MSC takes the lead in bringing leadership opportunities to life, both within and outside of formal positions and hierarchy. Young leaders lead assignments and projects comprising bright, young, and vibrant team members. The more practiced and skilled then go on to lead practice groups and domains in the organization.
But what do the young leaders themselves say about their experiences and engagement levels with this? In a freewheeling conversation, Subir Vyas (CHRO at MSC) spoke to three senior staff at MSC. Let us hear it from them!
TVS Ravi, Associate Partner and Practice Group Leader, is one of the early joiners at MSC. Reminiscing the years behind, Ravi says the journey at MSC has been immensely gratifying. He believes the most vital enablers in the leadership process are the diversity of work, MSC’s nature of not being a hierarchy-bound organization, and our philosophy of putting people first. Ravi led an IFC project in Sri Lanka within two years of joining. Leading teams early helped build confidence, especially when facing clients.
“MSC believes in giving people space—when assigned leadership roles, we do the same,” says Ravi. What are some of the other key aspects of leadership at MSC? “Keeping team members connected with the larger picture,” says Ravi, adding passionately—“whether it is a small report or working with a small startup, everything matters and adds up to the larger impact.”
Saloni Tandon, part of MSC’s Gender practice group. She gets right to the point. “When teamwork is high, team leadership comes more easily and naturally.” Saloni’s tryst with a leadership role came in the form of the Pathways to Enhancing Financial Inclusion in India (PEFI) project, which supports NITI Aayog, the Indian government’s policy think-tank. For Saloni, PEFI brought a leadership opportunity right upfront. Her key mantra from it was “make people valued, promote ownership and just “be there” for your people”—a lesson she imbibed from a previous supervisor. Learning together and sharing lessons and motivation via recognition—for those who shine, are other team leadership styles that Saloni practices.
Interestingly, Saloni follows what she calls a more “peer style of leadership.” What does this mean? In her words, “take in your junior team members as your partners in thought and action, and create an environment conducive to air their ideas freely and comfortably.”
So what is Saloni’s advice to the newer younger aspiring leaders—“Own the project as if it were your own baby; be communicative all the time; read a lot but structure your lessons, and last but not the least raise flags immediately and do not let things fester.”
Based out of MSC’s Nairobi office is Juliet Ongwae, Senior Manager and Practice Lead for Digital Transformation. Juliet is passionate about team development and derives joy in giving her teams mentorship, guidance, and, as she says, “watching people grow.” Shunning micromanagement, Juliet pushes her team members to prioritize one’s self and self-development. Juliet believes in spending time with her team, both on a formal and informal basis. The former is more for training on a topical area or project. The latter is for generating discussions to draw ideas and solutions. Juliet believes that asking prodding questions works well to make people think on their own feet, resulting in stretch and growth.
Juliet’s natural inclinations are on the strategic side (as they should be!). She takes this to her team members too, and involves them in discussions revolving beyond the nuts and bolts, connecting the dots that make the bigger picture. “Getting people out of their comfort zones is a great way to grow them.”
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