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Bala Mookoni

Leadership lessons from Mahatma Gandhi

  • Oct 03 / 2013
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Leadership lessons from Mahatma Gandhi

On the occasion of the Mahatma’s 144th birthday, let us have a fresh look at a few of his sterling qualities that today’s leaders can think of emulating.

Gandhi did not display leadership qualities in his younger days. He was shy, introverted and probably was not a born leader. One thing was for sure: his value systems were in place early on. His example tends to suggest that value systems tend to promote leadership qualities even in those not born with them.

Virtue and Assertiveness make a winning combination. Gandhi personified this. He had his way with the Indian National Congress on all matters of importance. Modern leaders tend to shy away from old world values for the fear of being castigated as Luddites. But virtue does not mean weakness or meekness. When coupled with assertiveness and fearlessness, it leads to great magnetism and mass appeal. Gandhi was one of the most photographed Indians of his time.

Great leaders do not hesitate to experiment with path-breaking initiatives. Gandhi’s Non-Violent Movement and Salt Satyagraha were gems of creativity and beyond the scope of normal mortals’ imagination. Few would have thought that these simple concepts would become such unstoppable juggernauts. What courage must he have had to believe that they would ever take off with such a great impact on the masses! Improvement is only possible with experimentation. Gandhi’s life is an epitome of empiricism. His life is a saga of theory and experiment juxtaposed to create a telling effect.

Humility is the hallmark of a deep spiritual quotient. Meher Baba said, “In the world of spirituality, humility is as important as utility.” Gandhi’s humility, deep love for people that comes in its wake, and self-effacing ways endeared him to even the greatest of minds. It played no small role in his ascension to becoming one of world’s greatest leaders.

Slowing down and deep reflection are essential for becoming visionaries. Gandhi’s mind-boggling creativity was promoted by his lifestyle that permitted deep reflection. In a gentle way, he shook the world.


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