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Basava, the Resonant Leader Channu Kambalyal Chicago, Illinois

The modern management gurus discuss about distinction between a manager and a leader. Quoting the article from Wall Street Journal on leadership style (1), “…In his 1989 book “On Becoming a Leader,” Warren Bennis composed a list of the differences: – The manager administers; the leader innovates. – The manager maintains; the leader develops. – The manager focuses on systems and structure; the leader focuses on people. – The manager relies on control; the leader inspires trust. – The manager has a short-range view; the leader has a long-range perspective. – The manager asks how and when; the leader asks what and why. – The manager imitates; the leader originates. – The manager accepts the status quo; the leader challenges it. – The manager is the classic good soldier; the leader is his or her own person. – The manager does things right; the leader does the right thing….” Examining the above differences, we can certainly identify Basava of 12th century not only an ordinary leader, but a resonant leader with the stature of Gautama Buddha, Mahatma Gandhi or Martin Luther King.

Gauthama Buddha 553-483 BC

Basavanna 1134-1196 AD

Mahathma Gandhi 1869-1948 AD

Martin Luther King, Jr. 1929-1969 AD

When King Bijjala of Kalyana Chalukya kingdom, India in 1160s appointed Basava as his prime minister (2), he could have been an ideal manager with all the power, control and influence he had. But Basava renounced power and stood against the system that was on the wrong path. Basava challenged the status quo of caste system, its blind traditions and customs. He led people to do the right thing. Basava established “Anubhava Mantapa”, an open parliamentary system for people to exchange their thoughts and experiences on human values and way of life. In their book ‘Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence’, the authors identify four components of emotional mind – self-control, self awareness, social awareness and relation-ship building (3).

Self Control

Self Awareness

Emotional Intelligence

Social Awareness

Relationship Building


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