How do corporate India’s leaders manage their businesses? Where do they draw inspiration from? What is their management style? Like A Boss is a new series of interviews aimed to offer readers lessons from corporate bosses on how they run their companies.
Managing a Rs 32 lakh crore-plus corpus, safeguarding crores of Indians’ life-savings and goals, and playing the saviour-in-chief for the government – this is all in a day’s work for the Life Insurance Corporation of India.
Clearly, helming the big daddy of life insurance is a herculean task. Add to it, the mammoth job of managing over one lakh employees, besides nearly 12.87 lakh individual agents. But LIC chairman MR Kumar prefers to do the heavy-lifting with a “gentle, but firm” approach.
He took over as the chairman in March 2019, after having worked with the insurance colossus in various capacities and departments for over three and a half decades. He had joined LIC as a direct recruit officer in 1983.
Now, he has the responsibility of steering India’s largest institutional investor through uncharted waters as it readies itself for the country’s biggest-ever IPO (initial public offering) next year. In an exclusive interview with Moneycontrol, MR Kumar shares his views on his management style, how he likes to start his day, whether he prefers to be feared or respected and so on.
What time do you like to be at your desk?
Mentally, I think I am always at my desk, which I am told is not good. I catch up on the mails at around 8 am and repeat this every four hours or so. I like to reach the office a little early so that I have some time to go over the day’s schedule and prepare for the meetings ahead. This is also the hour when I prepare myself for the expected and the unexpected.
Where is the best place to prepare for leadership: at business school or on the job?
Business school gives you sharp insights. However, there is nothing like learning on the job - hands-on.