A Higher Standard of Leadership

Lessons from the Life of Gandhi

Keshavan Nair (Author)

Publication date: 12/01/1996

Bestseller over 70,000+ copies sold

A Higher Standard of Leadership
  • Shows America's economic system to be at odds with its social and political goals and proposes a system designed to increase personal freedom
  • Questions the most basic assumptions that drive our economic system, and argues that its entire structure must be challenged

o How to embody the values of service, truth, and personal responsibility in leadership roles
o Insights about management, leadership, and purpose from a successful businessman and perceptive student of Gandhi's life and writings

Though Gandhi is one of the most written-about figures of the twentieth century, this is the first book to apply lessons from his life to the practical tasks faced by contemporary leaders-from corporate managers and executives to government administrators, nonprofit professionals, educators, and others.

In times shaped by colonialism, dictatorships, and two World Wars, Gandhi demonstrated that an idealist could also be a practical and effective leader. In our times of increasing cynicism about the quality of leadership we can expect and aspire to, Keshavan Nair reminds us that, "We are all engaged in leadership, in practicing it and selecting those who will lead." In A Higher Standard of Leadership, he offers a pragmatic guide based on the concepts Gandhi exemplified:
o leadership is service, not a path to power and privilege;
o effective goals, decisions, and strategies can be guided by moral principles;
o a single standard of conduct, based on absolute values, should be maintained in both public and private life.

A lifelong student of Gandhi's teachings and a businessman with more than 25 years of experience in corporate and governmental leadership development, Nair is uniquely positioned to bridge the two worlds. Using illustrative examples from Gandhi's life and writings, he identifies commitments-to conscience, openness, service, values, and reduced attachments-and describes the courage and determination necessary to work and lead by them. In simple and direct language, he explores the process of making decisions, setting goals, and implementing actions guided by the spirit of service and commitment to values that is essential to the realization of a higher standard of leadership in our workplaces and communities.

  • Shows America's economic system to be at odds with its social and political goals and proposes a system designed to increase personal freedom
  • Questions the most basic assumptions that drive our economic system, and argues that its entire structure must be challenged

Read more and meet author below



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9781576750117

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Overview

  • Shows America's economic system to be at odds with its social and political goals and proposes a system designed to increase personal freedom
  • Questions the most basic assumptions that drive our economic system, and argues that its entire structure must be challenged

o How to embody the values of service, truth, and personal responsibility in leadership roles
o Insights about management, leadership, and purpose from a successful businessman and perceptive student of Gandhi's life and writings

Though Gandhi is one of the most written-about figures of the twentieth century, this is the first book to apply lessons from his life to the practical tasks faced by contemporary leaders-from corporate managers and executives to government administrators, nonprofit professionals, educators, and others.

In times shaped by colonialism, dictatorships, and two World Wars, Gandhi demonstrated that an idealist could also be a practical and effective leader. In our times of increasing cynicism about the quality of leadership we can expect and aspire to, Keshavan Nair reminds us that, "We are all engaged in leadership, in practicing it and selecting those who will lead." In A Higher Standard of Leadership, he offers a pragmatic guide based on the concepts Gandhi exemplified:
o leadership is service, not a path to power and privilege;
o effective goals, decisions, and strategies can be guided by moral principles;
o a single standard of conduct, based on absolute values, should be maintained in both public and private life.

A lifelong student of Gandhi's teachings and a businessman with more than 25 years of experience in corporate and governmental leadership development, Nair is uniquely positioned to bridge the two worlds. Using illustrative examples from Gandhi's life and writings, he identifies commitments-to conscience, openness, service, values, and reduced attachments-and describes the courage and determination necessary to work and lead by them. In simple and direct language, he explores the process of making decisions, setting goals, and implementing actions guided by the spirit of service and commitment to values that is essential to the realization of a higher standard of leadership in our workplaces and communities.

  • Shows America's economic system to be at odds with its social and political goals and proposes a system designed to increase personal freedom
  • Questions the most basic assumptions that drive our economic system, and argues that its entire structure must be challenged

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Meet the Author


Visit Author Page - Keshavan Nair



Keshavan Nair was born in Patalia, India, and as a young man began his study of Gandhi. Educated in the British and American systems, Nair had a background in Eastern philosophy and religion, engineering, and decision and risk analysis. He was a corporate executive and served on the faculties of Ohio State University and the Indian Institute of Technology in Kampur, India. Nair passed away in 2002.

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Table of Contents

Contents
Part I: A Single Standard of Conduct
1. Why a Single Standard
2. Develop a Basis for the Single Standard-Commit to Absolute Values
3. Acknowledge the Ideal-Commit to the Journey
4. Develop the Guide That Will Keep You on the Path-Commit to Training Your Conscience
5. Reduce Forces That Lead You Astray-Commit to Reducing Privilege and Attachments
6. Be Willing to Stand Scrutiny-Commit to Minimizing Secrecy
7. The Essential Quality-Courage

Part II: The Spirit of Service
8. Leadership Is Service
9. Focus on Responsibilities Not Rights
10. Values Based and Policy Based Service
11. A Personal Commitment to Service
12. Understanding the Needs of the People You Wish to Serve
13. Power and Service in Harmony

Part III: Decisions and Actions Bounded by Moral Principles
14. The Moral Dimension in Decisions and Actions
15. Principles of Governance
16. Creating Integrity in the Decision Process
17. Changing the Standard for Decision Making
18. Bringing a Moral Dimension to Implementation

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Endorsements

"This is a beautiful and important book! Keshavan Nair describes our era as one of declining standards and of leadership with the intent of building power and realizing personal gain. He offers an antidote in the form of Gandhi's timeless example-responsibility, integrity, truth, and commitment."

John D. Adams, Ph.D., author of Transforming Work and Transforming Leadership

"Dr. Nair's book has come at just the right time. His genius is in illuminating the teachings of Gandhi, the greatest leader of the twentieth century, and making them relevant to today's business world."

Bill Bottum, Chair of the Board, Townsend and Bottum, Board Member of The Greenleaf Center

"Keshavan Nair has skillfully articulated the transcultural implications of Mahatma Gandhi's profound teachings and demonstrated their relevance to complex leadership issues in our contemporary world. Drawing on Gandhi's lived experience, Nair boldly calls us to move beyond a relativistic stance regarding values and begin a search for a universal ethic applicable to the challenges of human life."

Lisa Faithorn, Ph.D., Program Director, Social and Cultural Anthropology Program, California Institute of Integral Studies

"Gandhi is a model of integrity and organizational action that instructs us all. It is timely for Western leaders to look outside our culture for right ways to hold and use power. This book book does a good job of connecting the spirit of Gandhi to our experience of running a business."

Peter Block, author of Stewardship and The Empowered Manager

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