Name: Manu Pandey
Title: Vice President Customer Experience Management
Organisation: Swiss Re
A meticulous Change Leader and an advocate of Operational Excellence, Manu Pandey is recognized as a trailblazer in 360 degree transformation of business/customer experience, expanding Expand the Bottom and Top-Line, and spearheading the PMO office.
With his most recent pursuits, pre-dominantly in the EMEA region, he champions Return on Investment, Resource Management, and Cost Management Programs. An individual who has continuously evolved customer experiences with technology and business process optimization, Manu persistently locates scope for Innovation, and proactively actualizes it.
Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!
I hope Manu's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
Leading during periods of uncertainty and change has always been challenging. Making decisions with incomplete information, dealing with ambiguity, and maintaining team morale during difficult times are all parts of this.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
My journey to leadership was a gradual one, filled with continuous learning and self-improvement. I started as an individual contributor, but as I developed technical skills and business acumen, I was given the opportunity to manage small teams. Over time, with proven results, dedication, and building trust with my team and superiors, I was entrusted with larger teams and projects, eventually growing into a leadership role.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
My day usually starts early with some quiet time for personal reflection and planning for the day. After a brief exercise and breakfast, I start working, with my mornings typically dedicated to high-priority tasks and strategic thinking. The afternoons often involve meetings and collaborative work. I wrap up the workday by summarizing accomplishments and preparing the to-do list for the next day. My evenings are usually reserved for family, relaxation, and self-care, with a little time for continuous learning.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
One lesson that's been particularly resonant recently is the importance of empathetic leadership. Especially in challenging times, showing understanding, acknowledging team members' struggles, and providing support can make a significant difference in team morale and productivity.
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?
"Start with Why" by Simon Sinek has greatly influenced my leadership. The book's concept of beginning with the 'why' helped me realize that to inspire and lead effectively, I need to clarify the purpose behind our team's work. This approach has significantly improved how I communicate goals and expectations, leading to increased motivation and alignment within the team.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
I would advise them to embrace continuous learning. Leadership is a journey, not a destination, and the best leaders are those who never stop learning, growing, and adapting.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
Early in my leadership career, I was leading a project that hit significant roadblocks. Instead of taking control, I involved the team in problem-solving. We worked through the challenges together, learning a lot in the process. The project was successful, but more importantly, the experience fostered a sense of shared ownership and resilience within the team that lasted far beyond that single project.