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Servant leadership in diverse contexts – Indian cultural context and Hinduism
Leadership is an important aspect of society, without which many evolutionary aspects would remain at the level of the primitive communal system. So this is why motivated people foster communities where the common good is valued as highly as the individual's needs (Gigliotti & Dwyer, 2016). But social evolution does not stand still, and people have developed a new element of social relationships. Servant leadership is a new form of manifestation of the personal qualities of each person, aimed at achieving the common good in all possible ways (Dwyer, 2016).
This relationship is good for any community, company, or family. However, the servant leadership style is especially evident in Hinduism as one of the most popular religions. An important aspect of understanding personal qualities is the examples of politicians, musicians, and historical figures who influenced certain groups of people or countries.
Hinduism as a religion
Hinduism is one of the most widespread religions in the world. According to its basic principles, every event in the world is interconnected. Moreover, Hindus believe that there are dozens of gods, each responsible for a specific branch of production or life aspect (Gandhi, 2012). Also, this religion implies intermediaries between the people and the gods. The so-called Brahmans, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, Shudra belong to the untouchable caste and are the executors of the will of every god (Santamaria, 2014).
Such persons perform rituals in temples, pray and help ordinary people find the path to truth. A key aspect of Hinduism is the belief that everyone should lead a righteous life, help others and not have bad thoughts. The process of reincarnation is inevitable, and the wheel of Samsara must make a full turn so that a person can again live life but in a different body. In part, Indian culture is based on religious dogmas. That is why some of the decisions in society are made based on Hinduism, and only after the Brahmans approve the next step.
The people of India have learned to combine spiritual life with social duty and daily responsibilities. Much of their belief is based on the fact that each god is responsible for a certain group of people, just as people are responsible for their children, relatives, and friends. That is why this circle of mutual trust is a key characteristic of India's multi million population.
Similarities with servant leadership
Hinduism and servant leadership are quite similar because, in both cases, the person has an important role in the well-being of a certain group of people. Hindus believe that every person has a clear path to help society become better. So this is partly why the caste system was so important in Indian culture. Each person should have a purpose to help make society happy (Gigliotti & Dwyer, 2016). According to ancient canons, each person is one of the parts of a single mechanism.
That is why the collective needs are lower than the personal ones. In this regard, religious dogmas have much in common with servant leadership since the concept of the common good is extremely important and is strongly encouraged by society. Another interesting fact is how Indians relate to subordinates, elders, and children. As in the case of servant leadership, they try to make the life of a neighbor free from problems.
To achieve such a goal, they can give up some benefits to satisfy society. This aspect of altruism is extremely important for religious and secular dogmas. At the same time, the Indian community is extremely sensitive to how the gods' will is being fulfilled. Therefore, they aim to comply with certain rules to maintain order in the country and any community. There is something similar in those communities that believe that servant leadership is the only sure way to achieve social harmony.
The main differences with servant leadership
Despite the many similarities, one key difference should not be kept silent. Of course, the citizens of India are trying to follow a common goal and help those who are weaker. But the main motivator for this behavior is the religious context. Whereas servant leadership implies personal motives and a desire to make the community better, then religion focuses on the need to help other people to improve karma. In other words, the average person is interested in being reborn again and not becoming an animal or poor. So this is why servant leadership is so different in terms of independent decision-making.
Servant leadership is a pure desire to become a support and support for someone who needs help. Religious norms distort the pure pursuit of service and leave people no other choice. In pursuing karma and public acceptance, ordinary people lose the original essence of mutual aid and good intentions. That is why religion can act as a destructive element in the social structure. Indian life is standardized when it comes to beliefs and religious norms. They can only choose the path of helping their neighbor but cannot determine when it is their desire and not a duty.
Indian culture code
The culture of India is a mix of religious dogmas, clear rules, and a caste system that is still very important to the community. In other words, this country has chosen Hinduism as a key guiding star. People consult with Brahmanas and monks before making important decisions and always try to observe the canons not to anger the gods and observe moral standards. That is why servant leadership has become so widespread among the common population. People strive to be useful to society and interact with relatives and friends according to the gods' rules.
So this decision seems rudimentary in the modern world, but Indian culture is very different from American or European values. Local holidays are one of the important cultural and religious symbiosis. Indians believe that gifts to gods, friends, and relatives bring them closer to immortality and new life. The karma system is firmly integrated into the community, and even top managers of large companies adhere to cultural traditions invented thousands of years ago. This approach to everyday life distinguishes local people from modern Europeans and Americans, who are less focused on observing centuries-old traditions.
Similarities with servant leadership
Understanding residents' basic principles and religious norms make understanding their goals and desires easier. Indian culture and servant leadership have a lot in common in helping others. The fact is that leaders strive for the unconditional benefit for each community member, regardless of status or personal benefit. That is why Indian culture is considered quite generous because people are ready to make decisions that will help those who need help.
By analogy with servant leadership, local cultural values influence the way people do business, communicate with relatives and even strangers. Indian cultural context and Hinduism are two parts of one vessel filled with key societal objectives. Each person has a specific role and must help others. It is worth noting that the general similarity of cultural aspects with servant leadership is also manifested in the attitude towards tourists and foreigners in general. Residents are extremely open and try to help whenever possible. So this is precisely the fundamental aspect of leadership. A responsible person is ready to take the necessary actions for the common good. This approach is very important both religiously and socially.
The key differences with servant leadership theory
But are there any distinctive features between cultural context and deliberate action? Is it possible to draw a clear line between society's dictates and personal motives? On the one hand, India looks like a country where people want to strive for self-sacrifice for the good of their neighbors. But what prompted such a desire? The fact is that Indian culture and servant leadership are part of one whole. But religious canons prescribe people to observe the laws of Samsara and Drachma to have a chance for a new life and blessings in the next reincarnations. In this part, Hinduism is very different from leadership action. Indian culture prescribes any person to be humble and respond to every call for help to avoid negative consequences.
At the same time, human leadership is a conscious choice made by everyone who wants to serve the community. So this is the cornerstone and subject of endless debate among many theologians and religious people. Hinduism is a religion, not a set of rules that look right. A person should have the right to choose and not be led by divine forces. Indian culture and servant leadership are similar but very different approaches to certain actions and decisions.
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