Leadership is a challenging and rewarding journey that can be very personal. No two people are the same, which means everyone’s leadership journey will be unique. Our family background, education and life experiences impact how we see the world and essentially how we choose to lead.
Whether you’re just starting out on your path to leadership or you have already attained some titles, there are always ways to hone your skills and work towards becoming an even better leader.
In the latest episode of the HR Think Tank, Ajay Bhatia, Managing Director of Carsales Australia, shares insight into his migrant experience and how that has shaped his leadership and entrepreneurship journey.
Propelling Yourself From Junior Positions to Executive Levels
In the business world, it’s not out of the ordinary to see a person move from one job or position to another. In fact, many companies expect employees to do this promotion-hopping in order to gain experience and knowledge.
However, there are some who find themselves at a standstill in their career development because they have not been able to successfully transition from being a junior member on an executive team into becoming an actual leader.
Ajay gave us insight into how he was able to make this transition, and two things stood out. And a few things stood out. For starters, when the opportunity arises, take it. And make it a no-brainer that you’re the right person for this opportunity -make it easy for your manager or leader to accept the offer that you’re making.
“I started as a technology manager for Drive.com.au – which was a division of Fairfax Digital. And that was my first management job. Within a year of me being there, the Product Director left to work somewhere else. So, I approached the General Manager and said, “Michael, why don’t you just give me a chance- let me do the product management together with the technology management. And if it doesn’t work out, you can hire someone else.” I told him that he didn’t have to pay me anything because I wasn’t after money; I just wanted to contribute to the product development. So I made it a no-brainer for him, and he took a risk on me.”
Secondly, don’t focus on the short-term. In Ajay’s experience, a lot of the opportunities that he put his hand up for were more about the experience than jumping to the next wage bracket. But focusing on what he was able to gain from a new experience, Ajay was able to wear a lot of different hats, which essentially led him to the role that he is in currently.
And lastly, Ajay shared how important it is to operate at a level higher than where you are, “Which basically means, if you are my boss, I want to see the world the way you see the world. And then make decisions in their shoes.”
The Importance of Learning on the Job
Learning new skills, gaining knowledge, and expanding your network are all valuable parts of being a leader. And according to Ajay, learning is not just something you do in school or at your job.
Learning is a life-long process and should be done on the regular to ensure growth within the company and career. It’s especially important for business leaders to learn from their peers because they are always innovating new ideas that can help your company grow substantially.
“You know, a lot of people say this, and I’m going to repeat it because I believe in it: you go to university to learn how to learn. And that’s what university teaches you. But, learning on the job and from your peers is really important. I still learn a lot from the people around me.”
So, there are many ways to learn and grow as a leader – you can read books, attend seminars, and study other successful businesses. However, one of the most effective learning strategies is actually doing it on the job and from your peers.
Effective Strategies To Support and Nurture People In an Organisation
The success of an organisation depends on the people who work within it. It is, therefore, crucial to nurture and support your employees, as this will help them to feel fulfilled and motivated in their roles.
In a report published in IT News about hiring top talent, Ajay shared a particular quote which is, “The best way to grow your business is to grow your people.” And so, he spends a lot of time finding the balance between hiring new talent and promoting internal talent.
“So, one of the things we do is train our people for the next step in their career. And around every quarter of the year, we promote our staff based on that training. And I think everyone looks at that and goes, ‘Yeah, this is the sort of company I want to work for. Because this is where I have the opportunity to grow as an individual.’ So it’s really good for retention as well.”
If you value your people, then it is vital that you have effective strategies to support and nurture them in an organisation. A key part of this process is having a clear understanding of what each candidate’s potential is so that you can give them the training and mentorship that they need to get them to the place they need to be.
In the latest episode of the HR Think Tank, we chat about the role of authentic leadership and creating a culture of innovation. Achieving successful leadership requires a deep understanding of oneself, the world around us, and the people we serve.
Make sure to tune into HR Think Tank Episode 14 with Khai Ngo and Ajay Bhatia, Managing Director of Carsales Australia.
Or, if you would like to know more about our VerifyNow’s recruitment services, get in touch with us today!