Starting a business and becoming an entrepreneur is a dream many cherish. Once this is accomplished, it is quite easy to get caught up in the rigmarole of operations, sales, and target achievement. However, making it to the list of admired leaders in India can take a lot more time, effort, and self-discipline. We often see that team members and organisations admire qualities rather than achievements. Let us take a look at the top 7 traits that make for a much revered and admired leader.
- Integrity Above All – There are various styles of leadership; each of these has pros and cons, and there are numerous debates about the merits and demerits of each. Employees and team members, however, look for integrity, honesty, and moral soundness in their leaders. Respect for such values, walking the talk, and being trustworthy showcase the core beliefs of the business leader as a person. According to a report by Forbes Magazine, 75% of employees regarded integrity as the leader’s most important attribute. Some of the most admired leaders in India are known for their sound moral principles.
- Earning Credibility – It is human nature to prefer certain people, things, and experiences over others. A leader earns the respect of the people he works with by respecting others and being fair at all times. A leader who has the same level of empathy for all his employees, team members, stakeholders, and customers is bound to be admired. His credibility alone earns him respect and regard in the industry.
- Vision and Innovation – Given the rapid transformation in technology, the wealth of information provided by research, and the rise of consumer awareness, most industries have undergone a great deal of change. Leaders with vision and those keen to embrace new technology are greatly admired for their foresight. Sanjiv Bajaj, the Chairman & Managing Director of Bajaj Finserv and President of CII (2022-23), is one of the top financial leaders in India. His foresight and leadership prompted the NBFC to adopt web and mobile technology to reach out to the country’s rural regions. With a record turnover of ₹ 36,692 crores in the first half of 2022-23, the company is among the leaders in the fintech space in India.
- Strategic Thinking for Leaders – Some of the most successful business leaders have been those who have braved a rapidly evolving industry with strategic thinking. They have earned the admiration of peers and industry experts by looking at the bigger picture and leveraging consumer needs. One of the best examples is Nithin Kamath, Founder, and CEO of Zerodha. His humble beginnings taught Kamath the value of discount broking and digital investment. Zerodha owes its success to his strategic planning and action planning.
- Communication is King – Admiration, particularly on the larger stage, comes from being seen. Through India’s early years of industrialisation, few entrepreneurs preferred to be seen or heard. Apart from media reports, much of the country did not know much about their views, philosophies, and ideas. However, with the age of social media dawning upon us, this has changed. Nandan Nilekani, the co-founder of Infosys and the architect of the Aadhaar unique identification system, is a good example. With over 2.5 million Twitter followers, his views on digital India and entrepreneurship are followed keenly. His books Imagining India, Rebooting India, and the Art of Bitfulness have also helped reach out to young entrepreneurs and professionals in the country.
- Collaboration is Key – We live in a world where collaboration rather than petty rivalry is the winning ticket. We hear of successful partnerships between organisations that span geographic limitations each day. A business enterprise in the same industry could have better technical know-how in another country and vice versa. A leader is one who can identify the potential in such collaborations and facilitate change.
- Driven by the Greater Good – Understanding CSR and societal progress can best be done with an example. Ratan Tata is arguably one of the most admired leaders in India. His entrepreneurial success, however, has been transcended by his philanthropic work. Under his aegis, Tata Sons contributed millions to educational and charitable causes. Over 65% of his personal shareholdings are invested in charitable trusts. It is this drive to contribute and uplift our society, people, and country that earns admiration and respect.
While everyone likes to be loved and admired, admiration is often not the goal of most leaders. Instead, they work on themselves and on bettering the lives of people around them, and the honour and regard they earn in the process are quite often incidental.
Summary: Everyone likes to be loved, admired, and respected. To earn these, however, business leaders must work on themselves. Some of the top traits admired by team members and stakeholders include integrity, transparency, clarity of communication, fairness, and innovativeness. In addition, the ability to go beyond the fiscal goals and work towards the betterment of society and the country can also make a leader greatly admired.