The debate was all about expectations, and ‘The Balancing Act’ of managing them: What do young team members expect from leaders? And what do team leaders expect from young team members? Jury member Kapil Arora, Co-Chairman and CEO, 82.5 Communications, steered a panel comprising three other jury members - Ashwini Deshpande, Co-founder and Director, Elephant Design, Aditi Shrivastava, Co-founder, Pocket Aces, and Gautam Reghunath, CEO, Dentsu Webchutney - and three winners from IMPACT’s Top 30 Under 30, 2020 list - Anupama Basu, Manager, Innovation, Mindshare; Ranveer Allahbadia aka BeerBiceps, YouTuber, Entrepreneur & Youth Influencer, co-founder, Monk Entertainment; and Sheena Rustagi, Group Account Manager, Ogilvy India - in a debate that indeed exceeded expectations.
The conversation with the jury members was centred around four broad areas:
- How have expectations of youngsters shifted? And how are you managing these shifts?
- What makes a winning culture?
- Longevity and commitment amongst youngsters - your thoughts on these
- If you had one piece of advice to give to the younger people entering your teams. What would that be?
The broad areas of conversation for the youngsters were:
- What behaviour prompts a right swipe? And a left on team leaders?
- The secret sauce to your success, in your current environments
- Your thoughts on longevity, commitment and passion
- If you had to ask your seniors to do more of one thing and stop doing something, what would those be?
Sharing how she has seen the expectations of youngsters evolving over the years, Ashwini Deshpande said, “What hasn’t changed since 1989 is the passion of people in Media, Advertising and Marketing. We are here in these professions because of our choice, it’s not something you get in because you want to make a lot of money, etc. What I have seen change, is the focus of youngsters. Their exposure is tremendously higher than it used to be earlier. The avenues they find themselves and their own self-expressions are changing. I think they are much more inspiring than probably a 30-year-old was in 1989.”
“What I have seen change, is the focus of youngsters. Their exposure is tremendously higher than it used to be earlier.”
Co-founder and Director, Elephant Design
“Reclaim randomness and uncertainty and find your tribe who will always have your back.”
CEO, Dentsu Webchutney
“Experience means only half the battle won, but the people who know these new platforms the best are the younger people.”
Co-founder, Pocket Aces
“If the right motivation comes into the picture, and we are given a free hand, that will really motivate young people to do better.”
Manager, Innovation, Mindshare
“You have to hire young and coach them. Allow youngsters to make mistakes which will help them to learn more.”
YouTuber, Entrepreneur & Youth Influencer
“My advice to seniors would be to take a slight back seat sometimes. That is where a sense of ownership will develop in the younger generation.”
Group Account Manager, Ogilvy India
“There’s a sense of awareness, sense of empathy and empowerment from both sides, willing to come to the middle a little bit and that’s wonderful to see.”
Co-Chairman and CEO, 82.5 Communications
Gautam Reghunath said that the meaning of management has changed and that he believes one single moment with a crazy idea can change everything. “I personally heavily lean towards the fact that management is about motivating people. As a leader, you shift from being always correct to being collaborative,” he added.
Sharing some tips, Reghunath advised young talents to have the courage to look like a fool. He said, “Reclaim randomness and uncertainty and find your tribe who will always have your back.”
Speaking on the shift in expectations, Aditi Shrivastava added, “The ecosystem is constantly changing, sometimes on a weekly basis. And the quick evolution that is happening in digital platforms right now never happened 15-20 years back. Experience means only half the battle won, but the people who know these new platforms the best are the younger people. So they are the ones who help us stay relevant. And of course, we are also grooming them into leadership as well, so, it’s a two-way act between seniors and youngsters.”
Anupama Basu appealed to leaders to continue to work with mutual respect and said that the one thing that can change in the current scenario is a more liberal set-up. Sharing her expectations from leaders, Basu said, “We are living in a changed world today. Not only do we need to evolve quickly but we also need to be sensitive towards the needs of others. That doesn’t just apply to relationships between subordinates and superiors, but for the entire team. Young people look up to their leaders a lot because they have a lot of expectations, they need to constantly prove a point, being at the start of their careers. If the right motivation comes into the picture, and we are given a free hand, that will really motivate young people to do better.”
Ranveer Allahabadia suggested that seniors should empower more 22-year-olds or fresh graduates and hire from colleges which have a huge pool of talent waiting to be tapped. Talking of his expectations from seniors, Allahabadia said, “You have to hire young and coach them. Allow youngsters to make mistakes which will help them to learn more. Youngsters currently are probably the hungriest generation. They will absorb everything that the leadership puts across.”
Sheena Rustagi talked of her experience at Ogilvy and how the organisation has helped her grow. She said, “I have always had the opportunity to be fearless and curious. I had my share of mistakes earlier in my career which only helped me to learn and grow. It’s a sense of ownership that has led me to the position that I am in. My team-mates are my friends. Whatever you put out in the universe, it sends it back in an equal or higher measure.” Calling out to seniors, Rustagi added, “My advice to seniors would be to take a slight back seat sometimes. That is where a sense of ownership will develop in the younger generation.”
Concluding the discussion, Kapil Arora said, “A big thank you to everyone on the panel. You’ve been wonderful, it’s enlightening for me. For one, I’m really convinced that it is nothing about that the balance doesn’t exist, the balance very much exists. There’s a sense of awareness, sense of empathy and empowerment from both sides, willing to come to the middle a little bit and that’s wonderful to see. What’s more heartening, perhaps, is the fact that we’ve got youngsters in whose hands our future is very secure.”