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Leadership Lessons

Mahatma Gandhi

Gandhi is generally considered one of the most influential world leaders. From humble beginnings he gained world prominence, helped achieve independence for India and left a lasting legacy for us all. Many of Gandhis core principles are remarkably relevant. This is especially true of Gandhis thoughts and practices in the realm of leadership competencies and self-development:

Lesson # 1 : Continuous learning and improvement

Gandhi always told his followers that if two of his sentences contradict each other and if they thought he was sane at that time (!), please ignore the first one and accept the second one. This reflects his learning and growth mindset, as well as anticipation of his followers needs. As an added corollary, rigid consistency was not one of his traits!

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.

Lesson # 2 : Looking at each person just as a human being

Be quick, be brief, be gone! Personal meetings with Gandhi were very short, generally lasting a couple of minutes. However, in those minutes people felt that Gandhi made them feel as if they were the only person in the world that Gandhi would have liked to talk at that time.

I look only to the good qualities of men. Not being faultless myself, I won't presume to probe into the faults of others.

Lesson # 3 : Being an excellent listener

Gandhi was not a very skilled public speaker; generally he was believed to be quite average. On the other hand, he was an exceptional listener of both the articulated and the unsaid. He seemed to be practicing seeing with your ears.

It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.

Lesson # 4 : Proactively identifying barriers to make change sustainable

In the 1920s an American journalist asked Gandhi what the biggest problem was that India faced at the time. The journalist expected Gandhi to say that the problems were slavery and British rule or pervasive poverty. But Gandhi said the biggest challenge facing the country was callousness of intellectuals. He was not just thinking about getting independence but about building a sustainable society.

You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.

Lesson # 5 : Being the conscience keeper

Non-cooperation was one of the key political movements that Gandhi initiated and led. Gandhi aborted the movement saying a key tenet of the movement, non-violence, was violated, and that in his opinion we are not ready for self-rule. A related trait for Gandhi was his belief that the end did not justify the means. He was insistent about purity of path in order to achieve desired goal.

Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man.

Lesson # 6 : Heavy emphasis on self-awareness and discipline

As you grow in self awareness, you will better understand why you feel what you feel and why you behave as you behave. Self discipline is the training of your mind to control, perceived harmful, urges, and to continue to control these urges until a satisfactory resolution has been sought. Self discipline is a skill and once you get to grips with it, it can alter your life.

Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed. Always aim at purifying your thoughts and everything will be well.

Lesson # 7 : Balancing value-driven vision and execution efficiency

A leader with vision has a clear, vivid picture of where to go, as well as a firm grasp on what success looks like and how to achieve it. But its not enough to have a vision; leaders must also share it and act upon it. A leader must be able to communicate his or her vision in terms that cause followers to buy into it. He or she must communicate clearly and passionately, as passion is contagious.

You must be the change you wish to see in the world.

Lesson # 8 : Emphasis on path and result

Mahatma Gandhi was the great leader. He had chosen a path of non-voilence for himself and his followers. All his life he fought against the imperial powers only with the weapon of non-voilence. This gave us straight to fight without weapons. And due to this we are here and ready to face any problem. Its also necessary to be clear as to what are the outcomes of effective leadership.

A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes.

Lesson # 9 : Adopting holistic perspective in every endeavor

In his ideal society, there is no room for weapons other than nails of a woman. Security has nothing to do with weapons of any sort in the Gandhian arrangement of things. Gandhi is in favor of a nonviolent and more civilized life style. Gandhi's approach had always been holistic as human life is a synthetic whole, which can not be divided into watertight compartments of social , religious, political life etc.

"The world will live in peace , only when the individuals composing it make up their minds to do so".

Lesson # 10 : Be open-minded
Always keep things in perspective. Do not dismiss others or anything big or small without giving a try. We never know where the next cool or useful idea may come from.

If patience is worth anything, it must endure to the end of time. And a living faith will last in the midst of the blackest storm.

Want to succeed in something? Then work hard for it. Want to get something done? -Just do it! We complicate our lives for no reason. Keep it simple! - Plan, persevere and be persistent. This is the basic mantra for any successful venture, or to achieve any significant goal in life. Have a vision toward the goal, plan for it, and work hard to achieve it. Gandhi can be your best mentor!!!

In a gentle way, you can shake the world.

Thank You Very Much Sompong Yusoontorn