Good qualities for leadership include the ability to rally your people around and motivate them towards achieving a common goal. You meet Mr. O. P. Singh and you realise the energy he exudes does just that. You interact with him a little more and he will keep repeating “Believe in yourself”. He shares “The phrase ‘Believe in yourself’, is not just a leadership quote for me, neither it is a leadership mantra, it is a chant I keep repeating to myself and others.”
All leaders and successful people in the world often talk about the good qualities for leadership that one should imbibe to achieve success and growth. We had the pleasure of interacting with one of our seasoned leaders, Mr. O. P. Singh, President – Sales and Marketing, at Cadila Pharmaceuticals, who has been working in the Indian Pharmaceuticals industry for more than 30 years and asked him to share his journey and inspire others to become future leaders.
“There’s a very famous saying that Rome was not built in a day. Just like Rome, good qualities for leadership and successful careers are not built in a day. To build a fulfilling career, just like a city, you need a strong foundation, quality construction elements and patience. To develop good qualities for leadership you have to work on yourself, every day. Over the many years that I’ve worked in the industry, I have picked up some qualities that have helped me build a good career.
Your roots should help you remain humble. I often say this to all my colleagues, never forget where you came from. Remember your struggle because it is essentially the foundation of where you are today. The values and lessons you learn in the first 10 years of your career will determine who you will be as a professional. These are lessons which will guide you to help others achieve success. After all, as a good leader, your success lies in your team’s success.
I am, what the marketers say, a baby boomer. When we started working in the industry, the opportunities were less and the competition was high. India was still struggling in trade and economy. I belonged to a middle-class family who owned a small business. I completed my schooling from a Hindi-medium school. After I completed my graduation from Calcutta University, I was asked to join the family business. But having other dreams, I denied and looked for other options.
It was then I was attracted to the pharma industry. I was offered the job of a Sales Executive in a multi-national Pharmaceutical company. Since none of my family members had any idea about the corporate sector, I was essentially on my own. I relied heavily on my peers and seniors and kept learning from them about the various aspects of the business. The initial years were a lot of struggle. From achieving targets to developing relationships with the doctors, it was a difficult ride until I found my grip. It took me time but this learning attitude moulded me into the professional I am today.
A tip for all – Always look for opportunities to learn. When you start believing that you can learn from anybody, it will only make you wiser and help you stay grounded.
Embrace feedback and rejections. Every leader in the world will ask you to not be afraid of rejections and feedback. However, it is equally challenging to not be bogged down by rejections. When you have worked extremely hard for a certain project and when you fail at it, it can be heart breaking. A good quality for leadership is to let go, brush yourself off and get going.
After completing my 12th standard, I wanted to pursue medical science as my career option. I was highly driven and had been working hard to ace the exam. It was a hard blow when the results came out and I wasn’t selected. I didn’t have a backup plan and was completely clueless. Since I already had interests in biology, I decided to pursue B.Sc. in Biology from the Calcutta University. Even though I had faced rejection from the field that I wanted to pursue, I didn’t give up hope. I worked hard to turn around the fate of my career and my current stature is plenty of evidence to validate the hard work.
I won’t tell you that these rejections will help you learn. You obviously know that. But what I will tell you is that it doesn’t have the power to kill you or your spirit. And as they say, what doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger. Life will never be easy, and it will keep on throwing challenges at you. You can only fight them and make yourself stronger. Sailing through life will then become easier.
Every achiever needs a good mentor. They always say, you learn on the job. But they never tell you how. If not for the brilliant colleagues, friends and mentors all around us, learning on the job would have been difficult.
One of my seniors in my previous organization helped groom my career. I am eternally grateful to him for motivating me to work hard and guiding me at every step of the way. Since I was just starting out in my career, his experience and expertise helped me identify my strengths and work towards success.
Always try to look for mentors and helpful colleagues. Don’t take them for granted. And don’t just network with acquaintances. Build relationships with people. That is what will help you on your journey.
If you keep going and work hard you will get there. There is truly no substitute really for hard work and perseverance. Luck, talent and networks can take you to one level, but only hard work can help you achieve greatness.
I don’t even remember, the number of years I’ve spent on the ground building relations with doctors. Be it extreme heat, rains, or winters, I would every day walk out the door with the determination to meet doctors, our customers. I was consistent and had high will power. Hence I could achieve the unattainable. I was promoted to the position of Area Business Manager in just 2 years instead of the normal period of 5 years. My seniors recognized my hard work and believed I could lead the business. There was no looking back.
People and the way of working in the industry have changed over the time. But hard work is irreplaceable. So don’t be afraid of hard work. More than smart employees, top employers are looking for hard workers. As long as you are honest and hardworking, you are well on your way to success.
My journey has not been easy. But whose is? I am not the first person to struggle to reach the top and I, definitely, will not be the last. But these are a few examples that I feel can help others from my journey and hopefully motivate others to carve a successful future for themselves and develop good qualities for leadership. Finally, don’t forget to enjoy where you are. Keep searching for success and growth and once in a while, take a break and enjoy what you have. And yes one more time- Believe in yourself.”