The world is grappling with a crisis it has not seen before. And to steer the mass of humanity through this crisis, even the leadership has to reinvent itself. The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly shown us one thing-the importance of leaders who can lead through a crisis with a balanced head and balance the talent experience with that of business continuity has never been so much as it is right now.
It is these very emerging HR leaders that the People Matters Are You In The List Awards in association with DDI India and Harappa Education aims to identify who can become the answer to the challenges in the people and workspace. The Awards, which is in its ninth year of running, has been the beacon helping to identify young emerging HR leaders to build the future pipeline of HR leaders. What are some of the traits of such leaders?
In an exclusive interaction with People Matters, Rohit Kapoor, CEO - India & South Asia, OYO, one of our jury members for People Matters Are You In The List Awards shares what do emerging talent leaders need to possess in order to be agile and future proof.
2020 has been a tough year. How do you think it will impact the way leadership needs to evolve?
There is no manual for these times! Most leaders have never seen anything of this magnitude.
“Leaders will need to be absolutely authentic, suspend judgment, listen to the cross-section of stake-holders, and take decisions. Most decisions will not satisfy everyone, but they need to be taken nevertheless.”
The farthest distance to travel for all human beings is the 18 inches between our heart and brain. This is the time to lead with heart and mind equally in sync.
As COVID-19 has shown, organizations will have to equip themselves to deal with the rapid rate of change and all sorts of crises. What do you think are key characteristics of a leader who can lead through a crisis?
In my working career, this is the 4th global business crisis I have seen – things always look bleak in the short run, but human endurance ultimately triumphs often sooner than we believe. During tough times, a true leader is one who is calm, demonstrates confidence to keep the employees motivated. A leader recognizes the value of each, and every individual adds and earns trust and respect as well as inspires others to join him/her in the mission.
A leader should always be available during adversity. Employees must know whom they can reach out to, and they need to hear from the leader frequently in turbulent times. Also, a leader who is decisive and takes decisions without hesitation will allow his/her employees to feel secure and take bold initiatives.
I am inspired by many of my team members who are leading with such conviction amidst these tough times.
What are some of the workplace changes which leaders will need to lead their organizations through in order to be agile and future proof?
Most organizations would need to revamp their existing strategies and re-evaluate business resilience to external events. The importance of adapting to and incorporating technology across business processes has never been stronger. It is important also to enable employers to be self-starters. Giving them equal opportunities, the freedom to continuously innovate and think out of the box will be critical.
“For most leaders, the priorities will be: employee safety first, followed by business continuity, liquidity and runway.”
To strengthen business continuity, scenario mapping is very crucial. We at OYO quickly set up a war room with the brightest OYOprenuers in the company to list out all the actions we would need to take for each scenario and plan accordingly. Leaders need to encourage cross-functional collaboration and be open to a multitude of suggestions and viewpoints. As mentioned earlier, communication will be key to everything, and a leader should continue to communicate transparently to avoid any speculation and anxiety within the organization.
What do you think are some key characteristics which emerging talent leaders specifically need to possess?
The four characteristics they should possess are:
- Deep connect across the organization
- Ability to use technology to solve people problems
- Data orientation
- Significant comfort with ambiguity and ability to change course
How do you think a program such as People Matters Are You In The List Awards help in identifying and fostering emerging talent leadership?
A prestigious platform such as yours recognizes the top talent who are future-ready and provides a platform for conversations on the future of jobs. The current pandemic has shown us why is it important to have a strong HR leader who can lead through a crisis. India is slowly reinventing itself as a global innovation hub, and I believe the world is ready to see the HR leaders from the country redefining the meaning of this role during challenging times.
What is the one advice you would like to give emerging HR leaders?
“My advice will be to definitely take up a business role in between your HR stints - it adds enormous value to your career.”
Click here to find more about the People Matters Are You In The List Awards 2020.