The Shape of Work

#10: Ashu Khanna on nurturing the leader within

May 10, 2021 Springworks Season 1 Episode 10
The Shape of Work
#10: Ashu Khanna on nurturing the leader within
Show Notes

In this episode, we chat with Ashu Khanna, Founder and CEO at ARKA Leadership, about the importance of creating an environment of shared leadership where you are harnessing those complementing skills for which you've hired the rest of the team.

ARKA Leadership is a movement to promote authentic leadership. Their sole purpose is to fulfil their vision of #JoyForAll by inspiring people to align their relationship with the inner self and the world. The philosophy of Arka Leadership is a confluence of the science of Vedic scriptures and the science of coaching.

Ashu has successfully partnered with many CXOs to reimagine possibilities and be empowered to design a life of success and happiness. She has been ranked # 29 by YourStory on the list of 100 Emerging Voices in India and received an award as the 101 Fabulous Coaches in India by World Coaching Congress.

Great Leaders are made not born

Ashu believes that there is a leader in all of us. Everyone has the capacity to nurture and develop that leader.  However, it is important to understand what it means to be a leader. It should not resonate with the “I lead and you follow” ideology. It is more about creating a space for harnessing skills of your team and holding them accountable at the same time. This is what can be understood as shared leadership.This can be done by recognizing them for doing a good job. Leadership requires getting out of the way, being vulnerable, and doing everything that is required for the betterment of the team. These traits are not necessarily taught, but learnt on the ground.

For this reason, every organization goes for restructuring every few years.

Any matrix will create complexity where people have a dual reporting line. However, bigger organizations like Ernst and Young and Citi Bank which have thousands of people in multiple locations have no option but to own a matrix structure. Organizational restructure should not occur without the why being explained.  Every organization requires a different structure which best suits their pattern of work.

“Even after having an organizational design in place, any startup takes a year to three years for it to fall into its truer space. And even after that, it evolves and morphs into a more mature form. It is all about being open to those evolutionary phases.”

Self awareness in Leadership

Self awareness is the key to a successful leader. Gone are the days when it was just about technical expertise, because today we are also managing people. It's the people that are managed while technology acts as a facilitator.

We need to understand the rules to know how to operate a computer. Similarly, managing people requires self awareness. The more you understand yourself, and  your triggers with people, the more you'll be able to understand other people's triggers and create a culture of inclusion and shared leadership.

Coaching leaders

It is impossible for everybody to be authentic in your team at the same time. Individuals have different journeys, progress, and perspectives. Considering all these filters, leaders need to cater to diversity. By understanding diversity, we can create developmental programmes efficiently. For some, coaching may be a great deal, while for others, more group-based learning may work. Organizations need to understand that learning has to be a combination of both, classroom and group based.

Ashu Khanna’s LinkedIn-

Produced by: Priya Bhatt
Podcast host: Kartik Mandaville