Spirit of Service & Sacrifice or Self Preservation

Discussing the role of corporates in the creation of managers or leaders, Suresh Kumar, Founder, KUE Management Services and Founder & Mentor, ROSAKUE Hospitality, Director on the Board of Apeejay Surrendra Park Hotels Ltd, Member of Advisory Board of School of Hospitality Management, AURO University, Surat and Additional Director on Board of Kirloskar Electric Company Ltd., reveals the changing perspective of leadership styles.

“The way to gain anything is to lose it.” Swami Ram Tiratha

Give rather than take. Only a few realize the grandeur and power of serving and giving. 

Everything in the Universe works on the principal of service and sacrifice. The Sun gives vitality, the Clouds give shade and, the Earth gives life... all with no axe to grind. 

In a team sport, the Captain places the success of the team above his/her individual feats. Whenever there is a conflict between the team’s performance and his/her personal contribution, he/she sacrifices his/her individual stake. A Captain of a Ship does something similar.

Research highlights numerous attributes of leaders that are considered pivotal to the success of organizations. One of them being the long held belief that  a leader establishes his/her authority & power more through identification with emotions for his/her colleagues and associates rather than for his/her own position.

This natural feeling of empathy invariably brought a spirit of connection, created a bond and an atmosphere of understanding between the leader and his/her colleagues. Such feelings always fostered the attitude of Service & Sacrifice.

A leader’s obligations, therefore, lay in performing his/her duties and responsibilities without diluting it with personal motives. His/her action, therefore, always commanded  respect, strength, and power. 

The scenario during the pandemic has had its own  impact on leadership styles that have suddenly gone into a ‘mould’ from being responsible for to being responsible to, while still operating within a hierarchical system. 

In these circumstances, the ‘Bottom line addicts’ have begun to treat an essential human resource, as an expendable commodity. Work From Anywhere (WFA), has suddenly created the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ phenomenon, contradicting the fundamental needs of attachment as aptly stated by Dr. Daniel Siegel, a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry & Author,

“People need three ‘S’: to be seen, to be soothed and to be safe.

‘When you’re safe, soothed and seen in a reliable way, you get the fourth S, Security.’ ”

The very essence of ‘contactless’ transition during these times has also taken away the ‘emotion’ of the business. Today, performance is only evaluated by the ‘number game’ of ‘producing profits’ while rationalizing all ‘expenses’ including the so called ‘High Value of High Touch Human Resource’.

Today the focus has shifted to terms like downsizing, layoffs, cutbacks, retrenchments, reduction in force, rightsizing and organizations are concluding that they must get ‘Lean & Mean’ if they have to survive. Human Resource as an asset, as often extolled as the virtue of a company (in every Annual Report) now appears to be more a part of the PR activity rather than an asset to be truly valued.

The above actions have resulted in leadership retreating into positions of ‘Self Protection & Self Preservation’ and have forced leaders to drive Product, Process to generate Profits even if it means ‘Sacrificing or Distancing itself’ from People, who till recently were considered heart & soul of the business. 

This ‘Self Preservation’ stance taken by the leader under the garb of profit protection has made the ‘workplace’ an Arena where everyone is working scared. 

In view of the thoughts expressed above, one believes that what is missing today is not the responsible to... but the responsible for... - Mindset.

The dilemma therefore, is whether corporates are creating competent managers or great leaders? 


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