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Leadership in India: The unique skills of Indian CEOs

Over the past 20 years, a sizable number of Indian enterprises have grown significantly. However, many now have to deal with a frightening side effect: a national leadership crisis. Indian businesses are in some respects victims of their own success. Organizations have been so focused on expansion! according to a senior HR manager at a important private-sector firm, "they [organizations] have not engaged in developing the next generation of leaders. Indian companies have a solid circle of senior leadership, but no tag team.

In his book Imagining India: The Idea of a Renewed Nation, Nandan Nilekani notes that India lacks the educational institutions it requires, from pre-school to post-college. Thus, despite the fact that thousands of university graduates from India enter the workforce each year, they frequently lack the necessary "industry readiness" or global business skills. As a result, there are fewer excellent candidates available, and competition is getting fiercer for the few people with in-demand skill sets.

Despite India's challenges in the leadership talent pipeline - India is a major contributor of successful founders and CEOs:

Sundar Pichai

Pichai Sundararajan was born in Tamilnadu and was a distinguished alumnus of IIT Kharagpur. Pichai started out as a materials engineer, joined Google in 2004 as a management professional, and was named Google CEO in 2015. Pichai succeeded Larry Page as CEO of Google's parent company, Alphabet, in December 2019.

Parag Agrawal

Parag Agarwal was born in Ajmer a small town in Rajasthan, India. He completed his B.Tech. degree in Computer Science and Engineering from IIT Bombay. Before joining Twitter, Parag held a number of executive positions at Microsoft Research and Yahoo! Research. After Jack Dorsey resigned as CEO in 2011, Parag Agarwal joined Twitter as a software engineer and is now the company's CEO.

Shantanu Narayen

Shantanu Narayan, who was born in Hyderabad, India, began working for Apple. He has an MBA from the University of California, an Osmania University Bachelor of Science, and joint Abode the leading software development app. Narayen began working for Adobe in 1998, and at the age of 45, he was given the position of CEO. Additionally, Narayen competed for India in sailing in an Asian Regatta, and in 2016, Barron's Magazine named him one of the world's top CEOs.

Satya Nadella

Satya Nadella, who was born in Hyderabad, has a BE from the Manipal Institute of Technology. In 2014, he succeeded Steve Ballmer as Microsoft's CEO. In 2021, he took over as John W. Thompson's successor and was appointed Chairman of Microsoft. Microsoft is the world's largest vendor of computer software and the leading provider of cloud computing services.

The challenges to develop the Indian Next Generation of CEOs

The next generation of young talent needs development. Many Indian executives are aware of the difficulties but are unsure of how to deal with them.

Organizations must first and foremost examine their leadership development approaches with a fresh, comprehensive perspective. Their objective should be to create a long-lasting leadership pipeline that runs the length of the organizational pyramid, including a strong bench of high potential individuals identified and developed in the middle, a cadre of young, industry-ready talent, and a well-rounded leadership team to complement the necessary skills at the top. There are a few important skills that multinational company experts practice in order to facilitate their growth.

3 Important qualities of Great Indian Leaders

Ability to Survive in a Competitive Environment

Indians experience intense rivalry from a young age due to a lack of resources and the country's enormous population of 1.5 billion people. It's difficult to locate your first job or get into a reputable school. Leaders are better equipped to guide their firms through competition on the international scale after thriving in this very competitive climate.

Agility and Flexibility

Gopal Mahapatra, a professor at the business school Indian Institute of Management Bangalore, asserted that "agile leaders become global leaders." In unpredictable situations, no particular asset, piece of intellectual property, or competitive advantage counts more than others. Instead, the traits that will distinguish long-term winners from losers are flexibility and nimbleness.

Perpetual Inclusivity

The population of India is multi-cultural, speaks more than 1,600 languages, and wears traditional clothing from numerous cultures. The variety of food that India has to offer is also marvelous. Being raised in this setting exposes one to a variety of people from an early age. From a very young age children are taught to make friends from people with different background, race, color and culture. They never discriminate and always learn to accept. This ingrained acceptance of diversity helps leaders in multinational companies manage people from different countries and backgrounds, while honoring their uniqueness.

Guess what? These are also the most in demand skills in companies. But is India doing enough to develop its next generation of leadership?


Vipasha Balani,

Digital Communication Associate

🌟🌟 We recommend this short episode from the Learn with Bessern Podcast


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