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  • Writer's pictureAdil Malia

Side with forces of the right as a Leader

Chanakya and Machiavelli were both historically, the most celebrated leadership coaches. Whilst there are differences in their perspectives, leadership styles and war strategies, there are also substantive similarities in their thoughts and Leadership advise whether to the 'Prince' or to the 'Samrat'..

One of the areas they strongly felt similar about was the role a leader was expected to play when he saw factions within his team caused by rift or Power agendas between his otherwise powerful subordinates. Both denounce the leader who ignores the issue.

Effective leaders recognize that conflicts are omnipresent and inherent in human nature. Modern day corporates cannot shun from this reality though manifestations of such 'Palace Intrigues' are subtle, sophisticated and fought out in commercial arenas !!!

Machiavelli and Chanakya both debar leaders who put their Personal desires before the goals of the institutions they command. To achieve institutional victory, the first step they say, is for the leader to see the world plain and to accept the facts about human nature. Both encourage the Prince to be selfless whilst serving common interest. Lesson for Corporate Leadership.

Side with the one who is right. Convince the one who is wrong. But if he persists, put your power and throw your weight around the one who is right. Then banish the traitor. Being part of your team, he is duty bound to follow your final command irrespective of his views or personal interests. If he doesn't, he is dangerous. Either your leaders pull along with you or they rock the boat !!!

Says Chanakya that leaders tend at times to ignore and overlook such situations. Possibly due to preoccupation with state work or at times due to their own agendas. This can be a dangerous decision.

Tasting victory over the competitor, such a indolent Victor tends to get bolder. His ambition grows. He seeks more Power. He sees the Samrat as being weak, having not interfered despite knowledge. History has evidenced many cases where growing in Power Generals have felt bold enough to indulge either in palace conspiracies and intrigues or wage battles against their Kings.

The loser, who was on the bright side, would also then stop supporting the Prince, having not found this support earlier. In psychology, this is an 'Approach -Approach' conflict and can be dangerous.

Machiavelli warns that if there is a war going on in your neighbourhood, it is more dangerous to be neutral than to take sides. Similar is Chanakya's advise. Use influence to avert the war but if you cannot, don't remain a neutral observer, for slowly the dubious negative forces will find a way to engulf you.

Elements of human nature continue. We have as leaders to learn to avert conflicts but certainly learn to take sides with the positive forces, if the conflict cannot be averted.

Side with the right for what in the end will be remembered are not the words of the enemies...but the silence of the friends !

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