Lessons in Leadership – The Golden Rule

This week Pope Francis reminded us of the Golden Rule. In his speech to the US Congress, he said –

Let us remember the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you (Matthew 7:1)”. This Rule points us in a clear direction. Let us treat others with the same passion and compassion with which we want to be treated. Let us seek for others the same possibilities which we seek for ourselves. Let us help others to grow, as we would like to be helped ourselves. In a word, if we want security, let us give security; if we want life, let us give life; if we want opportunities, let us provide opportunities. The yardstick we use for others will be the yardstick which time will use for us.

Pope’s message of the Golden Rule transcended all religions, beliefs, nationalities and cultures. The Golden Rule is perhaps one of the most consistent moral code of conducts preached throughout history. The message is simple, clear, actionable and appeals to the sense of fairness in fellow humans.

My interest in this topic started couple of months back when my mentor was coaching me on values driven leadership. He encouraged me to look for the time-tested values / ethics that hold good throughout history and is common across major religions of the world. In my research the ‘ethics of reciprocity’ (also known as the Golden Rule) came out as the undisputed winner.

Here are my summary notes with references to various religions / authorities –

Hinduism

This is the sum of duty; do naught onto others what you would not have them do unto you – Mahabharata 5,1517

One should not behave towards others in a way which is disagreeable to oneself. This is the essence of morality. All other activities are due to selfish desire – Mahabharata, Anusasana Parva 113.8

Buddhism

Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful – Udana-Varga 5,1

Islam

No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself – 40 Hadith of an-Nawawi 13

Judaism

What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. This is the whole Torah; all the rest is commentary. Go and learn it – Hillel, Talmud, Shabbath 31a

Jainism

One should treat all creatures in the world as one would like to be treated – Mahavira, Sutrakritanga

Confucianism

Do not do to others what you would not like yourself. Then there will be no resentment against you, either in the family or in the state – Analects 12:2

Zoroastrianism

Do not do unto others whatever is injurious to yourself – Shayast-na-Shayast 13.29

Philosophers

Do not do unto others what angers you if done to you by others – Socrates 436-338 BCE

We should behave toward friends as we would wish friends to behave toward us – Aristotle (384-322 B.C.)

Lessons in Leadership

As a leader it is critical to hold on to few core values that nobody can argue with you on. Something that builds quick consensus, drives singularity of minds and establishes a moral foundation for effective engagement. Golden Rule is definitely a time-tested code of conduct that leaders across generations have leveraged to not only lead with authority but also bring order in the society.

3 thoughts on “Lessons in Leadership – The Golden Rule

    • Gracias mi amigo – Its a strange combination of laziness and some personal turmoil that has created the inertia for me. Even my reading has slowed down significantly. Your note is very timely and motivating. I will get back on track soon with something simple. Hope all is well with you. Thanks again for the note.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Hi Rohit, it’s been an enriching experience reading your blogs on “Golden rules of Leadership”. This reminds me of charismatic Leaders like Gandhi, Nelson Mandela who had practiced Value based Leadership, which is missing in our current Leaders. To create great leaders, we also need to invest in education, which is Value based.

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