Srijana Jyoti is the Chief Branding Officer of Syakar Trading Company, Jyoti Group. She oversees marketing, advertising, design and public relations. Established in 1976, Syakar is the authorised distributor and retailer of Honda, Hero Honda and Philips. It began with the distribution of Honda motorcycles which the Jyoti Group has been importing since 1967. From 1986, it started the distribution of Hero Honda motorcycles. Since 2011, it is also the authorized distributor of Philips products. B360 talked to Srijana Jyoti about Syakar’s success and her thoughts on leadership. Excerpts:
What role does a leader play in establishing a company and catapulting the success of the company? What is the case with Syakar Trading?
Leaders give the vision to everyone from lower staff to every single department heads so that they are on the same page. They know well where the company is heading to in the next five years or so.
Syakar is a family business. We make decisions incorporating everyone’s opinion. We formulate strategies making every staff aware about the contribution they have to make so that each achieves the goal that the leadership has entrusted him/her with.
Is leadership acquired or innate? What has it been in your case?
I think it’s a mixture of both. There are some young people who exhibit leadership skills from an early age. Having said that, the ability to lead would not only be enough. There is a host of management and leadership skills that need to be learnt. Skills learnt from both academics and experience make for a lethal combination.
I have always been the one taking initiatives in my family and friends circle. I haven’t taken any leadership skill trainings separately. It has been ‘on the job’ training for me. Some people may think that ours being a family business, I need not compete with anybody; but it is more of a challenge to make everybody accept you entirely on your capability.
Some people have it in them to be a leader. Some are competent at their respective job, but they fail miserably at delegation.
It is said ‘a good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit’. Do you agree?
If my department has not performed as expected, I am answerable. I can’t put the blame onto others. Neither can I take the credit for success since my success totally depends on the performance of my staff. A goal is unattainable if all don’t work productively.
I think it’s a must that a leader credit success to others and failure to oneself.
At the managerial level, a majority of women face hurdles in advancing to CEO/C-level jobs. What is the role of a leader to help women break through it?
All the top posts are held by men. This is the trend witnessed not only in our country but globally. It is important that men realise the potential of women. Women, on the other hand, also need to prove their worth. Women and men alike need to earn respect and responsibilities. Sadly, our social structure is such that women need to take the approval of the family to take up a job or take on new responsibilities at the job. Sometimes women create hindrances for themselves. More often than not, a woman is constantly gripped with the dilemma: should I give my time to children or to career. And that’s where the career takes a setback.
Are there any fundamental differences between a male and a female leadership?
I feel men are more aggressive and straightforward. Women look for inclusiveness and communicative environment. Women are more giving – we are constantly creating opportunities for employees to excel and grow. It is believed that women are intrinsically nurturers. Looking at the working style of my husband and brother-in-law, I am friendlier with my staff. I interact with them more and handle them like my children. These of women help them to lead. Leaders can’t be conceited. As a leader you should have the strength to extract the best from your staff. Dictatorship style doesn’t work in today’s time. It is better to have a constructive discussion on issues if anyone disagrees.
A woman holds the most powerful leadership role in Nepal, yet nothing substantial has been yielded so far. Your thoughts…
Title only will not help. Post without responsibility is nothing. Even in companies, wives are assigned director level jobs but they don’t do anything significant. They are reduced to titular entities. There is no point of having just positions if you can’t show your strength.