The name, Mahatma Gandhiji evokes the image of truth personified, who has been revered by masses and classes equally. Who is known to be thinker, philosopher, leader, politician, saint and many more roles for which he donned the caps simultaneously. The management principles that his life reflects, are inherent part of modern management practices. 1. Walk the talk:
Mahatma Gandhiji lived simple life. He believed in “do as you say”. Practice and preach was not different for him. His life had been open book for anybody to read. Irrespective of the circumstances he always held up to his moral values that he used to preach to one and all. His “walk the talk” had many admirers in British camp, and many swear by his truthfulness. In today’s organizations, people honor and follow leaders whose words are no different than their actions. Companies, who have deep rooted culture of walk the talk, win over customers and prosper beyond expectations. 2. Lead by Example:
Mahatma Gandhiji has been a great leader who led by example. Be it smaller initiatives like living simple life, fight for untouchables; or bigger movements like non cooperation, salt march, quit India, he has led by example. He led from front. People believed him because he did himself what he expected from them to do. We have faith and trust in leaders and managers who lead by example. Who tread the path themselves first on which they want other to follow. Faith is the fundamental requisite in the organizations and those who lead by example commands enough of it. Lead by example; command respect, do not demand respect. 3. Build impeccable and honest brand:
The brand “Mahatma Gandhiji” is one of the greatest brands which has been enlightening and moving people since decades together. This brand has been built on integrity, transparency, quality, truthfulness and connectivity with every single person. It has emotional connect rather than rational connect with its audience. Great brands commands emotional connect with its consumers. The great brands build on the impeccable platform of transparency and truthfulness. Even you are also a brand personified; the Brand You. 4. Strategize in line with available resources:
The whole freedom movement of Mahatma was based on the principle of non violence. There was no other way he could grapple with the mighty British Empire. The biggest resource was empty handed, inspired masses. He utilized this resource in the most efficient way. He strategized every action on non violence and moved masses to fulfill the objectives. Managing and excelling with available resources is the key to success for the organizations. Efficiency in every aspect of business and utilizing the available resources diligently is the hall mark of great management teams. Strategy must be made and implemented looking into the resources available. 5. Build great team and work for a common cause:
Mahatma Gandhiji had built a great team of leaders from diverse beliefs and principles. Jawaharlal Nehru, C. Rajgopalachari, Valabbh Bhai Patel, Jinnah and many others worked in tandem for a common cause; freedom of India. They complemented each other. The team also had a great bench strength. Great leaders build great teams with members who complement each other. It has leadership at all levels. It has great bench strength which grabs the baton and continue the race for common cause. Organizations with great teams have potent force to conquer the market. 6. Engage people:
Mahatma Gandhiji enthralled and engaged people like a magician. He was apt in the art of making people devote everything for the cause. In every single movement he led for India’s freedom, he pulled the people together for a common mission. Every one of them was so engaged that they are ready to go to any extent to achieve the goal of India’s freedom. Gallup Inc., a research-based performance-management consulting company, has shown that engaged employees are more productive and more likely to stay with the organization. Engage them with common cause, a common goal, a common mission which must be lived every moment by them. Engaged employees are key to greatness for organizations. Mahatma Gandhiji exhibited this lesson long ago. It is still as much relevant as was at that time. There are many priceless gems in Mahatma Gandhiji’s life. His philosophy is applicable in every facet of life. You only require getting one step underneath and digging the gems out for yourselves.
Social Orientation- Interdependence on teams
For Gandhiji, the interests of the group are of high importance. He believed that the needs of the community and the service of the poor should always override every selfish or individual interest. (Alexander, 1984) His wish was that every village in India to become a self-supporting and self-contained entity, much like a team environment in today’s corporations. These villages would share information or commodities with other villages where they are not locally producible. (Andrews, 1949) Teams in today’s organizations often must share information with other teams in order to work more efficiently. Take for example, the Information Engineering Associates (IEA) department within DuPont Corporation. Because of internal marketing within the company and sharing of their expertise, the IEA department was able to move from team to team, sharing their knowledge and improving the information technology service within the corporation. No discrimination-Hiring Policies
Gandhiji believed in the ancient caste system, but he entirely refused to have anything to do with the idea of “untouchability”. He refused to regard any caste as superior in rank. He regarded men and women equally as his brothers and sisters, treating them in every single act of life as equals. Even today, an organisation is not supposed to discriminate while hiring candidates. Gandhijiji’s philosophy of no discrimination is seen in the hiring policies of an organisation.
Before launching a public campaign or action that will impinge on society, it is vital to bring to your mind “the face of the poorest and the weakest man whom you may have seen, and ask yourself, if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him” — this has always been the advice of Gandhijiji. Compare this with what often happens in the business world. The grievances of individuals — whether they are of employees or customers — are called into question and denied redress by citing the “company policy” or by contending that the company’s “image” would be adversely affected in the long run. Non cooperation:
The doctrine of non-cooperation was the genius of Mahatma Gandhiji. He believed that even the most oppressive government derived its authority from the consent, implicit though, of the oppressed. If only the people showed resistance and turned their backs on the government, it would collapse and be pauperised, sooner or later. For the chief executive of a company, non-cooperation is a stark reminder of the imperative to win the loyalty and goodwill of his employees. A business enterprise cannot be run by coercion and compulsion. Voluntary cooperation by the employees can be secured only by providing adequate opportunities for their self-development and self-management. Transperancy
Truth and transparency are the hallmark of Gandhijian philosophy. This holds good eminently for the business world too. For a management to be effective and enduring, it has to be an open book, subjecting itself to public scrutiny. Ethics and honesty, by which Gandhijiji set store.
Time – long-term outlook:
Gandhi believed that economic growth should proceed in harmony with nature and between people, even if that growth was slower and more gradual than growth brought on by heavy industry and high technology. (Prabhu, 2001) Gandhi was always more concerned with the means then about the ends. (Alexander, 1984) Building a learning organization takes time and effort. The leader responsible with incorporating change within an organization must have a complete view of the big picture. Promoting any type of change can be difficult, but the leader must always keep site of the final destination.
Building trust in an organization takes time. Team members must trust the leader and believe what s/he says in order for them to willingly follow. Gandhi believed that the rule of community behavior must be found through long practice. This was the best for all involved. (Alexander, 1984) Gandhi rated character building higher than book learning. He had no use for an educational system that was geared to moneymaking. (Nanda, 1985) Within an organization, open communication and honesty is highly valued. A leader with a strong character has integrity and integrity is important within an organization. Gandhi felt it was important to understand that the perception of truth undergoes an ongoing process of refinement, which is evolutionary in nature. (Murphy, 1991) He felt that the process of learning was evolving. Learning within an organization evolves with time. The learning curve may be slow at first, but as more people learn they become confident in their abilities and are content with their work.
Gandhijiji the leader:
Gandhijiji was one of the best leaders that India ever had. Now, what is it that made Gandhijiji so great and successful? What made his leadership successful was a steadfast purpose and his listening to his inner calling. Both, purpose and calling were built on values like truth, justice, love, non-violence, and charity. He neither benefited of personality development- nor communication-, organization-, management- or leadership-trainings nor good looks. What made him strong was his inner voice, his beliefs and convictions, which were giving him guidance and credibility, because he lived what he preached: one man can make a difference; strength comes not from physical capacity but from an indomitable will; leadership by example is the most effective. He believed in the following few concepts when it came to leadership or life in general:
· Gandhiji was known for the trust he was granting everyone. He saw the good in people and believed in them. · What he developed were caring relationships which – aside trust – were built on mutual respect and non-violence. · While managing relationships Gandhiji showed an immense integrity – towards himself and towards others, who were sometimes harshly opposing stakeholders. Like this he remained transparent, credible, and trustworthy. · Hence, he could openly, freely follow his path and his purpose. · And he was a master in changing small things with an enormous effect for the big picture. This is how he reached his vision: with short term targets and a great patience.
Many of his sayings are praised by Westerners, because they are so close to Western leadership teachings about solution-oriented managing which allows mistakes – “Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes” – or what Americans use to say by “Walk the talk” seems to be included in Gandhiji´s “Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony.” Gandhiji´s values, beliefs and convictions are a clue to a leader´s attitude shaped by care and by deep motivation. They are also a powerful means for conflict management, a basically daily reality of every manager or leader around the world. Leaders in today’s volatile environment must also possess these characteristics for which Gandhiji believed in. A leader today must be honest, forward-looking, inspiring, and competent.
Kouzes and Posner (1996) state that the first law of leadership is, “If you don’t believe in the messenger, you won’t believe the message”. A leader must be truthful and honest in order for people to follow. As many have said, a leader must walk the talk. But without followers there would be no leaders, therefore the first milestone toward earning leadership credibility is clarity in personal values. Hierarchal organizational structures operate from the top down. The workers at the bottom are dominated and told what to do and when to do it. Gandhiji felt that the people should control their own destiny in small-scale groups. He believed that independence must begin at the bottom, that self-rule could not be imposed on people from above. He believed that self-rule or self-government must first be nurtured, through education and example. This education must start at the local or village level and then be encouraged to spread out into larger communities.
Leaders in today’s organizations must have strong values and a belief in the capacity of individuals to grow. In other words, they empower others within the organization. They envision a society in which they wish to see their organizations and themselves live. They are visionaries and believe strongly in their ability in shaping the future and they do not hesitate to act on these beliefs through their own personal behavior and actions. They energize the organization as a whole. When compared to Gandhiji’s leadership principles, you can see that Gandhiji had a rock-solid value system and he wanted to make major changes in society. He had a totally interdependent relationship with his followers, as he was often seen walking with “commoners” as well as having high tea with “dignitaries”. He leadership style incorporated the four “E’s”: Envision, Enable, Empower, and Energize.
Gandhiji believed that one must not offend or harbor any uncharitable thoughts toward anything or anyone even when one considers themselves your enemy. This principle is not unlike the value system that leaders of today should have. A leader in today’s organization must be honest and patient when dealing with customers and fellow workers.
Generally people will not willingly follow a dishonest person especially through a crisis period, which is not all that uncommon throughout a project lifecycle. A leader should also respect other people, and value different ideas and opinions. Because organizations are becoming increasingly diverse and expanding across cultural boundaries, a leader should be aware of and respect these differences.
Satyagraha begins with reasoning with ones opponent or adversary in an attempt to arrive at a just solution. Neither a person has a monopoly on the truth nor is either side wholly correct. The purpose is to work out a rational compromise that is agreeable to both sides. A leader must have the ability to communicate and diffuse disagreeable situations. Conflicts naturally occur between individuals who are passionate about something. Often a leader must stand the neutral ground and help facility a win-win situation when dealing with conflicts.