Leader Speak

Leadership is not just about achieving your organizational goals, it is about helping employees to achieve their own goals too: Sarbvir Singh

Covid-19 compelled companies to adopt remote working and brought in new work culture. Managers had to adopt innovative ways to manage teams in the age of social distancing which was a daunting task. According to Sarbvir Singh, CEO, Policybazaar, managers have to provide a clear understanding of why they are doing something to the teams rather than instructing them to do something.

“Covid has taught us that you need to deal with people in a different way. It showed that you have to understand what the other person was going through and also achieve the objectives of the company. It became very important to be clear in goals. Many colleagues in the first two months of work from home were working late at night to help with the transition,” said Singh at a webinar titled ‘Learn from the Learned Lecture series 2021’ organized by IIT Guwahati.

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“They didn’t do it because of fear but being part of Policybazaar, they understand that why it’s important. This philosophy has been heightened because of Covid. There has always been a discussion around providing meaning to the employees rather than being told what to do. It’s clear that this is the way to go,” said Singh.

“I worked with a person very early in my career who taught me that leadership is not about achieving your organization's goals. It is about helping people to achieve their own goals. It is about making sure that the goals of people are aligned with organizational goals,” he added.

Second important thing was to make sure that the employees are protected. “We have a very young force. A lot of people are living away from their families. We brought to bear to help these people and make sure that we are around. We focused on our business but also on employees to take care of them when they need us the most,” he added. Edited excerpts from the Q&A session: 

As an entrepreneur, how do you see the startup sector evolving?
We have moved beyond startups. Many are big businesses and doing extremely well. Digital transformation is happening across the globe. All of us have smartphones and they are more powerful what computers used to be. This is going to throw up opportunities in every sector- insurance, hotel, e-commerce, retail. Every business will become digital and there will be new opportunities. Instead of looking at it as a startup, you should look at it as something you should believe in.

After you took charge as the CEO, the company has reached heights continuously. What are the major strategies you adopted?
We are making the business more segmented. One of the things we did was breaking health and life insurance into smaller businesses. This gave opportunities to people. For example, someone can be head of senior citizens' health insurance business or head of high net worth segment in life insurance. This brings opportunities to people as well as focus and responsibilities.

For every business, there are two moments of truth. The first is when customers buy the product and the second is when they use it. We believe that we should help consumers across the journey. We have really focused on making sure that our services and claims experience is better. Thirdly, we are entering new areas. We were not big in group medical covers which are essentially for corporates. This is adjacent to our retail business and we have entered that as well and gaining scale. Corporates are as big an opportunity as retail is and we would like to focus upon it.

How does your work schedule look like and what are the challenges associated?
I look at it over a week rather than a day. Our teams are given a fair amount of freedom. We look at our businesses weekly. We focus very much on what is to be done rather than spending too much time on what didn’t go right. One of my roles is to make sure that the organization remains integrated. We remain thoughtful at key priorities and make sure that we put in our best efforts behind those priorities. I also spend time on key initiatives and work with teams directly to make sure that things are going the right way. I make sure that they have the resources they need, evaluating the trade-offs, the direction should be clear and fearlessness to execute it. I also spend time on long term priorities. I make sure that newer businesses are getting support and direction.

 

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