The mark of a true leader is how well he or she builds a capable, trustworthy and successful team that is full of individual visionary leaders in their own right. Many entrepreneurial and financial leaders in India such as the likes of Sanjiv Bajaj, have always been proponents of team-building as key to unlocking business growth. So, how do they do it? They have, in their repertoire, five powerful actions that they regularly take over the course of team-building to lead a group of individuals to success. These are: understanding each member; recognising challenges beforehand; showing gratitude; prioritising the team; and offering motivation.
The biggest attribute in a great leader’s stride is what peaks people’s curiosities. An ingenious answer can be found in the very definition of leadership – the ability to lead and influence ‘a group of people’. In essence, an empathetic quality figuring out everyone’s strengths and weaknesses guides leaders with remarkable precision.
In fact, great entrepreneurial and financial leaders in India like Sanjiv Bajaj, Chairman and Managing Director, Bajaj Finserv, have always been proponents of team building – something they consider a critical component of success. Consider this quote from him where he was asked the mantra to Bajaj Finserv’s success:
“Getting the right people on board was the most important decision we had to make, followed by getting the strategy right and setting the right governance mechanism in each of these companies. It’s a people’s game. When you aren’t selling a physical product, people become your biggest asset and who you hire becomes even more important.”
So, how exactly do such famous personalities in finance in India build such great teams? Five powerful actions have been found to be in common among such personalities.
- Understanding team members
A team contains a variety of people because every person is different from the other. Different people specialise in different fields – and this kind of dynamism is vital to have in a team. A great leader, therefore, understands the subtle differences between his teammates and recognises the strength and weaknesses of every team member. How? The answer is good communication inside the team. Remember, nuanced understanding occurs through great listening and communication skills. Along with that, helping people overcome their weaknesses and working on their strengths are also good actions to take as a progressive leader.
- Recognising challenges beforehand
It is impossible to think of a situation where a leader doesn’t have to manage challenges, as there will be challenges almost every day. These challenges can be external or internal. They can be as large as protecting the organisation or as small as handling team members. When it comes to team-building, top financial leaders in India are known for predicting challenges within the team and taking corrective actions on time. Whether it is underperformance due to unknown reasons, or internal conflict, a leader knows how to open the communication channel with the team members and resolve issues with typical panache.
- Showing gratitude
Individuals need to be appreciated to be motivated. Appreciation motivates people to give their best, have a positive outlook, and most importantly, to stay in the team. A meaningful and effective appreciation to the teammates is what a leader offers to his team to keep the spirits high. This is where top leaders specialise in giving out verbal compliments or formal encouragement through emails regularly. You can also show gratitude by showing interest in things teams enjoy. Sam Walton, one of the famous financial leaders, once said, “Nothing else can quite substitute for a few well-chosen, well-timed, sincere words of praise.”
- Prioritising the team first
It may be surprising, but great leaders will prioritise their team first at any cost. Great leaders of today know that they are in no way superior to their team. They do not hesitate to fulfil their duties towards their team, and are always ready to take a bullet for them. Amidst problems or controversies, they will stand up to defend their teammates. This is an exceptional attitude to have as a capable leader, and often leads to the formation of a great, trustworthy and dependable team.
- Accepting failures and offering motivation
There are times when a team has to face failures and suffer from disappointment. Failures may come in a row, one after the other – and could even be due to a leader’s mistake. This is where a great leader will always own up to his/her shortcomings or motivate the team to take the failure in their stride. A great leader always knows how to translate failures into learning lessons, and is always there to pull the team out of a negative spiral. Many top financial leaders in India are an excellent example of this, and have always made a comeback with their teams after suffering from periodic setbacks.
To overcome challenges that come along with building a great team, a perfect mixture of people with appropriate skills and knowledge must be formed. But an effective leader will take care of all of these and ensure that the team becomes greater than the sum of its parts. Always remember that leadership vision is not about the crown of recognition. Great corporate leaders do not look for recognition from others. Leadership legacy is something that is earned through hard work, and great leaders go for it on the back of a capable team.