Management of any type, whether in business or some other human activity, in simplest of words is the act of bringing people together to work for achieving the desired goal. Broadly speaking management is defined by five functions
There are number of books, journals, articles etc are available, which talks about various management theories. They explain management not only as a science but also as an art. Numerous research papers and case studies provide us real life experiences and examples of using these management theories in building an organization. But way before the modern day management gurus gave their theories, principles and concepts of management the great writers like Tulsidas, Valmiki etc had explained them in the ancient Hindu epics.
If one studies these mythological books, then one can easily make out about the various management lessons which are taught in them. Every incidence teaches us a new lesson and in itself is a classic example of putting management at its best use and getting the work done.
Examples from Ramayana
One of the most obvious incidences, in which use management principles is very clearly visible is that of Hanuman going to Lanka. His mission was to locate Sita there and give her Lord Ram’s message. When it became clear that Sita was in Lanka, Jamvant asked Hanuman to go there. He helped him in realising his true potential and motivated him to go in the enemy’s camp. Once mentally prepared for the job and reached there, first thing which Hanuman did was to completely analyse the situation in Lanka. He did a complete study about the Lankans, assessing their strengths and weaknesses, the various threats and opportunities which he had in the enemy’s camp.
This is what management is all about
· Ascertaining the goals, or job to be done.
· Getting mentally prepared for it.
· Having a right plan.
· Analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of the competitor and what threats and opportunities are there in the business.
This SWOT [strength, weakness, opportunities and threats] analysis is one of the most important aspects of modern day management. Moreover Jamvant motivating Hanuman is a classic example of a good Manager helping his personnel to realise their potential and acting accordingly.
The other example which I would like to talk about here is that of good and bad managers. A good manager is the one, who can get his work done even from the rivals. In Ramayana Sughriv has shown some of the best managerial characteristics. As a successful manager he had Ram to work accordingly and got his kingdom back from a brother who was far mightier than him.
· A good example of getting into strategic alliance with others to achieve your desired goal.
Using his managerial skills he even had Angad to work for him. Angad was the son of his brother whom he got killed by Ram. Had Sughriv been a bad manager then the same Angad would have proved to be his arch nemesis.
In the same Ramayana, again and again Ravana has shown the signs of a bad manager, and hence led to the demise of his kingdom. From the starting itself he ignored the suggestions of his managers and got his kingdom in the state of war with Ram. Moreover during a crisis, a company needs its best of the managers to bail it out of the same. A good manager listens to what his subordinates has to say and tries to keep them together especially when the organization needs them the most. But Ravana’s mismanagement was responsible for Vibhishan [one of the wisest manager he should have listened to] leaving him amidst a crisis.
It is said that businesses are run on relations. A manager who can nurture good relations with the employees, clients and anyone in whose contact the organization and the manager comes in, can do wonders for his company. Lord Ram was very good at it. He was the master of nurturing relations. His prowess at it was so great that while Ravana was lying wounded in the battle field and was about to die, he shared some important lessons which he had learnt in his life. The same Ravana, who at the same time had not responded to Lakshman, when he was sent to seek Ravana’s wisdom by Ram, was more than happy in sharing his knowledge with Ram.
All these examples and many more like this, tells us a great deal about management. For a manager there is lot to learn from our epics. Not just Ramayana, but Gita, Mahabharat and others as well have a lot to offer as management lessons.