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A Higher Standard of Leadership: Lessons from the Life of Gandhi Paperback – 1 Dec 1996
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About the Author
Keshavan Nair was born in Patalia, India, and as a young man began his study of Gandhi. Educated in the British and American systems, Nair had a background in Eastern philosophy and religion, engineering, and decision and risk analysis. He was a corporate executive and served on the faculties of Ohio State University and the Indian Institute of Technology in Kampur, India. Nair passed away in 2002.
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I had found the book caters to an audience of business leaders for whom Gandhian principle might seem more of an idealist than practicality. The author tries to bring a framework which aligns to Gandhian principles for business leadership. He is candid about what could be concerns of business leaders. I started with the question if it is really applicable to today's complex interconnected world. As I read the book and made my notes, I realized we can easily take the route of impracticality and idealistic to dismiss some of what is mentioned here. My views changed when I went about reading. For instance, the corporate world's perspective of motivation and productivity is questioned here. "In Business, the highest level of motivation occurs when all employees are driven by a sense of personal responsibility to do their work to the best of their ability. When this occurs, there is less need for supervision and there are more efficiency and great productivity."
One more insight I gained was on how leaders need to consider power. The author elaborates how to reconcile power with service.
Today we have new age coaches who take us through leadership training, who talk about Charisma, executive presence, where Linkedin has new articles on leadership every day in some form, where winning is considered the ultimate goal of leadership. The message from a simple man, who was barely clothed but caught the world's imagination through his moral principles of Ahimsa and Truth is worth looking at.
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Higher standard of leadership is the only thing we need today to make business meaningful.