Spiritual Leadership and Ethical Management

So far, all over the world, concepts have been drawn from secular and materialistic values which have been evolved in a competitive commercial world. Management is not merely of business and industry but is all pervading component of all the human endeavours. Therefore, it is high time that Management Scientists also take a look at India’s Ancient Thought and Wisdom and draw ideals and ideas from spiritual and philosophical concepts. This has become essential since the planet and its inhabitants have to be saved from the present deteriorating tendencies in all walks of life, which may even endanger life in the planet. Enough is known about leadership from the conventional wisdom, being taught in educational and training institutions, which teach lower knowledge (Apara Vidya), based on senses, intellect and mind. IAW is based on higher knowledge (Para Vidya), based on meditation and silencing the mind. India’s sages and saints discovered mysteries of nature and the cosmos without any equipment, such as evolution, speed of light, planetary movements, gravitation, age of the earth, etc.

Swami Vivekananda had predicted that this Century will be India’s, when scholars and scientists from all over the world would come to India to find solutions to the problems afflicting the planet, animals and mankind. It is obvious that the present concepts of leadership, management, administration, policies, etc cannot arrest the deteriorating trends seen in every sector. This is the Commercial era of Kaliyuga, when every action, transaction and relationship are commercial in nature, where motivation is based on self interest, which ultimately ends in exploitation of man, animal and nature for the comfort and pleasure of the Establishment. This is true of India and the whole world. In every sector, leadership tends to destroy mankind rather than elevating him to a higher state of being.

Paul Sweezy, a socialist thinker, wrote long ago “Entrepreneurs create corporations while managers are created by the corporations. Entrepreneurs steal from the corporations while managers steal for the corporation”. Evidence of this phenomenon can be seen in every sector and field of human activity. In India (and elsewhere in some parts of world) politicians have converted democracy into mobocracy. Goondaism prevails in the political arena. Scandals and frauds are common in some organizations. Corruption is the order of the day. Fundamentalism and extremism have led to terrorism and militancy. These trends cannot be contained by conventional concepts of leadership and management.

In formal organizations, supervisors, managers, executives, officers, administrators and others derive authority from the Constitution and rules. Leaders derive authority from their values – spiritual and temporal. Managers can imbibe leadership qualities, which would enhance their effectiveness. Gandhiji, Mao and Lincoln were leaders with ideals and values. Janaka was half ruler and half sage. Leaders and managers ought to be half sage with noble values and ideals.

In government and non-government formal organizations – political, economic, business, social, educational, scientific, religious, etc – supervisors, superintendents, managers, executives, officers and administrators derive their authority as per the Constitution, rules, regulations and conventions. Leaders in all areas of human endeavour get informal authority by virtue of their noble qualities and attributes, credibility and integrity, contribution to society, selfless service, dedication and commitment to ideals and welfare of man, animal and nature. Some individuals in the first category also possess certain leadership qualities, which would improve their effectiveness as managers and administrators. Therefore, managerial effectiveness is enhanced by moral excellence and ethical leadership qualities. Good leaders are admired and adored by society. As regards managers and administrators, they lose their authority when they leave their position and power vested on them in formal organizations. Throughout history, in every country, genuine leaders have exercised authority not only in formal organizations, but also over people at large.


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