Leadership lessons of Lord Rama for corporate world

As seven-year-old, When I first recited Ramayana, I was blown away with the charm of Lord Ram leadership style. Lord Ram is always discussed in religious relevance but it’s the leader in Lord Ram from whom we must learn the leadership lessons. His leadership lessons are relevant beyond timelines. For every leader, it’s important to imbibe leadership principles of lord Ram because it can only help them to build a sustainable, ethical high-performance culture. In this article, I am sharing the principles of Lord Ram which if inculcated fully, will ensure high performance culture at workplace.

  • Diversity and Inclusion – After much hiatus, corporates are realizing the importance of DIBs (Diversity, Inclusion, and belongingness). Thousand years ago, Lord Ram practiced DIBs.  Mata Sabri belonging to a lower caste presented ber fruit (Indian Jujube) to Lord Ram for eating. She first takes one bite of the ber fruit to check its sweetness then offered it to Lord Ram. Lord Ram happily eaten all the ber fruit of which one bite was eaten by Mata Sabri. Lord Ram told mata Sabri that he only believes love and respect. Sabri’s caste, color is immaterial for him. In the same breath, Lord Ram hugged Nishadraj and called him true friend. He given a very important message to the world of inclusion. The world is fighting every day, and few must run campaigns likes #blacklivesmatter, #Metoo to force diversity and inclusion at workplace and in the society. When God has not discriminated anyone based on religion, caste, colour and race, then why humans are doing it. Corporate worlds need to move faster to include D&I at workplace. Taking everyone along with fairness should be the priority of a leader. Lord Ram is all about inclusion of people from every walk of life.
  • Woman Empowerment– Woman empowerment is a buzz word in the corporate world. So much is written and advertise in the media. But is it really practiced in real life? Women participation in the corporate world if far lower than Men’s. It has become more of rhetoric than actual effort to bring parity in society or the workplace. Lord Ram belongs to a generation were marrying more than one girl was norm in the society. But Lord Ram promised his wife Sita that he will never marry again and stood by his promise. He never spoke on woman empowerment but practiced all his life. Its high time that woman empowerments make a move from textbook, CSR, corporate presentations to practice in real life.
  • Have confidence in young people, give them a chance– How often the corporate world leaders are unfair to freshers. Leaders want to play safe by hiring an experience resource.  No one is willing to give a chance to freshers. Lord Ram gave chance to young prince Angad to represent him in the court of mighty Ravan. He proved his worth and successfully instill fear among the members of the court. We must learn from Lord Ram and should be willing to give chance to young people based on their capability than experience.
  • Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much- Lord Ram can alone defeat anyone but even God believed in partnership. He stitched alliance with Sugirve and Vibhision to defeat Ravan. In a world of ruthless competition, leaders’ companies must identify the right partners to succeed and grow. Stronger should support the weak to find its feet and starts running. Riches must help poor to give them a life of dignity and respect.
  • Punish the wrongdoers- After all your attempts, if someone is not willing to learn then you must punish him. Being a nice human being is good but if someone is taking benefit of your niceness then you must give him what he deserves. In other words, non-violence is great and must be practiced but never hesitate to take weapon to kill the devil. In corporate world, its common to find people who often try to get benefit of your honesty, humbleness but one need to give it back. Like Ravan, not everyone understands the language of kindness.
  • Parents are supreme– Many will not consider it as one of leadership skills, but I can’t stop sharing it here because this principle of Lord Ram is very relevant today. Our values have eroded in the quest of becoming pseudo modern. There is hardly any respect for the parents. Kids see parents as means of fulfilling their wishes. Lord Ram despite death of his father and request from his family and kingdom decided to stay in forest for 14 years to fulfil the promise he has given to his father before his death. If there is one thing this generation must choose to learn from Lord Ram, then they must learn and imbibe this principle. When parents and God appears at the same time, bow to the parents who taught us to bow before the god. Why I am discussing this point and calling it relevant because ethos of corporate world is always influenced by the culture of the society. Lord Ram told his brother Bharat, “Beauty may leave moon, Himalayas may become bereft of snow, The ocean may transgress its shores, but I will never violate the promise given by my father”.
  • To be calm under difficult situation- Lord Ram always kept calm under any situation. His smile brings a sense of comfort among people. Because of this skill, he was able to please mighty Lord Parshuram who is well known for his angry behavior. Leaders must learn and adapt the calm behavior of Lord Ram. It will help them in building, bonding relationship with most difficult people.
  • Protect your people- The irony of corporate world is that leadersare prepared to sacrifice their people if need arises without qualms. Lord Ram left his palace and went to jungle to protect Sadhus from demons. He ensured everyone in his kingdom is protected from demons and unfair practice. His actions won loyalty of his people. We should understand that it’s a duty of corporate leaders to protect its employees especially in the time of crisis. It will help them to won loyalty and high performance.
  • Trust and keep the promise- I am sure you have come across a situation when your leader has broken the promise made to you. Like a salary rise, promotion, change of job profile etc but once work is done, he completely forgotten about the promise made to you. This led to trust deficit and respect of the leader in the organization. Lord Ram promised Sugriva his Kiskindha state, and he ensured that he kept his promise. His actions helped him to gain unconditional support of Sugriva.
  • Never take something which is not yours How often Leaders in corporate go for hostile takeovers. Do you integration of companies is very difficult in case of hostile takeovers. Most of the time hostile takeovers backfires and entire organization collapsed because of this reason. Lord Ram despite winning the Kingdom of Lanka returned it to its citizen. He made Vibhisan as the king of Lanka and returned to Ayodhya. There is underlying important message that we must overcome our greed’s to have a good life in the corporate world.

Important here is to note, unlike modern day leaders who talked much about these principles of D&I, Woman empowerment in investor ppt, PR communication, Lord Ram practiced it every time. We must move and move faster to realize the principles of Lord Ram and truly create an inclusive workplace.

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