Bhishm: The Fall of Incredible

After Dhritrashtra, the character who passively played a major role in staging the great war by not doing anything, was Bhishm. Respectfully referred to as Pitamah, Bhishm was admired by all due to his great strength and loyalty to the throne.

Although Bhishm was one of the greatest warriors of the era, what is more to him is that he never spoke at critical moments. He left the major decisions on fate, liked one side, but fought alongside the other one.

His punchline was ‘After all, what can I do in this situation?’. He is mainly famous for the Oath of Celibacy. He dedicated himself to the throne and pledged that he will always serve the throne, unconditionally.

Bhishm fought alongside Kauravas in the war and found his final resting place on a bed of arrows where he chose his death. Both his friends and enemies shed tears on his demise, but he also lost a great opportunity where he could’ve made a difference. 

Now, read carefully and try to extrapolate it in the current organizational structure.

Think of an ‘elderly gentleman’ nearing his retirement, who knows every trick in the book. His skill and experience earned him a significant position and the respect of the entire team/company. But at the same time, he is always silent when it comes to taking a stand against a flawed policy or matters of concern. He steers clear of any matter which may associate him with any controversy.

I find abounding similarities between this ‘elderly corporate figure and Bhishm’.

His Position – Senior Management (Seen it all, done it all category), impeccably dressed, firefights only when asked to do by key personnel, but will never volunteer.

His Passion – Uses every platform to propagate his loyalty, never miss a chance to boast of his past achievements. Shows the spark of brilliance once in a while, but 95% of the time, the organization has hardly benefitted from his true capabilities.

His Leadership Style – Leadership is not his cup of tea and he has a punchline “he is subservient to the company”.

His Attitude – Hands behind his back, always on time (both in and out of the office), attends meetings without positive contribution, silent on matters of concern, always goes separately to the Top Guy and advises.

His Agenda – To maintain a distance from any problems/controversies till his retirement, to stay cocooned in his oaths and self-imposed principles, and hope that his respect and position outlasts his utility in the organization.

His Contribution  Despite the power and experience which rested with him, he always shied away from raising his hand and saying “that’s enough, we have to think of a better solution”. Similarly, if only Bhishm would have tried a little harder, the war could have been averted.

His Limiting Factors  Always self-absorbed and caught between his personal preferences and his professional commitments.

His End  Similar to Bhishm, this individual gets a grand farewell and then disappears from the scene only to be seen again when he visits office to clear his paperwork, post retirement.

These ‘Modern Bhishms’ are a combination of experience and indifference. And there might be no absolute way to talk such individuals out in most situations as well.

However, you might find a resolve to this issue in Shri Krishna’s teachings.

Stay Tuned! The Mahabharat has just begun.

This article was originally published on Linkedin here –

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