Monday Musings 14 – Attitude, knowledge & skills

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We analyzed in our previous episodes how various statecraft rules mentioned in Indian classical literature apply to modern leadership traits.

I noticed more slokas in Valmiki Ramayan which beautifully explain why skills and intelligence alone not sufficient to realize success. Attitude is more important, and success achieved only when the attitude is combined with knowledge & skills.

Commitment to Work as an Attitude

नियुक्तो नृपतेः कार्यम् न कुर्याद्यः समाहितः ||
भृत्यो युक्तः समर्थश्च तमाहुः पुरुष्धमम् |
Valmiki Ramayan 6.1.9

aahuH = (they) speak; tam = of him; purusha = of men adhamam = lowest; yaH = which; bhR^ityuH = servant; niyuktaH = when entrusted; yuktaH = intelligent; samarthaHcha = competent; na karyaat = does not accomplish; kaaryam = the work; nR^ipateH = of the king; samaahitaH = as directed.”

Meaning – “One who does not carry out the instructions of his master as directed in spite of being intelligent as well as competent is said to be the lowest of men .”

Context – This sloka comes in the very first sarga of Yudha Kand in Valmiki Ramayan. Hanuman returns to kishkinta after meeting Seetha at Lanka and conveys Sita’s message to Ram. Ram is moved by the efforts taken by Hanuman. Being a great leader himself, Lord Ram hugs Hanuman and copiously appreciates Hanuman in front of others.

कृतम् हनुमता कार्यम् सुमहद्भुवि दुर्लभम् |
मनसापि यदन्येन न शक्यम् धरणीतले ||
Valmiki Ramayan 6-1-2

Lord Ram praises Hanuman for doing an arduous work and such a work could not be achieved by anyone even in thoughts (manasaapi) . What a great way to appreciate? Good leaders should be very liberal in appreciating, celebrating and rewarding good efforts.

Lord Ram in this conversation with Hanuman, categorizes servants into three categories based on their competency and commitment.

  • Those who completes a task with zeal and commitment (like that of Hanuman) are superior (6.1.7)
  • Those who works on a job given by the king but without passion is a mediocre person (6.1.8)
  • Those who do not work on a job given by the king in spite of having necessary intelligence and competence is the lowest of all (6.1.9)

All the above 3 categories are only for those with necessary intelligence and competence. Valmiki not mentioned anything about the people who do not have the necessary intelligence and competence but the right attitude. How are they categorized? Valmiki is silent about them. Why?

First develop the right attitude to acquire competence

Those who do not have the necessary competence can always be trained and mentored to acquire the competence if only they demonstrate the right attitude. It is only a matter of time. Problematic are those who have the competence but do not demonstrate the right attitude.

Great learning from a Ramayan sloka. Is not it?

Is Knowledge, Competency and Attitude Connected?

All our literature talks very high of Learning. They invariably claim that knowledge is the best wealth one can accumulate. Very True.

Can knowledge alone guarantee success?  No.

I believe success, whether we talk at professional or personal level, achieved from a combination of three factors: knowledge, competencies and attitudes. Most of the people, however, pay an excessive attention to the knowledge component while neglecting the development of the other two and get disappointed that success is eluding them.

Knowledge, Skills and Attitude – Are they related?

Knowledge is useful information gained through learning, experience or association which can be utilized beneficially during various situations in life.

Skills, on the other hand, refer to the ability to perform specific tasks. Knowledge inherited does not guarantee competency but has the ability to enhance competency.

Attitude, involves how people react to certain situations and how they behave in general, for example Being punctual, Always procrastinating, Being proactive, Being arrogant, etc.

Acquiring ocean of knowledge and competencies cannot guarantee positive attitude whereas positive attitude can guarantee knowledge and competency (in matter of time)

Hanuman had the intelligence, competence and the most important the right attitude of ‘Commitment to Work’ and the ‘passion for work’ in the service of Lord Ram. Lord Ram categorizes him as the superior person, of course incomparable.

Diagram represents these three essential factors for success as a pyramid. Will continue in the next episode of Monday Musings. Wait until next Monday to acquire more knowledge, develop competencies and perfect attitudes to make them HABIT

Management and Leadership Topics covered in the previous posts

  1. The right attitude — Ch 1Ch 2  Ch6 Ch10  Ch11
  2. Governance — Ch 3  Ch4  Ch7  Ch13
  3. Leadership — Ch 5  Ch 8  Ch10
  4. Management — Ch 7  Ch13
  5. Intelligence & Wisdom — Ch 9  Ch10  Ch11
  6. Happiness & Success — Ch10

Disclaimer: The views/opinions expressed in this article belong to the author. is neither responsible nor liable for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information in the article.



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