What the Dalai Lama can teach Corporate Honchos about Leadership and Management

Why Spirituality and Business are not incompatible and what Buddhism can teach us?

Often, we think that spirituality and business are mutually incompatible and hence, are separate and distinct means to ends.

While the former preaches abstinence and rejection of worldly pleasures, the latter focuses on making money as the end to which all means are justified.

Indeed, the whole modern economy is built on profit seeking motives that are totally opposite that of what the spiritual teachers proclaim as the ends being abstract and metaphysical joys.

However, in recent years, there has been a notable increase in interest among corporate honchos and leaders as well as many uber successful executives about incorporating spiritual principles in everyday practice of management.

This interest has been driven by the need to find balance in an hectic and stressed out world where the demands of our 24/7 frenzied lives means that leaders and managers need to strike a delicate equilibrium between being caught up in the madness of life and the need to seek peace that is so essential if one has to survive the modern corporate jungle.

This is where the Tibetan Buddhist leader and Nobel Laureate monk, the Dalai Lama and his teachings on Buddhist practices can come in handy for frazzled and harried corporate honchos.

How Mindfulness can help us to Become more Productive and Efficient at Work

For instance, let us take the Buddhist principle of Mindfulness or living in the moment and focusing all energies on the task at hand without worrying about past mistakes or anxieties about the future.

Mindfulness means total devotion and attention to the present moment in a Zen like state and corporate honchos with the ever increasing pressures to meet the bottom line targets can do well to follow this simple practice so that their efficiency and productivity goes up.

To elaborate, if all professionals in an organization focus on the present and devote all their energies to the task at hand, then they would be able to fulfil and excel at the task rather than being distracted by pulls and pressures where the past impinges on the present and affects the future.

In other words, by clear focus and a dedication to pursuit of excellence in the chosen task, corporate honchos can ensure that they channelize all their energies to the present moment.

Indeed, by being mindful, they can avoid past blunders and actualize a successful future by completing and even exceeding expectations from the present.

Compassionate Capitalism and how to make the World a Better Place

Next, let us take one of the most important principles of Buddhism and one that is a favourite of the Dalai Lama.

The practice of compassion receives the highest importance in his teaching and our materialistic and money minded corporate honchos can learn a thing or two from this as well.

For instance, it is natural for many of us to feel guilty about earning wealth when our fellow compatriots struggle to make ends meet.

Indeed, this is the reason why Billionaires often give to charity mainly to ease their conscience and feel happy that they have given back to society from which they have gained a lot.

Therefore, practicing compassionate capitalism can serve the purposes of both the wealthy and the poor as the former feel that they have done their bit and the latter benefit from this and who knows, one day, they too might be in a position to give back by virtue of success on account of their education or careers helped along by compassionate capitalists.

In recent years, compassionate capitalism has been the topic of discussion among corporate honchos so much so that the annual gathering of the who’s who at Davos now features speakers from Buddhist monasteries who advise the former on how to reduce inequality and inequity in the world.

What the Dalai Lama says about Destructive Emotions and Transforming such Emotions

Third, there is a very essential Buddhist teaching and one that the Dalai Lama has been notable for among other teachings. This is the principle of converting destructive emotions into happy ones thereby releasing the stress of daily existence.

Indeed, there is an entire book by the leading author and psychologist, Daniel Goleman, who pioneered the concept of Emotional Intelligence that focuses on how Buddhism can be the answer to the prevailing hate and anger in the world.

The practice of Meditation taken together with the other principles of Buddhism can help us heal ourselves and the world in turn and hence, the Dalai Lama often speaks about how we can transform our negative emotions into positive ones.

With so much online vitriol in social media and the resultant loss of productivity and focus not to leave out the effects they are having on our lives, this is something that every business leader and professional can follow and practice if they are to remain balanced and focus on their work instead of being lost in the deluge of hate.


Having said that, one might very well say that all this is good on paper when in the real world, the pressure is on to show results and that too quickly.

While we accept this point, our argument is that the principles discussed here and the wider ones by the Dalai Lama have the potential to be useful even in daily existence as many corporate honchos have discovered.

Indeed, taken with other Indian and Asian spiritual gurus, there are leading corporates who request their help to ease the stress and pressure on their employees and hence, our concluding point is that there is much that we can achieve by following simple spiritual principles without much effort and enrich our careers.

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