What Makes a Great Leader
This is a million-dollar question that countless books, blogs and LinkedIn posts have tried to answer. The one thing that is certain about leadership is that one size doesn’t fit all. Leadership styles must adapt to the people, situations and possibly the task at hand.
In my journey of being mentored by some outstanding leaders and managing a large and diverse team, I have realized that being a great leader boils down to a few skills and behavioral traits. Every successful leader has a keen understanding of business, customer centricity, the ability to inspire and influence people and above all, bounces back from setbacks.
You build these muscles over time with relevant experience, challenges and opportunities. Of course, similar to our physical muscles, if you don’t use it, you lose it!
When one looks across business functions, ‘Sales’ helps you develop these skills continuously. Whether influencing people or customers, learning from failures, building long-term relationships or creating a profitable business – Sales teaches you all this and more.
Unfortunately, many of us look at Sales as a steppingstone to a career in functions perceived to be more glamorous like Product, Marketing or Customer Experience. But truth be told, sales is the best leadership school you can graduate from.
It is high time we put the spotlight back on sales and women in particular, take greater initiative. No points for guessing, Women in Sales is a topic that I am deeply passionate about and we are looking at moving the needle in American Express, one woman at a time!
ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTOR
A graduate from Sri Ram College of Commerce and MBA from Management Development Institute, Bani Saluja has 20 years of experience across Financial Services. She is a three-time winner of the President’s Award at American Express and won the Best Women in Financial Sales by Zars Media, UK in 2015. Bani is passionate about Sales as a path to leadership and is an ardent advocate for Women in Sales.