What It Takes to Win in Leadership Post Covid: Naina Lal Kidwai

Naina Lal Kidwai, addressing the Inaugural Session of AIMA Aspire’s #WomenSpeak

Naina Lal Kidwai, addressing the Inaugural Session of AIMA Aspire’s #WomenSpeak

The mindset of leaders post-Covid should be to be able to live with uncertainty yet aspire for growth, said Ms. Naina Lal Kidwai, Additional Director & Senior Advisor, Rothschild India the Inaugural Session of AIMA Aspire’s #WomenSpeak.

AIMA had organised the Inaugural Session of #WomenSpeak, which is a part of AIMA’s new initiative, ‘AIMA Aspire’, a special Women’s Council. The theme of the Session was- ‘Leadership In A Post Covid World: What It Takes To Win’. Ms. Naina Lal Kidwai, Additional Director & Senior Advisor, Rothschild India rightfully deliberated the Session.

A pioneering woman leader in India’s Banking and Financial Services, Ms. Naina Lal Kidwai’s outstanding achievements have inspired many women in all lines of business and work. The first Indian woman to graduate from the Harvard Business School and a Padma Shri Awardee, Ms. Naina Lal Kidwai is also actively involved in social development with a special penchant for sanitation, and her contribution to the area is commendable.

For having a variety of leadership experiences, Ms. Naina Lal Kidwai deliberated the theme with a very positive note by saying that the Covid pandemic in spite of reeling chaos, also brought with it some major changes to reckon with for businesses, with women being a vital part of the change and how they could reinvent themselves for greater challenges.

Some of the factors that surfaced, which were noteworthy include:

  • Collaboration: Not everybody is 100% at home, similarly not everyone is 100% at work. However, with collaboration, the workflow can be much easier. “Collaborating” with technology advantageously to be present at work without being present physically and coordinating with the team is important.


  • Digital Training: Access to Work from Home is not enough for women as they need to be digitally trained to handle business matters technically. The training could be provided by the company or women could train themselves. They should train by relying on whatever is out there to help them learn.


  • Worker Wellbeing: With many conversations making rounds on mental health. It is a time when the Office has entered people’s homes. Mental well-being needs to be prioritised and workload needs to be handled in a way that women are capable of.


  • Customer Centricity: It is one of the many reasons due to why businesses exist. However, in the current times, this factor has become even more important. The change that has been brought about should also be viewed through the lens of the consumer. The direction of the change has to put the customer at the center at all times.


To be able to live with uncertainty yet aspire for results is what the mindset needs in the present times, she said, laying a special emphasis on women “recognising the change and embracing it”.

When asked about her thoughts on leadership, said that “leadership needs to be taken as an opportunity”. One needs to give one’s best while essaying the role. Leadership is inherent in us, in terms of the ideas that we bring with us. Executing leadership is easier now with the diverse ideas being accepted. The leadership mantra for new leaders goes beyond gender, race, creed and geography, she said.

To those aspiring to be leaders, Ms. Naina Lal Kidwai also justified that “ambition is not bad, you should dream big”. The aspiration, however, should be balanced with humility as “humility is a hallmark of success”, she said. And above all, one should also make integrity a forward as “there are no shortcuts to hard work,” she added.

Lastly, on a widely accepted view that women leaders fared better in navigating through Covid, she was of the notion that the leadership style of each individual is different. However, the degree of empathy that women leaders have is a little more besides, also having the ability to alternate existing business strategies. Hence, as a result, setbacks were efficiently handled to tide over the pandemic.

Watch the full Session- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gn2N9bVaoSw

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