20 Oct 2018 21:22 IST

How a manager can interpret ‘ayudha puja’

Beyond acknowledging the role of tools, instruments and devices, show gratitude to people who help

Ayudha Pooja, or Saraswati Pooja, has several mythological stories associated with it. But the common central theme of this festival is the worshipping of implements, devices or instruments used for a person’s livelihood. It could be pens, books, agricultural tools, computers, vehicles, weapons or music instruments. Essentially, it is an occasion to give thanks to any such implement or tool for the service it has rendered in one’s life, and to pray for continued support.

In today’s context and times, where mythological stories are not so acceptable and may be dismissed easily, I’d like to set this festival, and the practices surrounding it, in a different context.

First, to define the concept of a tool or implement. It is basically an aid is used for a specific purpose. By itself this aid is usually powerless and inert. Only when the energy and power of the user is applied does it become useful and effective. The predominant aids, in the context of a services or knowledge economy, are not only the various computing tools being used but also the human resources deployed by an organisation through their managers. Although the energy or power of the user is important for any tool to be effective, the tool by itself needs to be in a good condition to be effective.

If one were to look at Ayudha Pooja in this light, it becomes a celebration and an occasion to also give thanks to all those people who help us in achieving our objectives. The tradition is to keep various tools and implements, such as books, pens, laptops, music instruments, before the altar where one worships, and to offer prayers and thanks to them, while praying that they continue to be effective in helping in future endeavours.

In addition to this traditional way of celebrating this festival, I would suggest that we should start to also wish and give thanks to all those who support and help us in our endeavours. It could be the house keeping staff in your hostel, the cook in the canteen or just about anyone who is helping to make your life easier and better.

I suggest this mainly because we, as managers, have increasingly started to take our teams and subordinates for granted. I have rarely come across instances where subordinates are thanked and celebrated for their roles in helping the manager achieve defined goals.

In a manner of speaking, this is actually one of the fundamental lessons of leadership and something I have personally seen as being effective in various organisations. ‘If you take care of your people, they will take care of your business’, is an adage worth following as it is definitely true.

So, I hope that, from this Ayudha Pooja onwards, you, dear reader, will start to offer thanks to all those people who are assisting you, and request their continued support. Hopefully, this will become a habit that will stay with you and help you become a good leader.

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