A prominent disciple of A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada was once asked what the most amazing quality in his spiritual master was. “One thing stood above everything else” he quickly replied. “Prabhupada was able to go beyond all the problems, difficulties and issues that someone had in their life, and would find a spark of spiritual enthusiasm and sincerity”. As he continued you could sense a deep feeling of gratitude “But that’s not all. He would then take that spark, fan it, and make it into a huge fire that consumed all the negative things in that persons character”. When I heard that, it summed up spiritual leadership for me.
I once heard a leadership guru who exclaimed “catch your people doing something good – catch them doing something right!” It’s easy to point out mistakes, inadequacies and deficiencies in people – there are plenty of them (and we probably have quite a few ourselves). But how often do we see the good, and consciously vocalize and appreciate that? I was reflecting how to criticize and point out mistakes is so easy – it’s so natural that we don’t even have to think about it. However, when it comes to appreciation we have to think very hard, plan exactly what we will say, and then muster up enough courage to glorify that person!
This doesn’t mean a spiritual leader lives with his head in the clouds, turning a blind eye to all the problems that need to be addressed. Rather, it’s about building relationships with people and putting things in perspective by developing a wholesome understanding of their character. The Bhagavad-gita explains how every soul is invested with certain unique qualities – as we bring out these qualities in others, we will see the qualities within ourselves also manifest. Bring out the best in others, and Krishna brings out the best in you.