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A Higher Standard of Leadership

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A Higher Standard of Leadership

Lessons from the Life of Gandhi


15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

If perfection is your leadership goal, why not emulate Gandhi? It’s not hard — just act upon absolute values, shun secrecy, train your conscience, reduce your attachments and resist temptation. Come on, any old once-in-a-generation hero can do that.

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Editorial Rating



  • Visionary
  • Engaging
  • Inspiring


Keshavan Nair emphasizes the need for leadership based on a fundamental moral standard, as taught and lived by Mohandus Gandhi. The Indian leader embodied a moral life centered on truth, non-violence and service to others. Nair argues that business leaders today need to follow these basic principles. He stresses that these principles - and the practices based upon them - make good business sense in the long run, as well as being crucial to the survival of society. The text combines Gandhi’s experiences with Nair’s exhortations on how to apply these principles in the workplace. However, Nair provides few examples of contemporary leaders who practice these principles. Thus, the book occasionally comes across as somewhat preachy, wishful, overly idealistic and out of touch with the everyday realities of business. Yet, getAbstract recommends it in the face of those realities as a counterbalance, as well as a good quick read that encourages thought.


The Need for a Higher Standard

Mohandus Gandhi exemplified key qualities that provide a good model for both personal and professional life. These include personal responsibility, truth, love, courage and respect for the individual. Such a model for leadership is necessary to inspire everyone and to "harness the ideals in all of us, appeal to what is best in us and move us to a better quality of life."

Unfortunately, many people today think it is not possible to succeed in business or politics while staying true to their moral principles in all activities. Many people also think political and business decision makers would be less effective if they were guided by moral principles.

However, these beliefs aren’t true. Rather, when people believe their leaders lack integrity, their leaders will fulfill their expectations. Thus, everyone needs to hold a higher standard of leadership, for themselves and those they follow. To find a guide to leadership based on this higher standard, look to Gandhi and the principles he followed.

Gandhi’s Basic Principles of Leadership

Gandhi demonstrated moral principles of leadership during more than 50 years in public...

About the Author

Dr. Keshavan Nair, a life-long student of Gandhi, has more than 30 years experience as a consultant on leadership development and strategic decision making. He is the author of Beyond Winning: The Handbook for the Leadership Revolution, and a graduate of the Advanced Management Program of the Harvard Business School.

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