"I Believe In Equal Leaders Feeling Empowered To Make the Right Decisions"

Randstad India's Viswanath PS' coaching leadership style mentors future leaders

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Barely a quarter, as Viswanath PS, MD & CEO, Randstad India, the finance specialist says about his new role at the global HR consultancy. Viswanath has helmed several crucial departments at GE and now as the MD & CEO, is already putting in place a skilling academy and developing candidate pools to counter employment challenges. Internally too, he is showing a career path for his employees. Challenges are opportunities to get the best out of him, says the self-confessed people’s person. ‘Vishy’ as he is fondly called, has had interesting defining moments in his career. He says, “One turning point in my career was an opportunity not just limited to finance, but also managing the operations for Motorola in India, setting up the plant from scratch, setting up distribution channels. Then in 1996, I was awarded as the peak performer for the finance function across the company.”

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“My stint at GE taught me to make data-based decisions, at Randstad, it was setting up a shared service function and transforming it into a high-performance unit and then growing as a CFO, and now as a CEO.”

“I aspire to continually achieve more, confront myself, be able to do things which are the hard, high-priority jobs, sometimes very scary, but with the ability to take risks make the most of it and develop myself.”

Commenting on a daring change in his current capacity, he however relates to his previous role, where he carved out a mid-office team to align it into a shared service function and also successfully turned it around.

From taking data-based decisions, and now as the CEO of a global placement consultancy, Viswanath realises it is now about taking more gut-based decisions, keeping the staff motivated and demonstrating an empathic leadership. The specific learnings as a CEO he says are, “One, you always have to keep your spirits high; learn people agility and decision-making agility. Communication is now even more important as people are working remotely.”

He adds, “In the last 100 days, I learned that we have this human-powered leadership framework. So, it is about delighting people, performing today, securing the future and also leading change. And am getting to learn that on a daily basis.”

Viswanath also spends time on reading. “It is also about listening skills, especially when they are all in Hangout. I am also developing my own skills. I am looking at a sales-training and sales leadership training. I just finished a Leading Transformation in a Digital Age leadership development program. I am focusing a lot around emotional intelligence, coaching people and driving a growth mindset.”

Who also understands that for a company to grow, its people have to be nurtured and appreciated.

“So you got to be able to show empathy, compassion as a leader. I realised that I cannot do everything on my own. So, I got to build it, surround myself with a team of people who are as aspirational as I am. Finally I would say, always show gratitude, thank people, wish them well and celebrate the small successes.”

And this reflects in his leadership style too. Says Viswanath, “In our day-to-day operations, I am a lot more democratic. So, I believe in equal leaders feeling empowered to make the right decisions. Coaching style is the style I most often demonstrate, because I always believe that skills do not come with birth. They are acquired. So, you want to coach people, mentor people, build those aspirations and skills which are missing in them, so that they can grow in their leadership skills.”

On the company’s growth under his leadership, “I have been a business partner for Paul Dupuis, my predecessor, and we have been co-driving the business since 2017. From then till 2020-21, our businesses have more than doubled. And our motto is to grow at or above market.”

On his strategies for growth, says Viswanath, “Our strategy continues to being the most trusted partner for our clients and a talented partner for our candidates, where they hit their true potential. So, we want to be their career buddy.”