Blue Dart - Anil Khanna
News Clip:People & Management Magazine, All India
January - February, 2011.
Is there a change in leadership styles taking place/required In the Industry, especially in terms of the changing market dynamics and employee expectations in which businesses are operating today?
I believe, in the past decade. two major changes have occurred in the logistics markets- one external (customer) and one internal (employee).
On the customer side, the express industry has evolved from a primarily document- centric service to a critical supply chain solution for myriad industries. Naturally, the challenges are their diversity have surged manifold and need to be addressed with a 24x7 mindset.
On the employee front, employee expectations have shot up manifold due to the changing market dynamites and the opening up and liberalisation of many industries. Both these factors have spawned numerous new opportunities for today's youth. The challenge now lies not just in attracting the best talent, but also in nurturing, training and retaining it.
Given these dual-yet-diverse challenges, previous leadership paradigms may not necessary work in today's context of burgeoning customer demands and employee expectations. Greater flexibility, total transparency and higher empathy are now required in aIl interactions, be they with clients or with employees.
Tell us your particular style/uniqueness in leading the organisation and its people.
No service experiences is complete without the efforts of the people that deliver the experience. For a high quality organisation to succeed, it is important to focus on people, on improved processes, systems and infrastructure, on a clear communication both ways.
Blue Dart is a People First company; we treat our staff as the greatest asset. It is therefore,no coincidence that Blue Dart is amongst India's Best Companies to Work For 2010, conducted by The Economic Times and Great Place to Work Institute. In August this year, Blue Dart was also honoured with the Award for Best Motivational Practice in Services by All India Management Association and Indian Oil Corporation Ltd.
With more than 7,000 employees spread across 300 locations, effective leadership is indeed a daunting task. To overcome logistic and numerical hurdles we strive for higher employee engagement and total transparency in interactions at all levels. Despite high attrition levels in today's Ultra-competitive world, I am proud to say that Blue Dart still has Day 1 employees who come to work with the same enthusiasm, dedication and commitment they displayed 27 years ago.
How do you keep up the inspiration, ensure idea generation and creative thinking in the organisation?
A dynamic organisation, at Blue Dart 55 percent of the management is home-grown, we constantly strive to Improve and excel in whatever we do. We have a 97.80 percent of the employees testifying that they have "Pride in working for Blue Dart" and 94.92 percent of the employee state that "My future With Blue Dart is safe and secure. We encourage entrepreneurial spirit; inspire people to co-create which helps in powerful idea generation and creative thinking. Such behaviour has helped in addressing tactical or strategic issues in an effective way.
What according to you is one characteristic every leader should possess/exhibit?
The one characteristic every leader should possess is: Empathy. This implies identification with and understanding of another's situation, feelings and motives. Understanding, sympathy and compassion help a leader elicit the best out of every employee - junior or senior.
Although the importance of assertiveness and firmness is acknowledged universally for leaders, these should be tempered with empathy. This is one quality that ensures employees have a greater passion for work and display higher degrees of loyalty.
What is the biggest leadership challenge you see in the future?
The world today needs sustainable solutions than ever before. It is up to the leaders of every business to drive this movement with great passion, purpose and persistence. As social responsible organisations we need to stand up a take a stand on taking care of our people our regions, our geographies and our world at large.
If every single leader did their bit we will leave a better world for our future generations.