Leadership is an important aspect in every community. It is evident that leadership is present even in the in the communities that have traditional set ups. In this relation, leadership aids in unifying the people by bringing diverse ideas together which contributes to the growth and development and ensuring stability of the people (Gigliotti & Dwyer, 2016). More so, leadership enables the society to be guided in a solitary way hence reducing cases of divergence which is contributed by conflict of interests. Servant leadership is a remarkable method of governance; this is due to the fact that it consists of principals who ensure that the needs of the public are taken care of and shares power in executing duties (Dwyer, 2016). This contributes to the greater good of the people where they ensure satisfaction and personal growth of the subordinates. In this article, much focus is on the Hindu religion and culture and to show the relevance of servant leadership. The examination would involve the analysis and factor in some of the values that are important in the leadership platforms and how they are similar and different from each other. In addition, there would also be featuring of examples of leaders who have been able to implement servant leadership effectively.
Hinduism is a religion that is dominated by the Indians and it has been diverse to the Indians around the world. Hindus have various gods that they worship where each god stands for prosperity in daily activities (Gandhi, 2012). In the places of worship, there are priests who are responsible for carrying out the various activities such as sacrifices, teaching and praying for believers. Examples of priests include; Brahmans, kshatriyas, Vaishyas, Shudra and untouchables (Santamaria, 2014). These priests are responsible to assist the community by providing guidance on how to live upright and holy lives so as to serve as role models to the entire community. This contributes to them dedicating their entire lives to attend to the needs of the people to help them know and worship their gods. This is a great gesture of servant leadership which brings together the entire public hence achieving much as a religion (Gigliotti & Dwyer, 2016).
There is also an important tradition among the Hindus known as the guru-shishya tradition. This tradition is characterized by the guru who is a teacher and the sisya a disciple. Guru practically means a great person who acts as a servant to his apprentice (Gigliotti & Dwyer, 2016). The relationship between the two is that the guru ought to provide knowledge to the sisya. This knowledge entails values that are important to the Hindus and that one is supposed to uphold. The values could be based on Vedic, agamic artistic, architectural, musical and spiritual matters (Dwyer, 2016). The student is supposed to respect, obey and devote to the guru who is viewed a genius. However, when a child lacks a guru, he or she is perceived to be an orphan. Therefore, the tradition is a necessity to every Hindu (Gandhi, 2012). It contributes to everyone sharing a common belief and understanding hence resulting to unison. Values such as empathy and listening are regarded as main qualities in servant leadership. This is evident in the priests and the gurus in their service to the community.
Servant leadership and Hindi cultural and religious concept are similar in various ways and this helps in showing the degree of servant leadership in the culture. Listening to peoples thoughts and ideas is an attribute of a servant leader. They seek to understand the deeper acts of people by giving them time to speak out and this brings a consensus between them, this is in addition to the fact that they are empowering. They devote in ensuring that people are looking forward to the achievement of their goals and ambitions (Santamaria, 2014). Being visionary is an aspect that they use to be able to foresee the future. This allows them to be ready for any event that would occur and be in control of the situation. In addition, it speeds up growth among the member of the community. Servant leaders have empathy in that they strive to see the good in the people and the possibility of change. This enables them to encourage good character in the society. Lastly, they are committed to the growth of people. They dedicate their strength and time to achieve equal treatment among the people (Gigliotti & Dwyer, 2016). This includes the spiritual, economic and social benefits distributed in equal measure in the community.
There is however a difference between the cultural and religious values of the Hindi and the values of servant leadership. In Hinduism, there hot buttons concern the karma and the caste system. In this caste system, the people are divided into different categories such as Brahman, kshatriyas, vaishyas, shudra, and untouchables (Dwyer, 2016). Brahmans is the groups that is seen to be in the highest and the most respected level as untouchables hold the least positions in the society. This type of segregation reduces the value of individuals in the society and forces people to conform to a solidarity of the caste system and ensures that they are not judged by their societal image and behavior but only by the caste system (Gandhi, 2012). Caste also helps in streamlining the process of job allocation and how the society can access resources and services. Gandhi notes that the conception of karma educates the society on the experiences that they have in their current lives is the result of their actions of their previous lives and advises that they need to maintain a life of morality in every perspective. Both of the doctrines have differences regarding the requisite of human dignity. This nullifies the values that are endorsed by the Hindi to be incorporated to the servant leadership because it gives credit to the humanity (Santamaria, 2014).
Mahatma Gandhi is a renowned Indian servant leader. He was based in South Africa and was devoted to eradicating poverty and racial segregation among Indians in the country. According to his words he vowed to identify himself with the Indians, Service of the poor has been my hearts desire, and it has always thrown me amongst the poor and enabled me to identify myself with them (Gandhi, 2012). He was involved with teaching the Indians English so as to be able to reduce the cases of racial discrimination among the Indians. More so, he volunteered in the hospital as a nurse where he helped to dress wounds. This occurred during the period of the Zulu rebellion and many people were injured and there were few doctors available to treat them; this clearly proved that he worried about the humanity wellbeing. In addition, he took care of a leper who was at his door steps by providing medical attention. Gandhi never showed interest in power because he never fought for posts in the Indian National Congress. It is evident because he paved way for Jawaharlal Nehru yet he had a chance due to his noble acts (Gandhi, 2012). However, he preferred to serve Indians without any notable greed for power.
Mahatma Gandhi also chose to forgive all his assailants who assaulted him as he was returning to South Africa after being in India fighting for the rights of Indians. He preached about forgiveness and that was also what he practiced. This was a great act of integrity for he chose not to prosecute his attackers (Gandhi, 2012). Furthermore, he was devoted to spiritual matters where he read and memorized the Bhagavad Gita, the Hindu holy book. He did not also hesitate in sharing the information concealed in the book to the young generation because he knew the values he was imparting to them. The attributes that are evident in the life of Gandhi is a notation that he was a remarkable servant leader among the Hindus (Gandhi, 2012). Nevertheless, Gandhi acted contrary to the values of the Hindus in the event of ensuring equality among the people. This is where the untouchable family wanted to join the Gandhi ashram. It was perceived negatively by the Indians and it caused led to great conflict of ideas. This caused adverse consequences to the ashram which also led to the blocking of monetary assistance and it resulted to stain in running of the ashram. According to Gandhi, he was championing fairness in all his dealings as it is an important aspect of servant governance.
Hinduism is a religion that clearly brings out the aspect of servant leadership although it also has its short comings. This is not only seen in how they conduct their traditions and how their values are set out but also their relations within the community. Therefore, it is prudent that every religion and culture adopts the culture of servant leadership in order to enable the public to learn from their leaders. Moreover, the aspect of leading by example molds the entire community with honorable values and commitment to unity.
Dwyer, B. (2016). Cultivating Dialogue: A Central Imperative for the Study and Practice of Servant Leadership. Servant Leadership, 69.
Gandhi, M. (2012). The essential Gandhi: an anthology of his writings on his life, work, and ideas. Vintage.
Gigliotti, R. A., & Dwyer, B. (2016). Cultivating Dialogue: A Central Imperative for the Study and Practice of Servant Leadership.
Santamaria, L. J. (2014). Critical Change for the Greater Good Multicultural Perceptions in Educational Leadership Toward Social Justice and Equity. Educational Administration Quarterly, 50(3), 347-391.
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