Kalayanamitr Leadership: Strategic Leadership for Success
The meaning of Kalayanamitr
The word Kalayanamitr is derived from Sanskrit, which means true-good
friend. The word has been used to portrait the person who is kind and
considerate, who is willing to help others and who is sincere.
Concept of Kalayanamitr leadership:
True-good friend leadership
The concept of Kalayanamitr leadership is
a universal phenomenon because it displays the inner self of the leader
who practices. The characteristics of the leaders who exhibit a good
friend relationship or Kalayanamitr and are described within as
KaLaYaNaMiTr. Each word has its own
translation of meaning as follows:
The concept provides the
basic foundation of conducts which will be extended in a wide range of
behaviours. The main principle to exhibit the characteristics of
‘One must be a
truly good friend to his/her colleagues and,
at the same
time, be a truly good leader to his/her friends’.
a Kalayamitr leader
There are leaders who seek the kind of leadership
that is suitable for particular situations. The introducing of
Kalayanamitr leadership is an alternative means. A Kalayanamitr leader
is someone who inspires others to think and do things righteously and
kindly helps or leads others to the accomplishment. The practicing of
being Kalayanamitr is common to all human being by thinking what you would
like to have others undo for you.
Codes of conduct
In leadership, ethics
plays an important part. The leaders must practice to have good
consciousness of the way they do as the codes of conduct. Ethics provides
a protection for people under leadership to act in a more righteous
manner. (Mererk, Phra Medhidhammaporn, 1994). One can choose their own
ethics to perform. Mererk, Phra Medhidhammaporn (1994:26) proposes two
sets of ethics in Buddhism, the general and the professional or applied
ethics. He believes that “as a member of society, a professional person
has to follow the general rules of conduct prescribed by the universal
code of ethics, and as a member of a professional group, he/she has to
adhere to the code of professional ethics of his/her particular
occupation.” They are:
General ethics are based
on the basic principles of the ‘Five - Precepts’, ‘pancasila’ (panca
means five, sila means precept). ‘Pancasila’ or the
‘Five-Precepts’ enable people to live together peacefully for mutual
protection, solidarity and economic prosperity (Mererk, Phra
Medhidhammaporn, 1994:90). The ‘Five-Precepts’ are within the scope of
general ethics that pertain to personal relationships in general and are
the foundation upon which professional ethics is established. The
‘Five-Precepts’ are as follows:
Panatipata veramani: to abstain from killing any living being.
Adinnadana veramani: to abstain from taking what is not given.
Kamesu micchacara veramani: to abstain from sexual misconduct.
Musavada veramani: to abstain from false speech.
Suramerayamajjapamadatthana veramani: to abstain from intoxicants, causing carelessness.
In addition, professional
ethics are a code of conduct, which serve as a guideline for leadership in
professional areas. Leaders usually have three motives: 1) Desire for
self-interest (Tanha); 2) Belief in the source of rules (Saddha);
and 3) Virtues (Guna Dhamma). However, the first two are
not appropriate for good conduct because they motivate people by
conditions based on a temporary state. The strongest of the professional
ethics is the third, which deals with good mental quality or the great
moral value of Pancadhamma: loving-kindness and compassion,
generosity, contentment with one’s own spouse, truthfulness and
temperance. It is important that a morally good action (Kamma) has
to become a habit, which stems from an intention or will (Cetana)
that controls the action by body, speech and mind.
Skills of Leadership
In leadership, Mererk,
Phra Medhidhammaporn (1994:39) suggests the three skills of leadership for
success. The first skill is vision (Cakkhuma), which is the ability
of the leader to see what is really important in a given situation as well
as to see how things might be different in the future. A visionary leader
can set priorities and choose goals to be achieved by his/her team. The
second skill is task competence (Vidhuro). It is the leader’s
technical skill or knowledge of how to perform a task at hand and to see
that it is applied in its mission and within its environment. The third
skill is confidence inspiration (Nissaya-sampanno), or the
ability to inspire confidence and persuade others to do something, and
human relations skills.
In general, there are
three styles in Thai leadership. The first is self-centred leadership (Attadhipateyya).
The leader is authoritarian and wants to control thoughts and actions
rather than letting his subordinates choose and decide things themselves.
This is the style of bureaucratic administrators. The second,
people-oriented leadership (Lokadhipateyya), is
characterised as the tenderhearted leader with a laissez faire attitude
who wants to be loved and admired by his/her subordinates, but has little
concern about work. He/She has no vision. The third is Dhamma-oriented
leadership (Dhammadhiyateyya), the one style of leadership that is
strongly proposed for all leaders to follow.
The principle of Dhamma-orientation leadership is comprised of four
virtues of power (Mererk, Phra Medhidhammaporn, 1994:41). The first is
‘Wisdom Power’ (Panna-bala). Leaders must have knowledge of doing
the right thing with wise attention (Yoniso-manasikara) and with
positive thinking (Uppadaka-manasikara), good planning, effective
problem-solving, good decision-making, effective prioritising and rational
judgment. The second is ‘Effort Power’ (Viriya-bala). Leaders must
have energy, determination, perseverance, and willpower to avoid creating
problems (Sumvara padhana), must make efforts to solve the problems
arising (Pahana- paddhana), must make efforts to produce good
things towards growth and full development (Bhavana-padhana), must
make efforts to maintain good things (Anurakkhana-padhana). The
third is ‘Faultlessness Power’ (Ananvajja-bala), or the power to
have self-control for honesty, fairness, and without faultfinding. This
connects to the moral practice of mindfulness (Satii) and to the
moral precepts (Sila). The last is ‘Kindliness Power’ (Sangaha-bala).
Leaders must be of kindly disposition, have kindliness, sympathy, and
friendliness, be helpful, assist, protect others, and demonstrate favours.
There are four ways of showing kindliness to others in a principle called
Sangaha-vatthu. This is characterised by: 1) giving material gifts
and advice (Dana); 2) uttering kind words when communicating ideas
and feelings (Piyavaca); 3) performing beneficial actions rendering
service (Attacariya; and 4) giving equal treatment and behaving
properly towards others in all circumstances (Samanattata).
Within Kindliness Power,
there is a Dhamma principle, especially relating to leadership practice as
well as for all to adapt as a way of life. This principle is called
Brahmavihara: 1) the desire to make others happy (Metta); 2)
the desire to free those who suffer from their suffering (Karuna);
3) having sympathetic joy or rejoicing with those who are fortunate or
successful (Mudita); 4) having the ability to have a balanced state
of mind. (Upekkha). This kindliness power contributes to a friendly
relationship or a good friend (Kalayanamittata-dhamma). All of
these concepts of Thai leadership bring about peace and happiness to the
organisation and reveal the connectedness of the actions of the Thai
Dhamma principle for leaders
principle of ‘service mind’ - rendering service to others -brings about a
mutual contribution to the community. There are three objectives or
benefits for the Buddhists to observe: 1) Attattha - the objective
for oneself, or for one’s own benefit; 2) Parattha - the objective
for others, or for others’ benefit; 3) Ubhayattha - a mutual
objective, or benefit to both parties. The collective benefit of happiness
and virtue for the community or society, including positive environmental
conditions (Payutto, Phra Dhammapidok, 1998:9) helps to create and
maintain both self and community. It is believed that they must fulfill
one own needs before he/she can give the excess to others and that he/she
has to learn to limit the need to the level that he/she can contribute to
others as well.
Basic rules of thumb
The study of the
Kalayanamitr leadership conveys an important aspect of taking good care of
the followers. Most of time people are talking about how to get the work
done perfectly. But do we care about other that that? What about human
values? What people think of themselves as a human being. Here are some
rules to think about .what people want to have or to be.
People want to be
People value themselves as
a human being. They have a right to be respected as individuals or as
ones who gain status quo in the society. Children have to respect their
parents. Students have to respect their teachers. The fact that we belong
to community The hierarchy system still exists in our society. The
important element in the hierarchical system in an organization is
seniority or Vayavudhi. In fact the seniority system plays a very
important role in any society and has an effect on their social life too (Podhisita,
1985:32). In the organization, the number of years living and working is
viewed as contributing to life experience. The senior members gain respect
from younger colleagues for their years of contributions to the
organisation. The values of care and consideration are rated rather high
in cultures that observe seniority, according to Komin (1985).
People want to have
Everyone has self-sense of
his/her own. The constraint challenging in the organizations may arise
from the sense of self-pride of the people. The suggestion is personal
contact. It works for compromising and bringing the sense of self to the
level of awareness. The language has a large extent to classify the
closeness between people in contact. In some culture like that of
Thailand, the level of personal pronouns in verbal communication for
example, addressing others as brothers and sisters, lessens the distance
between individuals are used to lessen the conflicts. The use of more
informal dialogue than official speech and soft nature and pleasing words
also lowered the number of stressful situations and the degree of
resistance. People need to have mutual respect and acceptance while
leaving the ego untouched. Whenever self-esteem is violated, strong
emotional conflicts result, and once such violations occur, they often
remain irreconcilable (Komin, 1985:185). The avoidance of using direct
authority to coerce people to task may also have an effect on ones’ ego.
People want to have a
sense of belonging
All human being wants to
be loved. The sense of belonging is very important for people to satisfy
their need to live happily. It is one of the hierarchy needs of human as
described by Maslow The sense of being to be a part of an ‘in-group’ is
also essential in the organisation. The leader may have to visit the
working plants just to see how they are doing and show their concern by
conversing with the employees on the bottom line. This will inspire the
workers to be fully willing to work for their company and do more work
attentively. Many companies give their employees market share stocks to
have them feel that they also own the companies.
People want to have
People want to know what
is coming up. Sharing of knowledge can be in the traditional sense and the
most common practice of communication has been in the form of dialogue. It
has been found that people favour private conversations over formal
dialogue because they can discuss details. Verbal communication skills,
such as talking or chatting, are culturally based and make explicit the
level of relationships. What people favour in informal verbal
communication is that they can observe reactions and make interpretations
more ably in small discussions. However, formal communication would bring
about the starting time to move which should be made more clearly.
People want to be
The value of being
flexible at all times may slow down the work process. However, flexible
time and schedule make people less emotionally tenses. They seem to be
happy to get involved with more work by more or less flexible time. There
is a suggestion that leaders should have a sense of humour in order to
level down the stresses caused by hard working among the workers. A
peaceful and harmonious working environment brings joy and happiness to
life. Every job must be enjoyable. Enjoyment and care have a mutually
People want to have a
A person with a positive
regard has positive thinking in his/her mind. People do not want to be
blamed. Behaviours that affect emotionally in a negative way, either
verbally or through physical contact which cause them losing face .are
prohibited at all times. Good dialogue and compromise manners are the
major keys to get along.
People want to have
harmony in life
Harmony means a pleasing
combination of elements in a whole. Life would be fulfill when things get
along so well. They are many principles of how to have harmony in life The
principle of harmony in Buddhism composes of six Saraniya-Dhamma
(conditions leading to mutual recollection) had to be observed: 1)
Metta-kayakamma - friendly action; 2) Metta-vacikamma -
friendly speech; 3) Metta-manokamma - friendly thoughts; 4)
Sadharana-bhogi - sharing of gains; 5) Sila-samannata - moral
harmony; and 6) Ditthi-samannata - harmony of views (Payutto, Phra
Dhammapidok, 1998:23-24). Mercy and ‘metta’ apply to giving a helping hand
and not creating blame or hard feelings that might ruin the mutual
understanding among people. Moral justice is required for fairness.
Faultlessness Power and Kindliness Power act as guidelines for authorities
to analyse the system as indicators for development. The ‘ego-self’ and
high self-esteem make evaluation very sensitive. Criticising anyone’s work
results in conflicts and hard feelings and might lead to emotional
It is clear that,
strategic leadership comes in as a tool for leaders to use. The ways to
satisfy their want may vary from on another. However, leadership is a part
of the system that is dealing with the culture of the organization. Since
man is a social animal, it takes the leaders to be more concerned about
human nature of socialisation and the culture, which becomes their ways of
life. It is important that the leaders know how to gain advantage from the
culture and find a unique way to applying their strategic leadership to
accomplish their role within that culture. The leaders should also observe
values and how they influence others’ thought and act in the organisation.
Other than the clear goals and directions; it was important for the
leaders to be aware that self-concept, self-esteem as well as ego-self.
Senior status and the hierarchical chain of respect were also important.
B. (2000). A Blueprint for Successful Leadership in an Era of
Globalisation in Learning. Paper Presented in a Regional Seminar of
Leaders in Rajabhat Institutes, Rajabhat Institutes, Chombung, 10 November
2000. Ratchaburi, Thailand: Rajabhat Institute.
B. J., & Spinks, J. M. (1992). Leading the Self-Managing School.
R. (2000). Learning for the New Century, 2000, from
(1985). The World View through Thai Value System. In Traditional and
Changing Thai World View. Collected Papers of Chulalongkorn University
Social Research Institute (pp. 170 -190). Bangkok, Thailand:
Chulalongkorn University Social Research Institute.
Phra Medhidhammaporn. (1994). Buddhist Morality. Wat Mahadhatu,
Bangkok: Mahachulalongkornrajvidyalaya University Press. (In honour of Pra
Dhammapidok : Payutto, Prayudh UNESCO Peace Prize for Peace Education.)
Phra Dhammapidok. (1998). A Constitution for Living (3 ed.).
Bangkok, Thailand: Saha Dhammamitr.
C. (1985). Buddhism and Thai World View. In Traditional and Changing
Thai World View. Collected Papers of Chulalongkorn University Social
Research Institute (pp. 25-45). Bangkok, Thailand: Chulalongkorn
University Social Research Institute.
D. (2000). The Future of Higher Education: Global Trends and Cultural
Differences Between Asia and Europe. Paper presented at the Sixth
UNESCO-ACEID International Conference on Education, Bangkok, Thailand.
12-15 December 2000.