Words by Sridhar Dharmarajan
By looking inwards, leaders can shape their external environment and drive better outcomes
In today’s world, leaders are expected to handle extensive travel, ever-changing complex situations and above all, engage with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. Given the overwhelming nature of leadership roles, the ability to stay grounded and establish a spiritually inclined core is crucial.
People talk about burnout these days. This is not happening because the work is difficult, but simply because we do not know how to manage our own systems. Managing these systems from the outside will not help because they were mostly created from within. Spirituality means gaining access to that dimension within you which is the very source of who you are right now. This is not about looking up, looking down or looking around – this is about looking within.
A leader is someone who takes charge of the destiny of a large mass of people. Unless he is capable of organizing and directing situations towards a long term, defined goals, he is truly not a leader. But that will only happen if you have mastery over yourself. Your ability to master your own inner nature will decide how free you are from external situations.
What is spirituality? Why does a leader need it?
Quite simply, spirituality means that your experience of life has transcended the physical. If you look at your body, it is just a heap of food. What you eat is becoming you. What you call “my mind” is essentially a heap of impressions that you gathered through the five senses. If you function only on physical and intellectual terms, you will be a poor leader because your body and mind are chained to the past. People are always looking forward to a leader who does not repeat the past. People look forward to a leader because he can create something that other people could not think of. Unless there is a spiritual element, unless a human being has started experiencing life beyond his body and intellect, he cannot create a new possibility. Without a spiritual element, a leader – whether political, economic or otherwise – is definitely handicapped.
The power of going inwards
Most people’s way of being is hugely enslaved to external situations. The nature of situations in the world is such that no one has 100% control over the outside situation, irrespective of how powerful they are. While no one in this world can function 100% the way you want them to, at least each one of us must function the way we want.
If your inner mind functioned the way you wanted, how would you keep it? Naturally, you would be inclined to keep it with utmost pleasantness. You wouldn’t know any tension, anger or other negative emotions. The reason people are going through these negative emotions is simply because the fundamental faculties within them – their body, mind, emotions and energies – are happening as a reaction to external situations.
So, is there a possibility where whatever happens on the outside, one can still be free from within? While each one of us is capable enough to create a difference when it comes to the outside world, we are equally capable of creating a different universe altogether, when we go inward.
Therefore, your ability to gain mastery over yourself irrespective of the outside realities can be your biggest superpower as a leader.
Sridhar Dharmarajan is Executive Vice President & Managing Director at Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence India & MSC Software Indo-Pacific. He joined MSC in 2007 and is responsible for the India sales operations for Hexagon’s Metrology and Production Software portfolios, in addition to MSC Software and Q-DAS, overseeing the MSC Software Indo-Pacific operations across India, ASEAN, Australia, and New Zealand. He holds a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.