MEDIABRIEF EXCLUSIVE: Devraj Basu, L&K Saatchi & Saatchi, on 4 important Qs for effective leadership

Happiness- and Wellness enthusiast and EVP North & East for L&K Saatchi & Saatchi, Devraj Basu handles the complex, demanding portfolio of operations for the large agency, and as such, is the leader at the crossroads where multiple, diverse, talented, creative and oft-times idiosyncratic professionals converge and, possibly, sometimes conflict too. So we asked him to share his views on how he manages and enables the diversity of brilliance and professionalism in his role. And he’s come back with this insightful share, The 4 important Qs for effective leadership.

Read on.

Devraj Basu, EVP L&K Saatchi & Saatchi on effective leadership

image - Devraj Basu EVP LK Saatchi & Saatchi on Effective Leadership - MediaBriefAn evergreen Tagore song translates into ‘I never have, and never shall complete knowing myself…’.

Attaining self-awareness is tough yet significant for a business leader as well.

But what is it and how do you recognize this intelligence.

First, let’s identify the four different kinds of intelligence that directly affect one’s capabilities to become a successful leader.

Physical (PQ); Intellectual (IQ); Emotional (EQ); Spiritual (SQ).

These are interrelated and build on each other as one’s intellectual level increases over time.

It is often argued that the order of importance should be SQ, EQ, PQ and IQ, the last one being the basic foundation.

As biological impulses drive our emotions, PQ theory says that individuals need to be knowledgeable in bodily wellness.

SQ is the subject in focus nowadays, and quite worthy of the media attention it receives.

It forms the very foundation of our intelligence and is defined as,

“the ability to behave with wisdom and compassion, while maintaining inner and outer peace, regardless of the situation”.

However, SQ is aligned to EQ , which in turn is known to distinguish great leaders from good ones. Professor Daniel Goleman refers to it as “a group of five skills (Self-awareness, Self-regulation, Motivation, Empathy and Social skill), that enable the best leaders to maximise their and their followers’ performances”.

Self-awareness – the subject of this particular piece – truly stems from Spiritual Intelligence.

‘Self-awareness is knowing one’s emotions, strengths, weaknesses, drives, values and goals – and their impact on others’.

People with a high degree of self-awareness recognize how their own feelings affect them, other people, and their performance. For instance, they know what time one’s mind is best suited for which job or that tight deadlines hamper efficiency.

The advertising industry, has been notorious for having to deal with demanding clients. A manager with high self-awareness will be able to understand the client’s impact on her mood and the deeper reasons for her frustration. She will differentiate the trivial demands from the more important ones and put her anger to constructive use – like discussing the challenge with the client openly.

Also, self-awareness helps a person to truly understand and live his values and goals. He therefore can firmly turn down a job offer that is financially tempting but does not fit into his principles.

As Dr. Goleman points out, ’The decisions of self -aware people mesh with their values; consequently, they often find work to be energizing’.

Self-awareness often shows itself as candor, and an ability to assess oneself objectively. Such people might not be glib but will speak with clarity and conviction and frankly admit to failures with a smile.

In fact, self-deprecating sense of humor is one of their hallmarks.

Even during performance reviews, self-aware people are more comfortable talking about their limitations & strengths and to receive constructive criticism. People with low self-awareness will see it as a threat.

Amongst junior to mid-level managers, this intelligence is identified by observing her participate at a senior level strategy meeting. Knowing that she has clear logic, she might present her ideas persuasively, and not just sit there listening in fearful silence. However, her self-awareness would also keep her in-check on unknown territories – when she becomes just an avid listener.

Dr. Goleman indicates that senior executives don’t give self-awareness the credit it deserves. ‘Candor’ is often mistaken for ‘wimpiness’, and employees who acknowledge their shortcomings are dismissed as “not tough enough”.

In fact, the opposite is true. People generally admire and respect candor, and leaders are constantly required to make decisions that require candid assessment.

People who assess themselves honestly – that is self-aware people – are well suited to do the same for their organization as well.


About Devraj Basu

Devraj is Executive Vice President – North & East, for L&K Saatchi & Saatchi. He has over two decades of varied Advertising and MarCom experience across India and south-east Asia, and has led Marcom enterprises both from the Agency and the Marketing side. Over the years he has been associated with reputed brands such as Wills, Gold Flake, Classic, Nokia, Coca Cola, Siemens, Singtel, Amway, Tuborg amongst many others. A Happiness and Wellness enthusiast, Devraj is fond of reading, travelling and movies.

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