‘Leadership is not a position or a title, it is action and example’— NHRD Cluster Meet

The importance of leadership development was the primary topic of discussion at the Bangalore Chapter Cluster Meet of NHRD, on the best practices in leadership development.


National Human Resource Development Network (NHRD) Bangalore Chapter organised a Cluster Meet at Publicis Sapient recently. The topic of discussion was ‘Best Practices in Leadership Development’. With NHRD Bangalore Chapter’s purpose being to enable development of HR professionals, the Cluster Meet, by Krish Shankar, CHRO, Infosys and president, NHRD Bangalore Chapter, facilitates learning by conducting sessions within the company premises.

Attended by over 70 HR leaders and professionals, the Meet was anchored by Nikita Doshi, NHRD Bangalore Young Advisory Board Member and L&D professional, Publicis Sapient.

The need for leadership development was recognised as one of the biggest challenges of today.

Kameshwari Rao, chief talent officer, Publicis Sapient, along with Varun Salaria, India leadership development lead, Publicis Sapient, shared how they had to redefine the leadership development approach at Publicis in keeping with the external and internal changes in their organisation. They spoke about the launch of the Publicis Sapient India Leadership Academy, which helps their leaders become change champions, and value creators, who are keen to collaborate internally and externally and also possess a learning mindset. At Publicis, leadership development is a business agenda, not an HR one.

Since business leaders play the role of sponsors, designers, reviewers and faculty of the programme, their role in maintaining a strong engagement and alignment to business strategy was emphasised. The Company’s leadership development programme provides exposure through multiple development modes (workshops, action learning projects, assignments, coaching, regular check-ins) across all levels. Their focus on personal leadership, People Leadership, Business Leadership & Client Leadership through strategic leadership interventions has created transformational shifts among the leaders at Publicis Sapient.

Sharon Doherty, chief people officer, Finastra, drew the audience’s attention to the fact that in today’s age, young leaders are reverse mentoring older leaders to be social ambassadors. She spoke about new-age forms of leadership, such as servant leadership – an empowering approach to leadership— and agile leadership, with self-managed teams. eir teams – with the common vision to help the world run better and improve people’s lives. According to her, leaders need to find their own purpose and connect to the organisation’s purpose. She shared her strong belief in inclusive leadership across cultures, age, gender, and so on.

Shraddhanjali Rao, head-HR, SAP, and Sunil Menon & Sushrita Bhowal, directors HR, SAP, shared their Company’s vision to be the leader of leadership in the market. They emphasised on how SAP allows not only leaders to grow themselves, but also help the business and their teams grow through their Next Gen Leadership Development programme, and other similar development initiatives for all levels.

R.R. Nair, CEO coach & consultant, concluded the Meet by speaking about the shift from leadership to followership, building leadership competencies at all levels, the need to develop leaders as coaches, the importance of focusing on quality and meritocracy and securing the right talent by best standards of recruitment.

The Meet highlighted the fact that relevance to the future is all dependant on individuals and their learnability, and that HR should be an enabler. The discussions also brought out the fact that leadership development depends on the senior-level employees and the quality of people managing the programmes.

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