While leaders are beacons to their teams, who do they look up to for inspiration? As they guide their teams, what do they, in turn, learn from their teams? What is the one thing that leaders of today can do to make a difference? What are the leaders of today doing to build a leadership culture in their organizations?
As part of our #LeadThe Way series, in a rapid-fire interview with People Matters, Ganesh Chandan, CHRO – Tata Projects Ltd. shared the one leader he looks up to, one key learning that he has picked up from his team, and the steps he is taking to build a leadership culture in his organization.
1. Who is the one leader you look up to?
Ratan Tata – For his simplicity and humility. His ability to successfully lead a large diverse business group for many years, for making many bold acquisitions, for venturing into many business opportunities in the early stages – all without compromising on the core Tata values. He is a leader that many of us look up to.
2. What is the one leadership lesson you learned on the go as a People Leader?
Being non-judgemental! Many arrive at early conclusions about people, their potential and performance. But it is important to observe, engage with your talent over a longer duration of time before arriving at any conclusion.
3. How digitally ready are you as a leader on a scale of one to ten?
Five! We have some distance to cover in this direction. We are now moving all our applications from web-based to mobile-based which provides an easy technology connect to all our employees who are spread all over the country and overseas.
4. Which was the last book you read on leadership?
The autobiography of Jack Ma of Alibaba is a very inspiring one. His relentless pursuit and his ability to evolve a business model over the years, notwithstanding many challenges that confronted his business is very inspiring - it is a must read for everyone. The Leadership Pipeline by Dr. Ram Charan is another classic. It is an old one but very relevant even today.
5. What is the one thing leaders should do to make a difference?
Leaders should build a high performing team. It is the leader’s ability to build a high performing team that makes all the difference. Even the best products, services and revenue models fail to deliver if high-quality talent is not driving it. Leaders should build a world-class team, empower, delegate and allow the team to deliver.
6. One step that you are taking to develop a leadership culture in your organization?
A formal, institutional process to spot and identify talent for the present and future. Our biggest effort is to collectively spot high potential talent across the organization in a scientific manner, develop them with formal classroom training, job rotation and executive coaching.
7. One thing that you consider as your strength and one thing that you would like to improve on?
Strength – Optimism; a strong belief and confidence that I can overcome all challenges and sail through…
Improve upon – Tolerance; I need to improve in this area.
8. What matters to you most, effort or outcome?
From junior team members - it is the outcome that matters. But from senior leaders - it is only the outcome/results.
9. One key learning that you have picked from your team?
I have picked up patience and enthusiasm from my team.
10. What’s the one most important factor you consider when hiring someone?
At junior levels, I consider positive attitude. However, at senior levels – I consider leadership