iNDICA News Bureau-
“A common regret among CEOs and company leaders is the lack of empathy they displayed toward their people in their tenure at the top.” Spiritual guru and ambassador of peace and human values Sri Sri Ravi Shankar began his grand keynote at TiEcon 2022, the thirtieth edition of the world’s largest conference for entrepreneurs, with this pithy observation.
Ravi Shankar, the founder of the Art of Living Foundation, which now works in 156 countries around the globe, said “workplaces lose good hands and good brains when they do not treat their workers well” – be it on account of harsh working hours, a neglectful supervisor, or poor compensation.
Interestingly, when asked by the moderator BV Jagadeesh, a serial entrepreneur in Silicon Valley, whether large companies have displayed sufficient empathy toward employees, he said the manner in which a corporation expresses empathy toward employees is naturally different from the manner in which a small family-run business may do so.
Through his life and work, Ravi Shankar has held out the vision of a stress-free, violence-free world. One of his contributions to the process of self‐development is the Sudarshan Kriya – a powerful breathing technique that facilitates physical, mental, emotional and social well‐being.
Describing the state of affairs in business as “imbalanced”, he said, “Sensitivity and sensibility must go together, but are usually mutually exclusive – sensible people are often focused on results and not sensitivity, whereas sensitive people are often not focused on results at all.”
He put this into the context of leadership by introducing what he called ‘conscious leadership’ – which he described as a tool that relies upon inspiration more than on motivation as a driver of performance at the workplace.
To create a workplace environment that fosters creativity and inspiration, he said leaders must pursue those goals themselves. To do so, he recommended meditation for all leaders – from garage-based entrepreneurs to CEOs – as it not only relieves stress and keeps the mind fresh, but also unlocks the creative impulses and allows intuition room to direct the mind.
According to him, intuition and creativity are indispensable tools in the entrepreneur’s toolbox. He described meditation as “a sense of deep relaxation, which is not something you actively do but rather you let yourself undo”.
Asked about remote work, which took off two years ago in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, he remarked that the introduction of work from home and hybrid methods of work had brought a degree of balance into people’s lives, allowing them greater involvement in family and society affairs.
He said that as companies move past the Covid era, they must not lose the balance that was achieved in these two years.
He also said that while it is a positive sign that more women are now working outside the house, woman leaders bring an invaluable perspective to the table and the current number of 5% in leadership positions is simply too low. He advocated greater encouragement of female professional ambitions, more training and certainly more admissions.
TiEcon 2022 featured three days of discussion on topics of entrepreneurship, industry trends and opportunities. The event ended May 7.