How has been your decade long journey with IL&FS

I am soon to complete 18 years with the IL&FS group. My journey has been replete with new experiences, ups and downs, which have taught me many life lessons. I have learnt how to develop, present and maintain myself every day. There are always plenty of opportunities to prove one’s mettle. One of my mentors often said that ‘the sky is the limit’ and that many have found and reached the moon and the stars.

IL&FS is a supportive organisation with a soul; one feels like a part is missing as I realised during the two years when I was away. During this period, deep within, I longed to be re-united with this core. Providence played its part and presented me with an extended family where I have basked in hard work, affection and comfort. IL&FS fosters and nurtures bonds alongside presenting deliverables and meeting deadlines.

How would you describe your leadership style

My leadership style is democratic and participative. I am as concerned with maintaining group effectiveness as with completing the task at hand. I encourage my team members to express ideas and feelings and believe that such a climate leads to improved creativity. If and when I encounter resistance, I allow it to surface and seek the team’s help in unblocking and resolving the same; thus encouraging shared goal-setting and joint decision-making. I formulate strategies after justifying the reasons and invite suggestions and criticisms. I instill the belief that the responsibility of getting a job done depends on both the individual and the team. I allow freedom in the team’s work in order to enable them to demonstrate their abilities. I look out for ways in which the team can perform better and am constantly open to change, which leads to greater effectiveness.

What according to you are the essential traits of a successful leader

A good leader should have faith in his/her own self. A leader should be able to treat others with respect and should be empathetic towards the concerns of their team members. An effective leader should be passionate about his/her role and should be confident when there is a need to make critical decisions. Analytical and objective judgment delivering skills are other traits that an ideal leader must possess. (S)he should be humble at all times and willing to approach others for help when required; along with being approachable by team members. A leader should create and contribute to a space for free flow of creative ideas which should be allowed to exist without any pre-judgment. Socialising skills and networking abilities are critical to any good leader as it helps them to create a bond and glue the team together. Finally, an ideal leader should be a persistent individual who has an intuitive vision that helps them achieve their goals.

Being a woman leader, how do you balance the dynamic requirements of various business teams and external stakeholders

The balance is sometimes challenging owing to gender stereotypes. A strong sense of self is necessary to keep the balance. I strongly believe in gender neutrality and describe myself as a realist optimist. I face reality and see both the positive and negative aspects; however, I tend to focus on the positive strengths, resources and opportunities. I believe that there is light in every situation and see every obstacle as a challenge. I look for alternative solutions and seek the best. I realise that no matter how competent and experienced I am, I may not have all the information needed and am therefore always eager to learn. When conflicts arise, I do my best with the team’s help, to identify the issues involved and to uncover their sources. I have a high tolerance threshold and maintain a sense of humour to keep things in perspective. I invest a lot of energy into teamwork and firmly believe that it is the key to balancing the dynamic requirements of various business teams and external stakeholders.

How do you, as a leader, articulate the business needs of the company to your team

I communicate the simplest of things verbally as well as via text messaging and emails. I have developed a practice of quick weekly stand-up meetings where the business needs are articulated and the team discusses the stock of tasks at hand.
Pursuing joy is a choice that I have made for myself and the team. To experience joy, I develop and inculcate thoughts and beliefs that are uplifting and energising, and also those that make everyone feel happy and enthusiastic. When I am joyful, I am at peace with myself and happy about all my interactions. I also find the strength to accept the times that I don’t feel joyful.

What do you do to unwind

Prayer and meditation are the two things that help me relax and calm myself. I also take interest in singing and listening to music. I like to travel whenever I can, in addition to spending some quality time with my family, friends and relatives. Once in a while, I also like to watch movies. Apart from these, I also engage myself in church and philanthropic activities which gives me a deep sense of peace and harmony.

What are your personal aspirations

I am learning, growing and getting better every day and in every way. I want to cherish and value every moment of my life and make the best of what I have. I want to live in a way that would make a difference to my life; and that means real growth and real living so that I can look back and feel the richness of it all.

I am blessed in every way and believe that God has a perfect plan for me. My personal aspiration is to spread joy to as many people as I can. Someone had correctly said, “Sometimes, we just have to go with the flow of things and hope for the best!”



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