Internal Leadership Development

Life Coach Mahendra Ingle

Published in Issue II, July 2013

In the global era of internet revolution, country borders are just physical reality. Because from three fundamental dimensions of physics: distance, time and mass; distance and time is overcome by technology. Everyone have equal access to information in fraction of seconds. If Einstein’s Philadelphia Experiment is true and reproduced, then man can move anything from one place to another place in few minutes. It’s a miracle of science.


However, understanding and decoding “HUMAN BRAIN and BEHAVIOUR” is still a mystery beyond reach of science (partially solved by Neurologists). Across the world, leading organisations are investing in imparting leadership skills to their employees to effectively run their companies in profit. To be a leader means to be in charge and in full control of situation and guide people depending on leader to achieve common objective. To be a leader means to first understand self, conquer own emotions and then imitate for others benefit.  It’s like first using match stick to ignite own candle within and then using the ignited candle, ignite hundreds of candles. It’s simple mathematics on paper, but very difficult in practical reality.


As a trainer life coach, I have been coaching people over last 15 years and I am experiencing how challenging it is to deal with human brains and behaviour. Lord Buddha has provided solutions to all leadership development skills. In these series of articles, I would be sharing with you, learning’s from interactions with participants and some simple, easy to follow techniques to develop leadership skills thus acting as a catalyst in your journey for self enlightenment.


Story of “Mongoose, the Baby Sitter” from Jataka tales.

We begin with story of “Mongoose the Baby Sitter” from Jataka tales. To discuss supporting real life examples, followed by an action steps to implement learning’s in small steps to benefit you and followers of Lord Buddha. Since leadership is vast subject, on monthly basis one leadership parameter would be discussed.


Once Bodhisattva was born as a mongoose in jungle. A young couple living near village borders of jungle, give birth to a cute baby. Since the village was nearby the jungle, many times poisonous snakes used to sneak into village huts in search of food (Mouse). The couple made this mongoose as their pet and kept him as a baby sitter. The cute baby started playing with mongoose and soon both become good friends. As the baby was growing, mother used to feed both baby and mongoose at same time. When baby was drinking milk, mother used to give milk to mongoose in bowl. Toys were common to both. Parents started loving the mongoose. Soon mongoose realised and felt that he is second child of couple and started calling them Mom-Dad. Days past happily.


Father used to go to the jungle for food and mother used to fetch water from nearby village well in two pots. Holding one pot on her head and other by her waist. On one fateful day, when mother was out to fetch water, the heartbreaking episode took place. Somewhere inside her subconscious mind mother feared about this incident and it did happen in reality. Mother was shocked.


With pots full of water, the moment when mother was about to step into house and put her foot in door, mother saw mongoose jumping and trying to catch her wrist. Mother was stunned to see Mongoose face smeared with blood and Mongoose trying to eat her wrist, she could see Mongoose teeth clearly. Mother got bewildered to see the scene and within fraction of a second, a lighting thought came to her mind of mongoose killing her baby and as he tasted human blood, he is now attacking her. The very next moment, the mother reacted sharply in fury and directly threw the water pot on mongoose head. Mongoose died on the spot. Traumatised mother rushed to see her dead baby in the bedroom. The mother went into life time guilt after seeing the scene in bed room. Her cute little baby was sleeping peacefully in the cradle and a huge long yellow Cobra Snake was lying dead besides the cradle. Cobra was terribly wounded near neck and all over body and blood was spread across the floor. Soon the mother realised that Mongoose had a bold, tough fight with this poisonous yellow cobra snake and blood spread all over the floor is testimony of how intensely the Mongoose fought with the poisonous cobra to protect her baby. Mother connected the events and got the actual real sequence of events. Mongoose was very proud to protect his baby brother from attack of poisonous snake and was excited to inform his mother that he has performed his duty as an ideal baby sitter. Mongoose had seen many times that the baby used to hold the mother’s finger and used to drag mother to get things/toys of his choice. After killing the poisonous cobra snake, the mongoose also was eager to inform the mother and he said I am also mothers’ second baby, after mother comes “I will also hold mothers finger and will take her to place where snake was lying dead”. But for mother, somewhere deep in her brain at subconscious level, one perception was stored and that perception was “How much should I trust the mongoose? There are chances that Mongoose might also kill my baby” the moment when mother saw the Mongoose mouth smeared with blood, this perception deeply hidden in brain shot up with the speed of a volcano, so fast that she didn’t have time to think and check the situation and she reacted immediately to punish the mongoose by killing him with the water pot in her hand. Mother connected all dots and understood entire sequence of event and fainted instantly.


“Learning’s from ‘Mongoose, the Baby Sitter’ Story “

Friends, there is huge void between reacting and responding. Leadership skill is all about responding to situations and those who fail to be a leader irrespective wealth, support and talent is that they react to situations.  There is big chasm between perception and reality. Only genuine great leaders could understand and decode this gap. If one has to lead an organisation, teams, family and society, that individual must acquire skill to differentiate between brutal facts and wrong perceptions. In short run, those adhering to wrong perceptions would win (Sprint) but history has many proofs, in long run (Marathon) only those leaders who have self control for not to react on wrong information provided (miss-fed) by their dear and near ones (here I mean stooges) wrong perceptions are winners and recorded as victorious. I could see many senior people in organisation (kindly note: I am not using word leader) take their decisions without evaluating brutal facts; they take decisions based on information provided by their team members. Hence, I avoid them calling as Leader and hence mention them as seniors. By seniors it can be any person in hierarchy, who got his / her current designation by some competitive examinations, by way promotion for serving long duration at one place, hereditary designation as heir to parents /ancestral empire, by natural default hierarchy as parents, eldest brother or sister.

Perception is further extended to Selective Perception and Paradigm Paralysis (Rigid Perception). Selective Perception divides two minds. Rigidity and stubbornness of an individual to stick to it, is one of the basic causes of sour relationships between two human beings. Open mind willing to explore alternative thoughts by other person unites, binds two minds. Sign of healthy venture. Famous “Lateral thinking” Author Edward de Bono in his book “How to have beautiful mind” has clearly mentioned about this. “Selective Perception means perceiving things in such a way as to support pre-formed ideas. The mind has fixed patterns and then notices only those things which fit the pattern. Racial prejudice is an obvious example.”


Effect of Selective Perception

Every day our team is recording incidents where many genuine mongoose are being killed in various associations. You see data of any HR company and read the exit interview or read interview remarks for joining new company. You will notice many mongoose are being killed just by seniors (Not Leaders) falling prey to wrong perceptions and terminating employees, relationships, business associations, etc.  Yes. There is a solution and way out. Partial answer is mentioned in succeeding paragraphs and remaining solution you have to find on your own.


Few more examples of Selective Perception are “People from South Korea Against  North Korea “, “People from Western Culture and Eastern Culture”, In India, Caste System is the best example of Selective Perception. It’s in increasing levels with respect to harmfulness, Perceptions, Selective Perceptions and Rigid Perceptions. Great physicist Galileo discovered that the Earth is round. Before that it was strongly (rigidly) perceived by then dominant religious power that earth is flat and it was very difficult to accept and digest the universal truth which Galileo was talking about. It’s a history, in how merciless situation Galileo died in prison. That’s the price one has to pay to discovering the truth and talking the truth. It’s called Rigid Perception or Paradigm Paralysis where brain is unable to think and accept new change. Many honest people who discovered truth were suppressed in past and will be continued to be suppressed in future too. Following are 8 types where truth can be suppressed by perception 1.Having Muscle power, 2. Religious Power, 3. Having Power to punish, 4. Having Power to influence others by wealth, 5. Majority Power, 6. Obligatory power (This has unspoken communication something like this “I have helped you, so whatever I say is correct, you have to listen to me even if it’s wrong). 7. Higher in hierarchy (this type selective perception is often found in two relationships Manager to Junior and Parents to Children. Whatever superior says he pushes it down by way of his/her default hierarchy situation, comes the famous quote “Boss is Always Right”). 8. Comparisons with only one parameter of one’s favour.


Then how do I become a better leader? How do I overcome selective perception? What is the way out?

Solution for this is Maturity shown by leaders for open discussions and listing alternatives and seeking suggestions to make things better in small steps. It’s called “Kaizen”. Once Toyota conducted Kaizen brain storming sessions on generating new idea’s more than one thousand suggestions came which were sorted out and implemented as per situations. Trust and decision making is always from leader to followers and never from follower to leader. It means Leaders (Mother) have to first proved by real action that they trust follower (mongoose). Followers mostly join leader to work and give their life for leader. It is a leader’s responsibility to show unconditional trust on followers. Since 2009, I am doing a practical real time leadership training, life coaching experiment on six youths in locality near IIT, Powai, Mumbai.  The findings are miraculous. Its over four years we are together and we are a team of eight people. Six youths, my wife and myself. We had certain plans to convert this leadership life coaching learning’s into physical business to earn profits. But however we all are facing huge practical challenges and we have had to pause our actions on many occasions. But each member is determined to achieve the final target. During this process we faced many painful incidents. Some of them were very insulting and disgusting but we all are together. Some of the management scholars’ and seniors  informed me not to continue with these six youths as there is not result yet and was asked to close ties, because I was the sole sponsor for this voluntary training project. But I am following Learning’s from Mongoose Jataka tales and leadership statement “Leaders must trust followers” and I was surprised to learn that these six youth leaders started taking meeting in my absence and drafted a blue print to come out victorious. Finally it was victory of Leader showing trust on followers. Now we are just waiting for right venture capitalist to come in picture that fits in our blue print for success. Come what may do not conclude anything before knowing facts from both sides and verifying it from third angle.


Can there be simple techniques to avoid problems faced by wrong Perception (Avoid killing Mangoes)?


Answer is yes. The first step is to get answers to following questions. What is your measurement unit? Can you measure Gold with Litters scale?  Compare two behaviours/ events with minimum 5 standard parameters. What is the sequence of event and interdependency order (PERT/CPM Chart? Search Internet)? What is the universal measurement unit?

If you want to measure any liquid, you won’t take weight measurement blocks of 1 Kg, 5kg and 10 Kg.  It will be foolish to do so. To measure quantity of liquid you required Jars or vessels marked in litres, ½ Litres, 1 Litre, 2 Litres, 5 Litres, and 10 Litres etc.


Similarly, Prepare Questionnaires and give weightage to each parameter.  Sort of Key result area and Performance index in Human resource performance appraisal systems.


Trust is generally from Superior to Junior, Trust is one of basic universal parameter.


Drunken / Drugged family member is not to blame, but the member who is conscious and alert is to blame. Physical visible druggist addiction is far better than invisible camouflaged addiction of exploiting people. Highest purest form of integrity.  The person not in influence of any drug is considered as Leader having wisdom and person using drugs is considered as blindfold follower. It is the responsibility of open eyed leader having wisdom to remove blindfolded fellow member who is under influence of drugs. One who sees the solution is mentor and who seeks solution is disciples. Disciples are generally afraid to take initiatives; hence leaders must take charge of situation and pull disciples out their problem. Leaders must give small assignments and small action steps for disciples to follow. Initially do it on daily basis, then on weekly, forth nightly, monthly and gradually as disciple becomes expert leave him to do it on his own.


It is an open secret everywhere in the history, when battles are won the first credit goes to the chief leader who is shouldering the entire responsibility and when the soldiers lose battles it’s the Leader who is first imprisoned. If you are thriving to enjoy benefits of becoming leader and its laurels then you must also be prepared to face the brutality of leader’s faith in case you lose the battle. Real leader shows courage to face it. Leaders take responsibility of almost everything happening under their wings.  Remember the famous quote of leadership and management “Success has many fathers and failure is orphan”. One Army is marching towards final destination and if convoy is stranded due to bad weather or vehicle failure, it means they have taken temporary halt to recover themselves, it need not be stamped as failure to achieve target. Success and winning is a state of mind, a culture of never giving up.


Life Coach Mahendra Ingle, Mumbai, India.


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