15th, Feb 2022
Mr Bharat R Sesha, MD and CEO, Solara Pharma Sciences of the company, is a very down to earth personality. He has gained wisdom through working at different companies across USA, Europe and India in leadership positions.
Mr Sesha talked about leadership and what has worked for him in life. He talked about various perspectives of a leader. According to him the three main ingredients of a good leader are
1) Humility (to say he/she doesn’t have all the answers)
2) The wrong notion of an alpha male always charged up and always leading from the front
3) Connect with people.
He explained in detail what he meant by each of these things. He gave smart and easy to understand examples from his own life to substantiate these.
He suggested that a leader does not hold all the answers to all the questions and should be humble enough to say that he/she doesn’t know the answer to certain questions, that it is okay to say “I don’t know” when you don’t know about the answer. He explained that he admits quite openly to his own teams that the salespeople are better than him at sales, the production guys are better at production and the finance team has a better understanding of numbers than him. He quoted the example of Asian/hierarchical societies and countries such as India and China being rigid about the quality of a leader to be perfect and all-knowing oracle as being a flawed concept.
Adding another dimension about leadership, he added that as per his understanding, the quote “leaders lead from the front” is not justified. According to him, “leaders lead from the front when the times are tough and from the middle when everything is sailing smooth”.
He advocated being empathetic and making a bond with the teammates. By taking his example of being a person who knows his teammates at a personal level, he favours the odds of being empathetic with everyone, especially the teammates. As a leader, you get to know about the problems of your fellow members and then help to sort them out if possible, which will take you one step ahead to become a great leader as well as a good human. Criticism, in his opinion, should be taken as something which will pave the way of knowing your faults and excelling in them to be the best version of yourself.
He further quoted, “If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people to collect wood and don't assign those tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea." by Antoine de Saint Exupéry to wind up his discussion about leadership.
Talking about Life and Living and Learning, he quoted the three most powerful words “Why, How and What?” particularly in this order, well known as the Golden Circle concept. We, unfortunately, are ignorant of “Why” and think about the reverse order i.e. What, How and Why? However, to excel at any task the “Why” of the same should be known. Why do you want to do that task, why it is important and once you know the “Why” it will create an interest in the task. Then, the rest of the task becomes easy and you can easily calculate How and What. He further explained MIDLIFE CRISIS, a transition that happens to both men and women between the ages of 40 and 50, and how it causes them to evaluate their lives, achievements and dreams and how it can be avoided by following the Golden Circle Concept.
Then the discussion escalated to the topic “Teaching and Students”. He talked about the purpose of teaching, schools and the freedom to the students. He requested teachers to believe in students and impart them with the knowledge of the Golden Circle and not reverse the process. He talked about an experiment where two groups of students were involved. One group was of scholar students and the other was of below average. The below-average students were positively reinforced with a statement that they are smart whenever they did their tasks. It was observed that there was no change in scholar students whereas, on the other hand, below-average students had gone smarter. This should be taken into consideration while teaching students. This concept of positive reinforcement is known as Pygmalion Effect and can be used as a tool to develop management skills to increase the confidence and motivation of students.
Ending the discussion he talked about how reading has been the part and parcel of his life and how it has helped him in his life and with skills that he has developed over time. He suggested some of the books that he loves, among which, Ikigai by Francesc Miralles and Hector Garcia, ”The little prince” by Antoine de Saint Exupéry, and “Be who you want” by Christian Jarrett.
This conversation gave us a different spectrum of life and a sneak peek into how leaders think and evolve. There is a lot to learn from it and we hope that it will help us become good human beings and great leaders as well.
Writing and Editing Credits:
Ms Richa Vaidya (English Faculty)
Ms Sakshi (English Faculty)
Ms Saloni Jakhar (Exams Officer)