Corporate Kurukshetra - Krishna as the CEO

The Mahabharata is the ultimate epic. The lessons taught by the Mahabharata are the best management guide one can ever have and are totally relevant in today’s corporate boardroom.

With his traits of wisdom, perseverance, dispassion, equilibrium of the mind, knowledge, memory, tactfulness, patience, ingenuity and determination, Shri Krishna is a great leader and the ultimate CEO.


What makes Krishna a great CEO?

Knowing his ultimate goal:

He wants the Pandavas to win the war. As most visionary leaders, Krishna began with the end in mind. A good leader is adept at the ability to envision in the mind what he cannot at present see with his eyes. Krishna’s message: If you don't make a conscious effort to visualize who you are and what you want in life, then you empower other people and circumstances to shape you and your life by default.

Strong organizational and managerial skills: 

He had the clarity and the ability to be proactive, with the insight to properly delegate and track work. Krishna excelled in the art of getting things done through people, efficiently and effectively.

Business Strategy and situational leadership:

Krishna is the greatest planner and crisis manager of all time. He is a master strategist and tactful leader adopting different leadership styles according to the situation and the people he has to deal with.

Strong communication skills and interpersonal relations: 

He had the ability to communicate clearly and honestly; a crucial quality for effective business leaders, as it can foster robust relationships and connections (again, both with employees and clients). A CEO must inspire confidence, a sense of belonging and a stronger connection with their staff and clients.

Negotiation and Influencing Skills:

From his early childhood onwards Lord Krishna displays superior communication and negotiation skills to deal with people – both friends and enemies. As an ambassador of the Pandavas in the court of Kauravas, he uses his communication, negotiation and diplomatic skills to avoid war

Tolerance: 

Krishna tolerated Sisupala's misbehavior 99 times before showing his strength and power. He was able to show his tolerance and capacity for handling pressure. Senior Professionals should have the ability to remain calm, to meet challenges under high pressure and reach their goals and deadlines.

Motivating team members to succeed:

When Arjuna refused to pick up arms against his relatives and kill them, Lord Krishna stood up and motivated him by narrating the Bhagavad Geeta. This was instrumental in the Pandava victory.

Kindle & Build Team Spirit:

Under his leadership the Pandavas worked together as a team towards a common goal; 5 Pandavas were ultimately able to beat 100 Kauravas. What the Pandavas lacked in numbers, they made up with the right mentorship, unity, skills, intelligence and strength. A good CEO knows the importance of team spirit for success at work.

Know Every Member’s Potential:

Krishna was smart enough to use his team’s ability and potential to the maximum and allocated tasks accordingly.Under him, the Pandavas knew how to harnesses energies from each man in their army.

Individual responsibility and work distribution:

Each member of the Pandavas team was his own leader as responsibilities were divided; unlike the One-man leadership/ dictatorship strategy that didn’t work for the Kauravas. This is in line with the modern CEOS style: developing your employees into leaders. 

Women empowerment & workplace diversity:

Krishna was well aware of the knowledge, and problem-solving skills of women during crisis management. The Pandava camp took advice from their women... Kunti, Draupadi, or Hidimba (Bheema's wife) and Subhadra (Arjuna' wife). Kauravas, on the other hand, followed a patriarchal structure and denied their women participation in decision-making. Having a diverse workforce consisting of unusual fighters like Ghatotkacha and Shikhandi paid off as they played important roles in turning the tide in favour of the Pandavas.

Summing it up, a good CEO would do well to relate and utilize Krishna’s management wisdom in the modern boardroom.

Here's how the story began 

When the Pandavas and the Kauravas were canvassing for support before the war of Kurukshetra, both Arjuna and Duryodhana came to ask for Krishna's support.

Krishna gave them a choice; one of them could have his army, the fearsome Narayani Sena, and the other could have just him -- unarmed and not fighting. Arjuna opted for the moral support of the lone, non-fighting Krishna without hesitation. Duryodhana smiled, thinking he had got the best of the deal -- what use was one unarmed man against an army of skilled warriors! But Arjuna knew that even the best of resources, such as the Narayani Sena, were useless without the strategic vision of Krishna. It transpired that the lone Krishna, serving as Arjuna's charioteer, was all the Pandavas needed to win the war of Kurukshetra, and Arjuna had chosen wisely. No prizes for guessing who made the best hiring decision!

Select Global Solutions is assisting leading organizations across multiple sectors with CXO hiring and board member recruitment.

Connect with us to benefit from our know-how on executive search in India and across other Emerging markets.

Keywords: childhood onwards Lord Krishna | different leadership styles | effective business leaders | communication skills | s management wisdom