New Horizons in Transformational Leadership: A Vedāntic Perspective on Values-Based Leadership

  • Satinder DhimanEmail author
  • Varinder Kumar
Part of the Management for Professionals book series (MANAGPROF)


This chapter explores the values-based, Vedāntic perspective on transformational leadership. Drawing upon various key Vedāntic texts, it explains why Self-knowledge is so crucial to transformational leaders. As a system of Self-knowledge, Advaita Vedānta is free from sectarian bias or dogma. Its tenets are rational, universalistic, and scientific in spirit. After briefly reviewing some variants of transformation leadership (such as authentic leadership, responsible leadership, and servant leadership), this chapter presents the values-based leadership examples of two stalwarts of modern India—Vivekananda and Mahatma Gandhi. Finally, it discusses the leadership style of Dr. E. Sreedharan, widely known as the Metro Man of India, as a case in point of a values-driven leader.

Advaita Vedānta teaches that the phenomenal world, though real at the relative level, is merely a manifestation of an underlying Absolute Reality, known as Brahman. The philosophy of Vedānta advocates Oneness of the Universe. This understanding fosters equality in ethical conduct stemming from realizing the divinity of all beings and serving them with altruistic motive. Vedānta teaches respect, tolerance, and understanding of the other faiths and, thus, nurtures humanity and solidarity in the contemporary fragmented world. As different beings are just the expressions of one universal consciousness, hurting the other means hurting oneself. This realization is the source and foundation of all philanthropy, ethical conduct, and social contract. The teachings of Vedānta have profound relevance in context of transformational leadership and values-based leadership.


Transformational leadership Values-based leadership Advaita Vedānta and Self-knowledge; Mahatma Gandhi; E. Sreedharan Swami Vivekananda 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of BusinessWoodbury UniversityBurbankUSA
  2. 2.Government CollegeKapurthalaIndia

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