Britannia’s Tough Cookie Vinita Bali - There’s Nothing Called A Leader

Leadership involves IQ, EQ & Accountability

Vinita said women don’t need to be apologetic for being emotional. Men are emotional too they just express differently, she said. It is unnatural to suppress emotions.

HYDERABAD, Sep 5 (BNC Network) There is nothing called ‘leader’, leadership matters.

Stating this, renowned businesswoman and former MD of Britannia Industries Vinita Bali stressed that empathy is important in leadership. “Leadership is taking responsibility, taking ownership, accountability and impact change. It is about what I do not what I say or what my title or position is. Leadership is behavior, not a title,” Vinita said addressing a FICCI FLO’s virtual session on Resonant Leadership – Why EQ matters in the workspace yesterday.

Vinita said: Understanding context matters for leadership. Ability to understand depends on the ability to listen, without it, it is hard to be efficient. For that empathy is required. Empathy is the ability to understand context.

FICCI FLO Hyderabad Chapter held the event to help members grow professionally and personally.

YourStory Media’s Editor-at-Large Dipti Nair conducted the session. Dipti has the distinction of publishing over 60,000 stories of entrepreneurs and helping more than 50,000 entrepreneurs access networking and funding in the last 12 years.

Calling Vinita ‘Britannia’s tough cookie’, Dipti asked her to share how empathy proved to be the core ingredient to her success at Britannia and why empathy is an important element of leadership.

Vinita said she faced bigger challenges when she was overseas. The test of empathy and emotional intelligence plays out when you are in new environment, with new people away from your country. She recalled about her work for Cadbury in UK, Nigeria and South Africa; and for Coca-Cola in Atlanta, Latin America, etc. “Empathy, emotional intelligence are tested when you are in a new place,” she said.

Vinita explained that a business lives and dies on the basis of how well the people who run it understand the consumer, his/her behavior, eco system, etc. “Leadership is having empathy, understanding and sensitivity in dealing with people. With understanding come commitment, passion, ambition; when you understand then things become easy. It is important to understand like… are you selling biscuits or something that is affordable and nutritious,” she said.

Answering a query on her leadership style, Vinita said that she never thought about leadership style. “I did what I felt was the right thing to do. And what you call leadership style emerged. It also came from opportunism given. I had failures too, but I don’t consider them my failures. I am not a status-quo person. I like to take things apart and put them back again. Challenges excite me and they are good for growth,” she said.

Speaking about Intelligence Quotient versus Emotional Quotient, Vinita said that both are required as they are complimentary. “You can’t have effective leadership without good balance of IQ and EQ. Good leadership is about making connections with consumers, customer, employees, etc,” she said. Leadership is behavior. Emotional Intelligence is about being self-aware, socially aware and having management and social skills, she said.

Answering a question on women being called too emotional or even crazy sometimes and whether empathy goes against women, Vinita said women don’t need to be apologetic for being emotional. Men are emotional too they just express differently, she said. It is unnatural to suppress emotions, she said. She asked women to have confidence and self-esteem. If you have respect and dignity for yourself then nobody can mess with you, she said.

In her welcome address, Usharani Manne, Chairperson, FICCI FLO Hyderabad Chapter said that emotional Intelligence helps one understand employees better, recognize strengths and weaknesses, better align and leverage their talent. Bringing the human side to work, one can connect better, solidify relationships and become good leader.

She announced that FICCI FLO has signed an MOU with Nutrihub, the incubator at Indian Institute of Millets Research. Nutrihub is a unique and first of its kind incubator catering to the start-up needs of budding entrepreneurs in the Nutricereals or Millets sector. The objective of the MOU is to work towards creating women entrepreneurs and help them achieve financial independence.

Priya Gazdar, Secretary, FLO Hyderabad Chapter, introduced the speaker.



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