Indian CEOs have always believed that setting a strategy is paramount to success. Be it achieving agility, scaling up, rebranding or launching into new markets. That said, leaders must also take stock of their competencies, as strategy alone can only get you so far. Progressive leaders understand this, and many realize that inventing to adapt to the times is something to leave room for in any strategy.
Among the list of progressive leaders who work to push the envelope is Sanjiv Bajaj, Chairman and Managing Director of Bajaj Finserv. “Leadership is not to be learnt; it is something to be developed. True leadership comes from growth mindset and not fixed mindset. You need to be confident and focused, learn with experimenting, remain action biased and know when you’re ready to execute a particular plan to be successful,” remarks the distinguished financial leader when discussing visionary leadership.
However, in 2023, leadership is called to be more than an authoritarian entity. Employees and investors look for value-led leaders, leaders in tune with the world’s sustainability goals, and socially conscious leaders. This is why the list of progressive leaders is growing, but what qualities define a progressive leader in the modern era?
Read on to find out.
- Inspiring Millions by Being a Visionary and Action-Biased
Being innovative and ideating new strategies is futile if not actioned properly. While an intense passion can help a business sell its message, it inspires teams to transition through challenging times easily. Some of the top financial behemoths who walked the path of visionary leadership, including Sanjiv Bajaj, Elon Musk and others of the ilk, have revamped the business landscape and much of it by inspiring the right people.
For instance, Sanjiv Bajaj leveraged the power of digitization and technology to enhance customer experience and streamline business operations while ensuring their employees easily meet their full potential. By empowering others and displaying the needed leadership skills, he converted Bajaj Finserv into a financial powerhouse.
That said, any visionary entrepreneur needs to envision a goal and initiate the strategy into motion while implementing creative learning experiences for their team. Leaders passionate about pursuing larger-than-life visions have a contagious aura that drives determination.
- Infusing Social Responsibility Through Inclusion
Organizations at the forefront are creating a diverse and more inclusive workplace with equitable outcomes. Advancing equity, inclusion and diversity is the right thing and the smart way to go about work. Infusing social responsibility from the top down throughout an organization helps set inclusion standards within the workplace.
Progressive leaders adopting these approaches help businesses to meet the diversified needs of their potential customer base. A McKinsey study reveals how diversity helped approximately 15% of organizations reach above-average profit numbers compared to the rest.
This is precisely why progressive leaders believe that inclusive teams not only help generate better cash flow but also help deliver better performance. As such, workplaces focused on diversity, inclusion, and equity are better equipped to capture markets and increase their customer base. By valuing and appreciating individual differences, an inclusive organization can build a value framework regardless of varying cultural perspectives.
Progressive leaders don’t shy away from advocating and instituting such policies, even if it means breaking down legacy systems. They know that through diversity and inclusion, employees feel valued and are better engaged, resulting in delivering exceptional performance.
- Fuelling Decisions with Transparency as the Core Propellent
Being transparent is critical for progressive leaders as they work toward excellence. According to a report, employees who understood the implications of leadership decisions were 3.7 times better engaged with their organisation than other companies where transparency wasn’t followed.
Regardless of the leadership identity a leader develops, transparency transcends individual differences and is at the heart of building a constructive environment. However, it is important for leaders to know the nuances of transparency and execute the same while making critical decisions.
The key here is to understand the merits of a situation and then determine the extent of transparency. Most progressive leaders know how to strike the balance, and some learn along the way, but this aspect of their style is unique. For more traditional leaders, compartmentalization and siloed information are tools to maintain power. This naturally impacts workplace culture negatively and can cause friction at best and employee churn at worst.
- Leading Through Generosity and Patience to Empower the Team
As a part of an organization, employees look forward to contributing to its operations, believing they are a part of something better and bigger. This forms the essence of the progressive leadership style, as these leaders serve as enablers through empathy. Patience and generosity go a long way in reciprocating and creating a positive cycle of kindness.
In fact, these two qualities are the perfect pair and help leaders navigate through rough waters. Staying calm and composed through adversity helps tackle challenging situations with a positive attitude and a strategic approach. The technology-driven era demands such virtues, as it helps an organization boost its productivity and motivates employees to deliver better.
- Prioritising Two-Way Communication, Ensuring No One’s Left Unheard
A recent study reveals that around 72% of business leaders across the globe are of the opinion that effective communication helps productivity. The success of any business hinges on excellent communication skills. That said, not only does effective communication help gain the trust of the employees, but it also enables a leader to strategize efforts in the pursuit of goals.
Without effective communication, various barriers may develop, hindering an organization’s progress. Open communication helps employees understand a company’s vision and strategy, helping them to translate essential data accurately and quickly while improving the engagement ratio with the organization.
Progressive leadership is now a buzzword, and it isn’t enough to be labelled as one without considering the true impact. While riding the waves of change is a good way to keep up with the tide, it isn’t the only way to stay competitive. That said, it falls onto the shoulders of the visionary entrepreneur to decide what type of leader their company needs. Progressive leadership isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, but it is working right now.
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