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The desired position of CEO is to earn the respect of employees and inspire the organization. Being a CEO is challenging and demanding, and a lack of good leadership at the helm can easily sink the ship. A strong leader is characterized by, among other things, adaptability, empowerment, resilience, inclusion, and strong communication skills.
A good CEO must be able to inspire and motivate his team to work together towards a common goal. “You have to be an inclusive leader, listen to everyone and take their opinions into account. An employee-centric policy is a core value of our organization,” said Mahendra Nahata, managing director, HFCL, a telecom equipment manufacturer. Echoing a similar sentiment, Balbir Singh Dhillon, Head, Audi India, said, “At Audi India, we encourage everyone to participate and share ideas. My way of working is to empower my team.” The CEO must be able to communicate effectively and lead by example. The most important form of empowerment a leader can provide to his or her employees is the autonomy to act independently. Micromanagement is the biggest red flag and motivation killer.
Focused on people
When it comes to leadership, people-first is a way of thinking, not a strategy or set of principles. Leaders who put people first put the well-being of their employees first and the business second. They care about people and people care about business. Every organization has a variety of resources that it uses as a source of competitive advantage – availability of capital, established distribution channels, products, patents, supply agreements, etc. However, the main driving force behind all these resources are the opportunities and motivation of people working in the organization. A collaborative leadership style is a necessity for both business and the economy.
“My leadership learning was about rediscovering the power of people. I remain committed to promoting inclusion, supporting a culture of trust, and increasing engagement and productivity. When you put people first, everything else falls into place.” said Geetika Mehta, MD, Hershey India.
A true CEO understands that obstacles are the ladder to success. Building a long-term, sustainable business is a long journey. During this fabulously long journey, every company is sure to go through good and not-so-good business and macro cycles. In difficult times, showing resilience pushes the oar and makes up for lost time. With that said, each cycle will bring a different set of challenges. “Over time, successful leaders learn to always look for opportunities instead of getting stuck in the mud
Challenges. Equally important is the dynamic nature of the workforce, with varying expectations across age groups, requiring a focus on talent acquisition, retention and development, while also taking into account people’s expectations and market trends,” said Rajesh Magow, CEO, MakeMyTrip.
Like any other quality, building an entrepreneurial culture is equally important. “Employee empowerment and employee entrepreneurship go hand in hand. Ultimately, you are dependent on the skills of your managers who operate in separate sectors. The more you nurture ideas and entrepreneurial culture, the better it will be,” said Piyush Arora, MD and CEO, Koda Auto Volkswagen India.
As Napoleon Bonaparte said, “A leader is a merchant of hope.”
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