Lessons on Leadership from Gandhiji

Lessons on Leadership from Gandhiji

Leadership & Management

GlobalLinker Staff

GlobalLinker Staff

42 week ago — 8 min read

October 2 marks the birth anniversary of one of the greatest leaders of the nation -- Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. He worked tirelessly to create ample work opportunities for the citizens of India, promoted Indian craftsmanship and contributed immensely to the country’s socio-economic upliftment. Nothing less than what an entrepreneur does, right?

So, this Gandhi Jayanti, here are few lessons on leadership from the Mahatma himself:

1.  Keep your thoughts positive

“Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior. Keep your behavior positive because your behavior becomes your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.”

Even before you begin your leadership journey; it is important that you understand the core value of the above saying by Gandhi. It is futile to begin a journey without a positive thought process. In business, only when you are thinking about the greater good of humanity and how your venture holds the power to benefit numerous people and you consistently work towards your goal, can you be a successful leader.

Also read: The Secret Saboteur


2. Have faith in what you believe in

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

The entrepreneurial journey is sometimes lonely and your idea might not be received with much positivity initially. But the key is to stick to what you believe in; by putting in persistent efforts towards your goals, a day will come when you will prove the naysayers wrong and victory will be yours. Gandhiji had firm faith that one day we will walk through the gates of freedom and with his persistent efforts, he helped India win its long cherished dream of freedom.


3. Lead through love

Power is of two kinds. One is obtained by the fear of punishment and the other by acts of love. Power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent than the one derived from fear of punishment.

Gandhiji had utter faith that love can pave the way for greatness in life. Being the leader of an organisation, you are entitled to a lot of power. But it is how you exercise this power that matters. There are two types of leaders; ones who rule using fear as their major weapon and others who use love and understanding to win over their employees, clients and business partners. The first kind maybe a winner for a short duration of time but it is the latter that always wins as they are more compassionate, kinder and empathetic towards their people.


4. Strength doesn’t always lie in physical power

I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people.


True to the saying, leadership doesn’t mean ruling by physical strength. The true test of leadership lies in how well you get along with people you work with and Gandhiji proved this time and again. At a time when we were a war-torn nation, Gandhiji led the path using non-violence and amassed a fan following that many great leaders of his time failed to.

Also read: 10 things mentally strong people avoid


5. Practice what you preach

A principle is a principle and in no case can it be watered down because of our incapacity to live it in practice. We have to strive to achieve it, and the striving should be conscious, deliberate and hard.


A story from Gandhi’s life spells this beautifully. Once there was a mother who was fed up of her son’s habit of consuming too much sugar. Unable to control it herself, she seeks Gandhi’s help for the same. Gandhi asks her to visit him after a week’s time. The mother does as asked and visits Gandhi again after a week with her son. This time Gandhi asks the boy to stop eating sugar, saying it is not good for health and that he should listen to his mother. Baffled by this reply, the mother asks Gandhi as to why did he have to wait a week to utter these simple lines. To her pleasant surprise, Gandhi replied, “But how could I? I used to eat sugar then.”


This teaches us the greatest lesson on leadership; preach only what you can practice. Only by doing so, can you be a good leader.


6. Change must start with you

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”


True leaders are the people who view the world through a different lens. They strive to bring a positive change to the world and for that they must be the harbingers of change. Gandhiji was a determined leader who visualised the change he wanted to see. And every day of his life he worked towards achieving that transformation.


7. Keep your anger in check

“Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding.”


Anger destroys the greatest of men. As mentioned above, a leader is the harbinger of change and along the path of entrepreneurship, you will interact and deal with people from different walks of life. It is therefore, very important to be able to exercise emotional control and tolerance in every situation. 

8. Accept your mistakes

Confession of errors is like a broom which sweeps away the dirt and leaves the surface brighter and clearer. I feel stronger for confession.


As a leader, you can succeed only if you can acknowledge the mistakes you have committed. No man is perfect and it is only natural to make mistakes. Accepting that and moving forward paves the way for improvement and better relations. Gandhiji said, “I feel stronger for confessions” and he stuck to this philosophy throughout his life which won him the trust of one and all.


9. Value your customers

A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so.


This saying perfectly encapsulates Gandhiji’s inclusive policy and his strong sense of duty to others. As a leader you must keep in mind that your customers are the core of your business. They are the sole reason why the business was set up in the first place. Hence, customer satisfaction should be your aim throughout. Only when you value your customers can you be successful in your venture and be known as a leader.


Also read: Customer satisfaction is the key to unlocking your business potential


10. Look after your health

“It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.”


As a leader, you can only lead efficiently if you are at the top of your health and spirit. Everything comes down to your physical and mental wellbeing, hence it is important that you take care of yourself, eat right and practice healthy habits.


Share with us how you have applied these timeless lessons by Gandhiji in your life and business.

Image source: shutterstock.com


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GlobalLinker Staff

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