  karma into dharma.

The ultimate meaning of karma is to be identified with interconnectedness and interpenetration of all that exist out there.

They are ultimately, a network of multidimensional relationships. That’s why karma is both actions and their inevitable results. The cause and effect of all happenings as mentioned in the beginning the universal principle of cause and effect, action and reaction that governs all life.

Dharma, is performing the acts in the best ways possible and ensure thereby best results as well as put up the proper perspective and attitude oriented reactions to all happenings.

These explanations of Karma and Dharma clearly indicate that the concepts that these terms refer to  are the traits of paramount importance of  leadership.

We shall delineate further on these concepts later on and see how relevant and effective are they?

Now the other term in the topic.


Google will boggle you with thousands of articles and entries on this subject.

If I am going to reproduce what has been already discussed by many I will be churning out another material that will be cached plagiarism culled from several sources.

Nor am I willing to get into a lengthy diatribe of describing what is corporate leadership and political leadership and why only through karma and dharma of BHAGAWAN SRI KRISHANKRISHNA- and all that bla bla.

Nor am I planning to offer any templates to any leadership.
True leadership is not experience-driven nor emotion oriented it emerges out of enlightenment born out of karma and dharma. Who else can be a better example of this type of leadership than BHAGWAN SRI KRISHNA.

LEADERSHIP cannot be formulated in advance. It emerges out of enlightened synergy of judgment, cooperation, and creativity relevant to specific context. Leadership too is measured by its effectiveness in the context. It is not the byproduct of analytical planning or pre -programming.

I am not trying to contemporize the concepts or percepts of KRISHNA for modern day management. If I do so then I will be belittling   KRISHNA’Steachings as products stocked in some attic of a museum and that as if I am resurrecting them with my intellect and breathing life in to them by contemporizing them etc. No not at all.

The fact is that Krishna and his teachings are invaluable and timeless. The events in Krishna’s life can be calendared but we cannot confine the impact of his teachings to time and consign them as mythological or historical.

I am driven by certain convictions. I operate always with these convictions as the base in my sub consciousness i.e. I analyze and associate, emotionalize and evaluate, reach out and research, understand and unite.

What are these convictions:-

First, is not to be hypocritical, because hypocrisy accumulates so much of artificiality that at some point of time we may forget our original self totally.

Second, to see how best we can synergize with relevant men and material to produce the best effects.

Third, while synergizing, try our level best to complement and cooperate without compromising   intrinsically important things.

You all my wonder what is the purpose or relevance of all these preamble and personal philosophizing.

It is because these are the inevitable subjective elements or factors that will impact my approach to the topic.

Why Krishna? Because as a born Hindu and besides a person looking for philosophical vindications, practical solutions, scientific approaches and non compulsive principles applicable to different contexts and all these being prescribed by a person who has followed them in his life as was done by Krishna naturally I am fan of Krishna and therefore my perceptions and observations definitely have an impact of positive bias, this positive bias increases my enthusiasm and emotional involvement that I look forward and learn with love the teachings of Krishna.

I do not want to say hypocritically that the only spiritual teachings de linked from religion offer us wisdom, though it is unfortunate that many things are done in the name of religion and that does not mean all things that are either part of or were part of religion are to be avoided. We have enough wisdom and personal tastes, convictions, principles, convenience, contexts to make our own healthy and intelligent choice by filtering.

In fact religion is our inherited source of strength or weakness depending on whether we use it for soul searching or soul murder by smothering it with irrelevant rituals. In fact there is neither de- linked spiritualism nor distilled wisdom there are only distilled spirit and de- linked wisdom. As human beings we emerge through an institution called a specific family born to specific parents then blossom on our own after the initial incubation in the family with the help of our parents. However great we may grow we cannot either disown or dismiss the role of our family. Similarly even the greatest saints who have grasped the totality of spiritualism cannot dismiss their basic incubation through religion. It is more so for ordinary mortals like me.

So,without inhibition and with positive biased love for lord Krishna as a Hindu I tried to understand the leadership traits and I have been amazed to find many.

I shall give one small and first example of manifestation of the leadership trait through karma and dharma displayed by Bhagwan shri Krishna at the beginning of Mahabarath war. Then, later on, elucidate the general principles of leadership and how Shri Krishna exhibited them?

1] To start with Krishna selects the most suitable candidate from among the Pandavas to execute his tasks he chose ARJUNA. WHY?
It was not only his expertise in archery but because he was the most learned manifesting his honest doubts but willing to learn. Krishna entertained all his doubts and delusions and did not force him out of them [dharma]

Then, gradually by sheer reasoning he  removed all of Arjuna’s  doubts and delusions. And once his doubts and delusions were removed he realized the importance of performing what was expected of him in the given situation.[karma]

As we explored in the beginning ‘The ultimate meaning of karma is to be identified with interconnectedness and interpenetration of all there is, because all there is, is a network of multidimensional relationships’. The inevitable fact of life is that it is part of the network of multidimensional relationships.

So, leadership involves linking everything and everyone involved in this multidimensional relationships; performing and also convincing everyone else to perform; taking responsibility and tackling responsibly of everyone and every situation without denying or defying the importance of any mode of human perception and anticipating and acknowledging all types reactions.


Linking  [synergizing]
Everyone’s [synthesizing based on interrelatedness]
Abilities/ Aspirations [inherent attributes and skills]
Dharmically [value based on wholesome perception]
Emotionally [compassionate attitude-feel at heart ]
Rationally [reason with head]
Soulfully [ realization of oneness in spirit and purpose-spiritually]
Highlighting the [ prioritizing]
Importance of [contextual relevance of]
Performance. [karma-activities based on all the above]

Leadership and retirement

A clever and concerned leader retires and hands over the baton
Addictive, obsessive, possessive, intense involvement, concentration, focus and a thousand other synonyms that convey one's relationship and love for something, someone or some subject are all fine but then after going through such steps, stepping away and watching the subject of love makes the person who does so to become a subject of love rather than an irritation.

This manifests the fact that such people never treated anything else or anyone else also as an external object of love but as part of their love and relationship.

This is another important lesson in institutional and team leadership.

Besides, retirement in general is not based on chronological age but many other factors like one’s continued interest combined with the ability to perform in any field to the demanding expectations, changing paradigms, the presence of better, smarter and highly competitive performers and so on.

Going out when everyone misses you is better than to wait till everyone wishes that you better go out.

Everything about life, including life itself, is not so much about chronological longevity [which in any case cannot be stretched beyond a limit] but enhancing the intrinsic values and synderesical [synderesis*] qualities.

* "Synderesis"
["Synderesis" is a technical term from scholastic philosophy, signifying the innate principle in the moral consciousness of every person which directs the agent to good and restrains him from evil].

LEADERSHIP is no more  merely about these
But it is about these
And more
Acceptance and appreciation of all
Appropriate articulation
Bringing the best in others
Betterment of others
Cunning  conquests or corruption
Choosing with  conviction ; creating cosmopolitan culture without destroying native culture
Compassion and caring
Dictatorship or dynasty
Decision making for social development
Dedicated deployment of  resources for development
Ego trips
Empowering through economic development
Education and employment creation and environmental  protection
Fan following and flattery
Functioning for welfare of all
Futuristic planning
Grandiose life style
Governance  geared towards growth
Giving back to society globally
Hero worship
Highlighting hygiene and  health care as hope for the future
Helping  everyone ensuring the happiness of the many
Inheritance like kings
Investing in improving living conditions and infrastructure
Internationally interconnecting
Joint developments internationally
Jobs and justice to all
Kinglike life style
Keeping up in pace and in tune with emerging aspirations
Keeping  in mind the interest of all
Luxurious living
Leveraging on latest developments for society
Lay schemes for  betterment of  life
Media projections
Meaningful marching ahead into manufacturing ,market economy etc
Make material life of  people comfortable
Nationalistic pride of the past
Nurturing responsibility of  taking care of natural resources
Native cultures to be promoted along with modern trends
Opulence and opportunistic manipulations
Opening up a nation's collective psyche to global opportunities.
Operate all verticals of economic activities to optimum level 

Power , pelf and post
Promoting prosperity of the people and proliferation of perspectives along with pride in ancestry
Protecting the interests of  all with a humane and philosophical approach
Quelling enemies or opponents
Quality of life  getting improved for all as a quid pro quo for being a leader
Quests for newer pastures for growth
Royal life style
Resource management and revenue generation
Rejuvenating the spirit of retired people
Success and sycophancy
Social development with Scientific temperament  
Supplying to the needs of all but avoiding sensationalism
Taking the throne
Tapping  into technological developments to the advantage of all
Teaching about the need for transformation from tradition to trends without diluting time tested values
Unleashing slogans
Uniting with understanding of interdependence and inter relatedness of  all
Unraveling the potential multiple sources of  energy and other resources without damaging the environment
Vainglorious displays
Validating the vitality of variety in every sphere and creating synergy and synthesis of  various facets of  life 
Visualizing future trends
Winning a post
Wisdom that is willing to accommodate multiple methods of life with some overall tolerant attitude embedded on humanitarian concerns towards all human life and environmental or natural concern towards all other species
Willingness to make minor adjustments, small compromises, spontaneous cooperation to create compatible and conducive atmosphere with humility devoid of any egocentric or ethnocentric pride;

Xenophobic speeches
Xenial exchanges to build relationships
X-axial expansion in cooperation
Yearning for glory
Youth getting their voices heard and  aspirations fulfilled
High yield generating activities for economic growth
Zombifying with empty promises
Zealous promotion of  activities to zoom into zenith of  glory
Zero in on unexplored and unexploited potential for growth 

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