Leadership: Industry Professional Shares Tips and Tidbits

Woman gives a talk in a classroom.

Kanksha Masrani is a Senior Data and Analytics Manager with Procter & Gamble. A strong advocate for gender equality in the tech industry, she co-leads the Women in STEM Recruiting Team at her company. 

Although Masrani worked hard and excelled in school programs, she attributes much of her leadership skills and success to mobility, having “grabbed every opportunity” that she could.

Masrani had students participate in a mind mapping activity to highlight some of the key traits they attribute to leaders:


While Masrani does point to empathy and communication as important traits for collaboration in the workplace, she notes that these qualities typically only help you get into leadership positions, not excel within them.

“There are certain things that you need to have to be able to make an impact or move the needle in the tech industry,” she explains. Masrani says that strong leadership is dependent on three things: your principles, leading yourself first, and asking for what you need. Below, we highlight those and some other key takeaways from the event. 


Principles

On the Importance of Being Tech Savvy

In her own words

Leaders around the globe don’t just have to work with new technologies, they have to embrace them and they have to embrace the new digital approach to collaborate and communicate with their team members. They don’t have to be tech experts, but they should become tech savvy and digitally fluent to apply that mindset of exploring the best technology for their organization.

On Embracing Digitalization

In her own words

You need to be open to learning new things [yourself], but also move forward with your team. One thing that we know happens with technology, is that it changes every now and then. I have seen people get frustrated because there are new updates and new tools that come and they have to upskill themselves to that. You need to have a growth mindset, set that tone with your team, and move forward together.

On Having a Multidisciplinary Skillset

In her own words

If you look around you see the most compelling career trajectories tend to be nonlinear: involving a shift across different industries and time spent in different functions such as risk technology, operations, or marketing. You need to try out different things within the same domain to be able to help them get to where they [should be]. It is safe to say that non-linear is the new normal. You should learn how to learn and reapply [that skill], rather than being an expert in one thing and forgetting what’s coming next.

On Testing and Learning

In her own words

In today’s fast-paced environment, you need to prioritize being agile and adopting the mantra of [the] test and learn approach. Try to take measured risks when you’re working in a team in this domain, have that innovative mindset, where you know that if you fail, you will always learn something from that and reapply it somewhere else. That’s where proof of concept comes into the picture: if you are a manager, or if you’re a leader, you need to have this culture in your team, so that people are okay to experiment. That they know, if they make a mistake, it’s not the end of the world.

Be a Leader When You Are Not in Charge

In her own words

You are not defined as a leader by the position you are in, but by the principles and the values you have. You can be a leader as an intern, as a level-one employee, or even as a Vice President–but one thing you have to note is that it does not come with the position, but instead comes with practice [of leadership].

Powerful leadership begins with leading yourself. You need to remember that focusing on your strengths is going to give you the momentum to be what you want to be. Averaging out your weaknesses will give you the right direction, which is also equally important.

Masrani’s questions to ask yourself: 

“What are the behaviors I need to possess to get to where I want to be?’

“Where am I today and what do I need to do to get where I want to be?’

If You Don’t Ask, You Won’t Get It

On Asking for Feedback

In her own words

Always initiate. If it fails, it fails, but you’re always one step closer to where you want to be. Feedback should be the greatest thing that you ever had. Critical feedback literally gives you the instructions on how to get there [where you want to be] faster.

On Asking for Mentorship

In her own words

I’ve built relationships with three mentors to help me overcome my fears or give some direction on what I want to be. Don’t wait for things to come to you, grab those opportunities and try to seek and learn as much as you can with the kind of people around you.

Three types of mentors that Masrani recommends having: 

Mentor One: Should be someone inside the industry/company that knows you personally.

Mentor Two: Should be someone outside the industry, but knows you personally as well. Someone you can go to when you have those emotional meltdowns, and you don’t need to think outside the box. They can give you personalized advice because they know you for who you are and your nature.

Mentor Three: Should be someone in the industry, but who doesn’t know you personally. They will be able to help you get a perspective or an honest look at industry trends without worrying about your feelings. You will get straight answers, both critical and constructive feedback.


For more on leadership, check out this session recording.


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