Life’s Lessons… Rana Barua on the ‘Tough Love’ advice he got from Apurva Purohit
By Rana Barua
I have spent enough time in the industry and have worked with a variety of people, talent and professionals across all levels in various streams – marketing, sales, programming, creative, planning etc – both in Advertising and in Radio. And always found that the biggest challenge is on how to retain people once you have invested in them and made them part of a core team. With the belief that if the core team sticks together, it will deliver success month on month, year after year. Yet I never understood how till I joined Radio City and worked with probably one of the finest leader, mentor and a fantastic boss – Apurva Purohit.
In this article, I would like to highlight one of the greatest learnings I picked up from her in the four years I worked as part of her core team. There are amazing things one can learn from Apurva but this is her trademark which makes it different and makes her stand out as a true Leader. The team she has built is absolutely one of the best core leadership teams supported by a fantastic senior and middle level who have stuck together for years – thus ensuring success for the company year after year.
How does she Retain all the key people. Simple – ” Tough Love”. That’s what she explained one day to me when I was bitterly complaining about people and how difficult it was to retain them and how attrition was hitting us. In her calm way, she answered: Tough love, Rana! Seemed like an oxymoron but then one understood the meaning and how impact full these two words were. This is what she explained:
Be TOUGH with the people, set clear goals/targets, push them for the unattainable, don’t take no or cannot be done as an answer, ask them to be leaders, tell them to challenge oneself before others, be clear in their thought process, implementation always over strategy for results. She was clear about this and I thought in my mind that – I was doing all the above and yet people thought I was a tyrant and leaving! Then came the LOVE part which stumped me!
At every “tough” step, be comforting, applauding, appreciating, helping, guiding, mentoring, motivating, rewarding – openly in forums, on mails or one-on-one. Let each member know that you are there for him/ her as a boss, 24×7. Stand up, support, defend, own up for the team which works with you. Fiercely guard them, but do not be defensive! The team will rally around you. So be a leader when you lead teams.
And did they? Well I led one of the most amazing teams across Marketing and Programming with the concept of Tough Love. It worked wonders. I have moved on from City but use it as my mantra in the work space. It works most of the times.
Owe it you, Apurva, for sharing with me and am sure all who work or have worked with you one of the finest leadership traits. And to all who read this: Practise it if you can – and be genuine about it. As a Leader you owe it to all the people who believe in you and look upto you – and no one can exemplify this better than Apurva.
Rana Barua is Chief Operating Officer, Law & Kenneth. Life’s Lessons appears on MxMIndia every third Friday of the month. This monthly series has senior professionals and captains from the industry reminiscing about something that was told to them by their bosses, mentors or colleagues that dramatically changed their outlook to work… and life.