The rich talent India Inc needs to tap

8 feb 2022 12.30 Am IST
The constitution of any country is a foundation and a formal framework vide which any nation builds its governance and a code of conduct to be followed both by the people and the government.
The constitution of any country is a foundation and a formal framework vide which any nation builds its governance and a code of conduct to be followed both by the people and the government. We celebrated the 73rd Republic Day of the country and witnessed the laurels and the nation's military might and prowess. The military of the nation is a pride and an honor because the military follows the ethos of inspirational leaders.

"You should have to fight and fight to win, there is no roof for the losers if you lose don't come back, you will have disgraced the country and the country won't accept you" – Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw.

These are the ethos that officers of the Indian Army follow as their duty towards the organisation wherever they serve/work. The 73rd RDP also witnessed several firsts of woman officers leading contingents and taking on the combat aircraft to mark the excellence in military power. That gives an insight into the representation of woman officers as leaders of the Indian Armed Forces.

With the same series of ground tests to psychological tests to other selection criteria, the mettle in woman officers comes out to lead troops in tough geographical locations across the country. Where we proudly see the mindset shift of authorities and converting Short Service Commission as a Permanent Commission for woman officers. This is also an important step towards the economic wellness of the country as more and more women are going for a stable career which will contribute to per capita income. Women officers have been in the Army since Indian National Army. The tone was set much before what we discussed now about their fitness at various strategic roles. The awareness and glorification of woman officers remain very limited.

As a short service officer, a woman officer serves in the forces for a maximum of 15 years and seeks out release/ retirement with nil financial benefits post-retirement or pension. The woman officers are tested in the following officer-like qualities: Initiative, Teamwork, Courage, Humility, Dependability, which are further honed at the training academy to develop them to lead and command with their transformational leadership. As learning and training on the job involve greater risk and costs, Armed forces spend a quantum of funds from the annual funding in training woman officers and hence they cover all dimensions of leadership because corporate on-the-job training is not possible. The diversity of roles that they do include communicating to various stakeholders at leadership positions, moving out from their comfort zones, building relationships, and influencing teams.

Integration of women officers in corporates

After giving their equal time, energy to the nation and going through similar combat stress as men, on being released as unsecured veterans they begin their second innings of life as in corporates. The integration of woman officers in corporates comes with lots of gaps due to unawareness of their innate leadership competencies. Where the woman is the second-largest force in the country, these women leaders are the largest untapped talent due to trends of industry and ignorance by the organisations.

Such unawareness is a hazard to the economic wellness of the country because they are released with nil pensionary or medical benefits and secondly, they remain underplayed in their talents as mentioned above. This awareness will not only save costs at an organisational level but also at a macro level will give a positive impact on the economic development of the country. India's economy is the youngest economy and still a developing economy. It comes as a responsibility by the industry leaders to tap this talent of Transformational Leadership to create a culture of empowerment and inspiration within the organisations. The kind of diverse situations they have led their lives in VUCA of forces, they are the architects of modern India. They come with transformative leadership with the capability of changing perspectives with their diverse mindset.

With Covid-19 crisis, the nation is on its road to economic recovery, at an organisational level the endeavor of delivering fundamental and lasting change, the organisations must aim high, inspire and empower their employees, and develop superior capabilities and excellent execution with able leadership, and woman veteran officers come with their inspirational and dynamic leadership. These leaders create a sense of ambition and purpose in the organisation which further reduces the attrition rate. At a national level, such changes not only improve the per capita income but also the happiness index of the Indian economy.

Corporates need to be sensitised

When the world economy is on the road to recovery and Indian economy is a young economy and striving for development. The corporates come with a huge responsibility to have a mindset shift to contribute positively to building the young economy to take a step ahead in building the nation from a developing economy to a developed economy. Where the funds allocation is there for the leadership development in an organization, they must exercise the prevailing talent to judiciously utilize the funds.

Where corporates have a responsibility towards society as per the Companies Act, it is imperative for corporates to get an understanding of the diversity of human capital to save their own costs and integrate the abilities of human capital. Integration of woman officers in corporate is not only a good thing but also an economically right thing because it's all about trained talent and on the road to economic recovery the corporates should use this talent which has already been invested upon by the government.

(Writer is an Award-Winning Executive Coach, Speaker, and ex-Army officer. She is a Gallup Professional and IIM L with Strategic Management as her forte)