Ganeshotsav 2022: Leadership Traits from Lord Ganesha

Lord Ganesha teaches us 8 Leadership qualities everyone must learn.

Srinivasan Iyengar Dr. Sarika MahajanUpdated: Friday, September 02, 2022, 02:39 PM IST
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Leadership Traits from Lord Ganesha |

Ganesh Chaturthi is here! Once again, Mumbai is getting ready to welcome the homecoming of its most favorite lord Ganesha, the entire atmosphere will be blessed with mystical chants “Ganpati Bappa Maurya”. This is the biggest religious-cultural and favorite festival of Mumbaikars spreading over the 10-day long celebration of Lord Ganesha's birth and it teaches us some exciting management lessons.

Management is a process of aligning people and getting them committed to work for a common goal to the maximum social benefit-in search for excellence. The critical question in all managers’ minds is how to be effective in their job. The answer to this fundamental question of management qualities can be obtained from the Head of all, Lord Ganesha who is not just the remover of obstacles and a giver of knowledge but also a management guru who embodies the qualities needed by a smart manager.

Lord Ganesha is said to be Pratham pujya, one who is always Worship First. There is a mythological story behind this deity. The story goes like this:

Once all demigods were discussing who is superior among us. To get final conclusion on this, all demigods went to Lord Shiva for a final decision. Lord Shiva set a race amongst them that whoever takes a complete leap of this universe (Prithvi, Aakash, and Paatal) and comes back first will be the winner and be honored as Pratham -pujya. Kartikeya readily agreed as his peacock would fly faster and cover much more distance than Ganesh’s mouse could! All demigods including Kartikeya went along with their respective vehicles to take a complete round on Universe. Ganesh stayed back and circled around his parents 3 times! When Kartikeya came back, he was surprised to see Ganesh still there. Upon being asked by lord shiva as to why Ganesh took 3 rounds around his parents and not around the world – he replies how Shiva and Parvati are a complete universe to him and so he circled 3 times around them and prayed to them. Due to his smart reasoning, all demigods including Lord Shiva and Kartikeya agreed to declare Lord Ganesha as Head among all and Pratham-pujya. This story sheds light on the importance of the quality of being a critical thinker and an effective decision maker. And, Humbleness is a winning quality & accepting downfall graciously like Kartikeya is key to growth.

The Lord of Success, the son of Shiva and Parvati, Ganesha has an elephantine countenance with a curved trunk and big ears, and a huge pot-bellied body of a human being. He is the Lord of success and destroyer of evils and obstacles. To the inspiration of managers, Ganesha is a symbol of wisdom, goal-oriented, writer and communicator, quick thinker, and problem solver.

A vigilant study of Lord Ganesha's each body part and everything associated with him leads us to important principles and lessons which must be inherited by managers and leaders of the present era to perform their duties in an effective and efficient manner.

Leader should be visionary: Lord Gajanana's big head depicts thinking big and one should have an intellectual mind filled with information, knowledge, wisdom, and vision. His big head inspires us to dream big and profitably.

Leader should be Good Listener: His big ears instruct us to listen attentively to new ideas and suggestions. Listening is an art, as a leader or manager one should have mastery in this art to provide fruitful solutions to the problems of his/her followers or employees.

Leader should be focused: Narrow eyes of Lord Ganesha reveal that leader or manager needs to be focused on goals. To sharpen the skills, knowledge, and abilities of your employees, you have to keep an eye on the activities undertaken by them while performing assigned tasks.

Leader should speak less: Lord Vighanaharta’s small mouth represents “Speak Less and Listen More while communicating with others. Leaders often get the best results when they stop talking and start listening. To truly understand what's happening both within and beyond your business, listening—rather than talking—keeps you best informed. Lord Ganesha’s small mouth reminds us that silence is golden.

Humility in Leadership: The mouse is the tiniest creature and is used as a vehicle by Lord Ganesha. It indicates that a small thing can be very useful and advantageous for us. Leaders who are humble have a better grasp on organizational needs and make better-informed decisions about task performance. Humility becomes more important as a leader's responsibility increases. Humility also encourages cultures of openness, trust, and recognition, which are important precursors to success.

Leaders should have Self-Awareness: Lord Ganesh was aware of his own competency and his Mushak, mouse. The better you understand yourself and recognize your own strengths and weaknesses, the more effective you can be as a leader.

Leadership requires Sacrifice: Broken Tusk of Lord Ganesha symbolizes the power of sacrifice. Many times a manager needs to overcome his emotions and act wisely. Also, act for others without any selfish motives or interests.

Leadership with Alertness: As the vehicle of Lord Ganesha, a rat teaches us to remain always on alert and illuminate our inner self with the light of knowledge. The leader with alertness has the mental quickness to recognize changing circumstances and adjust accordingly. The alert leader is open-minded and constantly facilitating feedback, creating an engaged and energized team committed to constant improvement

Thus, Lord Ganesha's each body part and everything associated with him depicts mantras of success which are essential for overcoming professional life challenges. Management professionals should learn these management lessons to be good human beings and a professional as well.

Dr. Sarika Mahajan

Dr. Sarika Mahajan |

Authored by:

Professor Srinivasan Iyengar, Director, JBIMS

Dr. Sarika Mahajan, faculty at JBIMS and Program Coordinator for MSc Finance.

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