In the final episode of our Vodcast series, we explored different styles of leadership within the leadership spectrum. Hosted by Sithmi Vithanage, the episode featured two exceptional guests, Ms. Chanukah Gunewardena and Ms. Ashinsanie Weerasinghe, who shared their insights on these leadership styles. Ms. Chanukah Gunewardena is the Manager of Talent Acquisition & Employer Branding for IFS. She was joined by our co-host for the 3rd season, Ms. Ashinsanie Weerasinghe, who excels in her career as a TV personality, a public speaker and an event compere.

 

Innovative and Conventional Leadership

Without convention, there’s no innovation“, both our guests emphasized. Ms. Ashinsanie added that we can achieve better outcomes if we think outside the box, with this ‘box’ being the convention. Ms. Chanukah further elaborated on how the presence of these two leadership styles depends on the situation or environment. She highlighted that certain industries require innovation more than others. Ms. Ashinsanie agreed, noting that situations or industries define the type of leadership needed— innovative or conventional leadership.

Transformational Leadership

 Transformational Leaders help others to go through a journey of transformation to arrive at their highest potential. Our guests, Ms. Chanukah and Ms. Ashinsanie also shared the same perspective. Drawing the opposite, transactional leadership, Ms. Chanukah clearly explained how transformational leadership is all about allowing someone to grow with encouragement and empowerment. “People learn from mistakes”, she said and these mistakes guide them to the right path. According to her, leaders should give their followers the right foundation, ensuring that the necessary skills and competencies are met. Then they will be able to do their job right. Ms. Ashinsanie recounted one of her personal experiences during the discussion. She has been guided by a transformational leader for years. This is a mentor in her Toastmasters club who guided her to go beyond societies’ formula of doing things. “Transformational leaders never say what to do, but instead show the options’’, she believes based on her experience. And as a result of being guided by such a leader, she said that her passion met her profession.

Leadership and Technology

There are two ways in which Leadership and Technology come together: The Impact of Technology on Leadership and the Impact of Leadership on Technology. Ms. Ashinsanie shared her insights about the Impact of Technology on Leadership. She believes that everyone has to keep up with technology to move forward in life. As a leader, communication is important, because today technology has transformed ways of communication. Back in the day, decision-making had to wait, due to the physical communication methods. However, today, giving access to information and assigning someone to a project is just one click away. This has also heightened transparency and accuracy, accommodating remote leadership. On the other hand, Ms. Chanukah believes that the impact of leadership on Technology comes into action when the leader uses this technology carefully. Nowadays, everything is done online and because of that leaders should be mindful not to misuse this technology.  Moreover, they should safeguard the confidentiality of the shared information. At IFS also there are employees working from home across the country and even out of Sri Lanka. All this has been through that empowerment the leader has given with the right use of technology.

Collaborative Leadership

Collaboration is one of the core values at IFS. Ms. Chanukah personally adapts collaborative leadership on a daily basis with diverse teams at IFS. Such leadership, according to Ms. Chanuka, should ensure that everyone is being heard and their contributions are considered in decision-making. It’s a process in which everyone should take part, not just one person. Through supporting each other, everyone comes together to achieve common goals. Additionally, Ms. Ashinsanie emphasizes that when a team is not given any space to think, it hampers their ability to work towards a common goal. When individuals feel valued and respected, engagement increases. Moreover, as an individual who works with the new generation on a daily basis, Ms. Ashinsanie recognizes that empowering them to express their creative ideas leads to superior outcomes.

Inclusive Leadership 

Inclusive leadership goes hand in hand with collaborative leadership. According to Ms. Ashinsanie, inclusive leadership makes everyone feel included and valued. A person’s background is irrelevant, she said, and what truly matters are their skills and competencies. Diversity fosters numerous achievements by enhancing employee engagement. Taking the global leader Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple and the first openly gay CEO, as an example, she further delved into what inclusive leadership is. Tim Cook has accommodated minority groups and accepted them for who they are. When a leader accepts themselves, others also accept them. At IFS also, employees are encouraged to be themselves, Ms. Chanukah added to the discussion. Quoting Simon Sinek, she noted that yelling at someone is better than ignoring them, bringing out the importance of getting people involved. She emphasized that yelling is indeed not right, however, ignoring employees would be worse, because it could kill their spirit. At IFS, only the right skills and competencies matter, not anything else.

 Service Leadership

‘Moment of Service’ – follows the tagline at IFS. “That’s where everyone comes together to create that winning moment to give the best to our stakeholders” Ms. Chanukah commented. IFS gives solutions to different industries in different parts of the world. Therefore, service leadership is at the core of IFS. In her HR role at IFS, she further explained how IFS has created their employees a good environment to work in, emphasizing the importance of Service Leadership. Ms. Ashianie added her Toastmasters experience as a fitting example for service leadership. Toastmasters create an environment where everyone could learn and grow, they prioritize the growth of others above anything. “It is a beautiful way service leadership comes on board” she added. Further, she agreed that AIESEC also aligns with the same, serving youth to grow into better leaders.

Self-leadership

As important as leading others is, so is leading yourself. Our guests shared their insights on this. In a corporate context, according to Ms. Chanukah, as a leader, you should never let your emotions affect your employees. You must ensure you are in control of your emotions because a leader is responsible for the whole team. On the other hand, Ms. Ashinsanie emphasized the importance of self-leadership with her personal experience. She is a leader on her own with her multiple roles as a TV personality, public speaker, and event compere. As an individual who works with several teams, being a self-leader requires discipline, and this sets the foundation for becoming a leader of a team.

Personal Branding

Personal branding is important for everyone. It is an investment you make for yourself. From your way of talking to your way of dressing, you present yourself to the world. “Personal branding is your identity card,” added Ms. Ashinsanie, with her own experience throughout her journey of personal branding. According to her, while talents and skills play a huge role, personal branding does as well. As a person who interviews candidates daily, Ms. Chanukah believes that how a candidate presents himself/herself is what distinguishes them, because everyone has the same qualifications anyway. An interview is only for a limited time, and at the end of the day, what is remembered is their personality. Moreover, she added that personal branding is crucial at a leadership level as well, because everyone looks up to the leader. However, according to Ms. Ashinsanie, Personal Branding is often misunderstood today as simply being active on social media. Rather it is something that speaks for itself through your personality, skills and experience.

Written by 

Nethma Hettigedara

Content Writer

National Showcasing Team 23.24

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