TimesJobs.com: Leader’s talk: Sumit Mitra, CEO, Tesco Business Services
“ Leadership is not wielding authority- it is empowering people ”, Beeky Brodin.
Leadership is not only about holding a prime position, it’s much more than that. A leader is someone who has a vision and a passion to make things happen. TimesJobs brings to you exclusive interviews of industry maestros’ whose journey and experience are incredible and influencing. Read on, to know about their journey and their advice for young, upcoming leaders...
Here we have an account from Sumit Mitra, CEO, Tesco Business Services
With which job role/ position did you start your career?
I started off as a graduate trainee business process consultant with British Telecom’s Global Services Division.
When did you join your present organisation?
1st September, 2017
What kind of leadership style do you follow in your organisation?
The world is changing around us. Gone are the days where leaders spent hours deliberating and consulting – activities that often led to execution delays. Today is the age of challenges and support. I believe in challenging the status quo which implies challenging your team to raise the bar while supporting and coaching them to succeed. This is underpinned by mutual trust that comes from building positive energy through inspiring leadership. This results in respect, which is the ultimate pinnacle of leadership. Unless you are respected for who you are and what you stand for, you cannot inspire your colleagues.
How are you contributing to the growth of your employees?
This quote by Eric Hoffer sums up my views on learning – “In times of profound change, the learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.” I believe in continuous learning and development. This is not solely about career promotion or vertical growth. This is about horizontal development. It involves adding skills that you don’t have. Keeping these fundamental principles in mind, we offer career pathways and coaching to our colleagues to add relevant skills to their CV. This gives them rich and varied experiences and an opportunity to succeed and build leadership capabilities – which are fundamental building blocks of a successful career.
Name one person who had a tremendous impact on your career?
Tony Chanmugam, who was my former boss in an earlier assignment, has had the biggest impact. He was a tough manager with extremely high standards. Nothing less than excellence was acceptable to him. But at the same time, he was human as well. He taught me that you must be a human being first, and then set high standards.
Share that one critical decision that you made as the leader of your organisation?
As soon as I joined, I realised the need for clear direction and a vision that rallies every colleague. So I decided to formulate a 2-year strategy with my team and set a deadline of 3 months to pull it together and get my board’s endorsement.
When faced with two equally-qualified candidates, how do you determine whom to hire?
Attitude. Every single time. Skills can be acquired but the willingness to learn cannot be.
What is one characteristic that you believe every leader should possess?
Treat people how they want to be treated.
What is one lasting impact that you hope to leave on your present company?
Build a world-class business services model that creates a sustainable competitive advantage for Tesco in the retail space.
What are you doing to grow and develop as a leader continuously?
I learn from other leaders, especially when it comes to what not to do.
What advice would you give to the new- age leaders?
Don’t try to copy anyone. Develop your own brand.