leader of an organisation

A good leader defines the rules where there are none

"Welfare of all is the foundation on which we build a country, society and any institute", observes Radhakrishnan Pillai

In Sanskrit, law is called dharma—that which holds. For example, what holds people onto planet earth? It’s the ‘law’ of gravitation. If this was missing, then all beings would be out of control.

Similarly—in every home, organisation, and country—a certain law exists that holds everyone together. In most cases, like in our houses, these laws are unwritten yet practised. While in organisations and countries, they are documented as rules, regulations, constitutions, mission statements, etc.

Here, Chanakya suggests that if there is any organisation where these laws are missing, the king (the leader) should take the lead in making it. He says: “When all laws are perishing, the king here is the promulgator of laws, by virtue of his guarding the right conduct of the world consisting of the four varnas and four asramas.” (3.1.38)

So, if you are the leader of an organisation, you have to take the lead in laying down the rules too. But, before you do that, keep the following in mind:

As a leader, it is important to have a clear ‘vision’ for the organisation.

A law for what?

The first question one needs to ask himself is why do I require this new law? Until this is clear, we will be just creating something mechanical without having any clarity of what we are doing. In some of the companies where I did a ‘goal-setting’ workshop, I found that rule-setting was merely a formality, not something that ‘they’ really wanted from the depth of their hearts. Compliances issues and government rules are signed on the setting up of new companies without even knowing why these rules have to be followed. As a leader, it is important to have a clear ‘vision’ for the organisation.

Benefit for all

Now, let us go back to the fundamental principle of Kautilya’s Arthashastra. What is the duty of a king? “To consider the benefit of ALL his subjects and act accordingly”. Therefore, when you are making a policy, take into consideration the benefit of all and not just oneself. Welfare of all is the foundation on which we build a country, society and any institute. If this is missing, then subjects will get disappointed and, in the long run, will either replace their leader or go in search of a new one.

A fit for all

In the verse quoted here, Chanakya says that the king should make laws according to the four varnas and asramas. This means that we are looking at various, deeper aspects of subjects and workers—such as age, talents and natural qualities—while taking various decisions. For example, an economically poor person stealing a piece of bread may be let off unpunished as it was a matter of survival rather than stealing. This human angle is important.


Your wellbeing is a few clicks away.

Subscribe to your daily feed of positivity, wellness, and motivation.