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Navigating Uncertain Times With Ontological Leadership

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Amid today's tumultuous and rapidly changing world, the idea and spirit of leadership need a profound transformation. Conventional leadership models, once effective, are now proving inadequate in the face of complexity and uncertainty. In this era of chaos and disruption, a compelling need emerges for a new leadership paradigm: ontological leadership , rooted in timeless Indic wisdom , offering a path towards deeper understanding and harmony that resonates with today's challenges.

It transcends prosaic managerial techniques or strategic frameworks. Ontological leadership delves into the essence of Being and consciousness , drawing inspiration from profound insights in the Indic philosophies of Yog and Vedanta . At its core, ontological leadership is about leading with the light of unbound inner wisdom emanating from unattached, unsullied and all-inclusive consciousness, including virtues such as integrity, authenticity, creativity, courage, and compassion .

Yog, as expounded in the Yog Sutras of Maharshi Patanjali, offers a holistic framework for Self-realisation and transformation. The union of Vashti, individual consciousness, with Yamashita, universal consciousness, is central to the yogic vision. In the context of leadership, this union implies a deep recognition of the interconnectedness of all beings and a sense of responsibility for the well-being of the entire ecosystem - be it an organisation, community, nation, or planet. Vedanta deepens this idea further, revealing the essential oneness of all beings. From the leadership standpoint, ontological leadership recognises the inherent oneness of all existence and leads from a place of profound interconnectedness and compassion. Its key tenets are:

Self-awareness | The ability to introspect and understand one's strengths and weaknesses and operate from a place of authenticity. Strengthening one's strengths and weakening one's weaknesses, an ontological leader constantly evolves into a finer version of oneself. Drawing from the practice of atma vichar of Vedanta supported by yogic disciplines, leaders need to cultivate a deep understanding of themselves, enabling them to lead with clarity and purpose.

Presence | A state of being fully engaged in the present moment, free from distractions, preconceptions and preoccupations. Being mindful, leaders develop the capacity to remain grounded amidst chaos.

Compassion | Driven by the principle of ahimsa, practising empathy and compassion in all interactions, ontological leaders don't just recognise the inherent dignity and worth of every individual; they actively seek to create an environment, culture, and institutions that nurture growth, fostering a sense of connection and empathy among all.

Resilience | Ontological leaders embrace change as a natural part of life. They cultivate resilience and adaptability, recognising that challenges and setbacks are opportunities for growth and learning.

Servant leadership | In accordance with the spirit of Karm Yog, ontological leaders adopt a servant leadership approach, placing the needs of others above their ego-driven desires. Without hankering for power, they empower and inspire those around them, nurturing a culture of trust, accountability, and collective purpose.

Authored by: Yogi Balkrishna

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