The right attitude for a manager

"Postpone every activity and thought till you are calm and quiet. Remember, your intellect may be a wonderful instrument, but it works only without disturbance." - Radhakrishnan Pillai

In Kautilya’s Arthashastra, a king’s manager is referred to as an Amatya. He is a very important person. In the verse below, Chanakya gives us an idea of the right attitude and mental framework with which a manager should work.

He says: “He should turn away from another frightful (words by the king), and should not himself use frightful words to another, and should tolerate (such words) addressed to himself, being full of forbearance like the earth.” (5.4.15)

The following three cases, along with their solutions, illustrate this verse:

Case 1: The king (your boss) fires you

Solution: There are times when even the best of bosses fire you. The reasons may or may not be known to you. You should turn away from “another frightful” exchange of words.

This means that, if your boss is expressing his anger, it necessarily need not be towards you. Secondly, do not react with thoughts like “I will leave this job”, or “How can my boss do this after 20 years of dedication?” etc.

Just keep calm and let time pass. Then, with a cool head, analyse why he or she said what was said. It was probably a continuation of some previous event that affected his behaviour. Or, it could be that you did not do something expected of you.

Once you understand the reason, it will be easy to take action. If it was your mistake, then correct it and only then go back to the boss. Just go at a later stage (“turn away from… frightful” words).

Case 2: Suppose you get angry

Solution: Now this is a situation for anger management! Never aim your frustration towards others—this is very essential. It requires practice, but it’s important to recognise when you are losing your temper and try to remain cool.

Postpone every activity and thought till you are calm and quiet. Remember, your intellect may be a wonderful instrument, but it works only without disturbance.

Case 3: Someone abuses you

Solution: In such a case, Chanakya asks us to be as forgiving as mother earth. There are bound to be times in every manager’s life when, despite doing one’s best for juniors and subordinates, they show an attitude of ‘thanklessness’. It’s very painful. At such times, remember your parents. You only have to look around to see how children all the time ask of their parents, “What did you do for me?”

Never get frustrated or blame yourself with “What a child/worker I’ve got!”

Just remain calm, forgive them, and let life go on. Things return back to normal as all of us realise eventually that we need each other.




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