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Saturday, 24 May 2008

Leadership and Integrity: A Lesson from Kathasaritsagar by Satya Chaitanya

Leadership and Integrity: A Lesson from Kathasaritsagar by Satya Chaitanya: "Leadership and Integrity:
A Lesson from Kathasaritsagar
by Satya Chaitanya
(Developed from the author’s class lectures in Indian Philosophy for Leadership Excellence to senior Management students at XLRI School of Business and Human Resources, Jamshedpur.)

Ancient Indian literature abounds in invaluable lessons in leadership, though the concept of leadership was usually that of the king as the leader. Since for our ancestors dharma was one of the most important preoccupations, especially in relation to leadership, our literature has numerous stories that talk of the importance of dharma for a king, which included the need for him to be virtuous as well as have and display character and integrity. Our ancients believed, as modern management experts do, that integrity or character is the very foundation of a leader’s effectiveness.

Sheelam pradhanam purushe, the Mahabharata tells us: character is the most important thing in a man. Without character a leader, our ancients had no doubts, would not be able to command loyalty and commitment. It is a leader’s integrity that generates trust in him and without integrity, no follower, be he a minister of the king, a counsellor, an army commander, or a common citizen, will trust him. True, the king does have power that originates from his position as the supreme"

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