Lessons to learn from Lord Ganesha

As Ganesh Chaturthi sets in, we look into the lessons that Lord Ganesh represents.

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As Ganesh Chaturthi sets in, we are reminded about the auspiciousness that surrounds this festival, and the significance Lord Ganesha has in the day-to-day life. Lord Ganesha can also teach some life lessons that can well be applied into the professional space as well.

Listen more, listen well: Lord Ganesha with just his way of being teaches us the value of great listening skills. The elephantine ears represent the ability and keenness to listen to the nuances of what the other person has to say. Good listening skills ensure that we are paying attention, whether we are listening to a client, listening to a colleague in a meeting or listening to a friend. Paying attention, and listening for the sake of listening, and not merely for the sake of responding can lead to the other person feeling truly heard, and in turn lead to a fruitful collaboration.

Obstacles shall be removed: The dukh harta, sukh karta role of lord Ganesha is well-known. We can recall this in our own dealings. Any obstacle or road-block that we encounter in problem-solving or in a project, is an opportunity to work around the very obstacle or road-block. With a trust that any obstacle that we may come across will be removed, we can work on it or around it calmly. As Stoicism teachings often put it: ‘Obstacle is the Way’. The obstacle is the opportunity to work on something in a better way. It is the growth-mindset that we hear about all the time.

Wisdom and abundance: The famous lore about a young Ganesha and Kartikeya showcases the wisdom and a feeling of abundance that our modak-loving lord represents. When asked to make a round of the world by parents Shiva and Parvati, Kartikeya went for a round of the earth. Ganesha simply started to make rounds around his parents, saying that they are his world. This mindset not only represents wisdom, cleverness but also a sense of abundance, and feeling grateful and happy about what you have. No wonder Ganpati is also associated with his jolly nature!

Beginnings are sweet: The sweet modak which lord Ganesha loves, along with him being the God of beginnings is a reminder that beginning something is sweet enough. Rather than feeling daunted about starting a project from the scratch, or opening a new company, or adopting a new way of thinking, one would do well if one remembered that something well begun is a battle half won. Why think of it as a battle even? Why not think of it as being on our way to acquiring the sweet rewards of the modak?  

As Ganesh Chaturthi sets in, team UHR would like to wish everyone abundance of wisdom, sweetness, and success in all their endeavours. Here’s to auspicious beginnings, a wise journey and jolly results!

Leadership in Little Things


There is the picture of a larger than life figure leading an army.

Sometimes there is an archetypal visual of a booming war cry.

 In a more contemporary imagination, we imagine world political leaders in their suits and blazers, shaking hands and signing treaties.

But being a leader doesn’t necessarily entail any of the above mentioned grandeur!

Leading teams in an office environment is definitely not about leading armies and countries. But there are some qualities which all leaders, in all environments display.

 Leadership is reflected in the minutiae of our lives.

 Leadership is not about force. In fact, what author Daniel Goleman has to say about an essential quality of a leader has nothing to do with bossing people around at all.

Goleman considers ‘Emotional Intelligence’ as the quality which puts a leader apart. Some seemingly simple characteristics of a person with high EI are:

  • Empathy. The ability to put yourself in other’s shoes.
  • Self-awareness and self-regulation. Being aware of one’s emotions and in control of them, especially during crises.
  • An ability to handle interpersonal relationships in a balanced way.

One has to realise that true leadership lies in the gestures and actions. Possessing a quality is one thing, acting over it is what makes a leader.

Let us look at the quality in the context of a workplace

  It is true that some designations, have “leadership” attached to it, for example a manager, director, etc. But a leader as such could be anyone, irrespective of their post. It’s the actions that show leadership qualities.

 Some projects often involve efforts of many people. A leader here is someone who:

  • Sets immediate and ultimate goal: it could be as small as setting up an unofficial deadline for all team-members.
  • Organises the roles of all those involved in the project.
  • Doesn’t simply “assign” responsibilities. Rather, he or she shapes the conversation in such a way that there is an element of choice of the team-members.
  • Appreciates and gives credit to everyone’s contribution.
  • Encourages to communicate ideas, no matter how bizarre one might feel they are.

   He or she listens to what each one has to say and then through dialogue and consultation brings each member to pick the responsibility which perfectly matches their capabilities.

  A good leader is almost always chosen unofficially and without any sort of announcement. There is a sort of unspoken, unanimous agreement working here.

  Meetings are tricky. Sometimes they might turn boring, or employees may feel they are pointless. A leader would be someone who:

  • Makes a suggestion about an agenda if the meeting seems to lack direction.
  • Keeps a tab whether everyone has said what they wanted to say.
  • Takes charge if someone is feeling hesitant in communicating.
  • Keeps a tab on the structure of the meeting: when did it begin, when will it end, what would this meeting cover and what the previous one did.

Leadership involves finding a purpose for everyone, through collaboration.

It is not about exercising power but about empowering your colleagues.

It is not about rivalries and ego-tussles. It is about creating an environment with good participation, dialogue, and flow of ideas. It is about making your colleagues comfortable and at the same time, making sure no one feels hesitant to step out of the comfort zone, including yourself.