“Two childhood friends, one the son of a warrior, the other the son of a priest, promised to share all they possessed even in adulthood. Fortune, however, favoured only the warrior’s son. In desperation, the priest’s son who had been reduced to abject poverty hesitantly decided to approach his rich friend. This story has two endings. In the Mahabharata, the pauper Drona, is insulted by his friend, Drupada, king of Panchal, for assuming that promises of childhood matter in adulthood . . . A furious Drona leaves the palace, determined to become Drupada’s equal – a decision that leads to a spiral of vendetta that culminates in the bloody carnage at Kurukshetra. In the Bhagavata, however, the pauper is Sudama and he is warmly welcomed and showered with lavish gifts by his friend, Krishna. “So how must a leader behave – like Krishna or Drupada? The answer is not as simple as one assumes . . .”
The above extract from Devdutt Pattanaik’s article “Breaking the Rules” appears in a specially compiled collection of some of his articles on leadership. Devdutt Pattanaik’s refreshingly new perspective on leadership is a must-read for leaders and those aspiring to be leaders in the corporate world.
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