Age-Old Formulae For Modern Success Story
Chanakya, who lived in India in the 3rd century BC, was a leadership guru par excellence. The treasure of his teachings can be found in his treatise, Arthashastra which deals with good governance based on ideal leadership. The concept of the ideal nation in the Arthashastra, called saptanga, holds that there are seven pillars of a kingdom: swamii (the king), amatya (the minister), janpada (the country), durg (the fortified city), kosha (the treasury), dand (the army), mitra (the ally). For centuries, Indian rulers have used this concept as a model of successful government. In this book, Chanakya’s 7 Secrets of Leadership, author Radhakrishnan Pillai delves into Chanakya’s saptanga with the real-life example of D Sivanandhan, former Director General of Police, Maharashtra. The archetype of an able administrator, Sivanandhan shares his guidelines for effective management, highlighting those that make a dynamic leader.
Radhakrishnan Pillai, who is founder-director of the Chanakya Institute of Public Leadership, has represented India in various national and international conferences and has also taught at educational institutes in Germany, the UK and India. His earlier bestselling book Corporate Chanakya is used by business schools around the globe. Although, Chanakya’s saptang neeti is a political treatise, Radhakrishnan Pillai has used it well for the modern corporate sector and for the relationship between the leader and citizen. He also explains the traits of a leader, who inspires his citizen. Leadership has to be practiced 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. It is a lifelong commitment. A leader will have his or her personal life, but it cannot be hidden from the public eye. This is because the leader sets an example, he becomes a role model. Hence, the saying “Yatha raja, tatha praja” (As the leader, so the citizen).
For a leader, it is important to be in touch with the citizens on a regular basis. In governance, challenges always remain to understand how citizens think. If a leader is able to understand their likes and dislikes, habits, culture, value systems, needs and aspirations, and gives the citizens what they need, he or she should not worry about the elections. To become a leader, one should understand how a leader thinks. And to understand how a leader thinks, one should understand how a citizen thinks. Creating a good team is also important for a leader. When we study history, we find that good leaders had great teams. Akbar had the Navratnas, Shivaji had Ashta-adhyakshas, the eight ministers of his core team, dedicated to his cause. Any leader should develop three qualities—an open mind to receive new ideas from his team, a broad shoulder to take responsibilities of the team and a large heart to accept the weaknesses of the team members.
In Chanakya’s 7 Secrets of Leadership, theory meets practice, academic research meets vast experience in police supervision and an age-old formulae are revealed in a modern-day success story. Together, Pillai and Sivanandan bring Chanakya’s model to life.
By Nilabh Krishna