Tuesday, January 19, 2010

More about responsibilitiy

A few days back I had the privilege of attending an event. The former Chief Librarian and HOD of the dept of Lib Sc of Mumbai University turned 75, and the dept had a small function to celebrate it. The gentleman said one thing which was simple and yet profound. He said "When I was the Head, I looked at my chair as a seat of responsibility and accountability and not as a seat of power". Very true - in two ways. Every chair is exactly that. And "Sir" (as we obviously called him) did exactly what he'd just said. What he achieved / did not was not the question. He NEVER flouted authority. He was available to everyone - including the young students (within reasonable limits), but I never remember it being a struggle meeting him.

There is a paradox here. My spiritual teacher says "Responsibility = Power". The more you take up, the more powerful you get. Seems like the opposite of what I said? No. The "Power" you get with more responsibility you take, comes from within. People see you as someone powerful. Whereas, if one "assumes" power comes with a seat, then one is "depending" on the seat for the power. Take away the seat and one loses power.

When one takes up more responsibilites, the power simply follows - one does not need to seek it.