Both Chanakya and Jim Collins identified the SAME qualities in leaders

Those aware of BFN know that I recommend Jim Collins's leadership theory. An article shows that there is 100 per cent agreement between Chanakya and Jim Collins. In a sense, therefore this is the "kunji" of leadership. But, of course, Chanakya said MUCH more. I will distill his views separately, since I believe Chanakya's wisdom must form the basis of any leadership development program for India.


Modern-day management begins with a leadership team committed to the organization’s core values, purpose, mission, and vision. The same was true 2,400 years ago when Chanakya proceeded to help build an empire. He put vision, mission, and motivation ahead of everything else.

He then identified the need to focus on leadership requirements, organizational strategies, and human dimensions.


According to Chanakya, the essence of leadership lies in justice and ethics. According to Collins, it lies in Level 5 leadership where leaders channel their energies away from their own egos and focus on the good of their organizations. Both exhort leaders to concern themselves less with power, rewards, and recognition and more on serving the needs of the people they lead.

Qualities of character and temperament

Chanakya placed great emphasis on human resource development. He identified the basic non-technical qualities required for every effective executive: character, ability to concentrate, ability to think, ability to communicate, and ability to observe. He insisted that the king surround himself with people who possess these skills. Similarly, Collins emphasizes having the “right people on the bus” as the top priority for any executive. He summarizes the non-technical qualities required for leadership as attitude, knowledge, and skill.

The similarities between Chanakya and Collins continue in four key areas:

Chanakya saw self-discipline, integrity, courage, decisiveness, sensitivity towards others, humility, and selflessness in great leaders. He said that great leaders are sensitive to the needs, feelings, and motivation of the people they lead. Today, we call this servant leadership. “Intense will and humility are the most