Mohandas Gandhi
Leadership Case Study

Mohandas Gandhi Leadership Case Study is a part of Leadership Stories, a series of biographies of great leaders in history that have impacted the world in a huge way.

Gandhi Leadership
Who was He?

Mohandas Gandhi was a political and spiritual leader of India. Through his cause, he helped India gained its independence and is honoured in India as the Father of the Nation.

He was an advocate of non-violence and in his civil protests, he used non-violence to achieve his aims. His life inspired many others like Martin Luther King to go on non-violent movements for civil rights. 

A Short History

Mohandas Gandhi was born in Oct 2, 1869 into a family of royalty. His father was the Prime Minister of a state in India and he was the son of this father’s 4th wife.

From young, he was reading a lot of Hindu Scriptures and Indian Classics and this gave him a foundation for his work in his later years.

At a young age of 13, he was married to his wife of age 14, due to the customs of the region at that time. They would have a miscarriage, and go on to have four sons.

Gandhi travelled to London and studied law in University College London and was trained as a barrister. He wanted to established a law practice in London but failed and went on to accept a job from an Indian firm in South Africa.

It was in South Africa that he witnessed first-hand the discrimination against his own people and in a few incidents; he was being discriminated as well.

This led him into politics as he fought for the rights of the Indians in South Africa. He would use his tactics of massive civil disobedience and in the end, he forced the South African General to come to a compromise with him.

In 1915, Gandhi returned to India and he entered into politics and began speaking at the National Indian Congress. He would go on to assist poverty in the villages there and expressly spoke against certain British policies at discriminated against Indians.

He would be arrested a few times in his life, but his first arrest caused a mass protest outside the jail that the judge had no choice but to let him go.

Gandhi would employ non-cooperation, non-violence and peaceful resistance as his "weapons" in the struggle against the British.

His most famous protest was called the Salt March. Against a British policy of taxing the use of salt for Indians, he would organize a 388 km march to the sea at Dandhi, Gujarat and make salt for himself. This campaign was extremely successful in upsetting the British and the government decided to negotiate with Gandhi.

It was during World War II that India’s Independence was fought hard for. Eventually after the war, British showed clear signs of handing over the independence of India to Indians.

Gandhi would eventually be assassinated when taking his nightly public walk in New Delhi. The whole nation mourned the loss of their leader. He would eventually be known as the Father of the Nation.

Awards and Honours

Gandhi would be awarded many honors after his death. These included:

1.His birthday would be declared the “International Day of Non-Violence”
2.The day of his death would be declared “Martyr’s Day” in India
3.Time Magazine named Gandhi “Man of the Year” in 1930
4.Runner up to Person of the Century in 1999

And many more.

Leadership Lessons

Gandhi would teach us countless lessons about life, leadership and much more. I would humbly suggest some points he would teach us about leadership:

1. Constant growth is a part of life
Gandhi understood the importance of continual growth in his life. Despite being an accomplished leader in his community, Gandhi continually sought out greater understanding through much study of religious scripture.

You need to see the important of constant growth, especially as a leader. When you stop growing as a leader, the organization stops growing too and the stagnation eventually becomes obvious to everyone. It becomes evident that you have stopped wanting to innovate, grow and become better. 

You need to grow personally in your knowledge, skills, abilities, character if you want to see the same continual growth in your organization. 

2. Strength is not shown through muscle power
Gandhi displayed great strength, not through using his strength to force others to bend to his will, but by using nonviolent means to achieve his goals.

As a leader, it is a very simple matter to leverage on your position or your authority to coerce people to bend to your will. However, it is your true strength as a leader that can persuade and convince people to follow you with their hearts.

Learn to use respect to win people over, instead of using power to bend people to your will.

Read more about Gandhi’s great insights in life through his quotes and study them, because I believe that you will receive a lot from him. He has taught far more leadership lessons than the 2 I have expounded on above, and I do suggest that you get some of his literature to learn more.

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Gandhi Leadership

Best Quotes from
Gandhi Leadership

An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching.

Constant development is the law of life, and a man who always tries to maintain his dogmas in order to appear consistent drives himself into a false position.

Freedom is not worth having if it does not connote freedom to err.

Increase of material comforts, it may be generally laid down, does not in any way whatsoever conduce to moral growth.

Interdependence is and ought to be as much the ideal of man as self-sufficiency. Man is a social being.

That service is the noblest which is rendered for its own sake.

It is any day better to stand erect with a broken and bandaged head then to crawl on one's belly, in order to be able to save one's head.

A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes.

It is my own firm belief that the strength of the soul grows in proportion as you subdue the flesh.


It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.

Man becomes great exactly in the degree in which he works for the welfare of his fellow-men.

Man can never be a woman's equal in the spirit of selfless service with which nature has endowed her.

There is more to life than increasing its speed.

To believe in something, and not to live it, is dishonest.

As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world - that is the myth of the atomic age - as in being able to remake ourselves.

Be the change that you want to see in the world.

Glory lies in the attempt to reach one's goal and not in reaching it.

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.


Man falls from the pursuit of the ideal of plan living and high thinking the moment he wants to multiply his daily wants. Man's happiness really lies in contentment.

Man should forget his anger before he lies down to sleep.

Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed. Always aim at purifying your thoughts and everything will be well.

An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.

If patience is worth anything, it must endure to the end of time. And a living faith will last in the midst of the blackest storm.

Imitation is the sincerest flattery.

In a gentle way, you can shake the world.

My life is my message.

Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment, full effort is full victory.

Service which is rendered without joy helps neither the servant nor the served. But all other pleasures and possessions pale into nothingness before service which is rendered in a spirit of joy.


Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.

The main purpose of life is to live rightly, think rightly, act rightly. The soul must languish when we give all our thought to the body.

The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.

Healthy discontent is the prelude to progress.

I claim to be a simple individual liable to err like any other fellow mortal. I own, however, that I have humility enough to confess my errors and to retrace my steps.

I look only to the good qualities of men. Not being faultless myself, I won't presume to probe into the faults of others.

I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people.

If I had no sense of humor, I would long ago have committed suicide.

A 'No' uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a 'Yes' merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble.


A coward is incapable of exhibiting love; it is the prerogative of the brave.

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.

The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world's problem.

The human voice can never reach the distance that is covered by the still small voice of conscience.

The law of sacrifice is uniform throughout the world. To be effective it demands the sacrifice of the bravest and the most spotless.

A nation's culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people.

A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.

Action expresses priorities.

In prayer it is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart.

You can chain me, you can torture me, you can even destroy this body, but you will never imprison my mind.

You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.

Video on
Gandhi Leadership

Other Links

Wikipedia: A highly detailed account of Gandhi's life The Official Site for Gandhi

Other Spiritual Leaders

» Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa was an Albanian Roman Catholic, and was a famous humanitarian who started the Missionary of Charities. For most of her life, she spent it ministering to the poor, sick and needy people all over the world.

» Mahatma Gandhi
Mohandas Gandhi was a political and spiritual leader of India. Through his cause, he helped India gained its independence and is honoured in India as the Father of the Nation.

» Jesus
Jesus Christ is the Son of God, as known by Christianity. He lived in ancient Israel in the first century and is known by many as the Son of God. Christians believe that Christ was crucified on the cross for all of mankind’s sins; that he died, was buried and was resurrected.

» Buddha
Buddha is the founder of Buddhism, also known by many as the “enlightened one”. According to history, he achieved enlightenment under a Bodhi Tree after 49 days of meditation. He then travelled throughout Nepal and India to preach the Way.

» Kong Hee
Kong Hee is the founder, honorary and volunteer senior pastor of City Harvest Church in Singapore. Kong has a philosophy of ministry that emphasizes the Great Commandment, Great Commission, and Cultural Mandate.

» Billy Graham
Billy Graham is one of the top preachers and evangelists of the 20th century. Throughout his crusades all over the world, it is estimated he has led over 2.5 million souls to Jesus Christ.

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