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HindustanTimes Sun,20 Apr 2014

A leader must have a mind of his own: Rituraj Sinha

Mahua Venkatesh, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, October 03, 2013
First Published: 00:02 IST(3/10/2013) | Last Updated: 07:33 IST(3/10/2013)

At 32, Rituraj Sinha, promoter of the largest Indian security services firm SIS, has 72,000 employees working under him. His aim is to create 900 jobs every year. An alumnus of The Doon School and Leeds University Business School, Sinha joined SIS Group in 2002 - which was founded by his father RK Sinha in 1980. Passionate about his work, Sinha has been instrumental in establishing independent subsidiaries of SIS Group and effectively morphing the group into a total service solutions company from being just a security company. In an interview with HT, Sinha says when dealing with employee issues, it's more important to be fair than to be nice. Edited excerpts:

A leader plays a critical role in the hiring process. What do you keep in mind while recruiting your key team members considering this is a fairly new business model in India?
SIS Group has over 70,000 permanent employees.  We strongly believe that "people make the difference". Therefore, the SIS top management team lays great stress on recruitment - development - retention of managers.

As a leader, you would have had to take several decisions which may not have been palatable for your employees. How do you handle such situations?
While taking decisions, I simply try to focus on doing the 'right thing' for the business.  If a decision is in the interest of the business, it would mostly be good for the people involved. More often than not, I have seen that eventually people recognise and acknowledge the right decision, even if it was not a popular one. Also, when dealing with employee issues, it is more important to be fair than to be nice.

How do you motivate your own employees?
The principles of motivating people remain quite similar whether it is a team sport, fighting force or teams in the corporate world. A 'coach-like' approach is the key. Linking an individual's role to organisational goals is important. It engages people and drives performance. Positive recognition is the most essential. People like to be recognised and appreciated for a job well done. Also, to motivate, one must be able to inspire. And to inspire, one must work towards becoming a role model.

What has been your leadership mantra?
Leadership is about vision, the ability to look beyond the apparent, even in difficult times. It is about being able to build and carry teams - in good times and through rough patches. It is also about the ability to take decisions. It is good to be receptive to divergent views and inputs but a leader must have a mind of his own. Leadership is about taking the next step.

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