Topic Expertise : Leadership Mantras
| Dr. Bhaskar Das |
Ex President & Principal Secretary to MD,
The Times of India Group
Dr. Bhaskar Das was the President and a member of the Board in Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd., which has business interests in newspapers, magazines, radio, television, internet, music, multimedia & home entertainment and is the largest media house in India.
He drove the company's "Response" division through path-breaking innovations and cogitation, translating short & long term business strategy into implementation road maps resulting in improved Value / Volume market share for the Group. He was responsible for a revenue of Rs. 5000 crore. Under his leadership, the Group has developed unique and rare combinations of expansive media knowledge with cross functional business competencies, across sectors.
His 31-year stint in the organization has provided him a holistic management exposure inclusive of line function, responsibility of Profit Center as well as Brand management. To leverage his vast experience across group ventures, Bhaskar is also on the boards of ZOOM Entertainment Network Ltd. (a television channel), World Wide Media (a BCCL – BBC joint venture company marketing the Group's magazines), Times Now, ET Now and Vijayanand Printers Ltd. (a recent acquisition of BCCL).
He was also on the boards of various industry bodies like Bombay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), International Advertising Association-India Chapter (IAA), past president of Ad Club (Mumbai) and editor of Solus (the Club's magazine). Bhaskar was awarded the ‘Marketing Professional of the Year' at the India Brand Summit 2006, the ‘Outstanding Marketing Professional of the Year' at the Indira Marketing Awards 2007, the ‘Brand Super Achiever of the Year' at the World Brand Congress 2009, the ‘Master Brand Builder of the Year' at the World Brand Congress 2010, the ‘Greatest Brand Builder of India' at the CMO Asia 2010-11 and the ‘Most Respected Youth Icon' at Awards for Retail Excellence 2011 by the Asia Retail Congress.
Bhaskar is also a recognized tutor certified by Result Coaching Systems and has been a speaker at various industry forums and at reputed business schools like Harvard Business School, The Wharton School, MIT, IIM, IIAS (Shimla), MICA (Ahmedabad), ISB amongst others.
Dr. Bhaskar Das holds a Ph. D. in Marketing Management, an MBA in Marketing from Calcutta University and MA in International Relations from Jadavpur University.
On a personal front, Bhaskar lives with his artist wife – Shomshuklla and their 22 year old son Uditvanu in Mumbai who is a social media marketing practioner.
Ritu Sharma: What are the best ways for effective induction of new employees into a team? What should I do as a leader, to welcome them?
Expert comments: Induction of a new employee should not be a mechanical process. Instead, a conscious plan is required to integrate them with the overall vision and architecture of the organisation. The induction process must take into account the level at which an employee is going to join and the function for which the candidate has been selected. The ideal induction scheme should give a macro perspective of the organisation followed by micro perspective of the function in which the individual would be expected to contribute. Post a formal induction, you should - as a leader - answer any queries that he/she may have.
Kumar S: I have recently been promoted to a higher position and I feel that my communication with my peers has strained due to this elevation. What can I do to break the ice and resume the friendship?
Expert comments: Jealousy is a human frailty and is generally a cause for stress in human relationship. However, an individual who is suffering from jealousy needs to take care of his ailment and you need not feel guilty about it. However, if your elevation is followed by a change in your attitudinal behaviour to your colleagues, it is only then that your relationship with them gets affected. Success should bring humility and you should behave exactly in the same manner as you used to before your elevation in personal interactions. While, you need not feel guilty about your elevation, you should be empathetic enough to other's feelings and, as much as possible, try to maintain social and political correctness. As they say, IQ gets you recruited but EQ gets you promoted.
Having said that, if you have been promoted, you need to deliver as per your new role and, hence, might have to be unpopular, at times, in the interest of the organisation. In official space, if propitiation of inefficiency is perceived to be an index of friendship, it's prudent that you lose such friends. Your colleagues will see through the genuineness of your performance and will appreciate your leadership.
Dr. Meenal Shah: I find that leading a group of people is much more taxing than it looks. What can I do to deal with the growing stress of responsibilities upon my head?
Expert comments: I believe leadership is more about serving than suffering from stress by considering it as a responsibility. Though leadership causes stress, it's usually a problem with the individual and not with the task. True leadership energises followers to put an extraordinary performance. It's a team work where achievement and failures are evenly shared and so is stress. So, if your process is right, fair and intellectually stimulating, you should try to love your job. When you love your job you shouldn't have stress.
Kevalramani: I find that no matter how hard I try, a few of my juniors just refuse to abide by the rules. Now, I don't want to turn nasty and punish them. I want to know what can be done to teach them lessons in team work.
Expert comments: It appears to be a communication issue, i.e. what you say and how you say it. If a content of your communication is in sync with organisational/functional goal and is fair and your subordinates unambiguously comprehend their relevance and contribution towards it, then there is no reason they should not abide by your instructions. You have mentioned they refuse to follow rules. If I take it literally, then it's an issue of indiscipline and insubordination. In that case, your HR team along with you should persuade your subordinates to reason and logic in following corporate protocols. Post that, if your juniors still defy, then HR should initiate action to discipline them.
Sudha Moorthy: My recent promotion hit me as a kind of a surprise, and I am not sure whether I am fit to shoulder the new responsibilities. My colleagues tell me that I need some motivational counseling. Please advice.
Expert comments: You must be a very modest person where you feel that you don't deserve an elevation as you are not sure that you will be able to manage the new responsibilities. Alternatively, it can be a case of infirmity in your confidence level. You must realise that you have been elevated because of your contribution to the organisational goal and, therefore, it's a compliment to your competence.
Usually, organisations are very conscious about acknowledging capabilities and rewarding individuals who are important for sustainability of business. So, instead of doubting your capability, you ought to get energised and take up your responsibility with full gusto. If you need some support in the new assignment, you can always seek support from your seniors or ask your HR head to facilitate some customised empowerment programme for you. Motivational counseling is required when you lack energy to perform but your performance and subsequent promotion confirms your energetic contribution. However, if you have been suffering from an inferiority complex, you will need a coach to take you out of such a feeling and mere advisory counseling or mentoring might not solve your personal challenge. You have all the answers inside you. A coach can help you decode those answers.
Siddharth Diwakar: As a leader of a team, I always try to encourage and reward the hardworking and efficient team members. But I feel that we should do something to buoy up the weak players as well. How can I achieve that?
Expert Comments: The primary question is: how do you determine who is hardworking and who is not. In a staff function (specialised group operations/execution specific), subjectivity tends to creep, in but it need not. I strongly believe that if we don't know how to measure something, then it's not worth measuring. The reason for maintaining objectivity is to maintain a culture of meritocracyand performance, so that people feel energised by fairness . Once this is established, it is possible to identify divisions with relatively weaker traits and they can then be developed through a combination of counseling/mentoring and actual developmental training.
Smriti: As a woman in the management field, I often find people prejudiced against the prospect of women gaining top positions. What can I do to make my way through, in spite of such opinions?
Expert Comments: In the Indian corporate sector, I agree with you that the share of women employees is significantly low. Women are natural creators and are adept at multitasking due to socio, cultural and economic mores. Your mind may tend to give an auto suggestion that, in a male dominated corporate sector, women would find it difficult to get to the top position. This auto suggestion might stymie your initiative and can trap you in entropy. There are examples of women gaining top positions in companies like ICICI, Axis Bank, HUL, HSBC, Colgate Palmolive, Procter & Gamble, etc. These women have risen to the top only by their merit and despite perceived societal constraints.So, if you have capability, commitment and perseverance, you can reach the top position. Focus on your core capabilities in a much differentiated way as per market expectation and you will certainly be rewarded.
Keval Talwar: I feel that rather than being a harsh boss to the juniors like most others, I should gain a respectful following from my team-members. Can you suggest some measures to do so?
Expert Comments: To be a respectful boss, you have to earn respect and not demand it. For commanding respect, one needs to demonstrate qualities of leadership that are exemplary and energising. Once your followers see you ‘walking the talk' and being fair and firm, you will earn respect automatically.
Sriram: I have just taken over the leadership of a team of 15 in the HR department. The problem is, that my predecessor was a very sloppy, careless and an unorganised person, as a result of which, my team-members have got used to working in an unenthusiastic environment. What can I do to take control of the situation and enhance productivity?
Expert Comments: Your predecessor is history and you as the leader have to set your agenda of accomplishments. I am sure your colleagues will fall in line because you would mean business. You need not bother about your predecessor's style and your new members will adjust to your style. Those who can't, need to be counseled or should be asked to vacate. Once your approach starts showing results, productivity would increase automatically.
S Venkat: What kind of a communication status should one maintain with one's juniors? It is important that we neither become too friendly nor too bossy. What kind of a system should one keep to maintain a healthy professional relationship with one's juniors?
Expert Comments: Any healthy relationship - be it with senior, peers or juniors - should be bed-rocked on openness, transparency and honesty. This open-sourced leadership style acts as a deterrent to corporate gossips, politicking and other negative trends in the work culture. Employees in an organisation have a shared destiny and if a leader can drive home this point, an open culture gets established. A healthy relationship should always be fair and not just bossy or friendly. When situation demands, camaraderie, it should be so. When a situation demands a tough call, one has to take that instead of thinking of one's popularity.
Dr. Bhaskar Das, will not be able to answer to new queries. Post your queries related to Leadership to Nandan Savnal, Managing Director, PeopleSys Consulting Pvt. Ltd.
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