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7 Questions on Leadership with Payal Nanjiani

Name: Payal Nanjiani

Title: CEO and Founder

Organisation: The Payal Nanjiani Leadership Company, USA

Recognized by the TIMES Group, Payal Nanjiani is an Indian-American globally acclaimed leadership expert, executive coach, and author.

As an executive coach, Payal Nanjiani has advised and coached leaders of Fortune 500 companies, CEOs, top executives, and government officials. She is one of the world's most accomplished and in-demand executive coaches.

A prominent figure in the corporate world, her training and coaching have brought about a transformation in the thinking and behavior of more than a million professionals globally.

Payal has been a highly sought-after leadership speaker for organizations and conferences that have chosen Payal for their most important events. Her talks and training help people achieve a leadership breakthrough like never before.

In 2019 she launched The Payal Nanjiani Leadership Podcast to help people believe in their innate quality to lead and succeed. The podcast, which has been rated in the top 10% globally, features some of the most prominent leaders, spiritual gurus, and CEOs in the world.

A New York award-winning author, Payal’s books help you be a peak performer and reach your next level.

Payal has been honored and featured extensively on America’s Fox 50 news channel, Mumbai Mirror, Times of India news, global magazines, & multiple worldwide media for her work in leadership.

Payal lives with her philosophy - 'Leadership starts and ends with YOU.’™ & believes that you can achieve success in any economy.

Official Website:

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

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


Jonno White

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

The most challenging part is to effectively lead yourself. Most of the time we don't believe in our abilities and dreams.

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

As soon as I completed my MBA, I had an opportunity to work in a mid-size company. They did not have a Human Resource department back then and I took it upon myself to help them set that up. Within six months of setting up the department, and helping people grow in the roles of Human Resources, I grew too and was given the role of the HR head. Since then the journey has been full of growth and learning.

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

Well, I love routines. And I firmly believe that structuring my workdays is crucial for maintaining productivity, effectiveness, and my overall well-being.

A particular day in life is divided into morning routine, afternoon routine, evening routine, and night routine.

I am an early riser and my day starts with yoga meditation and some herbal tea followed by breakfast. My mornings are non-negotiable. Then I get to the work tasks and create any content I need for my clients.

Most of the meetings I take after lunch.

For a major part of the week, I am either coaching senior leaders or conducting training at corporates.

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

There is a quote of mine that became very popular and that's my main leadership lesson: Success never discriminates between a man and a woman. Success only occurs if you are interested and truly committed to getting what you want.

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?

The book "Tough Times Never Last but Tough People Do" was gifted to me by my father when I completed my undergrad. The book shows you how to build a positive self-image, no matter what your problem. It helps you understand how we stand in our way of success.

In my own life, before being recognized as the only woman from India to be a leadership speaker, executive coach, and author in America, I was playing small in my career. I was trying to fit in.

The book taught me to overcome my inner challenges and cross all the obstacles. It helped me define who I am and stay put during challenging times.

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

Don't let anyone talk you out of your dreams. And dreams don’t just magically come true! If you want something to happen, you need to make it happen!

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

The year I got promoted to a leadership role, I remember I was super excited. Not just for myself but also for me. So I started encouraging my team to grow, climb upward, and see what I see from the top. The more I did that, the more I found myself distancing myself from them. I could not understand why they weren't motivated to climb upward when I told them exactly what to do. Then one evening, while sitting at a café, sipping my favorite Chocolate Java Chip Frappuccino, I saw something that fascinated me. While the staff was busy taking orders, making coffee, billing, and delivering, the manager of the café was with her team at the back of the counter, showing them precisely what to do, and how to do it and enjoying with them while taking them ahead in their game. I loved the smiles on their faces.

This incident made me realize that real leaders live among their people. They did not just tell them what to do or show them how to do it. They live daily among them. They laugh with them; they share their concerns; they connect with their people heart to heart, mind to mind.

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