Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj is one of the greatest organisers in the history of the world. The man who 'welded the Marathas into a mighty nation', was also an outstanding military strategist, a skilful diplomat and an enlightened administrator. He never let his enemies unite against him. He got his father free from the Sultan of Bijapur on account of his diplomacy. His freedom from the detention of Aurangzeb at Agra speaks volumes of his diplomacy.
Shivaji Maharaj was highly praised for his exceptional leadership qualities even by his major enemy like Aurangzeb, who had to admit that “My armies have been employed against him for nineteen years and nevertheless his (Shivaji’s) state has always been increasing.”
Cyrus Gonda and Nitin Parab have tried to capture the exceptional leadership style of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in their book titled, 'Leadership Learning From Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj'. Here are the ten mantras for everyday leadership practitioners:
1. To Lead with Emotional Quotient- Conquer the Heart
Most of the Maratha people of Shivaji Maharaj's time were farmers who were not very well educated, but were simple and honest. Shivaji Raje Bhosale won their hearts as a leader who believed in humanity and the man who walked the talk. The noble qualities of Shivaji Maharaj were instilled by his mother Jijabai since childhood, by narrating stories from Mahabharata and Ramayana which are full of high moral and ethical values. His Guru Smarath Ramdas was also an influencing figure in his life.
2. Merit–Your Key to Recruitment and Promotion
Shivaji Maharaj believed only on merit when he chose people for his service. He ensured the background check and always insisted on integrity. The trustee of the Maratha Swarajya took the main role in selecting the right person for the right job and did not only check on the skill set but also check on the character and loyalty of the person. 'The author mentions the practice of two kinds of recruitments in the army one is full-time employees on a salary basis and others were appointed on a project basis.'*
3. Build Trust through Effective Communication
Shivaji Maharaj had great oratory skills. He spoke from the heart. His words bore the pain and agony of people. 'The leader first practised the qualities of honesty, truthfulness and trust and therefore won the admiration of the Mavalas'.
4. Keep Noble Purpose of Organisation First
The country and its people's interest always topped the priority list of Shivaji Raje Bhosale. He just played a role of a caretaker for his organisation first and then other objectives.
5. Develop Administrative Efficiency and a Fearless Knowledgeable, Honest Independent Board
Shivaji Maharaj was a fearless warrior as well as an honest administrator. He introduced the concept of Ashthapradhan council (a cabinet of 8 ministers in the 16th century), with clearly defined roles. As a grass root level administrator, Shivaji Raje is thus ranked to the great generals of Alexander, Napoleon and Hannibal, the author points out.
6. Foresight and Vision, Values and Ethics
The book very strongly depicts through his writings the true dedication and national spirit Raje had for his motherland. 'A leader who lived the life of simplicity was even witnessed by the Dutch travellers as quoted by the author. Raje was a great leader who walked the talk and loved his people and motherland. The author cites an incidence of a campaign being won were Abaji Mahadev gifts Shivaji Raje a beautiful girl. This beautiful girl was blessed by Shivaji Raje and made his sister and respected for. Dadaji Kondev once as cited by the author was tempted to eat the fruit grown on the state property tree he broke his law and also ensured that he was punished with the same punishment for his act done. Action points suggested by the author are ethics a good roadmap for success and that great career would only happen with career flight without foresight.'*
7. It is Never too Early-To Learn to Lead
Two great individuals who moulded the childhood of Raje through their environment and experience are Jijabai mother of the king and Dadaji Kondev. Early battles which Raje won boosted the morale of his troops. Battle with Afzal Khan the great general of the Mughals passed on a very strong message for his enemies. 'Action points mentioned by the author for practice is, first develop an honest and fearless mind and take personal initiative for your leadership success.'*
8. Identify Right Mentors –Open Doors to Great Leadership
The seeds for developing this able leader were sown by his mother. The foundation for building the vision of Swarajya was invoked through the stories and the morals from the great epic of Mahabharata and Ramayana. Secondly, the trusted Sardar Dadaji Kondev who was Raje’s coach guided him to take decisions which helped him win several battles. 'The author talks about how a person could help himself becoming a good leader talks about how one should be alert in picking up his or her mentors.' His life teaches an important lesson to the modern rulers: Why should a leader invest time in the people to groom the right persons once the quality of leadership is found in them.
9. Open Mind and Open Eye – Adopt New and Beneficial Trends and Technologies
Maharaj always stressed on innovation and new technology. He studied this and equipped his soldiers with new weaponry. He also foresaw the importance of navy and built a powerful command over water. The author quotes the cycle of learning which is 'learn, unlearn relearn and experience'.*
10. Leave a Lasting Legacy for Future Generations to Build on
When his mother Jijabai sowed the seeds for Swarajya in the mind of young Shivaji his father Shahaji helped him build the foundation of Hindavi Swaraj. His Swaraj was built on the pillars of humanity, values, ethics, management and leadership, so he would be remembered for all the generations in future for nation-building exercise undertaken by him and uniting people for the cause of Swarajaya. The king has left a legacy of good deeds, hard work and selflessness is a role model for a good leader in the modern world.
Courtesy: Cyrus M. Gonda, Dr. Nitin Parab and *Dipaali Pulekar
Leadership Learnings from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj
International Journal of Innovations in Engineering and Management