What New Managers Should Know About How They Can Grow

The transition from an individual contributor to a new manager requires a lot of learning and unlearning. You are no longer responsible for simply your own performance but also that of your team. The most important ingredient for you to realize your fullest potential as a manager (and as a human being) is helping others grow as you grow as a manager. My book, The Talent Sutra, describes this by explaining the simple concept of how the devata’s growth is an outcome of the yajman’s growth.

The word dharma has often been translated as ethics, morality, righteousness and goodness. These English words are rooted in the notion of objectivity. But dharma is not an objective concept. It is a subjective concept based on gaze. Depending on our varna, we will see dharma differently. For the shudra, it is doing what the master tells him to do. For the vaishya, it is doing what he feels is right. For the kshatriya, it is doing what he feels is right for all. For the brahman, it is realizing that each one is right in his own way, but each one can be more right, by expanding his gaze. As our gaze expands, our varna changes and so does dharma. Dharma is about realizing our potential. While all other creatures grow at the cost of others (plants feed on minerals, animals feed on plants and other animals), humans can grow by helping others grow. This is not sacrifice. This is not selflessness. This is making the yajaman’s growth an outcome of the devata’s growth. This is best demonstrated in the ritual that takes place during Nanda Utsav. Every year, during the festival of Nanda Utsav, pots of butter are hung from great heights and human pyramids are formed to climb to the pot, commemorating how Krishna would steal butter from the milkmaids of Gokul and Vrindavan that was kept out of his reach when he was a child. In this exercise, the most crucial stage is the one in which people in the lowermost tier, who sit while the pyramid is being set up, have to stand up. Only when they stand, balancing the entire pyramid on their shoulders does Krishna get the butter. In their growth lies Krishna’s success.

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True expansion happens when I grow because you grow. When only I grow, it is selfish. When only you grow, it is selfless. Only plants and animals are allowed to be selfish, as they do not have the capacity to imagine, hence empathize. Only minerals and inanimate objects can be truly selfless. In sanatan, only the digambar shramana, or the naked, wise sage can be truly selfless. Only he has no fear and can walk around without food, shelter or clothing, comfortable as he is. That is why monks were associated with forests, not social organizations, never allowed to stay or settle in a single place. Around Shiva, there are only snow-capped mountains where no life can thrive. It is good for the individual but not for those who are dependent on him. For society, we need neither selfishness nor selflessness. We need a connection with the ecosystem. We need a method of mutual exchange and growth, one that includes more and more people. This is uddhar, the uplift of thought, which leads to an uplift in action, and intellectual and emotional growth, eventually leading to economic and political growth. The point is to invest in other people’s growth such that the return is our growth. This is the path of Vishnu, the path of Shankar, the path of the Bodhisattva.

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When Vikram took over as the CEO, he called the head of his human resource department and said he wanted to redesign job descriptions. He wanted financial goals to be the primary objective of executives. He wanted customer satisfaction and employee engagement to be the primary objective of junior managers. He wanted talent management to be the primary objective of senior managers. “As you climb the ladder, you cannot be paying attention to the same thing the same way,” states Vikram.


 

 

Some parts of this article have been excerpted from The Talent Sutra: An Indian Approach to Learning by Devdutt Pattanaik. Used with permission of the author and Aleph Book Company.

 


Devdutt Pattanaik is a renowned author, mythologist, and leadership consultant. He has written over thirty bestselling books, published several hundred articles, and given numerous talks and presentations on Indian mythology, culture, business and management. He is a much sought-after speaker, leadership coach, management adviser and consultant on Indian mythology and culture.

 

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    Sutapa Dutta says: Submitted:

    Good article. Wanted to read more.