Most CEOs, globally, have an idol or a mentor they look up to. These mentors are figures who have shaped their belief systems, moral fibre and often, their work-styles. They are open about admitting that there are traits they have picked up from legends in the field. It does not matter from where the learning comes from…Sports, management, public service, business or from iconic figures in fiction.
A larger than life figure, globally respected, is of Mahatma Gandhi. He is highly respected as someone with an indomitable will and firm practitioner of the values of truth, non-violence and peace. Single-handedly, almost, Mahatma Gandhi unified the nation in its historic “quit India” movement that culminated in the Britishers being forced to do just that – Quit India.
It is important to remember that above all, Gandhiji was a true visionary and leader. If he led, it was by example. He was at the frontline of every activity – whether it was the long and grueling Dandi march or the Salt satyagraha. Leaders of today would do well to remember Gandhi’s struggles, his persona and his style of effective leadership that empowered people.
Let us look at some of the more relevant tenets of Gandhiji’s leadership:
Leaders must improve continuously:
Often, we find that leaders have a tremendously inflated ego and think that they are perfect. Nothing could be further than the truth. Leaders, too, are human beings – just as prone to mistakes and follies, like the rest of us. Once, Gandhiji told his followers that if ever two of his sentences contradicted each other, they should follow the second one.
He did this because he realised that he himself was imperfect. And therefore learned new things and strove to develop himself whenever he could. He was a great advocate of continuous learning and this is one of the main traits that made Gandhiji a great leader. Continuous learning is one of the core tenets that is required for leaders in the new normal, as businesses struggle to cope with change and strive for continuity. Leaders must unlearn, learn, relearn and keep growing as leaders, so they offer the best possible version of themselves to the organization and their teams.
Leaders must be great listeners:
It is taken for granted that because Gandhiji was a great leader, revered by millions, he must be a very good speaker. Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. Many people who have made a comprehensive, in-depth study of Gandhiji have come to learn that he was a fairly mediocre public speaker. However, his biggest strength was his ability to listen – more importantly, to what was being said and to the deeper meanings that were not. In turn, this helped him to influence others greatly. Thus, leaders would do well to remember the core rule of communication here – being a good speaker is fine. But what actually raises you to the stature of a great leader with the ability to lead and influence others, is the ability to listen to others. Hence, in the new normal, leaders will need to relearn the art of communication overall – they will need to learn listening and responding accordingly. This will enable them to develop further as leaders and professionals.
Leaders must be open-minded:
Leaders must not be close minded or listen just to a select few who have access to them. The fundamental truth is that a good idea or suggestion can come from literally anyone and anywhere. Gandhiji was a strong believer in accepting other persons for who and what they were. This insight can be leveraged by leaders – it will surely & inevitably yield solid results. Often a good idea or the “next big thing” is negated or refused because of inherent bias or a closed mind. Something like LegalWiz.in partners page wont born out of a compliance company. This partners portal now offers Payoneer discount offer to those seeking cost-effective cross-border remittances,
f leaders are open to new experiences, learning and listening, then their learning curve will be steeper and they will function better as leaders. Amidst the backdrop of the pandemic and the tides of change sweeping the world of business, it is an advantage every CEO should immediately acquire – consciously become more open-minded and thereby, a better leader.
Gandhiji was an iconic leader whose values, actions, struggles and achievements are all life lessons in themselves. Leaders from Politics, business and society can bring immense change if they harness the power iof these simple nuggets of truth to be found in Gandhiji’s life. As they helped to transform him and help the nation, so can they help to impact the followers of every leader. The beauty of these truths is that they do not change – they are eternal, like Gandhiji’s himself. Though he is not amongst us, his teachings continue to live on and inspire everyone who delves into them. That is the true essence of Gandhiji.
Tell us, who inspires you? Any useful lessons you have learnt from the life of any great person? Share your experiences for our readers.