Leadership Through Questioning

Unearthing the Hanuman Model

What defines a leader? Is it the capability to command or the capacity to follow? Is it the audacity to take decisions or the humility to accept mistakes? Or is it, perhaps, the ability to ask the right questions? The latter, an oft-overlooked leadership quality, might hold more truth than we realize.

To decipher this, let's traverse through the golden pages of Ramayana and unravel the powerful yet subtle leadership skills exhibited by Hanuman. A character of legendary prowess, Hanuman's most remarkable feature, however, was not his physical strength, but his penetrating intellect and his knack of asking the right questions.

How did we realize this often-uncelebrated trait of Hanuman? It was through his first encounter with Lord Rama, under the directive of his King Sugriva. Assigned the task of evaluating the strength and intent of Rama and Lakshmana, who were spotted near their dwelling, Hanuman transformed into a sage and approached them. He did not engage in hasty assumptions or judge them based on appearances. Instead, he began a discourse, riddled with strategic questions.

He asked them about their origin, the purpose of their visit, and their future plans. Through these questions, Hanuman not only garnered vital information but also displayed a deep understanding of human character and intent. Lord Rama, appreciating his intellect, remarked, "One can ascertain a person's intelligence by the type of questions they ask." Indeed, Hanuman had exhibited an innate leadership trait – the ability to question and evaluate.

In the modern world, as the definition of leadership has evolved, so has the significance of questioning in leadership. A great leader does not merely instruct but questions. They question the status quo, the systems, the process, the practices, and even the future. They challenge and encourage their team to think creatively and innovate. A leader asks questions like, "Why are we doing what we are doing?" "How can we do it better?" "What can we do differently?" They stimulate thoughts, provoke ideas and incite improvements.

Lord Hanuman's tale provides a timeless lesson – to be a good leader, one must have the courage and wisdom to ask the right questions. As a leader, are you asking the right questions? Are you stimulating creativity, fostering innovation, and challenging the status quo in your organization? More importantly, are you evaluating people and situations through keen observation and poignant inquiries, much like Hanuman? After all, a leader who questions, is a leader who leads.


More by :  P. Mohan Chandran

Top | Perspective

Views: 310      Comments: 1

Comment Good point well made. However, a leader is effective when s/he puts the info garnered from questions to the correct usage by efficient decision-making.

Dr. Meghana Ahuja
28-May-2024 01:07 AM

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