Authentic LeadershipExecutive Coaching

Authentic Leadership Across Cultures

By 10 July, 2018 No Comments

India is emerging as one of the world´s new industrial hub. How can Indian leaders harness this opportunity? My 3 Hs framework of authentic leadership maybe a good road map for leaders to ensure sustainable and inclusive growth across cultures.

Representing IE Business School, I was invited to speak at the Horasis Indian Meeting in Malaga, Spain, with a great group of panelists.

I shared the example of an authentic leader that I interviewed for my book Yours Truly. Rakesh Aggarwal was raised in a traditional Indian family. Then he moved to Australia and founded Longwarry Food Park producing milk for the Asian market. Overcoming several challenges, Longwarry was regularly in the news as the recipient of awards including the Fastest Growing Business in Australia in 2008.

His humility and determination made Rakesh a hero to the media: `The man who ignored the banks and turned a mothballed milk factory in Longwarry into a successful export-oriented dairy manufacturer has sold his company for $67 million, ´ reported local newspaper the Baw Baw Citizen.

Rakesh followed the 3 Hs of authentic leadership:

Heart – When I asked how he keeps his employees motivated, he underscores one key factor: `being part of a successful business story is the key, ´ he says. Employees at Longwarry are looked up to by their neighbors and friends. They are part of its success.

Habit – Rakesh has a growth mindset. He invites employees to experiment and look beyond existing boundaries. He explains how being an innovator was key for success. ‘In big companies, people tend to be risk averse, while in my own business I could afford to take risks, ´ he says.

Harmony – Even under the most difficult circumstances, Rakesh held into his social entrepreneurial spirit, by pursuing not just his own interests, but seeking to make a long-lasting impact on his business and future generations.

Thanks to my fellow panelists for their insights. I was most impressed by the story and humility of Arjun Kalyanpur, CEO of Teleradiology Solutions in India. After studying in the United States, he has been running this successful business for 17 years. Yet, he was voted the least likely to be an entrepreneur by his classmates after graduating from medical school. I am sure that his humble leadership style was key to his success.

The beautiful city of Malaga was the perfect place for building bridges between the Indian and Spanish cultures. After the conference, I visited the Picasso Museum and the new collection of Andy Warhol. Is there anything more unique and authentic that the art of these two painters?