Appreciating Mahatma Gandhi and Teaching Leadership

May 27, 2015 – Written by Divan Da’ve

Appreciating Mahatma Gandhi and Teaching Leadership

Mahatma-Gandhi-and-Teaching-Leadership-300x199“I’m glad to reveal a picture of my own grandfather, who was not only a true Gandhian, but Chief Minister of Gujarat and five a time Member of Indian Parliament, Shri Ghanshyambhai Oza. Here is he with Gandhi on a train station in Gujarat. This picture was taken somewhere in the 1930’s. The man in a black hat with raised hand in front of Gandhi is my beloved grandfather.”


ISM Inc. CEO Divan Dave with an inspiring article about Mahatma Gandhi & teaching leadership.


I have an overwhelming appreciation of Mahatma Gandhi’s leadership and immense contribution to India’s struggle for freedom. Through referencing Gandhi’s efforts, I teach leadership basics to the ISM/OmniMD team. Quoting Maharishi Patanjali: “When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all of your thoughts break their bonds, your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction and you find yourself in a new great & wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculty and talents, come alive and you discover yourself to be great person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be.” My belief is while leaders are both born and created, leadership cannot not be taught. A leader to be must want to be a leader. Many leaders are made out of necessity, while few are born with certain leadership traits.

Leadership traits I learned through Mahatma Gandhi’s work:

  • Have a self-initiated objective to achieve, which inspires you. Don’t do something for heck of it. Life is too short and too precious to waste on mediocre achievements. Take an example from Mahatma Gandhi, he had life mission to free India from British rule.
  • Find a solution commiserated to your nature to achieve the objective. Mahatma Gandhi devised the non-cooperation and the non-violent movement, as that was his TRUE nature. He wouldn’t have been too successful on the path of violence.
  • Believe in an objective and solution fully and unwaveringly. Stay committed throughout – even in toughest of times. Tough times are the true testaments of one’s leadership. Set examples your team can follow, always show how committed and focused you are. Throughout his struggle for the freedom of India, Mahatma Gandhi was steadfast in his commitment to non-violence.
  • A true leader devises an effective method to communicate his/her objectives and solutions to the masses. Your team must believe in your project & methods by which to achieve it. Win followers and friends, convert foes into friends and they will communicate your objectives and solutions. Remember everyone is on the Frequency, WIFM (What’s IN For Me?). Show them why, how, when and what they need to do. Gandhi orchestrated many acts to gather masses like the Dandi March to collect salt.
  • Leadership is full-time work. Be a fulltime and fully committed leader, there is no such thing as part-time leadership. It’s said Gandhi worked 18 hours/day, seven days a week.
  • Be a likable leader. Though leadership in NOT a popularity contest, one must make oneself a likeable leader. You’ll have far less resistance. Lead by inspiring, rather than through fear. Many decisions will be hard and unlikable, but everyone you’re dealing with must follow you. One of the key achievements of a leader is willing followers. Many disagreed with Gandhi. There were many freedom fighters, even who believed in violent struggle against British rule, but Gandhi was able to convince the majority of masses, otherwise; a great achievement on his part.
  • Produce results. Without results there is no leader. Leaders don’t make excuses, they get things done. Gandhi, with the help of many freedom fighters, did achieve India’s freedom from British rule.
  • Leave a legacy. A leader creates his/her legacy. During his life and after, Gandhi created many leaders who still follow his vision today. An organization or philosophy created by a leader should not fall apart after his/her departure. A leader creates a principle based organization, not founded on his/her personality. People come and go, they can make mistakes and their image can be tarnished. A principle based organization will not have such an issue.