10 important management lessons from Chanakya Niti

One of the most widely regarded books on Governance was written by a great man known as Chanakya. He was perhaps the first’ management guru’ of ancient India who had detailed every aspect of how a leader should carry out his duties and keep his people happy by leading the state to prosperity.

Chanakya, also known as Kautilya, was a mentor to emperor Chandragupta Maurya and enabled him to expand his vision beyond just ruling but maintaining and balancing power. His teachings are still relevant and can be applied to every corporate leader’s role in an enterprise as management lessons.

Here are the 10 management lessons that help you helm a successful enterprise

The interpretations aligning with business management are featured here. Chanakya’s summarized versions of the quotes are mentioned below so the reader can better understand them from the contemporary context.

  1. Chanakya says that people should be the priority of any leader, and looking into their welfare will benefit the kingdom as well. The leader will not do what pleases him but look to see what makes his subjects happy.

Lesson: In business, the employer must see that his employees are well-respected and happy. That’s when they will work wholeheartedly, and their optimized output will benefit the entire organization.

  1. Chanakya has mentioned that a leader should be accessible at all times, and making his subjects wait for him to answer their queries, even getting others on his behalf to listen to the people, will pose a grave danger of misunderstanding, which can cause dissatisfaction among the people and be utilized by one’s enemies.

Lesson: When leading an organization, every person working for you needs to be heard. If not, you will remain just a leader that they never like. Getting others to meet your team on your behalf doesn’t go down well. Your rivals can often use this dissatisfaction in the business to get one up on you.

  1. Accountability is vital to have a proper functioning system. Non-compliance to tasks and harshly punishing someone makes them repulsive; even mild reprimanding gives birth to contempt. Hence, the punishment should be given with due consideration so that the person learns the lesson, gets back to the path of righteousness, and works towards their goal. When punishment is given under the influence of greed, anger or ignorance, it creates an imbalance, and the person awarding the punishment loses respect.

Lesson: Business leaders should know how to encourage the underperformers, and harsh punishment will undermine their performance even more. Making them accountable and rewarding them for their hard work will improve the organization’s functioning. These decisions have to be unbiased without emotion, and only performance-based decisions should hold merit.

  1. Don’t put off decisions that may become hard to resolve later.

Lesson: leaders in the business arena cannot procrastinate because time is money. A loss of opportunity will have an impact on the business. Right Decisions taken at the right time will yield results and help reach goals. Delays can often bring down a business.

  1. Being vigilant and having control over the empire

Lesson: A business head needs to be aware of happenings, the latest trends, and technology, and finding ways to adopt them to be relevant and stay informed is important to keep the business going.

  1. Chanakya also mentions qualities like fearlessness, perseverance, and patience that sets apart a leader and how he can manage and regulate the country.

Lesson: Having a great leader to lead the business is vital for the organization’s success and for keeping the entire set of people working for him happy. The perfection of balance in knowing to take risks and handling every situation with poise and patience are the qualities that make the leader sustain his leadership in the long run.

  1. Having a great set of people with you will help you run the empire well and will sacrifice in your time of need.

Lesson: here, the sacrifice is the time they spend for the organization working hard to reach its goals. Building a great team is important because it can manage the functioning of the organization even during a crisis.

  1. Know how to convert threats into opportunities and make those much-required wins.

Lesson: Business leaders need to know how to convert challenges into opportunities. This will make them make bigger profits as they have managed to crack the market better than others.

  1. Knowing a person’s worth should not be done by checking how famous he is and knowing his trustworthiness to be part of your inner circle.

Lesson: background checks are important; however, only judging by someone’s personality or superficial traits will not help the organization. The need to see honesty and sincerity for the post will be the foremost criteria for hiring.

  1. Having a vision and working towards achieving it is only through performance that people will appreciate.

Lesson: Only when the leader who has set the vision works with his team to fulfill it will the organization see a transformation.

Leaders no longer have kingdoms but have business empires, and emulating some of the Chanakya wisdom can change the course for many aspiring entrepreneurs who can upskill with his management lessons written centuries ago.

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