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7 Questions on Leadership with Arun Iyer

Name: Arun Iyer

Title: Managing Director

Organisation: Maa Air Ticket Centre Pvt Ltd

Lifestyle Experience Specialist. More than 4 decades of experience in Travel Industry. Serial entrepreneur with multifacet business in Corporate Travel, Golf Vacations, Destination Wedding Management and Interior Designing business.

Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!

I hope Arun's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!


Jonno White

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?

Team members come from various backgrounds like, culture, habits, economically well-off or weak, dual responsible at home & work , single earning member, different age & educational background etc ... Grooming them to fit in an organizational culture of working as a team , with a mindset that whatever work of function they do in their role should benefit and getting them to do with empathy is a big challenge. This because bad work culture can beak down any large organization.

2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?

I was not keen on completing my graduation and be a normal jobseeker. Hence I dropped out of college took up odd jobs initially, tea trader, wedding photographer till I find a suitable & interesting work. I found it in a travel agency and started as an apprentice for a meager stipend. My honesty, dedication got recognized & I became a tour escort managing group tours from India to Europe, South East & Far East Asia at the age of 22 with a large global travel organization.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

Getting up early 5.00 am , Yoga for an hour & meditation or reading spiritual books an hour forThree days of week and other two or three days Golf with friends early morning that helps in "Networking".

I have trained, empowered, incentivised my team and show trust in my team . Hence , most of the customer centric work is delegated. I believe the biggest time sucker in any organization is looking after the administrational role of ensuring the support infrastructure for your team is seamless, be it your internet speed, software vendor or housekeeping, pantry staff etc., They are one of the key role players as their seamless working will ensure the office team is able to work better. Treating them with extra respect helps. I spend the first half hour checking on the same.

Checking with various teams if they need my assistance in their flow of work, motivates them to know that their leader is concerned.

Rest of the day is spent on relationship building or calling few clients who have not been using your services and checking on their wellbeing.

Besides the business, I also take active role in Trade association as an Office bearer, Trustee of Golfers foundation that works for the wellbeing of Caddies etc, I am also active in our building management committee.. That kind of keeps me busy. Till the evening we get Daily Sale Report, Collection report and also customer enquiries reports etc.

Dinner is usually home or at any business networking event… Time to hit the bed for an early morning rise

4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?

Treat everyone with respect. Never judge anyone on appearance. Keep the doors of relationship open. Accept responsibility of the work you have accepted, the dedication will lead you the right direction towards solution even if you did not know how to do it.

Your character is what you will be known.

Now in this digital era, "who you were" will remain in national data servers.

We all suffer from Identity crisis, do not feel sad if your work is not recognized nor show ecstatic if you win an appreciation. Be stable in both situations. ( Both are temporary )

You only are responsible for our own miseries. Don't blame anyone for your misery.

5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?

Shrimad Bhagwat Gita, This epic is a Q & A between Warrior Arjuna and his Charioteer Lord Krishna in the middle of the battle field between the Pandavas & the Kauravas.

The mighty warrior Arjun asks Lord to drive his chariot between both armies so that he could see his who his enemies were. Lord Krishna the charioteer drives the chariot and stops in the middle of both armies to show him his enemies. Seeing his grandfather Bheeshma & his Archery Guru Drona on the enemy’s side, The mighty warrior Arjuna get emotionally drained and is confused as to how can he kill his own grandfather and his guru.

"This is our situation daily."

We need to take on emotional fight with our parents, wife, children,siblings, colleagues, teachers, customers and many times even ourselves. Only the location is not in battlefield.

To summarise ” Whenever, wherever , whatever you are , be 100%.

If you are a warrior in a battlefield, be 100% warrior don’t bring emotion of relationships.

We all have to fight our own battle amongst our kith, kin ,and colleagues etc and ourselves within.

This is an 18 chapter epic with 700 question & answer conversations between lord Krisha & Arjuna.

This book reveals how to rise above such situations and stay calm, composed, and happy in all situations and lessons on karma.

We used the lockdown during the Covid 19 to read the entire epic all together at home with family

6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?


Hard Path is Easier.

Read books that have inspired leaders.

Spend more time in direct human connect.

Listen more and speak less.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?

A person male or female generally reaches their career goals , financially stable around the age of 50 that too taking care of the responsibility as a parent, husband and wife.. There are times the position one enjoys in the organization as CEO or Director sets in some kind of Ego or arrogance. Kindly note these positions are temporary and there is always someone to replace you. Stay grounded. The Good Luck Aura brought around by your family brings good luck for your career it is not always your hard work. Hence stay grounded in whatever position you are.

Money has limited power. Faith in Divinity has more cure.

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