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Women are far better trained at being tenacious than men: Anindita Sarkar

We, at Adgully, have always saluted and honoured women managers and leaders across diverse fields. Last year, we launched our unique and distinct program, called WOMEN DISRUPTORS, which drew a lot of attention and was highly appreciated by the industry. 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 will 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.

Women are a stubborn lot, affirms Anindita Sarkar, Director, Corporate Communications India, dentsu. While she is yet to learn how to draw a line between work and home, the mantra that has worked for her during the pandemic era is empathy.

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

The greater the adversity, the larger the scope…don’t you think? Even the greatest swimmers must gulp down a few litres of chlorine before they turn into their greatest. Also, courtesy the social fabric we are born into, I think women are far better trained at being tenacious than men. We are the stubborn lot; we also love to exercise our stubbornness with a lot of passion. So, no matter how great the fall, we are wired such that we choose to get up and show up every single day. And that’s what we did all through the pandemic. We were just ourselves. This time, however, seems like the world took notice!

The rapid transition to digital, an uncertain economic landscape, charting unknown waters, working from home with no modes of the usual contacts. How have you been navigating during the COVID-19 times? What were the challenges that you faced and how did you tackle them?

Digital is survival. And technology, the solution. At dentsu, we have been evolving relentlessly over the past few years to adapt to this truth. The news of the pandemic and its ruthlessness had reached the world much before it hit us in real. We knew what could come and we were ready. Once the decision was made, we got down to working-from-home right from day one with a 100 per cent tech-support. Of course, we had to face thousands of challenges like everyone else. But every problem also comes with its solution. So, we accepted what was, kept our calm, and worked ceaselessly to find the best solutions.

How challenging has it been for you to maintain a balance between managing the team & office work on the one hand, and family responsibilities on the other, as boundaries blurred while working from home? What is your mantra to maintain that balance?

The wise say that we must learn to draw a line between work and home. So, perhaps I am just not wise enough. Not yet. Advertising is a people’s business. People are at its core. And people are vulnerable. We function on emotions, on connections. My colleagues and I spend anywhere between 8 hours and 12 hours a day interacting with each other. And when you spend so much time with one another, even if virtually, you are bound to discover them for who they are. You learn about them and you connect with them. So, where do you draw the line and how do you draw the line? Frankly, I think the mantra that has worked for me is empathy. Also, I am surrounded by fantastic people – both at home and at work. And I am very grateful for that!

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?

Women are stubborn beings. They are also good at managing resources, prioritising, and getting work done with what they have. They have clarity. Ask the housewife who must run her home on a budget. She’s got managerial skills! 

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

Man or woman, leader or not, I think these lessons are for all:

Trust your people. And let them know that you do!

Accept things for what they are. And once you do, start focusing on solutions.

Failure is good. It shows that you tried. It also tells you what not to do and gives you the courage to try. Again!

Exercise empathy. It helps you listen. And once you listen, you will find your solution.

We all function better in good company. After all, it’s difficult to seek solutions with an unhappy face. So, please invest some time from your daily life into something that builds you up and makes you joyful. It will help you attract better solutions. Perhaps, some good company too! 

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