Shakti Leadership: Embracing Feminine and Masculine Power in Business (Paperback)
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Unlocking the Source for True Leadership
Too many people, men and women alike, have bought into a notion of leadership that exclusively emphasizes traditionally “masculine” qualities: hierarchical, militaristic, win-at-all-costs. The result has been corruption, environmental degradation, social breakdown, stress, depression, and a host of other serious problems. Nilima Bhat and Raj Sisodia show us a more balanced way, an archetype of leadership that is generative, cooperative, creative, inclusive, and empathetic. While these are traditionally regarded as “feminine” qualities, we all have them. In the Indian yogic tradition they’re symbolized by Shakti, the source that powers all life.
Through exercises and inspirational examples, Bhat and Sisodia show how to access this infinite energy and lead with your whole self. Male or female, leaders who understand and practice Shakti Leadership act from a consciousness of life-giving caring, creativity, and sustainability to achieve self-mastery internally and be of selfless service to the world.
About the Author
Nilima Bhat is the founder-director of the leadership consulting firm Roots & Wings and the integrative medicine practice Sampurnah (“wholeness”). She speaks and consults globally on organizational culture, women in leadership, self-awareness, and wellness and is the coauthor of My Cancer Is Me.
Raj Sisodia is the F. W. Olin Distinguished Professor of Global Business and Whole Foods Market Research Scholar in Conscious Capitalism at Babson College. He is also cofounder and cochairman of Conscious Capitalism, Inc., and the coauthor of the bestselling book Conscious Capitalism.
“As transformative as it is simple, mapping out a new definition of leadership that elevates qualities and abilities traditionally considered feminine—with benefits for women and men alike.”
—Arianna Huffington, President and Editor-in-Chief, Huffington Post Media Group
“This book will help liberate the heroic entrepreneurial drive innate to men and women of every culture.”
—John Mackey, cofounder and Co-CEO, Whole Foods Market
“Shakti Leadership guides you through a series of powerful insights and processes for connecting yourself to the inner power at play in interpersonal situations. I highly recommend this book to anyone who intuits the need for real depth in the process of organizational and personal transformation.”
—Sally Kempton, author of Awakening Shakti and Meditation for the Love of It
“Gender equality, diversity, and inclusion are finally being recognized globally as good for business and for humankind. While many companies have structured programs in place to retain and grow women leaders, there is still ignorance in understanding the ‘feminine’ qualities that both men and women need to bring to the workplace to complement the masculine qualities that are so prevalent. As an Indian, I find that our ancient wisdom offers great value to modern business and leadership. In Shakti Leadership, Nilima Bhat and Raj Sisodia tap into this wisdom, as well as wisdom from other traditions, in a profound and engaging way to offer deep insights for leadership and life for men and women everywhere.”
—Anand Mahindra, Chairman and Managing Director, Mahindra Group
“In Shakti Leadership, Nilima Bhat and Raj Sisodia put forward a compelling argument for restoring the natural balance of leadership. The importance of creating a new culture of corporate inclusiveness, where we utilize the true power of feminine qualities—such as cooperation, creativity, and empathy—cannot be underestimated in this imbalanced world. Business has a purpose beyond profits, and the argument for a new vision of leadership led by the principle of Shakti is both powerful and insightful for the sustainable future of business. Highly recommended reading for the business fraternity.”
—Rakesh Sarna, Managing Director and CEO, Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces
“Shakti Leadership is a timely refresher that acknowledges the weave of masculinity and femininity in our human selves. This is important in an age when we need a caring kind of capitalism, where business looks beyond the narrow objective of maximizing profits and helps people lead more fulfilling lives. We now realize that, among other things, the historically patriarchal workplace has to bring in more feminine attributes—what the authors describe as the power of Shakti. This book offers organizations and professionals many useful ideas to create a humane and resilient culture, such as drawing upon their inner reserves of strength; nurturing values such as trust, accountability, and transparency; and harmonizing male and female traits to become truly visionary leaders.”
—Anu Aga, Chairperson, Teach for India, and former Chairperson, Thermax
“As Indians, we grow up soaked in our mythological wisdom. As Indian family-owned business leaders operating in a global economy, we are constantly looking to grow wings, without losing connection with our roots. Nilima and Raj offer us a model for leadership, built on many years of learning and synthesizing, that is as universal as it is dharmic, as timely as it is timeless. I strongly recommend this book to all men and women who aspire to leadership or are seeking to elevate their practice of this most essential human calling.”
—Harsh Mariwala, Chairman, Marico Limited
“Shakti Leadership reveals the next stage of evolution and leadership in a clear, grounded, and thorough way. Nilima and Raj do a beautiful job of articulating a spectrum of complex subjects in relatable ways. They cover what are, in my opinion, the most important wisdom-related topics that can impact leaders who want to create a world that works for all. What I loved most is that Nilima and Raj speak to difficult and important matters, such as patriarchy, without being too careful or subtle about their insights and without coming from a stance of blame or victimhood. This is the most clear and succinct description of feminine and masculine qualities that I have seen written in a book. Thank you, Nilima and Raj, for sharing your deeply personal and professional work with the world in a way that is needed today.”
—Michelle Stransky, founder of WisdomWomen
“Nilima and Raj have cocreated a book that is much needed. When we awaken to our true nature, synergize the masculine and feminine within ourselves, and discover the essence of our Shakti, we become infinitely compassionate and courageous to take responsibility for the way we live now. Leaders in business, government, education, and the social sectors will find the path in this book to come together and make our organizations more conscious, leading to a peaceful, sustainable, and happier world!”
—Anil Sachdev, founder and CEO, School of Inspired Leadership
“I’m grateful to Nilima Bhat and Raj Sisodia for this insightful and timely book. Reclaiming the lost balance between masculine and feminine leadership styles is a very important part of the larger project of making the world of business more ethical—and thus more effective at creating sustainable value. It is wonderful to see the wisdom of the East being so skillfully applied to the challenges faced by modern organizations. Shakti Leadership is a significant contribution to the conscious capitalism movement.”
—Steve McIntosh, author of Integral Consciousness and the Future of Evolution and President, Institute for Cultural Evolution
“This book is of vital importance! The rise of feminine power fully integrated with the healthy masculine is paramount to the development of the planet, organizations, and ourselves. Nilima and Raj’s outstanding work shows us, through their wisdom and clear writing, how we as leaders can harness this potential.”
—Kristin Engvig, founder and CEO, WIN
“A powerful leadership model that leverages and unites our masculine and feminine energies.”
—Richard Barrett, founder and Chairman, Barrett Values Centre
“Shakti Leadership is a bold reimagination of leadership that is both conceptually robust and immediately usable at the same time. A must-read for all those seeking to deeply understand the inner drives that make them the leaders they are and striving to create diverse cultures where each person can flourish.”
—Shubhro Sen, Director, School of Management and Entrepreneurship, Shiv Nadar University
“In today’s 24/7 wired world, we are more connected with technology than with other humans or our own inner self. Shakti Leadership is first about deeply understanding who we really are and why we exist and then about using that knowledge to meaningfully connect with others to cocreate a better future. It is a must-read for anyone who wants to really wake up.”
—Rajeev Peshawaria, CEO, The Iclif Leadership and Governance Centre, and author of Too Many Bosses, Too Few Leaders and Be the Change
As global populations age, Bhat and Sisodia suggest that the world is reaching a point of major transformation. Simultaneously, women are gaining in numbers in white-collar professions, headed toward becoming the majority in the near future. This escalating shift in evolution is rattling the foundations of one-sided patriarchical leadership, moving us toward a crisis point. These authors believe that in order not to implode, both men and women must begin to embrace a leadership style which utilizes competency-based (masculine) and consciousness-based (feminine) leadership skills in equal balance. Laced with insights from successful women (and men), it also has suggested exercises, such as Dialogue with the Higher Self, to help readers access the transformative power of Shakti within themselves. Commonsense and cutting-edge perspective make this one a sure-fire winner. Consider displaying it with Joseph Campbell’s The Hero With a Thousand Faces.
- Anna Jedrziewski, Retailing Insight