Being handed the position of leading a major bank is an accomplishment in itself, but directing the company through the aftermath of a financial meltdown is truly the test of a leader.
Chanda Kochhar was appointed the Managing Director and CEO of ICICI Bank, one of India’s biggest Banks. As a result of 2008 financial meltdown, the economic downturn wreaked havoc in all sectors, especially Banking, and it was really a tough and challenging time for Chanda Kochhar. She confidently led ICICI out of the tough time through some tough decisions and standard protocols in strategy.
Her approach was questioned by industry leaders, but she always had the clarity to stay on her decisions and hope that lets results do the talking. Chanda’s strong leadership skills are today taught to everyone in India, as she continues to make her position in all major power lists. She is also the first Indian woman to receive a Woodrow Wilson award and share a platform with the likes of Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice.
We take a closer look at some of her qualities which have ensured her a place in the top rungs of industry leaders.
#1. Fearless Leadership
Leaders like Chanda help eliminate archaic beliefs and nuances about women in leadership. A true leader who lead the team during time of crisis. These are the moments where one’s real talent and abilities are to put in test.
In her case, many individuals were unhappy when she appointed for top role, due to pre-established gender roles in banking sector. Under her guidance, ICICI spread their operations to 15,600 villages and opened accounts for more than 18.5 million people. They even set up 3,000 ATMs in rural areas to meet the demand surfacing from rural households
#2. Hands-on experience
She believes in hands-on experience, as its lets individuals test the execution of their decisions and better understand the standard operating procedures.
She strongly believes that even top management needs to be involved with day-to-day operations of organisation as to keep track of development. At the same time, it is important to give your employees their space and freedom within the procedures.
#3. It should be of equality, but not gender
Chanda believes that her role as a leader is based on her talent and capabilities, and not on her gender. She says women are on the same battle field as like men. Women are forced to give up their professional careers as they are burdened with family commitments. Citing this as unfortunate, she says to reconsider such decisions as women have ability to multi task and handle multi responsibilities.
In one of her letters to her daughter where she motivates her to aim for the skies
“Remember that good times and bad times will be part of your life equally, and you have to learn to handle both with equanimity. Make the most of life’s opportunities and learn from every opportunity, and challenge that life brings along.”
A true example of hardwork and intelligence. Her journey so far motivates anyone that ‘One can achieve anything, if they put their mind to pursuing their dreams’