Lessons to learn from leadership

WISDOM: Sadhguru


WHAT do you think is the reason be­hind us not seeing the kind of leaders we should have – whether in compa­nies or government?

Sadhguru: There is a historic element to this. We need to understand that we have been under occupation for centu­ries. In an occupied nation, there is a certain psychology when you step out, don’t raise your head and be seen. Put your head down and just come home. So, wherever there is a problem, you always put your head down and come away. This has been our attitude for centuries. We have such a strong instinct to avoid every problem. But a leader is someone who confronts every problem.

When I was in college, those were the times when all kinds of strikes were hap­pening. I remember how my mother used to be so worried every time. She knew I was a firebrand, and if I step out, I may be in trouble. So she would tell me, “Just go to college and come back home. Don’t go anywhere else. Something is happening on the street.” I would ask her, “Doesn’t this issue matter to you? Why shouldn’t I go? All the other boys are going. What is your stand on this?” She would reply, “Yes, it matters, but you come home.” This is the wisdom of an occupied nation – somehow duck and you will survive. If you stand up, your head may go.

You will see, if something happens on the street, there will only be bystanders staring at something – not one person stands up and does what is needed. It is very rare to find someone jumping into action and doing something. That is not the case with most other nations. This is deep-rooted in our country. This has to change. Those times are over. It is time – whatever the damn problems in this country, they are our problems. We have to address them. We cannot dodge them.

Today, things are beginning to change. It is only now that people are looking at being leaders. Otherwise, leadership was always in somebody else’s hands. Our business was to not get into trouble. It is significant that today, many of our cor­porate leaders are people born in free India. And for the first time, we have a prime minister born in free India.

This is significant because we were not in an occupied nation, we do not know what that experience is. This is a new generation of people who are thinking about where the nation should go and have a certain pride about who we are. It is not that the previous generation did not have it, but generally, there was a very natural instinct of “When there is trouble, look away. Don’t get into the situation.”

India is a tremendous pool of talent. Wherever else we go, Indians do phe­nomenally well, but we have not done well in our country because of lack of leadership and organisation. One of the biggest problems in India has been lack of leadership. When we utter the word “leadership,” people always think of the prime minister and chief ministers. But leadership is not just at the top. We need leadership at every layer of society, which is completely missing.

Today, if a good leader arises, every­one else starts worshipping him. A leader does not need worship. What he needs is a reinforcement of various levels of leader­ship so that his leadership finds traction – when he wants to do something, it will find its way to the grassroots. That is not happening right now in the country. At the top, there is an intention and they are trying to do something, but it is not finding traction down the line because there is no such leadership all along to understand and implement what needs to be done.

Leaders don’t fall from the sky. Some people make themselves into leaders or sometimes, situations compel them to become leaders. But the rest of the peo­ple need a proper system to become leaders. That system to build leadership is largely missing in India.

Isha is in the process of creating a leadership movement in the country and as part of this, we are building the Isha Leadership Academy. Starting from a homemaker, to a grocer, to a panchayat leader, to an MLA, I have identified elev­en layers of leadership that we need in our society, and we are preparing courses for them. Besides the regular MBA, a variety of programs – a week-long program, a three-week course, a six-week program and more – will be available. Empowered with in­sight, inspiration, inner wellbeing, integrity and humility, these graduates will become active, successful entrepreneurs who can fit seamlessly into any organisation and shape the society and world we inhabit.

Ranked amongst the fifty most influential people in India, Sadhguru is a yogi, mystic, visionary and bestselling author. Sadhguru has been conferred the Padma Vibhushan by the government of India in 2017. http://isha.sadhguru.org/