Name: Pankaj Paun
Title: Executive Vice President
Organisation: Infinity Infoway Pvt Ltd
With over 30 years of professional experience, I have successfully navigated through diverse industries such as Graphic Design, Printing, Advertising, and IT, reaching this milestone at the age of 52.
Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!
I hope Pankaj's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
I led various teams at various companies, it is always a big challenge for me to keep balance between management and team, otherwise for leading a team I never face any problems. Because I always led the team as a Leader not as Manager, who are just giving the orders to complete the work.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
Every one had to start working as a team member only, as I did so. I always grab chance to run a mile more then expected from me. Such attitude allows me to get a chance to lead a team.
As a team leader before delegating the work I provide enough information, training and understanding of work and it's final output, such practice boost up them and they are able to deliver expected results. also I understand that no one is perfect every time, sometimes I have to be little harsh, but after sometime I talk with them in-person to clarify my attitude regarding my aggression.
I never miss a single chance to respect and appreciate smallest work done by my team members and I firmly believe that this is the only way to get the appreciation in return as a leader.
I have so many incidents available to describe, let me share one of them.
During the critical pandemic period of Covid-19, as an IT company we are helping Universities and Colleges to conduct Online Examination through our platform.
I found the toughest time of my life to deal with lots of challenges during this period.
Unavailability of skilled/semi skilled workers.
Restrictions from Govt. regarding office hours.
Very less availability of Food and other faclities at office.
Need to perform lots of actions in shortest time frame.
But as a leader I overcome all of them by not just guiding the team I started working with them as an operator.
We served with 100% satisfaction around 1 lakh+ students of 5-7 Universities simultaneously which is more then our capacity as a smaller team of 7 people.
I never forget such a critical period of my life.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I believe that the first session of your day has a maximum potential to start a great day, so I always plan my tasks for the next day in evening. So in the morning I can start working instead of thinking what to do today.
For better output we are using Task Manager. All the members are allow to add tasks with all the details in it. As of this is an Online Tool, any one can track their or their teams' tasks from anywhere.
I wake up at 6, start day with walking and some exercise.
Ready to move towards office at 8.45 am.
After reaching office, tasks for the day are always ready on my desktop as they were entered in the evening day before.
So start with a small team meeting and try to avoid longer discussion.
As day passed having Lunch at 1 pm. This regularity keeps me healthy and fresh whole the day, month and years. As you can see me working fit and fine at 52.
Normally our office ends at 6.30pm, so before ending again a small team meet happens and discuss about next day's tasks and deadlines.
In the evening at Home I love to spend quality time with family for shopping/cooking and watching some TV shows that can keep us smiling.
Normally I sleep by 11.00pm to have a sweet dreams.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
After all every leader is also a team player somewhere.
Let me come directly on the recent incident where I learned a new lesson for better leadership.
Few days ago our MD sir arranged an immediate meeting for all 16 Team Leaders to provide a new lesson from The "Mahabharata" is an ancient Indian epic where the main story revolves around two branches of a family - the Pandav and Kaurav - who, in the Kurukshetra War, battle for the throne of Hastinapur.
Pandav - wants peace and religion
Kaurav - not ready to share family's wealth with brothers. (ethically wrong at all).
As per our MD sir - the main topic of the meeting to discuss characteristics of various leaders.
1. Krushna - Who leads the Pandav Family, A great leader with vision to establish truth and religion in the society.
2. Vidur - Who was participated from Kaurav family, again a leader who favors peace and religion.
Above both leaders have similar characteristics, but in the War they are in opposite parties.
3. Karna - Again a warrior of Kaurav family, he was very knowledgeable and skill person but as he was following wrong side.
4. Bhishma Pitamah: a great warrior from Kaurav side, he follows the rules and boundaries attached with the Ruler, even if rules is not ethically right.
5. Shakuni: A very crucial and unethical person leads Kaurav towards death. He threw himself into the war and played a major part in driving the Kauravas to ruin.
6. Sahadev is one of the Pandav brothers, as a leader he was a very passive type of person and although he knew many things he did not reveal them unless asked.
With the help of discussion on above listed leaders, we came to know various characteristics which we can apply in our daily life.
Leader must be ethical and needs to be on the side of truth and growth not on ruining side. His activeness is necessary while leading the team.
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?
"Mahabharata" is an ancient Indian epic where the main story revolves around two branches of a family - the Pandav and Kaurav.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
Make your team members stronger then you in all the ways.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
It was a time when I was part of a team of 12 graphic designers and company was serving to an international platform. One of the team member who was spending his time in sleeping and not working properly, all other members were very sincere and they do not like his behavior. I took lead and informed management about this and management took serious action on him. My such action was appreciated by management and other members and in very short time all accepted me as their leader.