Lead by example
Jul 2, 2018-After completing his Masters in Business Administration in 1982, Tulasi R Gautam joined the Nepal Bank as a supervisor. He has spent the past 30 years working for different banks, including Nepal Investment Bank and ICRA Nepal. From 2012 to 2016, he also served as the CEO of Machhapuchchhre Bank before assuming the same position at Century Commercial Bank. In this interview with the Post’s Alisha Sijapati, Gautam talks about strategies he uses to motivate employees and about qualities all top leaders must have. Excerpts:
You have been working in the banking sector for over 30 years now and have held many positions along the way. What traits must all good leaders have?
Having worked in this industry for the last 30 years, I believe that you need to first apply a participatory approach in your leadership skills. There should be two-way communication between employer and employee. Also, because I have invested 30 years of my career in the banking industry doesn’t make me an expert. Times are changing rapidly and you need to adapt to new changes. I don’t think that a CEO should stay behind closed doors and not interact with other employees; s/he needs to have an open door policy. When you are in a top position, you need to be more approachable. You cannot be an autocratic ruler in this day and age. As a CEO, you need to know and understand the value of mobilising and passing authority to others as well. Decentralising authority among your employees is a win-win that benefits both the employees and the organisation as a whole. This will motivate employees to work better.
What sort of strategies do you apply when motivating your employees?
Banking is not just about the numbers. There are so many things that go behind the scenes. At our bank, we understand that employees need to have the experience of working in each and every department, from accounts to HR, marketing to communications and others. We want our employees get the taste of every experience before they decide what is best for them. Apart from that, we also send them to international training sessions.
I think an employee needs to take ownership. If you don’t have that passion, it can get quite monotonous. If after working in a bank for years you still consider it monotonous then it’s time for change. Not only in the banking sector but in any career you choose, you need a career growth and to grow further in life, you need to work hard endlessly. If you work hard, it becomes evident and in our organisation I believe that we have an impartial monitoring evaluation. This motivates employees to work harder.
What does your bank do to maintain its brand image?
Marketing is not rocket science. In fact, marketing is relatively easier and simple for the banking sector because all the banks offer similar schemes to customers. In such small surroundings, the only thing we need to consider is how we can work differently than others. Having been around for a while, our bank has an image to maintain--we are always brainstorming on how we can make our brand more visible either through hoarding boards, flyers or through our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes.
How important is it to have a well-known celebrity or a house-hold name endorse an organisation like yours that is already well established in the market?
In a developing nation like ours we don’t have impact assessment tests where we can generate the data on how much a celebrity endorsement has increased the portfolio of our brand. Currently, we are just following the lead. I think celebrity endorsement is a good idea to attract customers. We have two celebrated sportsmen endorsing Century Commercial Bank—Paras Khadka and Pratibha Mali. We believe that getting them on board has been a good step for our organisation as they are a positive influence on the youth. Hence, through them we can increase our young customers. It increases the brand portfolio too.
In the banking sector, offering impeccable customer service is a priority. What sort of training is provided to employees at your organisation to ensure they become better at providing great service?
The motto of our bank is—Saral banking, Sabaiko lagi. We are here for all Nepalis regardless of their caste, class and age. So, all in all, everyone is the same for us. We can’t be partial towards people. We try to offer good services at any cost. We assure that our employees are charming and welcoming. When talking to customers, you need to have that positive aura around. Also, because our company is customer-oriented, we invest heavily on customer service trainings.
What are your top tips to becoming a better leader?
You need to be updated with current events, not just locally but internationally as well. It’s always good to be updated. You need to lead by example. You need to be inquisitive. You need to understand the definition of customers first, without them we are nothing.
What advice do you have for those wanting to join the banking sector?
You need to be at your toes. We are in a competitive world now. In this sector, regardless of the fact that you have completed your bachelors or masters, you have to start your job as banker from the junior level. There is no shortcut to banking. You need to study. You need to research. You need to have the interest to learn and grow.
Published: 02-07-2018 11:06