We continue the exploration of the meaning of leadership with the leaders from different areas of work. This time my guest is Sushmita Mishra Sahoo, who is an experienced HR practitioner leading passionate people practice for more than 17 years in global, diverse multinationals and local matrix organisations i.e. Siemens Healthineers, Siemens Energy, Samtel Engineering Services, Larsen & Toubro,  etc. She has operated in international environment contributing in global roles as Strategic HR Business Partner and as Learning Consultant. She is an MBA from Utkal University, India and a Diploma in Training and Development from ISTD, New Delhi, India.

You can listen to our conversation below:

Sushmita painted beautiful pictures with her words about Leadership.

She said being a leader is like being a gardener. You need to understand every plant: some of them give flowers, some of them don’t. Each of them need different levels of sunlight and nurturing. As a leader you need to know each plant is different, acknowledge and cherish their diversity, know what they need and also know when to prune them.

She emphasised multiple times that leadership has nothing to do with your job title. It is a position you take. It is about extending yourself and your horizon of responsibilities for the benefit of another person, a group or an organisation. It is a choice, a decision and taking full accountability and ownership of the outcome of the decision.

She shared many personal stories in our conversation where she chose to lead, which range from leading in the family to leading your manager and leading the organization.

I appreciated her stories so much because I felt how personal and emotional they were for her and she courageously and generously shared them to benefit us. She said “True test of a leader is the level of vulnerability that they can expose. Authentic leader is based on the trust that the leader has for the people that work with him and trust is not possible without vulnerability. “

She also generously left the stories in their pure form without her commentary saying “How you comprehend the story is based on the context you are in in a certain moment.” She left it to you to connect it to your experience, and take what you want and need from her stories. That was another leadership position she chose to take because as she said “Leadership is not giving the path but giving the freedom to others to lead themselves.”

I loved how she connected leadership to the person’s being. She said “Leadership is not about me, but happens through me: my vulnerability, my courage and my self-conviction.”

I am very grateful to Sushmita. She inspired me. If you also feel inspired, let Sushmita know by connecting with her on LinkedIn.