Manoj Dubey, AVP & Head – Merchandising Excellence, Pantaloons, inspires us with his unique leadership mantra.
Manoj Dubey comes across as a calm, yet unassuming man. Exploring his spiritual side from a very young age, he brings forth a sense of compassion and understanding, which has earned him respect and admiration from his peers and his teams alike. He shares with us the secret behind his composed demeanor, and how he is living the values built on trust and empathy to succeed as a leader.
On Mindful Leadership
Mindfulness is the newest technique of self-awareness & reflection for modern day leaders to have better control within themselves as opposed to just gain control over external circumstances. There is a very beautiful Sanskrit Shloka that comes to my mind, tṛṇād api su-nīcena, taror iva sahiṣṇunā, amāninā māna-dena, kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ, the essence of which is, ‘the one who is an immersive leader is he who is more tolerant than a tree and humbler than a blade of grass, even though he is placed in a position of power.’ On the contrary, a leader who is anxious and troubled inside, would display this baggage of negative emotions in arrogant dealings and exploitative display of power on people.
Respect Beyond a Title
If a leader is negative within, teams feel under-motivated while going about their tasks. They can feel an invisible wall of negativity, which incapacitates them to communicate amicably and in due course of time, teams do not deliver their goals. Leaders who are humble are open to criticism. They promote a culture of open feedback, allow team members and larger stakeholders to critique their decisions and in this way, they respect everyone’s opinion. They don’t command respect for their opinions alone; instead they believe in giving respect to everyone.
The Mark of True Leadership
You can’t get away from this example of how two leaders managed the current pandemic. When PM Modi appealed to the citizens to express gratitude towards those at the forefront of combating the coronavirus, what was the response from India? On Sunday, people at my own residence could not hold themselves back until 5 o’clock, to express tumultuous applause when everybody was out with all kinds of bells, drums and conches. When you look at other countries and nations, like PM Boris Johnson from United Kingdom, the kind of statements he made ‘Many more families are going to lose loved ones?’ It’s a very negative message. These are two very different kinds of leadership.
Creating an Emotional Connect
In the Gita there is quote panditah sama-darsinah, which means one who is learned will be able to see everybody with equal vision. Spiritual understanding brings you at a level where we start seeing people as equals. You see people at the level of soul, beyond cast, creed, gender, religion and variegated social background, you understand their state of emotions, what they are going through. Through such a spiritual vision you create a deep emotional connect with all kinds of people, and when you really need them to outperform, you are able to, because they can feel that the true empathy coming from you. This leads to a culture of equal respect in the organisation.
Create a culture of love and respect for your team. I learnt that if you carry your own baggage of issues and problems, it is almost impossible to help anyone else. That is one important leadership quality from the spiritual horizon.