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Leadership Lessons from a Ganesh Immersion

Source | LinkedIn : By Prof. Vivek Hattangadi

Long back when I was a child on the day of Ganesh Visarjan (Immersion) I was in my small ancestral village, Hattangadi, near Kundapura, then in District South Kanara (Mangalore), now in Udupi District (In the State of Karnataka).

Yes, that’s the place where my ancestors hailed from and therefore my surname.

The village Ganesh image was huge and no vehicles were available for transporting the Ganesh idol for immersion in River Netravati about five km away.

A villager offered his donkey to carry the Ganesh idol.

So the villagers put the Village Ganesh idol on the saddle-seat of his donkey and carried it in a procession to River Netravati.

On the way, every passer-by, every villager, stopped and bowed with veneration before the Ganesh Idol.

But what did the poor dear donkey think?

The passers-by were bowing before him.

Our dear donkey was elated!

Every villager bowing before him? And his joy knew bounds.

And suddenly his heart and mind were filled with pride and conceit

I will teach my master a lesson when I go back home, he said to himself and will give him a solid kick on his…

After the immersion, the master sat on his back to return home.

But surprises of all surprises (to the donkey), not a single passerby was bowing before him now!

Some were even looking at him with contempt, some with ridicule! What happened, the donkey wondered.

Lessons in Leadership:

There are three leadership models.

1. Leadership through Rational-Legal Authority:

Under rational-legal authority, legitimacy is seen as coming from a legal order and the laws that have been enacted in it. The majority of modern bureaucratic officials and political leaders represent this type of authority. People obey him / her because of the power they have. (1)

2. Leadership through Traditional Grounds:

The legitimacy of the authority comes from tradition. Most of the representatives of any dynasty ruling for more than one generation (kings, emperors, etc.) would fall into that category. here again, people obey him / her because of the power they have.

3. Leadership through Charismatic Authority: He is obeyed by virtue and trust in him and his revelation, his heroism or his exemplary qualities.

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