Leadership and Management –

Posted: November 27th, 2013

Student Name:


Class Name:

Date of Submission:

Leadership and Management – Indira Gandhi

Leadership and management are two most important aspects in any society or corporate setting. The two are essential if any organization or community is to perform its functions efficiently and head in the right direction. However, although the two are related, there lies a distinct difference between the two. Leadership is the process of influencing people socially. Here, one person is able to rally masses in order to accomplish a given goal. Leadership according to experts is intrinsic and ingrained in the character of a person. (Richard & Pat, 37).

The real meaning of leadership is the ability of the person in question to bring himself or herself down to the level of servertitude to a people. It is sacrificing for your people and making decisions with their best interests at heart. Some people argue that leaders are born as opposed to being molded by society.

Leaders have followers as opposed to mangers that have subordinates. There has been a misconception that good leaders are born. Good leadership is a character that can be acquired with proper training. This is through the continuous processes of self-study, education, training, and experience. The ability to inspire one’s followers into higher levels of teamwork requires certain skills and abilities that do not occur naturally but are acquired through the unending process of hard work and study.

Management on the other hand is the act of organizing, controlling, planning and directing a given people to facilitate the production of useful outcomes from a system (Uma, 74). A manager is supposed to work in line with a set of well-defined objectives or goals. The act of management is mainly feature of institutions also known as systems. These systems could be industries and companies, education or religious institutions among others. Good managements define a successful company while poor management is the ultimate downfall of the same.

Management involves the process of getting a group of people to act in a coordinated manner to achieve the set out goals. This is accomplished using the available resources efficiently and effectively.

Although it is possible to have a pure manger in an organization, current corporate and social trends require the managers to have leadership qualities. A good leader is not only required to utilize the given resources efficiently in meeting the prescribed goals, but is also expected to inspire the people who serve under him into greatness. He or she is to be a role model where his interest is to encompass the betterment of the subordinates. When one gains the honor and respect of his team, he or she will be in a better position to meet his objectives since he will acquire the cooperation of the entire team.

The world today has experienced sensational leaders. People who have moved masses and transformed nations. Other world leaders on the other hand have failed in leadership leading to the suffering and oppression of the masses that they lead. One great and phenomenal leadership icon is a woman by the name Indira Ghandi. Born in the year 1917, the Indian politician became the second woman to hold the office of prime minister where she served for three consecutive terms (Joseph, 93).

Not surprisingly, she was the daughter and an only child of the first prime minister of India once it gained independence. To date she rests as the second longest serving female prime minister. She is a woman, rise above the dogmatic and discriminatory patterns that the world had about women and defied traditional rules. Rules that suggested that such domains like leadership were for the reserve of men. Indira Ghandi was a transformational leader (Peter, 77). This is the kind of leader who causes positive change in a people or social system.

She was able to cause changes in the individuals whom she served and the entire social system. Through her leadership, many people were motivated, boost the morale and performance of most  of the Indians and others who mainly reside in the third world nations. This was accomplished through a variety of mechanisms. She was able to identify and connect with the poor in society who at the time made up much of India’s population. During her reign, she was responsible for boosting the economy of India to become one of the fastest growing economies of the world.

Indira Gandhi did not enjoy the privileges experienced by many children since she was deprived of normal childhood. Her life drastically changed after a visit by Mohandas Gandhi who at the time was the pacifist leader of the Indian freedom movement. The leader converted Indira Gandhi together with her parents. This later led to her parent’s imprisonment when she was only four years old because of their radical activities. This jailing would later become frequent thereby depriving her a normal childhood.

The constant insecurities of her childhood played a pivotal role in shaping her into the confident leader she was. The experiences hardened her developing a deep resolution of not getting hurt as her mother had been. Her childhood games related to her future wars with the British government. In one instance, when she was only eleven years old, she played a mock money brigade similar to the epic Indian story Ramayana. In this brigade, she would enact a war against the British. Her ascension into such a high office of that of a prime minister was of significant inspiration to the women of India and the rest of the world at a time when women were still fighting to find an equal place in the society. This led her to becoming a symbol of success to the women and the third world.

Indira Gandhi style of leadership was mostly autocratic. This style of leadership involves one person domineering the decision-making processes . Indira Gandhi is considered an autocratic leader since she made decisions based on her own ideas and judgments with little consideration of the advice offered by others. This led to her having many adversaries during her political tenure. This style of leadership was exceptionally beneficial during her tenure because during her time, most of the decisions needed to be deliberated on quickly.

Her autocratic style enabled her to meet deadlines and have project finished. Indira Gandhi believed in hard leadership styles as opposed to Sonia Gandhi who mainly employed soft leadership styles. Her style of leadership is mostly blamed for her final assassination. Her hard leadership style was always about placing more faith on performance than on the people running the government. This is in contrast to Sonia Gandhi’s soft leadership styles where she placed more emphasis on the issues affecting the people than on performance.

Indira Gandhi also believed in both transformational and  transactional leadership style as opposed to Sonia Gandhi’s transformational leadership style. The time prevailing Indira’s leadership called for more hardened leadership styles as opposed to the current times, which call upon more soft approaches  in facing the current issues. although Sonia seems soft on the outside, her actions indicate that she is a strong woman who makes tough decisions. This she does with more concern for the people she serves.

The leadership styles of both women were very relevant in accordance with the times in which they served. Sonia’s soft leadership is particularly effective in solving the corruption issues affecting the people of India. She is a cool thinker who fights corruption on all fronts. She is quick in deliberating on decisions pertaining to corruption passing judgment to people irrespective of their party affiliations. Her leadership style is mainly effective in the coalition government she serves in, which calls upon more of a balancing act.

Although critics have a lot to say about her iron rule and disregard for democracy, people in the whole agree that she did a lot for her country. The prime minister of the term was quick to defend the interests of the people of her country (Shakuntala, 75). In 1971, India experienced a problem that threatened to cripple its struggling economy. The government of Pakistan sidelined the people of the populated East of Pakistan and therefore treated them unjustly and violently.

The widespread atrocities resulted to people fleeing Pakistan and entering India as refugees. Within a short time, there was an influx of refugees in India. This caused financial instability and hardship in the country. Indira waged a war against Pakistan, emerging victorious.

Her decision to go to war with Pakistani was not in favor with many people especially the west. The United States, which was in support of Pakistan, severed its relations with India but this did not shake Indira’s stand. At the end, her decisions, as analysts say, helped Pakistan stabilize politically and economically (Morgen, 62)

Another strong character that helped Indira change India in her era is that she believed in going beyond the norms. She went beyond the common order and went ahead to design creative ways of doing this. She was what can be called, a revolutionary leader (Peter, 90)

A revolutionary leader by definition is a leader who causes a sudden and major positive impact on humanity. The best argument in support of this is what came to be known as the ‘Green Revolution’ in India.

The populous country had been struggling with chronic food shortages since its independence. Through Indira Ghandi, the same country became a major exporter of wheat, rice, cotton and milk because there was a surplus in production. Ghandi put her foot firmly on the ground and declared that her country was no longer going to rely on food aid from The United States of America. This was, largely due to her hate for the then American president, Richard Nixon. Either way she was able to lead India to start exporting food rather than importing.

She then moved on to diversify the crop production in the country hence exporting a greater variety of goods (Peter 89). The white revolution was a name coined for the expansion in milk production in the country. The white revolution led to better health as cases of severe malnutrition could now be stopped.

The tough times that Indira had led her to adopt a rather autocratic leadership style in governing the country. This according to leadership and management theories is whereby a leader makes all the decisions without consulting other people. The leader does not and cannot entertain any suggestions from subordinates.

This leadership style led to her loosing popularity in the highly democratic country. In 1967, Indira authorized the development of nuclear weapons in India. This was in response to nuclear tests that had been conducted by China. According to Indira China was trying to intimidate India.

In 1974, India’s first nuclear test was launched. This was met with protests from Pakistan. This time round Pakistan decided that it was India that was trying to intimidate them with nuclear weapons. Although this move did not augur very well with other countries, no one condemned her (Gopal, 88)

At one time India was experiencing a lot of political unrest due to a ruling by the high court, the woman of iron rule was said to have rallied the president of the time to de emergency to declare a state of emergency. She declared the arrest of those participating in the demonstrations and managed to restore order in the country.

As can be seen, her autocratic style led to a lot of change in the country. This style as academicians say can be successful if the leader in question motivates the people and leads them directly towards the goal. Indira Ghandi did this (Ernest, 67).

However, there is a dark side to every person. Indira’s rule was characterized by some rather inhuman actions. After the state of emergency was declared, Ghandi coerced the president to pass some motions without them being debated in parliament. One such motion was to allow her to rule without decree. Her rule saw the police given the power to arrest and imprison protesters without trial. Communication was highly censored and media freedom curtailed. This even saw the communications minister resign due to frustration by Gandhi’s government.

Under her supervision, the government conducted a cleanup of the slums that left thousands of people homeless and hundreds killed. This move made the people of India bitter and unforgiving towards the government. In the assessment of her strengths and weaknesses, what mostly stands out is her growth from low key and local personality to that of international eminence. This was made possible by her ability to evoke strong feelings on her democratic ideals. This goes to expound further on her leadership abilities.

One of the strong leadership qualities was her affinity with the masses. For instance, when she spoke of “Garibi”, she was criticed at first if she had ever experienced “Garibi”. This criticism is unfounded because one does not necessarily need to have undergone through poverty to sympathize with those undergoing through such hardships. This only requires a down to earth heart and motherly love to comprehend the hardships of poverty or the lack of basic amenities in life. Her sentiments to those in poverty made an appeal to the millions in poverty and in the process winning their hearts.

She was able to establish a good rapport with the masse suffering in the remotest parts of the country. Her ability to connect with the grieving millions won her laurels to the extent of amazing her critics and opponents in her love for them. Commoners, even one particular peasant who worked as a “Bhangi” could identify her as their savior and the protector of their rights. This could be identified as her greatest strength and achievement in life. Her leadership strengths enabled her to run a great country such as India with such a population, vast territory and diverse culture in a plausible way.

To attain such a fete requires a high degree of management skills coupled with exemplary leadership attributes. All this she accomplished in the presence of numerous irritants in her functioning and blamed for most of the problems bedeviling the nation. Her great vision and leadership skills brought about many of the opportunities that led to the realization of most of the dreams and visions.

Indira Gandhi is credited with many exemplary performances even in the midst of her weaknesses. One of her weaknesses is inherently engraved in her autocratic form of leadership. Gandhi is blamed for being intolerant to dissent and rarely taking advices from other people. Every leader is bound to have an erred perspective or thought of a given issue. This is why careful consultation with other professionals before deliberating on any major issue is important in any effective leadership.

After careful consultation, one is bound to have a more informed view on a particular subject. Prominent officials like Tandon, describe Gandhi as shy, diffident and uncomfortable at sitting through detailed arguments. She is said to have loathed and uncooperative during discussions that involved complex issues. This highly works against any leader especially if the persons one is avoiding are on your side. Indira Gandhi is considered to have been very proud and reserved and was not at easy at conversing with junior officers or persons who were not in close contact with her. During her tenure, cabinet meetings were rarely convened because she did not esteem such meetings to be of high importance.

Another flaw attributed to Indira Gandhi was that she believed the fight for power justified any of the means used in the fight. This belief is very dangerous especially when one is fighting his or her very own fellow citizens. This also goes a long way in revealing the desire and obsession for power that Indira Gandhi had. Although every leader is supposed to have a passion for the success of his team or ideologies, obsession is poisonous and often leads to ones detriment.

The most ridiculous and perhaps inhuman rule passed under her tenure was the family planning law that was meant to manage India’s rapidly expanding population. The law saw men being forced to undergo vasectomy. The later was done forcibly, often poorly, and unprofessionally. One may argue that her weaknesses overshadow her strengths but again, different situations call for a different approach( Peter, 2000) Looking at a great leader like Nelson Mandela who led South Africa across the long road to apartheid, we may say that Indira could have achieved what she did in a less ingenious way.

Nelson Mandela was also a revolutionary leader. He led South Africa to independence against white rule. A great believer in Democracy, the iconic leader remains hailed as one of the world’s greatest leaders. He was imprisoned for most of his political life yet he still preached peace upon release (Nelson, 54). Nelson employed tact and democracy in leading the highly prosperous country.

This leaves us with something to think about. Could Indira have achieved the much she did in a different way? What could have been differently if she had adapted a more democratic leadership style like Nelson Mandela? Maybe, she could not have been imprisoned after being unseated out of power. If so, then maybe India would not be where it is today.





Richard L.D., & Patricia G.L., 2007. The leadership experience. 4th ed. New York: Cengage Learning.

Joseph C.R., 1993. Leadership for the twenty-first century. New York: Greenwood Publishing Group.

Peter G.N. 2009. Leadership: Theory and Practice. 5th ed. New York: SAGE publishers.

Shakuntala .M., 1995. Indira Ghandi. New York: Concept publishers.

Gopal .D., 1974. Indira Ghandi. New York: Thompson press.

Uma .V., 1974. Indira Ghandi: revolution in restraint. New York: Vikas  publishers.

Nelson M., 1990. The struggle is my life. Pakistan: Popular Prakashan.

Peter F., 2000. Management: tasks, responsibilities, practices. New York: Taylor & Francis.

Morgen W., 2004. Management: the basics. New York: Routledge.

Ernest D., 1969. Management: theory and practice 2nd ed. New York: Bookstore Rex.







Expert paper writers are just a few clicks away

Place an order in 3 easy steps. Takes less than 5 mins.

Calculate the price of your order

You will get a personal manager and a discount.
We'll send you the first draft for approval by at
Total price:
Verified by MonsterInsights