Interview with HH Sacinandana Swami on leadership excellence


What is in your opinion excellence for the members of ISKCON in today’s environment?

Sacinandana Swami: Srila Prabhupada used to always encourage us to do our best for Krishna. I feel the past has taught us that you cannot measure everyone’s “best” by the same standard. It is always an individual contribution, because everyone has been given certain individual talents by the Lord. To discover one’s talents and engage them enthusiastically and humbly in the Lord’s service is one side of excellence, the other side is given by the Lord who carries what the devotees are still lacking. That side will always be the major part.

ISKCON was created to facilitate spiritual advancement, but people tend to blame ISKCON for their failures. When the institution is beneficial for the individual?

Sacinandana Swami: ISKCON as an institution is as strong or weak as its members – especially those in leading institutional positions. Like many devotees, I feel that there is another ISKCON which is eternal and beyond the ups and downs of the institutional life. That eternal ISKCON consists of the five potent forms of devotional service. (nama kirtana, sadhu sanga, bhagavad smarana, murti seva, dhama vasa). Whenever the institution is successful to (a) enable its members to practice these, and (b) spread these wonderful ethics to the public, it is highly beneficial, and when it is not doing this, then we should repair it so that it can again do it.

Do you think that feedback will improve ISKCON leadership?

Sacinandana Swami: Honest and constructive feedback is always necessary for leaders. It helps if the feedback is done in a well-wishing, but realistic manner. What was good, what went wrong, and tips for improvement. Once I heard an appealing definition of leadership: A leader knows where he is going and he can inspire others to also go into that direction. Everyone who is working in the field of inspiration knows how important it is to know the pulse, difficulties and inspirational points of his audience and that you can only learn by taking their pulse, hearing out their difficulties and getting to know what inspires them.