Leadership Lessons from India

This post is copied from discussions inside the RizeClub members area – Jasper Hendrikx shared his personal experiences from an assignment in Pune India.


For the past 1.5 months, I am living in Pune, India on an international assignment. In this post, I would like to share some of the experiences of working in India that I would like to take home when I am returning to Europe.

Focus on people

Striking is the level of employee engagement within the organization. This is the result of strong identification with the purpose of the company, regular events organized for and by employees and a focus of management on employee development. One example of the latter is the teacher-student relationship between manager and employee, which is strengthened by the Indian tradition and charismatic leaders. A second example is regular M+1 meetings in which employees have a conversation with their managers’ manager. These meetings allow employees to give feedback which can directly be used to coach the layer in between. In the end everyone profits.

Colleagues are friends

Whereas in the Netherlands colleagues interact with each other in a formal fashion (aside from the occasional after-work event), in India colleagues are friends. During working hours people tend to interact openly with a high level of intimacy and it is not exceptional for colleagues to spend time together on weekends. As one of my colleagues pointed out: “We might have never met before, but the moment you join the company we become friends and we will help you with any problem, work-related or personal.”. This does not only create a welcoming environment to work in, but it makes people feel safe and open up to each other, which facilitates collaboration.

Self-awareness Bootcamp  

Lastly, being outside of your cultural environment makes you extremely aware of your interactions with others. This makes it a perfect training ground for improving your soft skills. It is an experience that I would encourage anybody to look for.

This post is based on my personal observations and conversations I had (and am having) during my time in India. I would be very happy to hear your thoughts on the topic.


Engage with Jasper within the RizeClub members area or through LinkedIn.


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