FOLLOWING LEADERSHAPE’S THREAD on Chinese views of leadership, another global power has added to the debate on Transpersonal Leadership (beyond the ego) – India! Our Senior Advisor in India, Anant Nadkarni, takes up the conversation:
” When you say leadership pervades the whole organisation and beyond, it perhaps endorses that the essence is to design structures with minimum functional needs; let’s assume we are people working here and each one needs space, appropriate empowerment, sensitivity, acknowledgement with freedom of self-expression. So the logical aspect is balanced with the ‘organic’ prerequisite for full human development and growth.
It follows that, at all points in an organisation each one has to take very small risks, initiatives, a bit of courage, sometimes criticism and go beyond mere competence to express the basics of leadership – that everyone has more potential than can be assumed. These and other elements are present in all of us and need encouragement. It is really about global ideological acceptance on increasing ‘freedom from control’ at work!
As far as interplay of the system and culture is concerned (with the importance of culture slightly above the system,) it is precisely the edge on which ‘individual and institutional’ balance of satisfaction turns. In fact a great organisation is one where we believe that the individual is important. Everything begins with the self, reflection and mastery that leads to influence, creating resonant circles of excellence in behaviour, out of choice! The system is then merely a ‘boundary’ line or enabler.
For example, at Tata, where I was VP Group Corporate Sustainability, there is a “Tata way” (the system) that guides, only when required, and “Tataness” – a unique tradition of typical behaviour. Strategy is embedded into companies within their ‘culture’ which has a sectoral and historical flavour. At the group level, Tata has core values on a shared agreement; companies using the brand align even though they have fiercely independent Boards managing within their own culture. As group head, I had to “evolve” group policies rather than trying to “prescribe” any new ones.
In the end, as Lao Tsu (a great Chinese philosopher) said “A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.”
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The original article – The Ancient Chinese Science of Organisational Transformation – can be found here.