Balance has always been the key for women leaders: Rutu Mody-Kamdar

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 the M&E, Advertising, Marketing, PR and Communications 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.

The 4th edition of Women Disruptors is all set to return soon. This initiative from Adgully endeavours to highlight the trailbrazing women leaders in India. Entries are now open. Click here to send in your nominations.

In conversation with Adgully, Rutu Mody-Kamdar, Founder, Jigsaw Brand Consultants, speaks about the championing spirit of women leaders, how the pandemic has been an equaliser in many ways, putting oneself at the centre, gender sensitivity, and more.

How do you think the role and scope of women leaders has widened in the current market ecosystem?

Women leaders are slowly and surely making their way up into the boardrooms. I’m delighted to see women being celebrated for their achievements in top tiers and there is no real demarcation between men and women across several companies now. Despite women making late career starts (and also having other responsibilities), there’s a championing spirit that aims to rise above all odds. This is what makes me so proud and happy, because when a woman rises up, the entire community cheers and celebrates it.

What has been your major learning from the pandemic period?

Life as we knew it has changed in so many big and small ways. A lot of realisations have come in the post-pandemic period and women and their dual roles and responsibilities were far better understood than before. The pandemic was an equaliser in many ways.

The pandemic also brought to reality the fragility of life and the fact that dreams cannot be delayed. Putting oneself at the centre was one of the biggest learnings that I got from the pandemic. Culturally, in India, women are never encouraged to do this. We are always ‘running around’, fulfilling duties, but the pandemic gave us a chance to pause and introspect and realise the importance of prioritising the self.

What is your mantra for maintaining a successful work life balance in the new normal? According to you, what makes women the best in crisis management?

Balance has always been the key for women leaders. Before and after the pandemic, women have always needed to balance on a tightrope and walk the extra mile on both fronts. After the pandemic, as life has returned back to normal.. the balance does tend to get tipped over to the work front, but I for one, have made some conscious changes to my life and do spend a lot of time fulfilling some passion projects that I took on during the pandemic period. I feel that the pandemic normalised ‘balance’ and ‘life outside of work’ in a big way. It’s quite normal and also encouraged to put these things in focus now.

What are the five most effective leadership lessons that you have learned?

  1. Lead by example - Live everything that you profess and don’t differentiate yourself from the team in any way
  2. Be transparent - Remove the layers and the hierarchies that cobweb the system and your mind. Be open, be honest and be transparent
  3. Err and laugh openly - It’s absolutely normal to err. But to openly admit and laugh at oneself is important. It normalises and humanises things within the team in a big way
  4. Encourage talents outside of work - I always encourage my team to find a passion project outside of work – it helps fill up your life in beautiful ways and you always come back to office feeling fulfilled and refreshed
  5. Share your lunch - A family who eats together, stays together. Lunch time is a precious time to bond through the sharing of food and stories from each others’ homes. It’s the best way to unwind in the middle of the day and it blurs the boundaries that we unnecessarily set in many ways

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

I think organisations need to encourage women and celebrate the specialness of having women leaders – those who can be tenacious in spirit, committed and empathetic in leading and managing teams. It’s important for organisations to groom and create room for women leaders to be able to blossom and widen their wings without feeling like they have to constantly prove their worth and their commitment.


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