Lord Krishna Theory of Management in Hospitality

“Yada Yada Hi Dharmasya, Glanirva Bhavathi Bharatha,
Abhyuthanam Adharmaysya, Tadatmanam Srijami Aham”

This is a very renowned ‘Shloka’ we all listened since our childhood days. At that time when we asked our parents what it actually meant, they told us that whenever there is decay of righteousness and a rise of unrighteousness, then Lord Krishna came into existence. Lord Krishna is one of the greatest Management Gurus, whom we can emulate without second thought. He was great in knowledge, great in emotion, great in action, altogether, he is the Mentor of Mentors, Coach of Coaches and Guru of all Motivational Gurus. We have heard many stories of Lord Krishna’s bravery, confidence, decision making, enthusiasm, intelligence, leadership and communication, which leaves a message behind. All of them were used to deliver the appropriate concept to management.

What is Management?
In order to define what do we mean by Management? The conclusion from various studies says that  “Management in all business and organisational activities is the act of getting people together to accomplish desired goals and objectives, efficiently and effectively. It comprises planning, organising, staffing, leading or directing and controlling an organisation or effort for the purpose of accomplishing a goal.” There were several theories generated related to management till date, but several writers created modern management theories, which includes Chanakya’s Artha Shastra, Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nation, Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince.

The modern management concepts of vision, leadership, motivation, excellence in work, achieving goals, giving work meaning, decision making and planning, are all discussed in the Bhagavad Gita. It initiates the issues from the grass root level of human thinking. Once the basic thinking of man is improved, it will automatically enhance the quality of his actions and their results.

We never heard Lord Krishna Theory of Management, as a part of modern management theories. Whereas, western universities have introduced a subject ‘Lord Krishna Theory of Management’ to teach the concept to their students.  And also training department of various enterprises, conduct their training sessions by giving examples of Lord Krishna skills. The Bhagavad Gita, written thousands of years ago, enlighten us on all managerial techniques leading us towards a harmonious state of affairs in place of the conflict, tensions, poor productivity and absence of motivation and so on.

Lord Krishna theory of management has become a part and parcel of an organisational structure. He had made two concepts on which whole management is based i.e. how to dance and how to make others dance. As he knows, how to be effective and whatever situation will be, how to be a winner.

Whereas when we talk about the hospitality industry, it requires, interacting with people, addressing their needs and skill of tact, combined with knowledge and flexibility. Therefore management in hospitality looks for challenges with positive attitude in employees. Employees in the hospitality industry need to possess managerial skills and are supposed to be innovative, good planner, manipulative, confident, good decision maker and shall possess excellent communication skills and be a good leader.

Karmanye Vadhikaraste, Ma phaleshou kada chana,
Ma Karma Phala Hetur Bhurmatey Sangostva Akarmani

This verse is from the Bhagawad Gita. And it is really something that we have always tried to follow in the hospitality industry:
Karmanye Vadhikaraste, Ma phaleshou kada chana – You have a right to perform your prescribed duty, but you are not entitled to the fruits of actions

Ma Karma Phala Hetur Bhurmatey Sangostva Akarmani – Never consider yourself the cause of the results of your activities and never be attached to not doing your duty.

In simple terms it means: Keep on performing your duties without expecting for any reward in return, leading a selfless life – this it what it is all about. We can also conclude it in the way that actions, which is both efficient and effective, focused mind, self effort without expectation are few of the points incurred by Bhagavad Gita in management.

Few of the practices it implies are:
One of Lord Krishna’s famous saying:

“A leader is not the one who walks but the one who leads walking ahead of others.”

Lord Krishna was perfect host and had great hospitality skills. To unveil this statement, every one had heard the storyline about his childhood friend, Sudama, who was hungry, impoverished and in rags, arrived at his palace. Lord Krishna personally washed his feet and fed him with his own hands.

The Bhagavad Gita was delivered by Sri Krishna to boost Arjuna’s declining morale, motivation, confidence and to increase its effectiveness interpersonal conflict, which was to fight and not to fight the war at Kurukshetra, he played the role of teacher, HR trainer, guide developer, to revive Arjuna’s motivation.

His communication skills are evident in every word. Lord Krishna during his negotiations, to avoid war between Kauravas and Pandavas demonstrated perfect communication skills. As he doesn’t want to avoid war between them, he manipulated his words and tried to instigate fear motivation in Duryodhana by way of illustrating the greatness of Pandavas on and off the field of war.

Lord Krishna gave not only spiritual enlightenment but also the art of self management, conflict management, stress and anger management, transformational leadership, motivation, goal setting and many other aspects of management, which can be used as a guide to increase Human Resource Management (HRM) effectiveness. Unlike the western approach to HRM,which focuses on exploring the external world of matter and energy the Bhagavad Gita recommends a HRM approach, which focuses on exploring the inner world of self.

Krishna as a CEO of the World Organisation

In current world, Krishna’s leadership is a most fascinating and useful. He had demonstrated leadership of very high quality, which had made him a significant leader. That is why he is followed by millions of disciple still today, in his absence. Bhagavad Gita contains many leadership lessons that are similar to contemporary leadership theories and practices. Consider some of these lessons embedded within the Gita as a sermon are as:

Leaders should embrace rather than avoid challenges because they bring out the leaders’ greatest strengths. They should be resilient in their actions and should not be weakened by pain and pleasure. Effective leaders do not lead by fear or anger. Character is core to effective leadership they need to be aware of the self and the surroundings .

Other sermon says:

“Whatever the leader does, the followers will follow and whatever standards or example the leader sets people in general will follow.”

In Bhagavad Gita, Krishna defines three specific disciplines that are required for effective leadership: discipline of learning, discipline of speaking properly and discipline of equanimity (steadiness of mind under stress).  All these are important for effective leadership. Today’s leadership authorities also agree that effective leaders have to be effective learners. Leadership is not only about teaching people to follow a certain path or to do a certain thing, but it is also about learning things to be taught. Likewise, without effective communication skills, leadership cannot become effective. Krishna says, the most important part of communication is to communicate with honesty and with respect toward others.

Setting Organizational Culture
Manager should be good in Direction and Controlling. Controlling an army of 1.53 million soldiers and warriors to fight against a bigger army was not an easy task for anyone. This was all made possible with the help of Lord Krishna’s great Managing and Controlling Skills. A sermon from Bhagavad Gita says:
In the chariot of the body, the five horses represent the five senses (tongue, eyes, ears, nose and skin), the reins, the driving instrument, symbolise the mind, the driver is the intelligence and the passenger is the self.

Managers should use their intelligence to control their mind, they should not let the mind to be control by the senses.

Motivation- Satisfying lower order needs of workers – adequate food, clothing and shelter, etc. are key factors in motivation. However, it is a common experience that the dissatisfaction of the Top and of the Lower is identical — only their scales and composition vary. It should be true that once the lower-order needs are more than satisfied, the Top should have little problem in optimising his contribution to the organisation and society. This situation is explained by the theory of self-transcendence propounded in Bhagavad Gita.

An article in The Hindu in 2008 mentioned:
Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) focuses on ‘sticking to ethics in the workplace.’

DMRC does not believe in intense vigilance nor does it rely on hidden cameras to plug leaks and nab wrongdoers. Instead the organisation has turned to Bhagavad Gita to stem corruption, lethargy and negligence.

Putting the accent on ‘sticking to ethics in the workplace, the organisation is attempting to instill the values of honesty, moral virtues of hard work and diligence as preached in Bhagavad Gita, which has now emerged as a guidebook for motivating numbers-driven managers. So to help enhance the spiritual quotient of the employees and to ensure that they steer clear of dishonesty and vice, there are frequent  talks and lectures by motivational gurus and a handbook with relevant message.

E Sreedharan, Managing Director, DMRC is a believer of the values that the Bhagavad Gita preaches.” DMRC officials say Sreedharan’s messages to his employees are peppered with references from the holy book.

Asked if the exercise in spirituality has produced tangible results, a senior official says, “The feedback so far has been positive. The workforce has benefited from the sessions and lectures. There is positive energy, team spirit and no instances of financial bungling, missed deadlines, and de-motivated workers,” adds a senior official of DMRC.

Bhagavad Gita is easily the best treatise on management, which has solution to several practical issues like redesigning the organisation, setting directions, developing people.

Whether it is human behaviour, organisational behaviour, group theory, motivational theory, game theory, management by objectives or line of control, all facets of modern management can be discovered in Lord Krishna theory of management.

Nobody is perfect, even Lord Krishna. He also acted like human being in many situations. To help mankind without any selfish motive, one can lie here and there and can manipulate if the situation demands. Krishna took some decisions only to prove this point. That is why Lord Krishna is a complete man and an apostle of life skills. And thus, we can call him “The Greatest Manager in the World”. To succeed in professional and personal life, one has to learn and try to emulate Lord Krishna. Today it has found its place as an alternative to the theory of modern management and also as a means to bring back the right path of peace and prosperity for human being.

This article has been written by Divya Thakur and Anju Choudhary, Assistant Professors, BCIHMCT

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