What a manager is expected to do

What a manager is expected to do

While the Swami gives direction, it’s the Amatya who will build the strategy and execute the work.

There are two key drivers in any organisation—the leader and the manager or minister. The leader is called Swami in Kautilya’s Arthashastra and, and the manager is called Amatya.

One without the other is incomplete. While the Swami gives direction, it’s the Amatya who will build the strategy and execute the work. In fact, Chanakya found Amatya to be so important that he noted, “All undertakings have their origins in the ministers.” (8.1.22).

Here, origin not only means beginning but also planning, strategising and executing. Hence, the role of any Amatya has many dimensions, especially in today’s corporate world:


This is a quality every manager is expected to have inherently. How well he plans a project will decide whether an assignment ends in success or failure. If you were to build a cricket team to win a tournament, the first step is to plan well.

When is the tournament? How many days do you have to prepare? What are the conditions to be played in and what kind of players will be required? How much finances will be required? What kind of training should be given? What equipment is required?

Think from all the different angles. The best way of doing this is to write down all your thoughts. Now, this step is called ‘data collection.’ Only after you have organised this required data, we can get into strategising.

Strategy building

This is different from the previous step, which was basically planning and listing the essentials to win a game. But strategy building is deciding ‘how’ to win that particular game. Again, I will take cricket as an example to illustrate.

Even in this ‘gentlemen’s game,’ we find that every winning team is very good in strategising. They study the competitor very closely. They study the weather conditions, the kind of moves required in different situations. This results in what we call the game plan.

However, good strategies involve having alternative plans. Plan B should be ready to come into place if Plan A does not work. So, strategising is about creating alternatives too.


Finally, after all the required thinking, it’s time for the actual execution in the field. All your preparation becomes useless if the action does not happen. Therefore, ‘execution’ is the final key to success.

Ram Charan, the well-known Indian management guru, became world-famous through his book by the same name—Execution. In it, he says, “Execution is the key through which every CEO opens his door to success.” Without this, the goal cannot be reached. Even Swami Chinmayananda put it correctly: “Plan out your work and work out your plan.”

Dr Radhakrishnan Pillai is an Indian management thinker, author, and Founder of Atma Darshan and Chanakya Aanvikshiki. Dr Pillai has extensively researched Kautilya’s Arthashastra, the 3rd century BC treatise and incorporated it into modern management.




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