(This weekly column will explore the relevance and application of Principles and Strategies discussed in the 3rd Century BC treatise, Kautilya’s Arthashastra, in Today’s Corporate World)

An executive manager plays a very key role in the successful functioning of a company. His selection and appointment is a very important aspect for the growth of any organisation. Headhunters and placement agencies provide resource and services for hiring the right kind of candidates. However, the parameters have to be set by the employer.

Kautilya, in his Arthashastra, gives us detailed guidelines on the selection of managers who are fresh management trainees, and also those how are experienced and need to be directly recruited for higher responsibilities.


Book one, chapter five points out the various qualities to the tested by the human resource department, when it hunts for management trainees during campus interviews.

Kautilya says that a ‘trainable’ person is the one who has the following six qualities:

1. Desire to learn – Should be open minded. After learning all the theories of management a trainee should be available to learn the practical side of it from seniors.

2. Effective listening ability – Listening is hearing ‘plus’ thinking. He should be able to understand what is being expected out of him from the organization.

3. Ability to reflect – One should be able to think from all angles. Both logical and creative thinking is required in the field of management.

4. Ability to reject false views – He should be able to reach at his own conclusions. One should be able to differentiate between various points of view.

5. Intent on truth not on person – It is an ability to separate the person from the problem. He should be able to stick to the ‘truth’ that he has reached after his own careful analysis.


Qualities to be tested before recruiting a person from another organisation is given in chapter nine of book one.

1. Technical competence – In that particular field to be tested with the help of those people more learned in that science.

2. Intelligence, perseverance and dexterity – His experience should also be coupled with the intelligence to understand the ‘crux’ of any problem. He should also have the ability to progress inspite of various hindrances.

3. Eloquence, Boldness and presence of mind – The ability to make quick decisions and a personality that reflects confidence. Eloquence also means to communicate words in a short yet effective manner.

4. Ability to bear troubles during emergencies – The true test of  a good manager comes during crisis. He should be able to shoulder all the responsibilities and execute an immediate action plan.

5. Uprightness, friendliness and firmness of devotion in dealing with others – He should be a people’s man. Management is the ability to get the work done from other people.

6. Strength of character – Moral strength and ethical dealings. These have to be conveyed more my action than just words.(The author is the director of ATMA DARSHAN, a company that provides spiritual services, including tours and management consultancy. He can be contacted at

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