Deepak Thakur is currently the CEO – Hybrid and Energy Storage at Sterling and Wilson Pvt Ltd. He has had an enriching corporate career spanning over 27 years of experience in various conglomerates and multinationals. Prior to joining Sterling & Wilson, Deepak has worked with companies like L&T, Mahindra and Mahindra, Thermax, and Honeywell in various executive and leadership roles.
Here we have an account from Here we have an account from Deepak Thakur, CEO – Hybrid & Energy Storage, Sterling & Wilson Pvt Ltd.
With which job role/ position did you start your career?
My first job was with Larsen & Toubro Ltd, as a Management Trainee, in the Cement Machinery Division.
When did you join your present organisation?
I joined Sterling and Wilson in 2017.
What kind of leadership style do you follow in your organisation?
I follow affiliative and pace-setting leadership styles. These styles are very effective when devising a roadmap, creating a sense of togetherness and collaboration to work towards a common vision.
How are you contributing to the growth of your employees?
A key aspect of my job is to create a positive work culture with a strong performing and collaborating team that works toward a common vision. While engaging team members, I make genuine and consistent efforts to develop good rapport and empathising with the team.
Name one person who had a tremendous impact on you as a leader
Working as executive assistant to Mr. A K Nanda, Executive Director & President – Infrastructure Development Sector, Mahindra & Mahindra, was the most professionally invigorating and deeply impactful experience in my career. His work ethics, sharp business acumen, eye for detail, risk-taking ability, and immaculate communication skills were some of the attributes which I had an opportunity to closely observe during the five years that I had spent at M&M.
Share that one critical decision that you made as the leader of your organisation?
In one of my earlier assignments, there was a senior team member – a clear high pot, possessing tremendous competence and acumen – whom I was keen to promote to lead a newly created sub-vertical. However, the Group HR Head felt that he did not possess the right managerial skills and people’s capabilities to handle an expanded role. I was able to convince the company to invest in the said individual’s development with external coaching along with some mentoring from my end. In less than three quarters, there was a tremendous change in him, and he was unanimously given the promotion. Today, this person is leading a national P&< with a market leader in the same domain he worked earlier and is also mentoring a start-up.
When faced with two equally qualified candidates, how do you determine whom to hire?
I try to assess the person on two broad aspects viz. competencies – technical or functional, and attitude/mindset. If two candidates match on the first set of parameters, then for me, the candidate who scores better on the soft attributes clearly will be recommended for hire.
What is one characteristic that you believe every leader should possess?
Over the years, I have developed my own leadership mantra, and I call it ETC3. The acronym stands for E=Empathy, T = Transparency, C = Commitment, C = Customer Centricity, C = Creating a collaborative and happy team ethos. This mantra captures characteristics, which for me a leader or for that matter any professional should possess.
What are you doing to grow and develop as a leader continuously?
For me, the most effective approach to growing as a leader is to have a one-to-one conversation with my reportees, peers, and reporting manager from time to time. Proactively seeking feedback through these dialogues helps me to gain a better perspective on key issues.
What is one lasting impact that you hope to leave on your present company?
I aspire to leave the positive legacy of having conceived, nurtured, and grown a credible global business with a best-in-class team. However, more than this, it would be very satisfying for me, if in this period, I have been able to on-board talent, support their growth and propel them to be future leaders.
What advice would you give to the new- age leaders?
Leadership must deal with divergent expectations across an organization comprising ageing baby boomers, accustomed to a top-down management approach, working alongside millennials. Leadership in the digital era is driven by an attitude of openness and a genuine hunger for knowledge. Significant adaptive capacity, ability to collaborate, effective feedback at a higher frequency, to mobilize diverse workgroups and to self-reflect on one’s strengths and areas of improvements are the skills needed by today’s leaders.