Developing leadership skills key challenge for India Inc

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Developing leadership skills is a key challenge, admits 49 per cent of the companies surveyed by Randstad, a Dutch multinational HR consulting firm, for its HR GameChanger 2014. Randstad had surveyed over 500 HR leaders across India, highlighting trends related to human resources management that can change the game for corporate India in 2014.

Says Premlesh Machama, MD, CareerBuilder, India: “Lack of structural and institutionalised training and development programmes in Indian companies are a major hurdle in developing internal leaders. In addition, lack of focus and long-term vision to build sustainable businesses and organisations also add to the problem. Inability of mapping right skills with the suitable job functions is another problem area”.

According to him, many companies over the past couple of years have started realising the need for strong leadership at various levels. “They have started allocating resources and budgets to develop and train leaders. Companies also actively seek help from experts to better understand competency levels of its employees. Overall, across various businesses and sectors, companies have also started placing HR department in strategic roles for building and developing not only leaders in the organisation, but human capital in general.”

Acceptability of a leader in an organisation can be another roadblock for an organisation. Deepika Pillai, director, human resource, Xavient Information Systems says: “Some members of the team may feel that they are more qualified for leadership position even if the promotions are done through a defined process. Others may feel that existing friendship with the new leader entitle them to special benefits.”

For Bhupender Mehta, CEO,, India is in a stage of change where the dynamics of workplace have completely evolved. “The employer-employee relationship has today become more engaging and more approachable and to me this is the perfect form of leadership.” But Mehta also points out that a leader has to adapt to the way an organisation works. “If the person doesn’t not follow an organisational relevant leadership approach, then he is bound to fail in managing its people,” he adds.

Interestingly, the survey points out that 43 per cent of Indian organisations feel that women in leadership positions would be critical to success. To Pillai of Xavient Information Systems, it is because women leaders are high on some of the basic leadership traits like focussing more on people. “They think long term and believe in building relationships, are more empathetic, approachable and can be authoritative at the same time,” says Pillai.


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