20 May 2021 19:27 IST

IIMK workshop explores Gandhian leadership

The three key learnings — authenticity, productivity, and connectivity — are essential for young managers

The inaugural batch of the Post Graduate Programme in Liberal Studies and Management (PGP-LSM) were engaged in a workshop on ‘Gandhian Leadership’ at IIM Kozhikode. This is a compulsory course for the MBA LSM programme. The virtual workshop was conducted with an aim to provide insights and unravel the core values of Gandhian thought, and was led by Prof Debashis Chatterjee, Director of IIM Kozhikode. Chatterjee conceptualised the course and taught Gandhian leadership at Harvard's Kennedy School earlier. He invited exponents of Gandhian thought in India to co-teach this course with him.

This workshop provided a glimpse into the Gandhian thought beginning with its evolution, reflections on its contemporary significance, and finally culminating into discussions on how best to incorporate the learnings into leadership style and management.

Historic example

Prof Chatterjee aptly summarised the three key learnings from Gandhi's life that are essential for aspiring managers: authenticity, productivity, and connectivity. By staying true to ourselves, instilling productivity in our body and minds, and investing time in building strong, relatable connections, one can strive to not just attain success, but also to live a life worth living.

He further elaborated how Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi taught the world to channelise the power of emotions for a just cause and how lessons on conflict resolution can be derived by switching from autonomy to agency. A historic case in point on how to be a good leader. One needs to be very skilful to construct bridges of empathy with people.

Right faculty

The guest faculty included Prof Gita Dharampal, Research Dean, Gandhi Research Foundation, Jalgaon, Maharashtra; and daughter of renowned Gandhian thinker Shri Dharampal, who led a session on non-violent resistance and its relevance in contemporary times. The other instructors were John Chelladurai, Director at Institute for Core Studies on Conflict and Peace, and Padma Shri recipient Prof Anil Kumar Gupta, who is best known for his efforts in grassroots innovation and curation.

The students from PGP-LSM who have ‘My Experiments with Truth’ as an essential reading also got to experience and learn about elements of Gandhi’s leadership model that have become more relevant today in an uncertain and challenging world.