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Senior Manager


Ensuring Growth
If I have to list just one thing here, that would be Reading. That I am a voracious reader would be an understatement as I am reading all the time I get apart from Family and work. I do have all my white spaces filled in with educating myself through Reading. I read around 30-40 books a year mostly non-fiction. I consider Reading more than a hobby, its more like a habit much like brushing your teeth everyday is.
Second but very close to first in this list would be interacting with people who are your role models. It is important to identify role models and learn and interact with them regularly.
My current job profile
I currently work at Citrix. As a part of the current role, I work to head an Engineering group that deals with providing the Software Globalization Engineering specific services to the various product teams within Citrix. In simpler terms, Software Globalization deals with ensuring that software products are engineered to be World ready and sold in non-US markets. I head a central engineering group and I am responsible for heading a Global team (with presence in India, US, UK) that deals with two crucial functions of Globalization Engineering. As a part of my overall responsibilities, I am accountable for setting direction for the group, ensuring successful execution, driving cross-site initiatives, deal with various Engineering, people related challenges, ensuring the appropriate Globalization support for the various Citrix products (that eventually works as a business enabler).
Apart from this, I lead a sort of self-sustained organization (by the name ASM) that combines my passion for Handwriting Analysis to serve the people. Here, I (along with my wife) have been offering services to coach people, helping them reach their best selves by using the personality analysis through their handwriting. 100% of the proceeds from this work go towards the causes we support.
Important decision
I do feel a Career is a sum total of many decisions that one takes along the way- some of these work in your favour, some don’t. I think I moved in to the leadership role in just about the right timeframe of my career, not holding myself back was quite important for me in the overall scheme of things. Other important decision was sorting out the direction for future i.e. the clarity of choice between specialization and diversification. For most of the early part of my career, had been devoted to Software Testing, then based on my growth needs, I consciously chose to diversify to other areas. Though it meant that I spent less time on the profession of my original choice (which was a tough call) but it also meant that I could a more diverse view of business.
Advice to upcoming leaders
First, becoming a Management leader is not a bed of roses as it appears to some from the periphery but I do believe that if done right, the job of management leader is one of the noblest jobs that one could undertake. Noblest because probably no other job gives you a chance to positively influence the professional lives of the employees that work with you. My advice to upcoming management leaders would be to learn to love the irritations and discomfort that this job might give you at times. First and foremost, if you are feeling discomfort, its an indication that you are growing in your job. And its your response to these uneasy situations that would define the pace of your growth.
Upcoming management leaders should realize early that leadership is more about people business. Invest sufficient time in building your networks at work and beyond.
Avoiding mistakes – both in your personal as well as profession
From what I have learnt and understood, one as a leader needs to keep learning from one’s own mistakes but be smart enough to observe other leaders and actively learn from their mistakes too. One cannot undertake the job of a leader assuming that one will never make a mistake. Most new leaders who take up the job especially from the Technical track feel the need to be perfect (like in their Technical roles) all the time on leadership role. That’s quite a far cry, one should be open to make mistakes, not repeat them, be honest about it to self , others and move on swiftly. Avoiding mistakes comes through experience mostly. I quite much believe in this adage-
Effectiveness comes through good judgment. Good judgment comes from experience and the experience comes from bad judgment.
Essential skills required for leaders
I don’t think being a successful leader can have a set recipe. To me, Leadership do work on certain fundamentals but the application of these fundamentals is very much contextual and situation based. Some of the aspects of leadership skills that I endorse are as follows-
• A leader has to be taking care of the talented people in the Organization but more than that he/she has to be fair to all.
• A leader has to be great a devising a vision for his Organization but more than that he/she needs to ensure that vision should transform into Shared vision for it to realize completely.
• A leader of today need not be an expert at every function that he/she handles but more than that should know the functions enough to earn respect and become enables/direction setter for his organization.
• A leader should be a great communicator and an ardent student of communication but more than that he/she should possess extraordinary listening skills.
• A leader should be a Risk taker and embrace failure as a part of job but more than that should ensure that he/she does not repeat the same mistake twice.
• A leader should lead others but more than that he/she should be expert at leading self.
• A leader should plan ahead, make sure future path is charted out but more than that he/she should hone the execution skills always because a leader is ultimately admired for getting results, rather than creating just the fancy plans.
• A leader enables his/her’semployees growth but more than that he/she should help the employees with potential outgrow. A real leader won’t have qualms over working under his/her subordinate in future, if that subordinate is better in all aspects.
Handling Grievances
I think one of the most important roles a leader plays for the organization is to maintain an healthy work environment. Depending upon the way the employee concerns gets handled; it contributes either positively or negatively to the work environment. One of the foremost factors in handling employee grievances is to ensure fairness in the dealing. The feeling of fairness comes from acting the right way after judging the situation appropriately. Perception also has a lot to bearing on fairness. And a leader should work hard to ensure that he/she is perceived as fair. In absence of right perception, even if a leader does a right action, people may view it as unfair.
Another important part in dealing with employee grievances is your knowledge of your team’s personality. Everyone in a team is wired differently, most of the people concerns could be understood better if leader takes efforts to scratch the surface and understand the personality of the people in the team. Keen observation is one way to learn about the personality of the team members and then there are scientific tools like MBTI, Graphology etc. the knowledge of which can give an added advantage in these situations.
My inspiration
It has to be my parents, first and foremost. I did learn the art of patience, perseverance and having quiet determination from my mother and the desire to imbibe perfection, organization of thinking, oration and writing skills from my father. My work achievements have been a tribute to the values and culture they have imparted to me.
My family background
I stay in Bangalore with my wife and a 2.5 year old boy. My wife is an Automobile Engineer working in Bosch and doing great in a profession which was traditionally considered as dominated by male faction. I am natively from Kashmir and did my early education in Chandigarh (place where my parents are), Delhi and Aurangabad.
My views on India Technical development
I think its quite a misnomer that India doesn’t have single tech product coming out. What would be fair to say that India doesn’t have had impactful Software products like Apple’s, Microsoft’s or the ones which have really been blockbusters on International scene, other than this with the Start-up ecosystem evolving, there have been many success stories on the products space albeit on a smaller scale . I agree the depth of technical talent is enormous in our country and the need of the hour is to marry this technical talent with an acute business sense addressing the needs of Global market. For a large extent, I do believe that instead of India based Software products meeting the needs of a Global market, we could do well to build products that popularize the use of Software even more in the local markets in India. I feel there is a huge opportunity there and tremendous gaps to be addressed. The tech brain drain of late-90’s-early 2000’s would have certainly contributed to slowness in building indigenous Software products but with reverse brain drain in effect and quality fresh talent coming in, this aspect should get addressed sooner than later.
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