Lifetime Achievement Award: Rajeev Dubey “Need For Human Connect Will Continue

Rajeev Dubey, who retired from Mahindra & Mahindra as Group President (HR and Corporate Services) and CEO (After-market and Corporate Services), shares the leadership lessons he has drawn over year


Rajeev Dubey, the Lifetime Award Winner at the BW People HR Excellence Awards, describes himself as a “Tata loyalist”. Entering the world of work at 21 with the Tata Administrative Service, the central managerial quarter of the Tata Group of Tata sons, Rajeev Dubey worked for 29 years with the Tata’s, largely in Tata Steel, across functions and geographies.

He then joined Mahindra & Mahindra, and retired as a group President (HR and Corporate Services) and CEO (After-market and Corporate Services). He is currently associated with Mahindra as a non-executive chairman of three of their companies. He feels happy to be able to contribute, on the strength of the leadership skills as well as one’s expertise developed over decades.

The Making of a Leader

Also, drawing from his vast HR and business experience, he is in a position to offer words of wisdom to aspiring leaders. He believes, “There is a vast, untapped potential in every person and in every situation. And I believe it is the role of the leader (to bring that potential out), and you can define a leader any which way you want. For me, it’s anyone who has at least one person reporting to him or to her, it is the role of the leader to create a purpose and an ecosystem that unleashes the potential of people. And if the leader can do that, while driving positive change, to me, that is the epitome of great leadership.”

Asked if Covid has brought about a new dimension to the definition of leadership, Dubey emphatically says no, adding, “What changes only are aspects like work from home, or much more technology being used, but the basics remain the same.”

On the issue of increased role of technology, he says, “I think it’s a huge fallacy if people think that machines are going to take over. I think that’s the biggest mistake anyone could make. In fact, if you ask me, the need for the human touch becomes even greater when you have to deal with technology…. They may well be, going away from labour- intensive forms of employment in many places, but you will still need human beings…. Human interaction, compassion and trust. Sensitivity towards others will be required.”

An important piece of advice to fellow leaders is, “You should always remember that people need to be treated with sensitivity and care. They don’t have to be looked at short-term costs to be

minimised, but to be looked upon as assets that increase in value over time, especially if you invest in them properly.”

He lays emphasis on three principles - Satya (speaking the truth but doing it gently), Prem (compassion to put myself into the shoes of the other person) and Sewa (a sense of service).

Motivational Workplace

The period after Covid, has also been characterised by ‘The Great Resignation’. The panacea for that, Dubey says, is to make your workplace such a place that “people want to come to work, people feel that they’re learning something, they’re contributing and they have trustworthy environment.”

As to how do you design such work? And how do you create a culture which fosters trust, he says, “That’s where you have to work on all the so-called HR levers.” While there will be resignations, companies can work to ensure that employees are at their highest potential while they are working with them.

The Journey to Being CEO

We ask him about the elan with which he has traversed the role as an HR honcho and being a CEO, he reiterates that each role requires learning and expertise, adding, “More than anything else, you require an attitude.”

“Whether it is HR, Marketing, R&D, Finance or Accounts, I think the attitude that you bring to the work is most important. Of course, you require tools and techniques, but these can be picked up. Everybody has access to the same tools and techniques at workplace. How do you use them and what you use them for? That’s what makes the difference.”

Tags assigned to this article:


Around The World