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Leadership lessons from Lord shiva :

Both Shiva and Indra are immortal deities. Shiva’s immortality is achieved by tapasya; Kama, god of desire, is sacrificed during tapasya. Indra’s immortality is achieved through yagna performed to satisfy bhoga, the fulfillment of desire. As long as there is desire for bhoga, there will be yagna.

Yagna demands sacrifice, bali. But bali has consequences which Indra more often than not cannot handle. Indra churns the ocean of milk for Amrita, nectar of immortality; along with it comes Halahal, a poison that threatens to destroy the whole world. Indra wants to consume Amrita but is unable to handle Halahal. He does not know what to do with it? He offers it to Shiva who locks it in his throat. With this one deed, Shiva becomes Mahadeva, God who is greater than gods, while Indra remains Deva, god.

Every leader wants to generate Amrita that will give him immortality. He is willing to perform a yagna and give a bali. But not every one is able to handle Halahal. He cannot wish it away. Halahal is the husk of the grain, the garbage of the household, the pollutant of the industry. Managing it is critical, else it will return to haunt the Yajaman

Sati asked Shiva to show her his house. Shiva did not have any. “What protects you from the heat in summer?” she inquired. Shiva took her down to the valley full of Deodar trees. “What protects you from the rain?” she asked. Shiva took her into a cave. “What protects you from the cold in winter?” Shiva took her to the snowy peak of Mount Kailasa. “Where do you keep fire?” Shiva took her to a crematorium where there was always a funeral pyre burning.

Sati declared Shiva to be Bhola, the simpleton, a guileless pure soul; she fell in love. Sati’s father, Daksha, declared Shiva to be uncouth, uncivilised, a destroyer of all things respected in culture. Shiva found Sati’s need for a house incredible, an imagined unnecessary need. He found Daksha’s opposition to him bizarre: in nature nothing is excluded; everything has its place.

Value is imagination.

When an animal is hungry, it values food. When an animal is frightened, it values shelter. It is this notion of value that enables in maximising revenue. Value transforms a commodity into a brand and allows for the charging of a premium. People do not buy products or services or ideas; they buy value. Value mitigates imagined fears, satisfies the predator and comforts the prey that lurks in every human being.

The gods had to defeat the buffalodemon, Mahisha, and were told to release their inner power, Shakti, and merge it outside to create the goddess of external power, Durga, who would kill the demon. Shakti is our inner strength. Durga is the strength that we get from outside. Praise for example empowers us because we get Durga from outside. Insults disempowers us, we feel stripped of Durga by our critic. Thus Durga is a currency of exchange, just like wealth or Lakshmi.

In all human interactions there is exchange of Durga. We have a vast supply of Durga to give, but we rarely take advantage of it. Instead we are too busy taking power.

Team empowerment:
Your team’s failure to respond as you want them to frustrates you. But your treatment frustrates them. You are not providing Durga – worse, you are taking Durga. No one feels empowered. A disempowered team is unable to reach its goal. A motivational talk, or fake ‘great jobs’, as you call them, grants power to people, makes them feel they can do it. Not everyone has Shakti, most rely on Durga from external sources.

Management of desire

Humans can imagine a world where there is no hunger. Such a world is called Kailasa. It is the mountainous abode of Shiva. Humans can also imagine a world where every hunger is satisfied. Such a world is called Amravati, the abode of the Devas. Kailasa is about yoga, outgrowing hunger pangs. Amravati is about bhoga, indulging hunger pangs. Given a choice, humans refer to Amravati as paradise, Swarga.

Vision statements about Kailasa or yoga are considered unrealistic and spiritual, unfit for the business world, meant for hermits rather than householders. Business exists to satisfy bhoga – of the consumer and the businessman. It is the desire of bhoga that creates the bazaar, the market place, where goods are exchanged.

Kama is the god of desire who induces hunger not only of the stomach but also the senses. In Kailasa, Shiva burns him to ashes. But in the marketplace, he is resurrected again, and again and again.

Should employee focus on SQ?

Shiva, the ascetic god, sits in Kailas located high up in the snow capped Himalayan range as well as in Kashi located down in the plains, on the banks of the river Ganges. Atop Kailas, Shiva sits in serene meditation as the teacher, Adi Nath.

Down below in Kashi, Shiva is Vishwanath, lord of the world, involved in activities of life and death, along with his consort Annapoorna, the goddess of food. Which Shiva matters more?

There is Kailas and Kashi in the corporate world too – the boss sits in Kailas while the customers, in Kashi. Who should one focus on? The boss upstream or the customers downstream. Downstream is where performance happens and value is created, but upstream is where appraisal is done, and promotions granted.

This is the irony of the corporate world. Despite all efforts to create an objective foolproof appraisal system, it relies heavily on the subjectivity of those upstream while the real value is generated with customers way downstream.

Office culture:

Chandra, the moon-god, disobeyed his father-in-law, Daksha Prajapati. An angry Daksha cursed Chandra that he would suffer from the wasting disease. Being a Deva, a sky-god, Chandra turned to Indra. “The only person you can turn to is Shiva,” said Indra.

Chandra sat before Shiva, trembling, afraid and desperate for help. Shiva opened his eyes, looked at the miserable moon-god. Without speaking a word, Shiva picked Chandra up and gently placed him on his forehead. Instantly, the moon began to wax once again.

Offices are filled with Daksha Prajapatis and Shivas. Daksha Prajapatis are colleagues who cause us to wane. Shivas on the other hand have a calming effect. Without doing too much, just by their mere presence, they can energize and bring back enthusiasm in the most depressed of colleagues.

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