Swami Vivekananda and Management03/04/2020
Swami Vivekananda’s teachings continue to inspire men to live their highest ideals and dedicate themselves to their highest pursuit. He was a leader who is reminisced by generations and continues to be a guiding force for leaders of the world.
Swami Vivekananda preached sacrifice, dedication, service and work with absolute commitment. He aroused the highest capabilities in a man by reminding them of their own divinity that made anything possible.
India celebrates his birthday as National Youth Day to celebrate the wisdom, teachings and mission of the soul that illumined the world with his presence. Here we look at the top leadership lessons from the timeless master.
- Believe in Yourself
“Believe in yourself and the world will be at your feet.”
A leader needs to believe in himself, his mission and what he is doing. When you have unwavering faith and belief, you find ways to accomplish things you want in your life. Difficulties, hardships and struggle make a true leader more determined to succeed.
Dedication to Work
“Even the greatest fool can accomplish a task if it were after his or her heart. But the intelligent ones are those who can convert every work into one that suits their taste.”
All great leaders remain deeply dedicated to their work. It doesn’t matter what you are doing, but how you are doing it that makes the ultimate difference. Great opportunities are always possible for the one who is dedicated to what he is doing.
Face the Problem
“If you ever feel afraid of anything, always turn around and face it. Never think of running away.”
A true leader will always have a mission and purpose in life. He will be ready to fight the world for it. You cannot solve problems by running away from them. Sooner or later, you will need to face the problems and conquer your fears. Leaders inspire people to face problems and find solutions for the benefit of all.
Focus on the goal
“Whatever you are doing, put your whole mind on it. If you are shooting, your mind should only be on the target. Then you will never miss. If you are learning your lessons, think only of the lesson.”
The difference in quality of two men lies in their ability to concentrate. When you focus your mind, energies and work towards your goals, success is assured. Leaders who work with single pointed focus are achieve their goals and vision.
“All power is within you. You can do anything and everything. Believe in that”
Leaders empower their people by believing in them, trusting them and they rise to greatness as a result. A leader instills belief in others where they can accomplish things that they never thought were possible. Swami Vivekananda preached about the infinite power that resides in each of us and how it unleashes itself to help us achieve anything we want.
Strong Intentions and Resolutions
“There is no impossible word in the dictionary of those who lead. No matter how big a challenge, they can be resolved with strong intentions and resolutions.”
A leader always has great intentions, big vision and the resolution to try until he succeeds. When you are working on a noble mission with the right intentions, you may face hurdles, but you will make it in the end. Important is not to lose focus, change directions or give up.
Great efforts always lead to great results. Every problem is a challenge that can be overcome when you have a strong resolve.
“Leader is one who knows how to obey commands before knowing how to command. Learn obedience first.”
A leader knows the rules of the game. He is the one who sets the benchmark for others to follow. Leaders take the responsibility, they walk the talk and never ask their teams to do what they wouldnt do themselves. A leader sets high expectations, standards and ideas for others to follow.
To sum up Swami Vivekananda’s life and selfless leadership, he once said “This life is short, the vanities of the world are transient, but they alone live who live for others, the rest are more dead than alive.”
This incident took place in 1895. The place was London. Swami Vivekananda was to give a public lecture and he had come to London with Swami Saradananda. When it was time to stand up and speak, Swami Vivekananda suddenly announced that Swami Saradananda would deliver the speech instead of him. Though taken by surprise, Saradananda did an excellent job that day, and thereafter too. Swami Vivekananda had realized that all Saradananda needed was a little push to bolster his self-confidence. This incident in isolation may not say much, but we need to see it from the perspective of the leadership and management style of Swami Vivekananda.
Swamiji was not only an inspirational leader, but was also a very pragmatic one. He not only believed in ‘Servant-based Leadership’ but constantly endeavored to empower all those around him. In dealing with his brother-disciples and followers, he evoked what is today popularly known in the management world as the ‘Pygmalion Effect’. Management expert J. Sterling Livingston describes it as the effect of enabling subordinates to excel in response to the leader’s expectation of them. Swami Vivekananda had a high expectation of his followers and he communicated that to them clearly, thus eliciting a high level of performance. Leaders empower their followers by believing in them, and they rise to greatness as a result. The leaders make themselves larger by enlarging others. The leader constantly aims at moving people around him from dependence to independence to the state of inter-dependence. Swami Vivekananda had chosen ’empower and facilitate’ philosophy over ‘command and control’ long before modern management realized its potential. Trust plays an important part in the process. If the leader does not trust his followers, he will use control instead of empowerment. Swami Vivekananda while exhorting his disciples to the highest levels of work had the fullest trust in them and their abilities. His urge to motivate people around him to aspire for higher levels of performance can be seen from this letter of his to his direct disciple Swami Shuddhananda in 1897. He writes, “…Lastly, you must remember i expect more from my children than from my brethren (his brother disciples). I want each one of my children to be a hundred times greater than i could ever be. Every one of you must be a giant – must, this is my word. Obedience, readiness, and love for the cause – if you have these three, nothing can hold you back.”
This also shows Swamiji’s interpersonal skills and the ability to motivate and develop people. One can even say that Swamiji’s call, “Arise, Awake and stop not till the goal is reached” was nothing but an attempt to empower people en-masse. J Carla Nortcutt had once said, “The goal of many leaders is to get people to think more highly of the leader. The goal of a great leader is to help people to think more highly of themselves.” This is perhaps the best description of Swami Vivekananda, the greatest leader of our times.