As a woman leader, don’t play down your EQ: Sanjula Miglani, Dineout

We, at Adgully, have always saluted and honoured women managers and leaders across diverse fields. W-SUITE is a special initiative from Adgully that has been turning the spotlight on some of the most remarkable women achievers in M&E, Advertising & Marketing, PR & Communication industry. In the refurbished series, we seek to find out how women leaders have been managing their teams and work as well as how they have been navigating through the toughest and most challenging times brought about by the global pandemic.

Sanjula Miglani has been working with Dineout since 2019 and currently leads business marketing for B2B as well as B2C products. In conversation with Adgully, Sanjula Miglani, Head - Business Marketing & Dine Out Passport, Dineout, speaks about dealing with the challenges arising of the global pandemic, maintaining work-life balance, lessons that she learnt as a woman leader and more.

How do you think the role and scope of women leaders has widened in the post-pandemic world?

The last two years of Covid-19 have left a lasting impact on organisations across sectors globally. Whether it’s dealing with employees’ physical wellbeing, mental wellbeing or just day-to-day productivity, there is an increasing need for a more empathetic leadership across the world. And women, time and again, have proved to be more empathetic leaders showcasing better communication, higher emotional intelligence and the ability to build meaningful relationships at work and outside of it. 

Across companies, people feel the need to be supported and be seen by leaders who are understanding and the pandemic has definitely accelerated that need which has broadened the impact of women-led leadership today. We see this change coming in where more women are now occupying high ranking positions and it is definitely onward and upward from here.

The rapid transition to digital, an uncertain economic landscape, charting unknown waters, working from home – how have you been navigating during the COVID-19 times? How are you maintaining work-life balance in the new normal?

When Covid-19 hit us in 2020, it was definitely an unknown territory for the entire world and we were all trying to weather the same storm. We went back to our original playbooks and tried to work it out, one step at a time. And of course, we had our fair share of struggle, but we came out of it successfully. Technology and digital transformation have always been at the core of our organization at Dineout. Even during the pandemic, it helped us embrace the extreme changes that came with it. 

Through tech-driven initiatives, we were able to work collaboratively, communicate effectively within teams and maintain our high growth trajectory even when the offices were completely shut. Working from home offered more flexibility. We could save time that was earlier spent on commuting for meetings, which definitely enhanced our work-life balance. At Dineout, we undertook various initiatives that offered employees support in maintaining mental wellbeing during these difficult times which definitely helped enhance overall productivity and retained a sense of normalcy and optimism.

Multiple studies have shown how women leaders performed better during the COVID-19 crisis. According to you, what makes women the best in crisis management?

Like I mentioned earlier, women have proved to be more empathetic leaders as compared to their male counterparts time and again. To deal with a crisis situation, leaders need to lend an empathetic ear and display higher emotional intelligence to commiserate with their team members. This sensitivity and understanding of their own people is helping women drive greater impact and better outcomes for organisations today. And hence, there is an increasing need for women leaders in high-ranking roles.

Along with higher emotional intelligence, women also exhibit the quality of emotional empowerment which, in turn, makes them inspiring for fellow team members. The glass is certainly half full, and there is a greater scope for women to enter the leadership roles enabling more inclusive workspaces.

What are the five most effective lessons that you have learned as a woman leader?

As a woman leader, who has been privy to some age-old stereotypes and has overcome them, I have a few pointers to share for the coming generation. 
1. Don’t play down your EQ 

For the longest time, being emotional or showing a range of emotions was discouraged. So, many women started adopting the transactional working style cultivated by men. It was unfortunate because women’s emotional quotient helps an organisation grow its business and culture. Embracing this skill set and applying it at work can help breakthrough many crucial business challenges.

  1. Communicate honestly

Lack of knowledge about a specific area of interest is not a disadvantage that we otherwise perceive. One can be honest about this and show an interest to learn. It will help build trust and credibility, opening a space for conversation and future growth.

  1. Be empathetic

In a world torn between titles and accomplishments, your greatest achievement would be to ‘be kind’. Most leaders perceive self-accomplishments as their greatest assets, but in the longer run, your true leadership skills reflect how well your team grows. So, lend an ear to your colleagues and help them navigate their journey. 

  1. Support and nurture others

The world works like a boomerang; what you give, you get back. So, it is essential to pass on what we learn from our leaders or mentors to your mentees. It helps build a continuous chain of events that positively affect the organisation and the community of women who learn from you.

  1. Be fierce and confident

Women are known to be pragmatic and excellent communicators. But time and again, they question their self-worth. During such moments it is crucial to tap into your knowledge and regain that self-confidence. 

Gender sensitivity and inclusion in the new normal – how can organizations effectively encourage and groom women leaders in challenging times?

There are various steps that organisations can take to foster a more inclusive workplace where more and more women are encouraged to take up leadership roles:

  • Career projection - Organisations should effectively chart out a step by step process to show women how they can advance in their careers at a particular organisation to reach the top of the pyramid. 
  • Better maternity policies - Many women leave work to deal with early motherhood and struggle to re-enter the corporate workforce. Organisations should encourage more women to join back and enforce a flexible environment that will motivate them to work out a strategy around leaving and re-entering companies.
  • Development and succession planning - Organisations can offer development and succession planning for women that will help them achieve skills required to take up C-Suite positions and enable them to become future leaders.

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