Many aspirations, one goal

Jul 30, 2018-

Having started his banking career as a loan officer at Agricultural Development Bank in 1987, Shambhu Nath Gautam spent 14 years at various branches of Nabil Bank before leaving as its Head of Corporate Credit. Moving to Siddhartha Bank from its inception in 2002, Gautam was appointed its CEO in August 2017. In this conversation with the Post’s Alisha Sijapati, Gautam talks about leading a large organisation and his top management skills. Excerpts:

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

Leadership is an essential quality, yet very few people end up acquiring it. Having leaders at every level of a structural organisation helps them cultivate leadership attributes over time. This way they are ready when the time comes. Because the organisation and the environment constantly keep on changing, you never know when a vacuum will be created. Having line-managers help ensure that there is a smooth transition in such cases, but it also ensures optimal performance from each and every department within an organisation. When you are a CEO, you can’t expect to micro-manage each and every aspect of the organisation. This is why you need to have dedicated and inspiring leaders throughout the entire organisation.

As the CEO you have to deal with a plethora of internal and external hurdles. What are some of the challenges that you have to negotiate with as a leader?

There are obvious structural problems that I have to deal with on a day to day basis. In the larger context, with rapidly changing environmental factors, it brings fear of uncertainty. The organisation has to continuously adapt itself to the changing environment. This is probably the biggest challenge as a person heading such a large organistaion. For instance, with technological innovation growing at an astonishingly fast pace it forces us as leaders to bring innovation into our business model as well. These are not factors that you can control, but how you adapt to the change of environment is crucial in determining the future course of your business.

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

One thing: Effective communication. We spend almost all the time in the organisation communicating—whether that be one on one, in a group or through emails. So, in my opinion, being able to clearly communicate the intended message to your co-workers is the most important quality of a leader. A clearly communicated message can bring better results, saving time and energy. Besides that, a leader should also be a good facilitator and believe in his team. He or she should be inspiring and be able to get the best out of each and every member of the team. Every individual responds to different kinds of stimuli, it is the leader’s job to discover what makes each of their subordinates tick and motivated.

As a head of such a large organisation, it can’t be easy keeping the motivation high all the time. What do you feel are the keys to keeping employees motivated?

Recognition and rewards always come on top when we talk about employee motivation. Recognition helps employees build self-esteem, whereas rewards, one way or the other, help them meet their financial needs. Besides that, Siddhartha Bank aims at building a better workplace in terms of the working environment, work culture, remuneration and career growth. We believe that the accumulation of all these factors help keep an employee motivated. Like I said before, no two employees respond in the same way to the same stimuli. So understanding what each team member is aspiring to is also crucial for the overall success of the organisation.

What are some of your top management tips?

Maintaining the highest level of integrity and being honest with the job always helps to achieve the goals, both of the employee and the organisation. Along with that, staying focused on what we do has become an equally important factor. We should always keep in mind where we are and where we want to be at a certain point of time and ensure that every action we take drives us towards that goal. In order words, you need to be (and ensure your team) is dedicated and working towards a clear vision.

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

When it comes to the banking industry, the market is very competitive. There are thousands of graduates wanting to work in the banking industry. If you want to too, you should identify your point of distinction which helps you stand out of the crowd. Similarly, you should be agile and have a continuously learning attitude. In the banking sector, you begin from the bottom rung, the only way you can climb the corporate ladder is through continual learning and evolution.

Published: 30-07-2018 08:35

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