Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 6

Leadership:

To be Felt; Not to be Seen

GRK Murty
Organizations need people for what they can do for them and what
they can mean to them. That need can be direct or indirect but one
thing is certain: Organizations have no choice. In the normal course the
higher the employee engagement, the better the organization’s
performance. There are six drivers of employee engagement: one,
people—senior leadership, peers, culture and values; two, work—
nature of work, motivation for work, and availability of resources;
three, opportunities—scope for career progression, skill development
via training and recognition; four, quality of life—balance afforded
between work at organization and personal life; five, procedures—
policies and procedures under HR; and six, compensation—benefits and
rewards. It is these six drivers that influence people to engage, either
positively or negatively, in work, which ultimately defines the return on
investment. So, the question is what ensures heightened employees’
engagement and how is it accomplished? One obvious answer is
‘leadership’.

The moment we think of leadership what comes to our mind is ‘top-


down’ leadership that is based on the myth of the triumphant
individual. These leaders like the Welches, the Gateses have all become
heroes. Our current thinking about leadership is so entwined with the
notion of heroism that in the opinion of Warren Bennis, the distinction
between “leader” and “hero” has almost become blurred. Today
leadership is too often seen as an individual phenomenon. But in a
shrinking world where technological and political complexity is
increasing at an incredible pace, top-down leadership cannot suffice.
However gifted the person at the top may be, the top-down leadership
cannot all alone identify and solve the mounting problems nor can it
build the many connections required to be made across the globe.

Leonard Bernstein once said, “The hardest instrument to play in a


symphony orchestra is second fiddle”. It reveals that what is today
needed in organizations is “great partnerships”— partnerships between
employees and management where management has to play a “second
fiddle”. It simply calls for collective engagement of all the employees.
To cite an example: who built the varadhi—bridge to Lanka in
Ramayana? Was it Rama – shouting commands, giving direction,
inspiring the monkeys, leading the way and changing the paradigms?
No, it was the monkey-force and their creative alliance with Rama’s
need that built the varadhi across the ocean. So where does all this lead
us? It tells us that nothing can be achieved by an organization “without
the full inclusion, initiative and cooperation of followers”. It is through
lifting others up that leaders find themselves lifted up i.e. their
organizational objectives are achieved.
It is often said that Rama, unlike the many other kings of yore (why,
even of today), is a Purva Bhashi i.e. it is king Rama who, unlike other
kings first addresses his visiting subjects without waiting for subjects to
address him. That is truly great of a leader. Rama is also described as:
“Ramo Vigrahavan dharmaha”- Rama the embodiment of Dharma. He,
as a king, meticulously practiced the essence of the saying from the
Atharva Veda: “vacham vadata bhadriya” – words spoken should foster
welfare. It commands that the communication of a leader should
always be loaded with pleasant words leading to positive outcomes.

Being driven by the philosophy of ‘dharma’, Rama even sacrificed his


life with Sita to carry out his duties as a king, believing that for a king
what matters is his kingdom and its people. That is why it is said that it
is not Rama, but the king of Ayodhya, who abandoned Sita in the
interest of his kingdom. That is how Rama displayed leadership more by
action than by exhortation. True to Kalidasa’s proclamation about
leadership, Rama’s kingship made every one of his subjects think to
himself: “I am the especial object of the Royal care”, for, like the ocean
that receives without differentiation countless rivers, the king
neglected the interests of none.
Rama ensured that his leadership was felt by his subjects and in turn
commanded “people’s respect”, which is essential for any kingdom to
be in peace. The quintessence of leadership is aptly captured in the
Ramayana in the stanza: “Truth, justice, and nobility of rank are
centered in the king; he is mother, father, benefactor of his subjects.”
No one can deny that these observations are equally applicable to the
modern day leaders too—for that matter, more intently than in the
past.

Today organizations are slowly but surely evolving into federations,


networks, clusters, etc., where the top-down leadership has simply
become obsolete. What leadership therefore should exhibit is “far
more subtle and indirect form of influence” over the followers. They
must learn to appreciate the intellectual power, capital, and human
imagination since it has almost replaced the capital as the critical
success factor in a globalized economy. The Tao tells us: “When people
lack respect, trouble follows”. The only sure way for a leader to
command respect from the work-force is to respect employees’
intellectual capital and values and align them with the goals of the
organization. That is the only way by which leadership can create an
impulse, an urge in others to do something, which the leader desires
that they do. All this calls for a totally new set of skills that can make
leadership effective without making a bizarre exhibition of it.

*****

www.karpuramanjari.blogspot.com