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BW Businessworld

Reimagining Leadership In A Post Covid World

Leaders must establish a strong relationship and adopt greater compassion and empathy that benefits not just employees and customers, but also the society and the planet at large

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Even before the pandemic and its unprecedented impact hit businesses, it was clear that the upcoming decade would compel CEOs to rethink their ways of working with various stakeholders and communities. While the pandemic also brought along with it an array of unique challenges, it served to reiterate that not only does leadership across organisations and industries need to reimagine, but has also intensified the emphasis on re-defining sensibilities and nuances associated with leadership.

In the post-COVID era, leaders must establish a strong relationship and adopt greater compassion and empathy that benefits not just employees and customers, but also the society and the planet at large. As expectations rise, leaders must muster the strength to don multiple roles and be flexible in transforming to new roles with agility and adaptability. The traditional CEO needs to venture beyond the usual business-centric boundaries to become a Chief Vision Officer while HR Heads need to fit into the shoes of Chief Happiness Officers. The need at the moment for leaders is to unlearn and learn afresh and adroitly navigate through times where uncertainty is the new normal and accountability to society and communities are at an all-time high. Here's how future leaders can get a fresh start and ascend to higher orbits:

Adaptability Quotient is the new benchmark: We have always been wary of the unprecedented. But what has the past year been about, if not uncertainties? And in this time of crisis, it was our choices that reflected far more than our ability of what we are capable of. While many were steering organisations forward with bold decisions, those who chose agile adaptation to the new stood out to be courageous and inspirational models for all. In fact, success in the new normal would entail a leader's willingness to enter unfamiliar business territories with robust risk evaluation plans and contingency strategies in place.

Reimage purpose: Often during extreme adversity, many organisations lose sight of their true purpose. As I was brought up with the values of nationalism, freedom, and the importance of giving back to society since my childhood, my true purpose as a businessman and an entrepreneur lies in the service of my people, at home and at work. In that sense, leadership should evolve beyond the confines of capital gains to selflessly caring for your people and community. Leaders who are committed to addressing both with strong strategies and decision-making will set their businesses and their people up for success in the future.

From self-centricity to selflessness: Organisations are closely intertwined with individuals and society and that is where corporate leadership need to make a journey beyond lip service. Surely, a business leader that generates huge revenues can manage a profitable company, but it is a leader who walks hand in hand with people and communities to shape and create a better, brighter future for them. The means to this imagined future is to champion policies that recognise people and the planet's needs and their collective well-being. Sustainable practices being given maximum priority coupled with policies that empower and enable people are the way forward for leaders that are willing to stay ahead and lead from the front.

Cultivating empathy as a strength: In times of crisis, an inclusive culture plays an important role in bringing diverse ideas to anchor through the tough tide. Having a strong corporate purpose is one way to foster a soulful culture, but empathetic leadership is what really cultivates a safe space of belonging for individuals with different personalities, preferences and lifestyles. Empathetic leaders respect and celebrate individualism and allot people the space they need. Understanding people and their circumstances and sharing perspectives is the way forward for leaders to co-create a world where emotions and human connect resume value. Compassion is the skill of the future shaping up the discourse of leadership and it is poised to be the absolute game changer for reimagining leadership. ,

Dare to dream and take risks: I have always believed in the Greek expression ‘Meraki’ which means: Whatever you do, do it with love, creativity, and passion. You can achieve the unattainable only if you are prepared to dream big and take leaps based on instincts. There is no comfort zone and there will always be fresh risks to evaluate, crisis or not, so dare to dream, pour your soul into what you do and the result will be bigger than you imagined. Many times being audacious and following your intuition can lead to bigger rewards.

In conclusion, I would like to share my philosophy of “Soch Badlo, Khudko Badlo, Duniya Badlo'' which has kept me going through tough and trying times. Those who are willing to change and stay firm in face of adversities will not only be able to scale their enterprises but also serve society as a whole, besides generating a chain of happy, engaged people and a happily engaged organisation.


The author is Samir Modi, Managing Director, Modi Enterprises

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


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Samir Modi

MD at Modi Enterprises

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