Escalate

‘Stay open to challenges and take them on’

  • strictly business

Aug 14, 2017-Lajana Tuladhar was always fascinated with the corporate and professional culture of the banking industry.

However, she initially went on to pursue a career in IT and began her career at technological firm.

Having worked in the IT sector for two years, Tuladhar then went on to eventually join the Clean Energy Development Bank as a junior assistant in 2009.

Over the next several years, she moved up through the ranks before being appointed a branch manager at the NMB Bank after a merger.

In this interview with the Post’s Alisha Sijapati, Tuladhar speaks about the importance of leadership, the keys to keeping your team motivated and shares some of her management mantras. Excerpts: 

It takes more than a decade or so for employees to reach a managerial position from an assistant level, but you have climbed the rungs relatively quickly. What is your secret to achieving this success?

In the banking sector, patience plays a very big role and you do have to move your way up the ladder slowly.

I have been fortunate in that respect and I credit my success to the passion I hold for what I do.

There have been many obstacles along the way, but as long as you remain focused on your goals, success will eventually come.

To keep struggling is the key. If you don’t struggle, you won’t achieve much. It is a simple formula.

In today’s fast-paced world, why is it important to have leaders in every level of a structural organisation? 

A good leader develops better employees. If you have a leader who works towards meeting the vision and mission of the organisation, she or he motivates the entire team.

With the banking industry growing, the competition is getting tougher by the day. In this scenario, it is important to nurture visionary leaders in your team.

Leaders must be able to train their co-workers in such a way that that are equipped to deal with every situation, every circumstance.

You cannot always be in a win-win situation. All departments are equally important in order to accomplish the final aim of any structural organisation.

 In order to manage, motivate, reward and guide employees towards the achievement of a common goal, a leader needs to ensure that all responsibilities are delivered efficiently and effectively. 

Can you tell us about the leadership challenges you have faced while serving as a Branch Manager at NMB Bank?

I started out as a junior assistant at Clean Energy Development Bank and later went on to become its branch manager.

I retained my position when we merged with NMB Bank. Being a branch manager comes with its own set of challenges—both internally and externally.

One of the major challenges I have faced is the ever-increasing number of competitors.

As a branch manager, it is required of me to keep a tab on other banks, their innovative products and marketing gimmicks.

My challenge is to become better and outperform them. The other challenge is retaining my customers and looking towards increasing the volume of business. 

What in your opinion are the prime qualities that a leader in a workplace should have? 

A leader should have a positive attitude and an inspiring persona. They need to understand their employees and their needs. 

Every employee comes with shortcomings—it is the responsibility of the leader to analyse their employees and work according to their strengths and weaknesses.

When you see employees improving, it is important to give them due encouragement and the space to grow.

For me, my team members are my strength and it is my duty to motivate them and to help them evolve as professionals. 

As a manager, what do you feel are the keys to keeping employees in big organisations motivated?

Communication is an integral part of motivating employees. If you communicate well, you minimise misunderstandings and conflicts.

Good communication solves most things. One shouldn’t be scared to communicate their feelings. If you don’t, things fester, and that is never ideal. 

Clean Energy Development Bank merged with NMB Bank very recently. As a branch manager, what kind of challenges did you face during the merger? 

Merger acquisitions can be a huge hassle for any company. It was the same for us as well.

When you’re already in a comfort zone in an organisation and there is another company joining in, the mental state of any employee can take a hit. When two companies merge, there will be a shake-up in the teams.

There will be many difficulties in terms of re-motivating the staff. But for me, what I always told my employees is that whatever it is, you are ultimately working in a bank and we are here because of the team. Each employee is equally important for any organisation. 

Because you have had such a steady growth in your career, you must have had age gaps with your co-workers. How did you handle the situation?

Holding a managerial position at a young age and being a leader to those older than you is awkward in the beginning.

I used to feel sceptical at first, wondering if I would be able to handle difficult situations without hurting someone’s sentiments.

But at the end of the day, it was not a daunting task. There was an automatic understanding.

There has been mutual respect from both the sides and this is largely because of the professional culture at the bank. 

Retention seems to be a major challenge for the banking industry currently. How does NMB Bank retain its staff?

Retention has been one of the biggest challenges in all banks. Who wouldn’t want a hardworking, passionate employee working for them?

Of course, there is a lot of unhealthy poaching taking place. In our case, we try to make our employees understand that moving from one organisation to another will only ensure short-term growth.

In our organisation, communication is easy and open and this makes things a lot easier for the employees. 

What are you management mantras?

One should always be open to challenges and have the willpower to take them on. Always have a positive mind and focus on your growth. And, never give up. 

What advice do you have for fresh graduates wanting to join the banking industry?

Banking is a good sector to work in if you are 100 percent sure about your career path.

At the same time, it is not an easy career. At times, it can get monotonous.

Nevertheless, if you have passion and are committed to your goals, it is a great sector to work in.

Published: 14-08-2017 09:08

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