Issue - July/August 2022


A Transformational Approach to Leadership

Anu Dattani, Vice President, Universal Relocations Inc

It has been a demanding challenge to transition into the leadership position of a family business. While my father’s principal priorities over the past two decades have been centered around growth and development, I seek to prioritize sustainability and inclusivity as I ascend the corporate ladder. Navigating the hurdles put forth by the pandemic, further exacerbated by a volatile international political climate early in my career, has been a steep learning curve that has accelerated my ability to improvise efficient solutions.

The most important value I aim at demonstrating as a leader is to have a sense of purpose in my day-to-day work that can grow into larger, more meaningful changes. I believe that the forthcoming younger business leaders will fundamentally challenge and transform the principles of the corporate world. An increasing focus on the importance of social consciousness with an emphasis on ethical goals alludes to an inevitable reorganization in the way our work life currently transpires. I want to eradicate the notion that businesses are inherently exploitative, in regards to both nature and human labor. I don’t believe the corporate world and environmentalists should be approached as antipodal entities facing off against each other in pursuit of a single ultimate winner, but rather collaborate to sustain rapid socio-economic development. Giving in to the call for a complete dissolution of any business is not the solution in a world growing increasingly reliant on the supply chain industry. However, a sincere re-evaluation of the ways in which we meet the demands of a population accustomed to instant gratification while being conscious of our impact could easily bring about a systemic transformation.

The old-school hierarchy system is also a structure that I have been working towards eradicating at my office. I believe that scaling and positioning employees with respective designations and assigning a set of responsibilities limits their growth both professionally and as an individual. The traditional pyramidical hierarchy where few employees are prioritized over the majority promotes a toxic work environment as it relies on undermining the labor of a specific class of employees in order to boost the importance of a select few. Hierarchy is not essential to streamlining workflow; in fact, I have personally experienced that working together and taking responsibility for both desirable and undesirable outcomes as a team has improved productivity and efficiency. We work as a well-oiled machine and a dysfunction in any part of our process, regardless of the designation of the employee responsible for it, is a responsibility shared by all of us as a team. Therefore, I approach our successes with the same model—our victories are credited to every employee involved in every step of the process in helping us deliver our commitments.

Another major barrier I had to overcome was hiring, training, and retaining young talent. With a progressively higher importance to ethical practices and feasible work-life balance for the oncoming workforce of Millennials and Gen Z, I seize every opportunity to create an inclusive workplace where they’re encouraged to offer their input to foster their professional growth. I also try my very best to allocate flexibility in the office to make room for their cultural obligations or mental health breaks to prevent burnout.