Rajiv Sharma is a Human Resource Manager, Organisational Development and Management Consultant, Researcher, Master Trainer and Teacher. An MBA from the Ace Institute of Management, he is the Managing Director for Jobs Dynamics Pvt. Ltd, a job solutions providing firm. Having extensive experience in human resource management, he also provides consulting and management services to various companies and trains and counsels employees of various organisations for skill enhancement.
Sharma believes that it does not take a big position or hosts of followers for one to be a leader. For him, the first step towards the journey of leadership begins with realisation of your own leadership skills and applying them in whatever situation. Business 360 º talked to him about his ideas of leadership and aspects associated with it. Excerpts:
What does leadership mean to you? What is the significance of leadership in professional life?
Leadership, to me, is a way of life. It is how you portray yourself in personal and professional life. It is something you practice in every aspect of your life. It is the attitude that helps you achieve what you aspire for. It is an attribute that makes a person work larger than his life. Moreover, it is not about a title or a position.
Three traits that a leader should possessâ€¦
- Being an exemplar
- Being the success factor in other people‘s growth
How does career success relate to leadership?
I believe that success has a positive relationship with leadership. People who are successful in the life are only those who have some sort of leadership skills. Sacrifice, dedication and self belief are critical to success while these are the dispositions that only leaders possess. It also means to lead oneself first and lead others along the way.
You have worked closely with young people aspiring to enter professional careers. How do you assess their leadership quotient?
I am noticing two trends right now. One, there are aspiring youths who want to lead right from day one. That‘s the attitude we want to see. However, the attitude can also backfire if the candidate thinks s/he can lead without some understanding about the issue/area that the individual is working in. Leadership requires immense patience, awareness and maturity in knowledge and understanding. Young aspirants mostly ignore these factors.
On the other side, there are youths emerging with the ability to lead without having any formal title, position or even formal education. They believe in themselves. They acknowledge that they need to learn and work on it. They put their best efforts in understanding the seriousness of the task they are undertaking.
As a HR expert, what leadership skills should professionals hone?
Professionals need to understand that leadership is earned rather than given. Positions or titles alone do not make a person leader. I have witnessed many working professionals who struggle and compete to earn money and achieve titles. In this very competition, they forget to earn trust and achieve respect of their teammates. Thus working professionals should focus more on the human aspect of doing job/business. They need to understand that people are the only factor that creates competitive advantage. And if they want to lead, they need to be a success factor for the growth and wellness of their teammates.
What are employers looking for today?
Any employer looks for people who can lead themselves. Leading the self means believing in the self, taking initiatives, having the ability to learn from mistakes and not repeat it, having the ability to work with other employees and having an attitude to lead without title. One can always learn skills but these are the inherent traits any employer wants in their prospective employees. These traits are also building blocks for future leaders.
Who has helped shape leadership qualities in you?
My source of inspiration comes from normal people around us who are doing extraordinary work. These leaders can be anyone. The guard who has solved the parking problem of his institution, the canteen owner whose life mission is to feed students well with healthy food and smile, and employees who are never appreciated yet always motivated and against all odds deliver their best performance. These are my heroes who have taught me to be patient and transferred in me the faith that your small effort can make a difference in other‘s lives.