Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has founded courses that provide techniques and tools to live a deeper, more joyous life. He has established nonprofit organizations that recognize a common human identity above the boundaries of race, nationality and religion. His goal is to uplift people around the globe, to reduce stress, and to develop leaders so that human values can flourish in people and communities.

Self-Management: The Key To Effective Leadership

Leadership & Ethics

Self-Management: The Key To Effective Leadership

On the 10th of November 2021, IIM Shillong hosted Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar for an enriching discussion on the topic “Self-Management: The Key to Leadership Effectiveness”.

The foremost aspect of management and leadership is to be able to manage oneself; to be able to cleanse the minds of people and bring them together in unity.

Addressing the gathering, the students and staff of IIM, Gurudev said,
“Self-management is a word which is heard of, but not much understood. The Self is an amalgamation of one’s emotions, behavior, impressions, likes, dislikes, tendencies, intentions, aspirations and goals. All these together make who you are.”

If you watch your mind for a few minutes, you will see that it is a whirlpool of thoughts; so much that you are not able to pinpoint what you really want. Life is simple, yet there is a seeming complexity; similar to how eating a banana seems simple and enjoyable, but the whole process of our digestive system when looked into, seems complicated.

So being able to manage oneself, one’s own behavior is paramount to getting things done and to be able to lead in this complex world. It depends on us, our communication. Effective communication happens when the mind is stress-free and in the present moment. An adult mind oscillates between the past and the future, but for children, being in the present moment is not difficult. More so with babies as they are already in the present moment, which is why they exuberate so much joy and positive energy.

As adults, we have our ambitions, our worries, our tension and stress which we have accumulated. There could be peer pressure, family pressure, pressure from parents, and so on. So there is something or someone that occupies our consciousness. So how to get the presence of mind? This is what meditation is all about.

Meditation, the word, is so eastern. In the west, they call it Mindfulness. Mindfulness is what we call as Prajna, the presence of mind which Lord Buddha has taught about in this land and so has Lord Mahavir. This is also mentioned in the Bhagavad Gita of Lord Krishna.

I would say, mindfulness is just the driveway, it is not the house. With Sudharshan kriya, with regular meditative practices, you really are into the house. It just uplifts the spirit, makes us energetic and brings the mind to the present moment, and also improves the intuitive ability.

For any entrepreneur, these are very essential – Intelligence, Intuition & Innovation. With an innovative spirit you bring about changes, new value additions to the table and a paradigm shift. With an intuitive ability, your gut feeling, you know what works. This is what students need to develop, through Self-Management.

Manage Your Emotions

  • Help yourself out of pre-occupation
  • Be in the present moment.

Improve upon your communication

  • Choice of words is imperative to good communication.
  • If you feel somebody doesn’t understand you, introspect. It is perhaps your lack of expression.
  • Never say, you are right all the time. Leave a little room for flexibility, acceptance. When you are adaptable, you are closer to managing yourself.
  • Be firm and decisive – You need not be goody goody all the time; yet know that firmness is not rudeness. Do what is right for everybody. That helps convince and take people along with you.
  • Think out of the box. Not just that, get yourself out of the box, free from the shackles of your own mind.
  • Speak what is absolutely necessary. Do not get caught up in discussions on the mundane. Be sensitive. We also need to make sure we are not overpowering others or imposing our likes/ dislikes on others.
  • Most importantly, listen and then put forth your points with clarity, so that others can adopt it.

“Clarity in Mind, Purity in Heart, and Sincerity in Action” is exactly what a well-managed self will present in their attitude and behavior.

Manage your energy levels

  • Keep yourself free of stress. When your energy is high, you can manage the most difficult things easily.
  • Be positive.
    • Situations and people in life would be like rose and thorns. The thorns (challenges) bring out the skill in you, while the rose inspires you to move forward.
    • Management is both an art and science. Art is from the heart and science is from the brain. Both have to be balanced to be able to navigate easily and lead.
  • Take proper timely food
  • Walk or do some exercise
  • Practice breathing exercises – pranayama, yoga and meditation. That brings tremendous relief from stress, brings lot of energy and enthusiasm and keeps your spirits high.

All these help to bring forth a very pleasant personality from within you – the most essential for a management/leadership cadre. When you can manage yourself, you can manage your anger, attitude and also manage/ lead others.

If we have to put this in an Indian context, leadership is of 3 levels – Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh – When you are creative you exude the Brahma energy, Vishnu depicts maintenance and the third form of leadership is that energy which brings drastic transformation. That needs a lot of courage and is the role of transformational leadership.

The choice of leadership depends on you, the individual.