Lessons leaders can learn from Mahatma Gandhi’s life

While implementing a plan of action, the leader should move along with his fellow countrymen or workers and try to feel the pain himself.

Mahatma Gandhi, LeadersMohandas Karamchand Gandhi is one of the greatest and most respected Indian political leaders of the twentieth century.

Whether you are in politics, business, or in any other field, Gandhiji’s honesty and style of leadership have much to offer to you.

The ‘nanga fakir’ (naked beggar), as he was mocked at by the then British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, was a bar-at-law from London who used to have a passion for fashion during his academic stint in Great Britain.

After spending 21 long years in South Africa and making the land of apartheid his laboratory of ‘Truth’ and ‘Non-Violence’, Gandhi was back home in India in a transformed avatar.

The true leaders believe in the dictum of “example is better than precept”.

After being bestowed with the responsibility of spearheading the movement of independence against the British Raj by his guru Gokhale, he opted for travelling across the country to feel the pulse and gauge the mood of his fellow countrymen at the ground zero level.

He preferred to travel by train in the general compartment so that he could be a part and parcel of the common men’s lives.

A true leader ought to possess the ability to think and act at both the micro and macro level. He does not confine himself to the drawing-room assessment as many bureaucrats in the government, CEOs in the corporate sector and politicians do these days.

He carefully looks into the pros and cons before implementing a policy or scheme and assesses how it serves the common interests of the citizens of the nation or the employees of an organisation.

He feels the need to take the citizens or employees even at the lowest strata into confidence before implementing a policy.

Gandhiji has taught that instead of imposing one’s own fancies and whims on people or employees pronouncing that it would help them and the nation or organisation in long run, the leader should first make them ready to make the transition.

In the name of making a sacrifice for the gain of a prosperous future, the true leaders never resort to lip service and rhetoric. He does the homework in gathering enough feedbacks before plunging into the uncertain future.

It’s wisely said, “look before you leap.” Once stepping forward, a true leader neither drags his/ her feet back nor turns tail.

While implementing a plan of action, the leaders should move along with his fellow countrymen or workers and try to feel the pain himself.

During the trial and error method, he/ she should be ready to bear the brunt so that the awful feelings and bittier experience of others could be well-realised.

When it is observed later that the plan has misfired and the general public or the employees are suffering, the leader too should opt for undergoing the acid test with others.

Only then the prescription for the remedy and rectification can be made jointly for greater common good. After all, all work needs to bear the stamp of a human face and interest.


The writer is an alumnus of IIM-Ahmedabad. Views expressed are personal.


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