Poetry’s Influence on Leadership

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Gaurav Bhalla, adjunct professor of marketing, has published a book, Awakening a Leader’s Soul: Learnings Through Immortal Poems. Bhalla’s book explores the idea of leadership in the business world through “the timeless wisdom of immortal poems.”

Writing the book stemmed from his desire to “reconfigure the platform of leadership as a privilege, not an entitlement, with an obligation of making the world a better place,” Bhalla said. He wanted to reimagine the concept of leadership beyond traditional business textbooks, articles, and case studies. Bhalla has held a variety of professional titles, including global business executive, consultant, entrepreneur, educator, author, and speaker. He has taught at Georgetown McDonough since 2014. Throughout his global career, he has observed an overemphasis on leaders as “business machines,” as he described it, and decided to focus on the human aspect of leadership.

Bhalla hopes that Awakening A Leader’s Soul can serve as an education for current and future leaders, influencing them to “lead with their humanity.” In regards to undergraduate or graduate business students, Bhalla aims to teach them that “exemplary executive performance is a function of both executive skills, as well as the character that underlies our business and our personal behavior, namely our humanity.”

He also emphasizes the book’s connection to Georgetown’s Jesuit heritage, specifically the principles of magis, cura personalis, and unity of heart, mind, and soul.

“Leaders must understand that the pursuit of ‘more and bigger’ can’t be at the expense of disintegrating the lives of individuals and the well-being of communities and our planet,” Bhalla said. “This connection is important for Georgetown and its Jesuit heritage.”