#WomenDisruptors: Leadership is all about influencing others to achieve a certain goal

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. 

Sabina Chopra, Co-Founder & COO, Corporate Travel & Head Industry Relations, Yatra.com, looks after the Corporate Travel Business and the Industry Relations for the company. In this role, she is responsible for growing the corporate travel business by virtue of a strong technology platform, backed by a full-service team. She is also responsible for all the Airline & Insurance contracting for B2C, B2B and Holidays business. 

Prior to Yatra, Chopra headed India based operations of ebookers, Europe’s largest online travel company. She has also worked with Japan Airlines, a Canadian Airline and her BPO work experience includes heading Operations for RAC (Aviva Plc) and Hewitt Associates. Chopra brings with her over 24 years of work experience, has through knowledge of all facets of the Travel - Online, BPO & Corporate Industry and an extensive network within the Indian travel community. Her strengths are Business Development, Operations and Delivery, Customer Care and Retention. 

How do you inspire and motivate your employees as a leader of your organisation?
You can motivate and inspire your employees by ensuring they are aware of your vision and what your ultimate goals for the business are. This encourages everyone to work together to achieve better results. It is also important to set clear and measurable goals so that the team’s progress can be tracked, and employees are able to see their success in a tangible way. This cultivates productivity and helps employees to feel valued and motivated. Communicating regularly with your employees also has a positive impact and makes them feel involved in the business. It also gives me an opportunity to listen to their ideas, opinions and feedback. Our office environment also has a significant impact on the productivity and contentment of our employees. We have created a conducive work environment where we not only promote healthy habits to reduce stress, but also engage in employee engagement by organising games, team activities and fun Fridays. 

Your three important tips or guidelines to become a winning leader?
Leadership is all about influencing others, regardless of the job title, in an effort to achieve a certain goal. While there are no set mantras to become a winning leader, following 3 tips might help one tread along the right path. 

Encourage Growth - To motivate and inspire employees, a good leader should empower others to do their best and take on new challenges. It’s only when we believe in our employees and give them the opportunity to learn and grow, can they blossom and manage to surprise on how much they can accomplish. Hence, one shouldn’t be afraid to delegate tasks and encourage freedom and creativity. 

Communication skills - Good communication skills are extremely important for one who is in a leadership role. An effective leader not only expresses their ideas and strategies persuasively and clearly, but also truly listens to feedback with an open mind. 

Lead by example - A good leader is one who leads by example and does what they expect everyone else to do. If you expect your team to be hard workers, then you should be a hard worker too. By practicing what you preach, you earn the respect and loyalty of your team. 

Any role model that you can think of as a great leader to follow?
While I do not have a role model, I really admire Indra Nooyi. She had truly shattered the glass ceiling back in 2006 when she took over as the CEO of PepsiCo, becoming one of the world’s most powerful corporate executives heading a business with a billion-plus dollar revenue. She was a very supportive leader, driving the workforce from the front and giving them an opportunity to participate in the growth of the company. She encouraged innovation, led by principle and accepted change as part of business. She’s a leader like no other, who excels in everything – from financial literacy, employee empathy, having a strong vision, moral leadership, embracing change and remaining true to herself. Her example can help any leader become someone people want to follow. 

How do you nurture and train your people to become a leader in the future?
Leadership development is important for any organisation. We, at Yatra, make sure that key skills and invaluable business insights are shared and passed down to prospective leaders to avoid gaps in knowledge in the future. These future leaders are also given an opportunity to understand the importance and workings of all the prevalent roles in the organisation. Since, someday they might be taking decisions which could affect all areas of the business, hence, it is important that they develop an understanding from different perspectives. We also focus on mentorship and use knowledge-training sessions with experts to train our high potential individuals to combat challenges at their best. We also give constructive feedback on areas of improvement and reward these future leaders on their achievements as well. 

What would be your approach to manage a crisis as a leader?
Crisis usually arises at a short notice and causes major disturbances at the workplace. Hence, leaders should be equipped to handle them without creating a chaos and should lead the situation from the front. To manage the crisis effectively:

  • The leader should be alert at the workplace and should be able to anticipate the crisis.
  • He/she should be able to command the situation and not be frantic and disoriented.
  • While their objective should be crisis prevention, however, in cases where it is unavoidable, they should be able to communicate well with their employees and should know how to deliver clear directions.
  • The leaders should have a good presence of mind so that they can think on their feet and utilise the varied talents of those around him to develop a quick solution.
  • Leader should always be optimistic and never lose hope as he/she is the pillar of support on whom employees would be leaning on.

Crisis in the workplace can emerge anytime. Therefore, it takes a leader who is well-composed and can think and act quickly to bring solution to these problems.


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