#WomenDisruptors: Anita Nayyar’s lessons in managing risks & crises

We, at Adgully, have always saluted and honoured women managers and leaders across diverse fields. Women Disruptors is Adgully’s special initiative to bring to the fore some remarkable women achievers in M&E, Advertising, Marketing, Communications industries, how they think, how they manage things, how they lead from the front and much more. 

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Anita Nayyar, CEO – India and South Asia, Havas Media Group, has been making noteworthy contribution to the field of media in the country as well as the APAC market. Nayyar joined Havas in 2007 as CEO of Havas Media India. Under her leadership Havas Media in India has grown exponentially and expanded its offerings as an integrated communications group encompassing traditional, digital, mobile, performance marketing and out-of-home, among others. 

Nayyar’s 30+years in the industry has seen her passionately manage a mega portfolio of brands across sectors. A prominent speaker, moderator, panellist and judge at all major events and awards year on year; her views and opinions have been sought after by both Indian and international media. 

How do you inspire and motivate your employeesto be a good leader?

As a leader, one has to be very patient and has to have a deep and great understanding of the team. There needs to be a perfect balance between professionalism and the personal touch. One has to lead from the front to give one’s team the confidence that we are in it together as a team. Nothing better than standing with the team through thick and thin.  

Your expert advice and guidelines to become a successful leader?

Confidence, Trust and Risk taking are most important. A winning leader has to have the confidence to lead irrespective of the situation. Be it a crisis situation or that of success. A leader is as good as the team he or she leads. Hence, to have full faith in the team and trust team mates is crucial for the success of a good leader. The more you trust your team, the better the results. Taking risks is what differentiates the leadership. While it is safe to play safe, the true challenge lies in taking calculated risks. If one does not experiment and take risks, one will never know what lies beyond. Of course, there will always be failures, but the feeling of success outdoes everything, and moreover it is the feeling of “we tried’ that is most satisfying. Only a good leader can have a balanced combination of all the 3 qualities. 

Any role model that you can associate as a great leader to follow?

My mom has always been my role great model. I have learnt everything from her – from trusting people, relationship management, multitasking, valuing and being satisfied with what one has, hard work, belief in oneself...the list can go on and on. I am what I am today all thanks to her upbringing. One will be surprised on how much management one can learn from one’s mom and I surely have done that and immensely benefited from her teachings and her practical approach. 

Nurturing and training people is a special skill. How did you achieve that?

I try and impart the values and learnings I have had over the years to my team. Leading by example is the best way to train. Only when your people see you rolling up your sleeves will they have the confidence to roll their’s. After all, the role of a good leader is to nurture good leaders. 

Managing crisis is always a challenge, how do you go about it?

Best learning ground is the way one manages crisis. There is nothing better than being in the thick of things. Understanding, evaluating, reasoning and finding solutions is the way forward. One may not be able to manage the crisis successfully, but it is the best effort and best foot forward in handling the same that matters. 


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