Turning over a new leaf

Yeshasvini Ramaswamy (MD, e2e People Practices) on the bottom line rules to follow

We in India have a varied and dynamic workforce, with vastly different approaches to work and life. While some of them work in structured organisations that elicit a particular work ethic out of them, there is a totally different set of people whose work culture entitles them to a certain amount of freedom and space to perform. It is characteristics like these that the leaders of tomorrow’s workforce will have to understand to be able to get the most out of their teams. While the approach to working alone and in tandem with others can vary from one company to another, there are some bottomline rules we need to follow to make a difference.

Our approach to leadership with our workforce is that of a ‘community-based’ interaction. We feel that making work life a consensus-driven one, where opinions and ideas have a free flow and a non-hierarchical approach, results in a more dynamic and open organisation. Else, decisions are slower and there is a tendency to hesitate when approached. Based on this, a generation or so ago, entrepreneurs hesitated to step forward for ‘fear of failure’. Their approach to their dreams was based largely on societal diktats, which prevented them from experimenting and treading the path less taken.

With every passing year, this attitude is undergoing a complete change and people are opening up to new ideas – both in terms of setting up a business and accepting new ones. The need of the hour is to develop ‘innovative thinking’ and break down barriers that prevent it. One needs to recognise those who are good at ‘problem solving’, as they will get your job done naturally by working the system to the benefit of the company. There is a need for supervisory relationships to be closer than what they are right now; a sense of ‘cohesiveness’ has to be established.

Whether we want to admit it or not, we have a problem of distinction in our workforce. There is a clear geographical clubbing of people and many times good and rightful opportunities are passed over simply because of one’s origin. There is a need to develop ‘inclusivity’ across cultures within India. We also need to get over our fixation with the white-skinned and understand the concept of equal opportunity for all.

To sum up, below are some of the areas we need to address:

Freedom for entrepreneurial thinking Smart decision-making and assertiveness

1 Creativity and lateral thinking 2 Finance for non-finance people 3 Team dynamics.

When we realise our full potential and that of others, we can make a success of entrepreneurial ventures. A ‘change in mindset’ is required with the ability to adapt to all that is new.