The Leadership Experience

By 1906, Gandhi came to realize that fighting in legal would not bring him and personal victory. Gandhi now formulated what he eventually called the Satyagraha movement. It meant ‘holding on to Truth” or “soul force”. It was later characterized as ‘civil resistance”, borrowing from Thoreau’s term “civil disobedience”. As Gandhi said, it was really about ‘evil resistance’ and ‘civil conduct’. (Satyagraha)

The Satyagraha movement tapped in to the moral grounds of followers. Gandhi perfected this technique and trained his followers in its use. Gandhi incorporated a major part of his own moral characters then influenced his followers to reinforce their own as well. It was solely based on the strength of their moral character that Gandhi was able to achieve a considerable reduction in the racial discrimination in South Africa. Once again empowering the followers in believing in the work of Gandhi. (Satyagraha)

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Gandhi’s style of leadership fit into the idealist. Idealists are leaders whose fascination is perfection. At their best idealist will focus on their high standard of excellence. They are portrayed as wise and discerning leaders who posses a strong personal conviction and are very ethical. (Daft, R) A highly developed idealist as Gandhi was can provide a proper vision for the followers they lead, and can be excellent teachers.

In 1919 Gandhi undertook the enormous task of educating 300 million Indians to grow their own food, to weave their own clothes, to run their own schools, colleges, courts, railways, police systems. In addition to teaching them several other duties that enabled them in their independence. (Mahatma Gandhi Album) However idealist can often lack patient and chastises those around them for falling short of perfection. They can lapse into self-righteousness and intolerance. Anger is known to be the motivating force behind their personality. (Daft, R) Therefore making them susceptible to anger, they can explode without warning when their expectations are not met.

For the purpose of this paper we will identify two leadership models, the Frame Work Approach and the Managerial Grid. However the focus in this section will be the Frame Work Approach. In the four Framework Approach, Bolman and Deal (1991) suggest that leaders display leadership behaviors in one of four types of frame works: Structural, Human Resource, Political, and Symbolic. These styles can be effective or ineffective depending on the situation. They can also shift from one to another based on the changed values or beliefs of the leader at the time. (Daft, R) In Gandhi’s framework approach he initially began in the Political Framework Approach in his attempt to abolish discrimination in South Africa and India. Gandhi then moved to a more Human Resource Framework in his ideals on the Satyagraha movement.

Mahatma Gandhi is one of the most significant leaders of the 20th century and beyond. Gandhi inspired Martin Luther King in his fight for racial equality and inherited much of his teaching styles. Although Gandhi held no office or wealth his influence and accomplishments were mainly responsible for India’s independence from Britain. The world’s most profound universities and professors continue to institute Gandhi’s leadership qualities and beliefs in their teaching curriculums.  “Joy lies in the fight, in the attempt, in the suffering involved, not in the victory itself.” Mahatma Gandhi


Daft, R. The Leadership Experience Third Edition, 2005 by south Western part of the  Thompson Corporation Mahatma Gandhi Album: Gandhi: A Biography. Retrieved February 03/2006. From Satyagraha: The Most Potent Technique of conflict Resolution. Retrieved February 01

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