About the Book

Leadership Overview

Despite a good planning process, competent personnel, effective structure and adequate control mechanisms, no organisation can succeed without proper leadership. On the one hand, under a good leadership even a venture with many shortcomings can succeed. On the other hand, a poor leader will be unable to sustain a promising venture. For a leader to be effective the following are very important:

  • Certain personality traits.
  • Effective communication skills..
  • Commanding credibility.

The Thirukural deals extensively with these aspects. But before we come to these it will be interesting to see contemporary thoughts on this subject

Leadership can best be described as a process by which a person influences others within the organisation to accomplish an objective and directs the organisation in a way that makes it more cohesive and coherent. Leaders carry out this process by applying their leadership attributes, such as beliefs, values, ethics, character, knowledge, and skills. Although his position as manager or supervisor grants a person the authority to accomplish certain tasks and objectives in the organisation, this power does not make a leader out of him; it simply makes the person the boss. Leadership differs in that; it motivates the followers to achieve high goals, rather than simply have someone bossing people around.

According to the Thirukural, a leader should have certain personality traits. Apart from this he should have sound knowledge and understanding, no complacency, good self-control and the ability to handle defeat. Let us see what the Thirukural prescribes:

'Four qualities should never be wanting in the prince (leader), namely courage, liberality, knowledge and energy.' – 382

'Alertness, learning and quickness of decision are the three virtues that are necessary for a prince (leader).' – 383

As discussed in earlier chapters, these kurals talk about the basic qualities a leader should have. The key quality is knowledge. A person with sound knowledge can weigh the pros and cons of each decision and cannot be taken for granted. To attain knowledge, learning is essential. The next major quality required is courage. At the top – level courage and will-power to do the right things is important. We see today several people soft-pedalling issues and not arriving at a decision, as they want to satisfy all interests. Due to this, concrete work targets remain unmet.

A top boss needs to be alert to impending problems/dangers and quickly take decisions to circumvent them. The leader will always face huge challenges and concerns and there is always loneliness at the top. There is nobody to motivate a leader and he has to always motivate himself. Further, even at times of crisis the leader has to be always positive and feel that he can overcome the crisis. He has to, even in tough circumstances, keep working and motivate his subordinates. This task requires sagacity and sustained high energy levels.

Another vital quality for leadership is liberality. Whatever a leader does, he should do with grace. Moreover, when a leader chooses to reward somebody, he should do it liberally. Being graceful and liberal will create goodwill and support for the leader, which will be highly helpful to him in growing the entity that he leads.

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New Age Management Philosophy from Ancient Indian Wisdom


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