Who would you learn leadership qualities from? I am fascinated by the leadership qualities of my spiritual guru, Yogiraj Vethathiri Maharishi. Here is the man who has built a world community service center with over 10 million members in his lifetime. He has written over 75 books and 1000’s of poems. He lived what he taught to us. His leadership lessons to us are:
- Swamiji never gave his comments to anyone unless one asked him.
- He would withhold his comments until he was asked to give his opinion on the subject.
- Can you believe that the man who won the respect of millions of his followers never ordered anyone around? Yes, Believe it.
- He would politely request. He would never command.
- The corporate world taught us to demand. Manager are asked to write down their demands from their team members. Maharishi never wrote down his demands of his disciples or the trustees.
- Training programs are regularly conducted how on to set annual goals for employees. Swamiji never taught us to set goals for others. He only taught us to set goals for oneself.
- Companies perform an annual appraisal to measure how each employee performed against the goals. He or she is ranked according to the performance average of the company. Vethathiri Maharishi never ranked any of us. He encouraged us to set our own performance criteria. He taught us that the only improvement necessary is to beat your own past performance.
- Surprised? Let me tell you the truth: I was shocked when I first heard it from him.
- How can you run an organization without expectations? He ran his world community service trust without setting expectations on his members. He succeeded. People volunteered. People gave him what was needed. Some gave less. Some gave more. He accepted everything that came – good or bad.
- He told us that expectations lead to disappointments. How true! The other side of expectation is the disappointment. Do you want to live without disappointments in life? Stop expecting!
- How is it possible to live without hurting? No matter how hard one tries, our actions hurt someone. Maharishi hardly hurt anyone.
- Swamiji told us never to hurt anyone in thoughts, words or deeds. He lived by example for us.
- Yogiraj Vethathiri Maharishi expressed his opinions with caution. He would think carefully so as to not cause hurt to anyone’s feelings.
- Maharishi never expressed his ideas in a pompous or dogmatic way. He would be polite in his expressions.
Never show anger:
- Desires cause anger. In the thirty years, I had known him, I have never seen him get angry.
- People who have lived with him vouch for his patience and calmness. Even as he dealt with extreme situations, he remained calm.
- He developed a system to neutralize anger. Millions of people follow his introspection practice. Many have overcome anger in their lives.
- Think about this: Your anger with your subordinates will make them vengeful. Even if they cannot do anything to you now, they will bide their time and take their revenge.
- Worry, Maharishi asserted, is soul suicide.
- Swamiji gave us a systematic practice to eradicate worries, distress and fears.
- He never worried. He had seen extreme poverty in life. He made and lost his riches. None distressed him.
- Swamiji showed us that peace is a path and not a destination.
- He believed that individual peace will lead to world peace.
- He taught us how to remain peaceful inside no matter what happens outside of you.
- He showed us how to maintain peace at home and at work.
Adjust, Tolerate & Sacrifice:
- People come in all forms, shapes, and colors. Tolerance is necessary to manage our differences.
- Not everyone behaves the same. Adjustment is needed to maintain harmony amongst people at the workplace and at home.
- Under certain circumstances, one must learn to sacrifice. A true leader’s quality is to sacrifice. He demonstrated to us several times in his life that his self-worth does not diminish in any way by his sacrifices.
Do you agree with these leadership qualities?
Krish Murali Eswar.