In more than 20 years of experience in supply chain management, Ram Chary has held numerous leadership positions in various companies and industries. He holds a master’s degree in finance and operations management from the Krannert School of Business at Purdue University, and was Executive Vice President at Global Commercial Services.
“Leadership” is a word that has been used often, often taking the place of “bosses” or “management” or “executives”. Yet, as someone who has worked his way up the corporate ladder, Ram V. Chary knows full well that these terms are not exactly interchangeable. True leadership, he argues, is not just associated with a title, but rather, is a set of qualities that are manifested regardless of position or market share. Good companies start with great ideas, but great companies start with great ideas that are envisioned and executed by great leaders. Below are some qualities that make a great leader:
1. Honesty — Ethics and personal accountability are more than just mere compliance with regulations. It is an attitude from which all other company attributes spring forth. A leader exhibits honesty and transparency in all transactions and decisions, and expects the same from his or her people. After all, a business is a reflection of the people who work in it, and that includes its leaders, management, and rank-and-file.
2. Hard Work — Employees are inspired by a leader who is willing to fight in the trenches along with everyone else. This approach achieves two goals. First, the employees get to know the leader on a deeper level and understand his decision-making process. Second, the leader has an ear to the ground and is able to find out what is actually going on in his or her business.
3. Commitment — Whether it is signing a job order or promising a summer party, a good leader holds true to his or her word. A strong sense of commitment is the bedrock of credibility, both among clients and within the company. If you have to work extra hours just to fill an order, don’t just leave the office at 5:00 PM; get in the warehouse and lift boxes! This sends a strong message that you are not just committed to your clients, but to your employees as well.
4. Respect — Most of the time, bosses forget why they hired their people in the first place. Having respect for employees involves recognizing not just their abilities, but also their limitations. As much as it would be tempting to yell at someone who is not performing up to par or is slacking off at work, it is best to hold one’s tongue and tell the underperforming employee in private. At the same time, when praising an employee, do it in public.
As a business leader, Ram Chary aspires to all of these traits, and has proven himself to be a more than capable business leader. He hopes that with this series of articles about leadership, he inspires a new generation of leaders.