The Leadership Journey – Part Two

I have been part of leadership teams across three organisations now and spent over 11 years of my 13-year career as a leader in some form and in my experience, what you are not is a lot more important than who you are… 

Here are the next set of words for this week that I took from my speech to share with all of you… 

Sensitivity and compassion 

I have had so many of my team-mates tell me that they wanted to do life changing things with their life like getting married or having a baby when they were working with me. No brownie points for me for this one, because I would always put myself in the other person’s shoes be it colleague or even my bosses. In situations where I thought they were being unfair to me; I would only realise that they were doing what they had to or needed to. Compassion flows both ways. 

Sensitivity is a more nuanced thing, this is more around being conscious of not saying anything that could border on discrimination or treating someone from a point of bias, either conscious or unconscious. 

I have experienced that my teams would be more committed to their tasks and their roles when I gave them the freedom to own it and do it in their way on their time and let them make the decisions. When you assign responsibilities and you also give absolute autonomy to the person doing the execution, it often works in your favour. So, when it comes to people balancing work and life, they are the best judge and it’s good to leave it to them. 

Failure and resilience

As a leader if you fear failure and cannot deal with it, it becomes hard to get ahead of one failure to the next attempt at success. Strong and able leaders know that failure is a bend in the road and it’s not essentially something you buckle under. I have failed enough number of times, both as myself and as a leader. I have had to manage situations where I thought I could breeze through something and have landed on my backside not knowing what hit me and having to get up and clean up the mess I created. I have failed by placing my trust in people who didn’t deserve it and it has had lasting impact in some cases. I also remember small failures like forgetting a task or disappointing a colleague who had placed their trust in me to make something happen. 

I remember being a sore loser growing up and being phenomenally competitive but if I had let that stay on as part of my personality, I think it would have affected my growth. The reason I find it easier to make headway in a lot of what I do is because I don’t do it to win or to lose, but I do it for the sake of the experience that I would have gained having done it. 

Failure and the resilience to tough times, can be the tipping point as a leader and can define the path that you create for yourself as one… 

Have I been perfect? Have I been amazing as a leader and done all the right things? Of course not, I have messed up enough times, I have lost my temper, I have pushed a little too hard, I have failed with both tasks and people, I have managed situations badly and faced the repercussions of them, made bad choices, taken wrong decisions… But I have always made the effort to learn, re-learn and un-learn and apologise if I were wrong and own up. I have also tried to see how I can do better and be better and bring the best out of the people around me… As a peer, as a colleague, as a boss and all the other roles I play… 


Shreya Krishnan
Vice President - Marketing and Communications at Aon India Insurance Brokers
Shreya is a CSR Specialist and Corporate Grooming Consultant. Her interests lie in Activism, Dance, Theatre, Poetry, Blogging, Modelling, Acting. She considers herself an Earth Warrior and is an Event Anchor and Trainer. She is a Pageant Winner and public speaker.

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