Name: Rujul Pathak
Current title: Sr. Program Manager Company: Cisco Systems
Favorite leadership quote: Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it. —General Dwight Eisenhower
“...it is important to always keep the end-result in mind.”
What is the most important thing you have learned that has been critical to your career success?
That it is important to always keep the end-result in mind. That sometimes you need to reprioritize in order to achieve business critical needs. That people skills are very important. That working smart is more important than working hard. And last but not the least, if what you speak during a meeting does not add value to the dialogue or increase understanding of attendees then it is better to keep quiet.
“Leadership is not a ‘one size fits all’ thing; often, you must adapt your approach to fit the situation.”
What is your leadership style?
My leadership style is transformational. If I may expand on that- I believe that Transformational leaders have integrity and high emotional intelligence. In my leadership style I also motivate people with a shared vision of the future, and keep the communication very transparent. I am very self-aware, authentic, empathetic, and humble and can bring that to the team.
As a Transformational leader, I inspire the team members because I expect the best from everyone, and hold myself accountable for their actions. I set clear goals, and use my good conflict-resolution skills within the team if the need arises. This certainly leads to high productivity and engagement. However needless to say, leadership is not a “one size fits all” thing; often, you must adapt your approach to fit the situation, which I tend to do.
“Don’t be afraid to say how good you are in a particular scenario and how you are a perfect fit for a potential leadership position — sometimes that’s all you need to get there.”
What are some top tips you can recommend to other women who want to be recognized as a high potential emerging leader?
Have a plan and follow it. By this I mean that you need to really detail out timelines (by when do you want to be in a leadership role), strategy (how are you going to position yourself), and execution (how are you actually going to put the plan into action). More often than not, as women we do not emphasize our value in the organization as much as men do. We go above and beyond, we over achieve; but then we don’t find it necessary to communicate our wins and graciously accept kudos.
I strongly feel that as women we have to start putting ourselves in the limelight whenever deserved and put ourselves front and center whenever the opportunity arises. Don’t be afraid to say how good you are in a particular scenario and how you are a perfect fit for a potential leadership position — sometimes that’s all you need to get there.
“My manager was visibly thrilled (with the end result) and as a testament to how proud he was he endorsed me for ‘Cross Functional Leadership’ on my LinkedIn profile that same day!”
What professional accomplishment or result have you achieved in the past year that you are proud of?
I lead an initiative in my organization that entails working with executives (Sr. Director/VP level). When we were outlining the goal for this fiscal year, there was a particular part in that goal that my manager did not agree with. He pushed back on that critical part of the goal and said we couldn’t possibly sell it to executives. My approach was that we need to at least try before assuming something won’t be accepted. I took on the challenge and told him that if I am able to sell the idea and get an approval, would he be willing to consider including that critical component in the overall goal? He agreed and I set to work.
I socialized the idea with a variety of stakeholder groups and got their buy-in. Finally, I presented it to the Operations Lead for the Sr. VP who was going to approve/disapprove the idea. She loved it. So much so that she wrote me an email with a copy to my manager about how great the idea was and how she couldn’t wait for us to present to the Sr. VP.
My manager was visibly thrilled and as a testament to how proud he was he endorsed me for ‘Cross Functional Leadership’ on my LinkedIn profile that same day! Needless to say, we were able to get the goal approved and currently that goal (including the critical component) is part of the review process for over 5000 employees within Cisco Services.
“I also liked how she (Jo Miller) reinforced the most important points at the end of each session; as well as, giving the class an action list before closing each module.”
You recently completed the Take Charge of Your Career Trajectory virtual group coaching program, led by Jo Miller. What did you gain from the class that you will use moving forward in your career?
Jo explained how important it is to really take charge of our career ourselves. The most important lesson I learned from the class was how it is important to work smarter rather than work harder.
I loved all the topics that she covered and was particularly impressed with how methodical and articulate Jo was. She was always well prepared and always willing to answer any questions that came up. I really liked her approach and presentation style. I also liked how she reinforced the most important points at the end of each session; as well as, giving the class an action list before closing each module. It helps to make for an easy transition, which I can implement immediately into my career plan.
I would highly recommend this coaching program to all women leaders and aspiring women leaders.
Want to reach out to Rujul directly? Connect with her via LinkedIn.