What's the Leadership Style of India's Youngest Billionaire?

It has a lot to do with keeping the staff happy and inspired, says Paytm's Vijay Shekhar Sharma

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“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.” 

Vijay Shekhar Sharma is a big fan of Jim Morrison. The founder of Paytm, India's biggest mobile payments business, often quotes him in his interviews. And he swears by those words. This intense focus and hunger for innovation have played a big role in making him one of India’s most successful entrepreneurs.

But for the 40-year-old, the journey from a village in Uttar Pradesh to being the youngest billionaire of India has been nothing short of a rollercoaster ride. When starting out, he struggled to secure initial funding for One97 Communications (the parent company of Paytm), and in August this year, he had Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway pump in $346 million in return for a 2 per cent stake in One97.

What has helped him in this journey, besides other things, is his scale of ambition (“We have to think that we are No.1 in the world. The day we think like that, the world changes for us,” he said at the recent TechSparks conference, organized by media platform YourStory in India’s Silicon Valley, Bengaluru) , “not caring about the naysayers” and the way he leads his company.

We asked Sharma what his leadership style is, and this is what he had to say:

Lead by Example

If you show your team that you are open to do every task out there and ready to get into tough tasks by yourself, they follow. Setting an example of expectations is always good.

Give Them a Chance

Every person doing something for the first time won’t do it in the best possible way. Best is to work with them and give honest feedback of what you liked and what could have been done better.

That way they learn and become savvy.

And in case that person isn’t doing good, the feedback lets the person know of gaps and open them for a change of role.


Always celebrate the performances of teams and their outliers. Be public. Be open and celebrate success together.

Pooja Singh

Written By


A stickler for details, Pooja Singh likes telling people stories. She has previously worked with Mint-Hindustan Times, Down To Earth and Asian News International-Reuters.