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7 Questions on Leadership with Himanshu Sharma

Name: Himanshu Sharma

Title: Chairperson

Organisation: Ëlan Inc Sh.p.k

Himannshu Sharma is a multifaceted leader and influencer renowned for his contributions to the fields of sustainable development, education, and international relations. As the Chairperson and Managing Director of Ëlan Inc Shpk, a distinguished consulting firm headquartered in Albania, he has made substantial contributions to the world of business and politics.

Himannshu has also held key positions, including serving as the European Union's Climate Pact Ambassador, Advisor for the EBRD, Director of International Affairs and Intergovernmental Relations with Diplomatic Relations and Policy Foundation, and Vice President of Indian Overseas Congress for the Balkan region. These roles underscore his commitment to addressing critical global issues and fostering international cooperation.

With a remarkable career marked by dedication and a commitment to positive change, Himannshu Sharma continues to leave an indelible mark on regional and global levels, earning recognition and respect for his leadership and influence in various domains.

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

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


Jonno White

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

I've found the most challenging aspect to be the need for effective time management and balancing my various roles and responsibilities. Juggling my positions as the Chairperson and Managing Director of Ëlan Inc Shpk, the European Union's Climate Pact Ambassador, Advisor for EBRD, Director of International Affairs and Intergovernmental Relations with Diplomatic Relations and Policy Foundation, and any other role that I manage, demands a great deal of organisation and prioritisation.

Each of these roles carries its own unique set of demands and responsibilities, and ensuring that I can give my best to each one while also maintaining a healthy work-life balance can be quite challenging. However, it's a challenge I willingly embrace because I'm passionate about the positive impact I can make in each of these domains. Finding the right balance and maximising my effectiveness as a leader is an ongoing journey, but one that I find incredibly rewarding.

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

Becoming a leader was a journey shaped by a combination of factors. Early in my career, I demonstrated a strong work ethic, a passion for my chosen fields, and a commitment to making a positive impact. These qualities earned me opportunities to take on leadership roles in various organizations and projects.

I consistently sought out challenges and responsibilities, not shying away from them. This proactive approach allowed me to build a reputation as someone who could be relied upon to drive results and lead teams effectively.

Over time, I also invested in my own education and personal growth, which enhanced my knowledge and skills. I actively networked and collaborated with professionals who shared my vision and values, creating a supportive community that encouraged my growth as a leader.

In each role I took on, I learned valuable lessons and gained experience that further honed my leadership abilities. Whether it was in sustainable development, education, diplomacy, or any other area, I strived to make a meaningful difference, and that commitment played a crucial role in my journey toward becoming a leader in today's complex political landscape.

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

My typical workday is carefully structured to ensure productivity and a balance between professional and personal life. Here's a general outline of how I structure my day:

Morning Routine: I wake up early, usually around 6:00 AM. I start with a morning routine that includes lite exercise, meditation, and a healthy breakfast to energise myself for the day.

I review my schedule and prioritise tasks. I focus on the most important and urgent items first.

I work in focused blocks of time, often 2-3 hours each, with short breaks in between. During these blocks, I tackle meetings, strategic planning, and key responsibilities.

I take a break for a balanced lunch, either with colleagues or on my own, to recharge and refuel.

In the afternoon, I continue to address tasks and work on projects, keeping my energy levels up and maintaining my focus.

I allocate time for meetings, collaborations, and communication with teams, partners, and stakeholders.

End-of-Day Review: I wrap up the day by reviewing what I've accomplished and make a to-do list for the following day.

In the evening, I unwind with personal activities, spend time with family and friends, and ensure I have time for self-care.

I aim to get 7-8 hours of sleep to ensure I'm well-rested and ready for the next day.

This structured routine allows me to balance my demanding work responsibilities with personal well-being, ensuring I can continue to excel as a leader.

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

A recent leadership lesson that I've been reminded of is the importance of adaptability and resilience in the face of unexpected challenges. The world is constantly evolving, and as a leader, I must be prepared to pivot and adjust my strategies when unforeseen circumstances arise.

The COVID-19 pandemic served as a stark reminder of this lesson. It required me to swiftly adapt to remote work and find new ways to lead and support my teams. It reinforced the significance of clear communication, empathy, and a strong sense of purpose in keeping everyone motivated and aligned during uncertain times.

The experience taught me that even the most well-thought-out plans can be disrupted, but it's how we respond to these disruptions that truly defines our leadership. Flexibility, resilience, and the ability to learn from challenges are critical qualities for any leader in today's ever-changing world.

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?

One book that has had a profound impact on my leadership is "Leaders Eat Last" by Simon Sinek. This book emphasises the importance of servant leadership and the well-being of one's team members.

The book reminded me that as a leader, my primary responsibility is to support and empower my team, rather than seeking personal glory or success. It reinforced the idea that a leader's role is to create a safe and nurturing environment where team members can thrive and grow.

One specific story from the book that resonated with me was the concept of the "circle of safety." It illustrated how leaders who prioritise the well-being of their team members create a sense of trust and camaraderie that leads to increased loyalty, collaboration, and ultimately, better results.

This book reshaped my approach to leadership, encouraging me to focus more on the people I lead, their needs, and their development. It's a constant reminder that effective leadership is not about titles or authority but about serving and caring for those entrusted to your leadership.

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

If I could offer just one piece of advice to a young leader, it would be to never stop learning. Embrace a growth mindset and continuously seek opportunities for self-improvement. Read widely, learn from mentors, and be open to feedback. The world is ever-changing, and leadership evolves with it. Staying curious and committed to personal and professional growth will make you a more effective and adaptable leader over time.

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

Certainly, one meaningful story that comes to mind is when my team and I were working with a client in the solar power industry. We had an ambitious project underway, but then the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

As the world faced uncertainty and lockdowns, our project faced significant setbacks. Supply chains were disrupted, and our team had to quickly adapt to remote work. It was a challenging time for everyone involved.

However, what stood out was the resilience and determination of our team. We came together, brainstormed innovative solutions, and found new ways to keep the project moving forward despite the obstacles. We also prioritized the safety and well-being of our team members, making sure they had the support they needed during a difficult period.

Ultimately, we not only completed the project successfully but also learned valuable lessons about adaptability, teamwork, and the importance of looking out for one another during tough times. This experience reinforced the idea that even in the face of adversity, strong leadership and a committed team can overcome almost any obstacle.

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