Close this search box.

How To Be A Compassionate Leader With Manjiri Gokhale Joshi

Why is being a compassionate leader crucial to the team’s success?  Rosie Zilinskas sits with Manjiri Gokhale Joshi, the Founder Director at Maya CARE. Manjiri shares how compassion allows you to identify who to lead. Leaders can waste time and energy leading people who don’t want to be led. That’s why you need to spend some time with your team and figure out their motivation. Why do they do what they do? Going through this process allows you to choose your critical persons, your core talent. Want to learn more leadership strategies? Join in the conversation.

Watch the episode here

Listen to the podcast here

How To Be A Compassionate Leader With Manjiri Gokhale Joshi

Our conversation is with Manjiri Joshi, who’s going to be talking to us about various leadership styles. Manjiri earned a Master’s in Megaproject Management from Oxford University and has demonstrated the financial turnaround and scaling of three organizations while nurturing senior leadership teams. She was honored by Virgin’s Founder, Sir Richard Branson, as 1 of 12 among 13,000 applicants selected by LinkedIn and Virgin Media to judge and mentor entrepreneurs for a £1 million fund. She is the Founder of Maya CARE, a charity serving the elderly while empowering the disabled. She has published several books. Manjiri is going to share what inspirational leaders have in common.



Manjiri, thank you so much for joining us all the way from England. You’re about two hours outside of London. Manjiri, I know that you have been leading people for a long time successfully. I know that people consider you an approachable and compassionate leader. What is your secret or your process?


As we spoke, you’ve done a lot of research so you know a lot about the background. As for the process, first, you have to identify who to lead because a lot of times, leaders spend a lot of time and energy trying to lead people who don’t want to be led. The first thing is to take a deep breath and say, “If I have 400, 10 or 5 people in my team, do they want to be led? Do they want to go anywhere?” The most important aspect is first to spend some time with them. I don’t mean a long time but spend a little time with them.


Maybe spending the time could be giving them a little work to do, understanding where they come from, what their motivations are, and why they want to work in the first place. Why do they come to work in the first place? What is it that they want out of life? It could be career, money, progress, to pass time, or whatever it is.


Once you understand who wants to be led and who wants to go ahead, then you can go to the next process and build in your own mind or your own organization your critical talent pool. Decide on, “These are the people who are critical.” They’re critical people. They may not be in critical functions and they may not be doing roles, which are important for the business or the charity or whatever it is you do, but they’re important people because they want to be led. Once you’ve crossed that barrier and once you’ve decided, “This is my critical talent. This is my bunch of people who want to be led,” then is the time to spend time with them.


Step three of the process is to have them with you in everything you do. If you’re writing an email where they don’t need to be there, you can copy them. If you’re having a meeting where they are not needed but you want them to learn from that meeting, include them. Spend a lot of time with them, maybe if not one-to-one, in a group or a smaller group, so they learn and they decide where to go and go with you. That’s been my process for a while. It wasn’t always my process because I have made a lot of mistakes, as a person, as a professional, and especially as a leader and this is what I have arrived at.


You said a lot there, so I’m going to go back to ask you. I know you have a specific process. What do you do with those people that don’t want to be led? For the people that do want to be led, you use your process but what happens to those people that don’t want to be led?


When we first became leaders, we had almost everyone on the team who didn’t want to be led by other people. Once again, it goes back to the motivation. Why is it that they don’t want to be led? Do they believe that they don’t want to go anywhere at all? They have no ambition or they have nothing to contribute to the organization but they’re there because, for whatever reason, they’re there. They’re not making positive contributions.


The most important aspect of leadership is to spend some time with followers. – Manjiri Gokhale Joshi Click To Tweet


Also as a leader, sometimes we are helpless. It’s not always that we have full control over any situation. That is the time to look at such a person and see what contribution they can make. If they’re not motivated to work at all and it’s not about you but they don’t want to be led by anyone at all, you go out, ask them, and have a conversation with them, “What do you want?” If they say, “I want to work 7 or 5 hours a day but I want to do this much. All I want out of it is this,” then you have no option but to do the worst thing a manager or leader can do, which is micromanagement.


Give them short-term goals and short tasks and make sure they do them. Don’t spend too much time over them. Also, make them aware of the fact that if this is going to be the situation, their growth is going to be limited in the long run. You don’t want to be held responsible for not letting them grow or ensuring they grow because they don’t want to grow. That’s reason number one.


Another reason could be if somebody says, “I want to be led but I don’t want to be led by you. You are not a leader.” Nobody would say that to you directly. Sometimes they would, but most likely, they won’t say it directly. When that’s happening, that is the time to spend time with them. That’s going to be your turnaround story. You need to go back to, “Why do they not want to be led by me? Do they believe I don’t know how to do my job? Do they believe that they don’t like me? Do they believe that someone else should be doing my job or do they believe that they should be doing my job? Do they know better than me?”


Whatever the reason is, it’s about a conversation. If the conversations don’t help, it’s about letting them be. If you let them be and time and again prove yourself, trying to do your work and everybody else’s work well, they’re going to respect you and turn around and say, “Maybe there is something to learn from this individual.” As I’ve said in my journey, the number of times I failed, all the people who taught me a lot about leadership were these people who didn’t want to be led.


The point here is you are able to turn around some people that are not engaged. In my mind, the whole purpose of us having this conversation is to try to lead managers who are already managing people and teach them a few ways how to be better managers. Everything you said is spot on. I read a statistic a while back, 70% of people are not engaged in the work that they do. What you said is critically important, to talk to them and ask them what their goals are and what it is that they want to do. All of that is great.


Going back to your process for the people that do want to be led. My goal is to eradicate the gender gap and to raise women specifically through their career development. I know a lot of women sometimes hold themselves back and they may not be aware that they’re holding themselves back. From your leadership experience, can you talk a little bit about what are some of those things that you have seen in women specifically that hold them back in their careers?


Rosie, this is the need of the hour of what you’re trying to do because there are so many capable women across the world, across functions, across industries, and across levels of education and backgrounds. Who are they? They’re still out there. It’s sad when they come to you and say, “I want to quit. I know I can do this but I want to quit.” The reasons for wanting to quit are rarely professional. That’s the one thing about women. When they want to get married or they want to have a partner or they want to have a child or whatever else, women start preparing for this much before then they need to. It’s quite amusing how common this is across the world.


NWB 13 | Compassionate Leader
Compassionate Leader: If you haven’t fallen in love with your work, you’ll always hold yourself back.


If you’re planning to have a baby, say 1 or 2 years down the line, you don’t need to quit now. If you need to quit at all, you can decide then but it’s this whole social pressure of, “You have such a tough job. These are the reasons that you’re not going to be a good mom.” That’s one strong reason why women would quit. The other would be saying, “I don’t see any growth here because I can’t network like the men.”


“I can’t go out in the evenings like the men.” “I cannot belong to the all-boys network because that one exists.” A lot of things that women believe that they were not meant to do. Some of these are real, some of these are imagined, but these are the two primary reasons I see. Not being able to balance personal stuff and the second thing, “This takes much more than I thought that I would.”


The third and most important is within themselves, saying, “Maybe I’m wrong somewhere wanting to have ambition. Maybe too much ambition is bad. Maybe wanting to do something to change the world, break a barrier and do something which no person has done before is wrong.” There is a sense of guilt that comes in, maybe family responsibilities. If not family responsibilities, something else. Even if people are single and leading their own lives, some of us think, “Maybe I’m doing the wrong thing.” These are typical reasons I’ve not seen too often among men but definitely among women.


You said something about how sometimes the situation in your life is imagined and that is true. Sometimes I’ll be having a conversation with my husband and I’ll say something that I think he said and he’ll say, “I never said anything. You made that up in your head.” That happens quite often and it does happen in the workforce too, where you might be thinking that you don’t deserve a position or you’re not good enough and those are all your limiting beliefs.


That’s what you were talking about as far as what you think about yourself matters. That matters a lot. Going back to your process, you said that when you identify somebody who wants to advance in their career, you spend time with them? Somewhere you call that passion osmosis. Can you tell me about that?


That’s a term from my co-author. I’ve written five books but my first book was co-authored with one of my mentors, Dr. Ganesh Natarajan. This book is old. It was written in 2006. We talked about the formula of inspiration in that. What do inspirational leaders have in common? In the ten-point formula, the tenth and my favorite is passion. Passion differentiates something excellent from the outstanding. A lot of times, people do good work, they tick all the boxes, and they have followed all the rules but something is missing.


Passion is like falling in love. If you haven’t fallen in love with your work, you’re always going to hold yourself back and say, “That’s enough. I’m done. It’s over.” If you have fallen in love with your work, when I say with your work, whatever the cause is, each one has a different dream, a different cause, and that’s fine. There is no end to what you can do.


The beauty of leadership is when your followers stop needing you. – Manjiri Gokhale Joshi Click To Tweet


A lot of times, we find that entrepreneurs or good leaders or people who started on their own keep their passion to themselves. People say, “She’s so passionate about this.” “It’s all because of his passion.” Unfortunately, in the organization they run, a lot of times dwindles and goes down in terms of where it was supposed to head after they have stopped working or moved on or done something else with their lives.


While the concept of passion osmosis is such, it’s good old biology. If you take a strip of beetroot and put it in water, after a few minutes, you’ll have pink water. That is what passion osmosis is about. When you spend time with people, the passion-osmosis begins to happen and you don’t even know when it’s happened. One fine day you’re surprised.


A lot of times, it’s a pleasant surprise when I see someone who’s been on my team who’s worked with me is talking about something else and saying, “That’s me talking. It’s almost me talking and I didn’t say this but they are saying it and they are demonstrating the same passion.” That is the last step of the process. When that begins to happen, they don’t need you and that’s the beauty of leadership because they stopped needing you, or at least they stopped needing you all the time and they start doing miraculous things.


In my own team, I lead a team of persons with disabilities. I have 15 leaders out of 100 persons with disabilities at Maya CARE. Each of those fifteen leaders in my team has been tasked with identifying and spotting talent in their own teams as we recruit. They are meant to transfer their passion to other people using the same process of osmosis.


You’re teaching your team to become leaders themselves by everything that you say. It’s like when you realize that when you’re an adult and you have children and you hear your mom’s words come out of your mouth. It’s the same thing where you saw that your employee was using your words and that made you realize that everything that you’re doing or you’re saying is sticking, making a difference and it’s making a difference in their lives and they will, in turn, pay it forward.


That’s a part of what we’re trying to do here with leaders like yourself and myself. I’m trying to make sure that women that come behind us know that it’s important for them to advocate. The passion is huge because there’s the saying, “If you’re passionate, or if you love your work, you won’t work a day in your life.” That’s true. I love your passion-osmosis. I also know that you’ve had a lot of bosses. You said that you had 39 different bosses throughout your career, which is incredible. The one thing that you mentioned is you learn something from each boss. Can you talk about that?


When I wrote the book, Bosses of the Wild, it was 2013. Since then, I’ve had a couple of more. It’s across now. The book came about because I was working in London at that time, and before that, I had worked in Delhi, Mumbai, and Pune in different cities of India. I worked with different organizations that were unlike each other. I used to look at people at work and say, “So and so reminds me of so and so.” This is so typical that they do that.


NWB 13 | Compassionate Leader
Bosses of the Wild: Analyzing The Animal Personality Types At Work

I started making a list and writing down what was common and what was happening among them. The whole process was so enjoyable because I wrote that book in a year. I consulted with fourteen global animal experts, from somebody who had done their PhD in female, infant, and infertility in America to somebody who’s the head of the American Eagle Foundation. Also, somebody who’s worked with hyenas for nine years, a German person who’s worked in Tanzania with the lions and all kinds of things.


I worked with them and it’s a fun book. In some ways, it’s also aligned with MBTI and the various personality typing and well-known frameworks that one has. Typically, what has happened is that we have ten animals, plus we have the lion and lioness, so we have eleven animals. They’re mapped to each of the MBTI and other kinds of personality types and you see each of them in the bosses. When I say, it’s not my bosses, but it’s from all of us when we are bosses when we lead people. The book starts with a fun test saying there is a typical situation from a person in a team asking for leave from a boss and how they respond.


In those couple of pages, you’re able to make out, “This is me.” “This is someone I know,” and all of that. Coming back to what I learned from each of the bosses, there’s a lot which is why the book has eleven positive animals. We’ve got a rabbit, a hyena, a peacock, and all of these lovely people. Nobody is wrong. Nobody is a bad boss because there is always at least one thing, if not more, to learn from your boss.


That’s what I’ve tried to focus on, which is why with a couple of exceptions, I found it quite easy to deal with most of these 40 bosses. In fact, a lot of them were present at the book events we had to launch the book. It was fun to have them and have a bit of them there. At the end of the day, you can’t say, “I’m the perfect boss,” because you won’t. I’m not. I am not the perfect boss and I’m not going to be in this lifetime. I’ve tried my level best from all these 40 people and the more people I meet, to pick up the best of what they bring to the table. It makes you evolve in your leadership journey as you go along.


You’re right when you say that all bosses have good intentions whether they’re good bosses or not, they would ultimately want their people to succeed. In this day and age, bosses are busy themselves. They not only have a team to lead, but they also have a job to do because they have responsibilities that they need to do themselves.


A lot of times, bosses don’t even have the time to lead people number one, and then the second thing is they may not know how to lead because there are not enough hours in the day to be giving training to all these bosses. I do love the Bosses of the Wild book because there are all these different fun explanations of the various characters and from each one, you can pick out one good thing.


There is hope for you if you’re a manager out there and you’re struggling in leading your team, by all means, Bosses of the Wild book is a good recommendation. There is a ton of leadership in books, courses, and things like that but the most important thing is for you to have a good intention of leading your team. Also, more than anything, learn to develop your team because that’s going to be the key for them as well. You wrote a second book that’s relevant to our conversation, which is The Business of Managing Emotions: A Three-Dimensional Approach. We touched on the emotions a little bit, but how is this book relevant to managing your work life?


The more people you meet to pick up the best of what they bring to the table, the more you evolve in your leadership journey. – Manjiri Gokhale Joshi Click To Tweet


You touched upon women leaders some time back in our conversation, Rosie. One of the advantages I feel for women who are leading in 2022 and beyond, is the fact that demonstrating emotion is acceptable in the workplace. In fact, it’s welcome at the workplace, which was not always the case in all industries and all workplaces. Sometimes the inability to express emotion makes you a bad leader.


At the end of the day, if something’s gone wrong in my personal life, and if I’m telling my boss that I can’t make it, I can’t finish this, or I need help, and the bosses are unable to express what he or she feels is a problem. It’s a problem because if they say, “Okay. Fine. Let’s get on with it,” and I have to get on with it, I’ll still do it but I never want to work with them ever again.


Given the situation, this book, The Business of Managing Emotions, is co-authored with someone who used to be on my team. I used to be his HR head, not his boss, many years ago and he also lives in London. We’ve written the book together. The three-dimensional framework is interesting because we’ve looked upon medical science for guidance. What happens in our brains and our bodies when we feel a particular emotion? That’s medical science.


There is a beautiful Indian concept called the Navarasa Theory which is the nine emotional moods. It’s from an ancient Indian text, which is centuries old but it’s used a lot in performing arts, music, dance, theater, and all of that. We pulled that in, and we got the nine emotional moods. Four of them are positive, four of them are negative and on top, you have peace, the yearning for peace, which is the emotion that balances everything.


We looked at management science, which is my favorite science, and said, “How do you manage these emotions?” Medically, if you’re feeling what you’re feeling while you’re experiencing those emotions at the workplace, what are you going to do? What are the frameworks you’re going to apply? What are the managerial theories or solutions you’re going to apply to make sure you’re there?


The conclusion was that you need to, as a good leader, walk towards peace. There are predominant emotions and ancillary emotions in the Navarasa Theory. At all times, your dominant emotion needs to lead towards peace. If it’s joy, love at the workplace, delight, humor, courage, and all of these good ones, it’s great but then you have flowing up and down with emotion.


What is leadership? When I used to work as a CEO of a company, what was the leadership? I would sit in my room and one after the other, and it was somebody from my team who left who told me, “We should walk into the room. One after the other, we will transfer our problems to you. You will solve our problem and you go on to the next problem, the next, and the next.” If you’ve had one bad meeting and a particular problem has gone to your core, you’re not going to be able to function and solve the next problem, and the next and the next after that. That was a journey.


NWB 13 | Compassionate Leader
Compassionate Leader: The yearning for peace balances everything.


In fact, we wrote this book during that time and it changed me as a person because I said, “If I feel peace, that’s the screen. Peace is the screen between me and the rest of the world.” If I’m trying to go towards peace, there are many methods one can try because it is a stressful time to be a leader and have a lot of responsibility but then you’re able to be fair to the next person. You don’t want to transfer the anger, the emotion, or the sorrow of the first one to the next and the next.


I want to ask you a follow-up question. You said that one of your team members came to you and said that one person would come into your office person after person and you would solve their problems. Would you handle that differently now, meaning that if someone comes to you, you point them in the right direction versus solving the problem? Can you talk a little bit more about that?


I’ll go back to motivation. Your excellent questions are close to what real leadership is like. I would go back to the motivation of the person. There could be a few who have come in and wasted your time saying they don’t want the problem to be solved, they want to waste your time, they want to derail you, they want to transfer or they want to pretend that they have not made a mistake. As a good leader, one should be able to recognize that and it’s a journey by the time you recognize that. Bosses of the Wild helped me recognize that easily.


 Once you know that someone, for example, has the hyena personality, whose only aim in life is to be in control. The female hyena personality’s only aim is to be in control, so if the person is not in control, all they’re going to do is try to derail you from what you’re trying to achieve for the organization. The male hyena’s personality only aims to belong and find a home somewhere in the organization because nobody wants them. They’re going to pretend to be the rest of the ten personalities and maybe it might work with them for years and not realize they’re the hyena personality. It’s because these two personalities can lie easily and the best way to waste a leader’s time is to shoot out a lie and then go and make them work on it.


These are things I would guard against but apart from that, my process still is if somebody comes to me with a genuine problem saying, “I cannot handle this. This is a problem. I’m stuck.” “So and so said this to me.” Even now, if somebody said, “So and so said this to me and this is all wrong,” my method still remains the same. It used to be bringing them into the same room. Now, it means to get them on the same WhatsApp call or Zoom call and solve this out right there.


When I say I’m solving a problem, I’m not always doing it myself. I’m helping them or teaching them how to solve it so that the next and the next, they’re able to do it. I always say to everybody I’ve worked with, “Please make mistakes.” I’ve made so many mistakes in my life. If I hadn’t made those mistakes, I wouldn’t have learned anything. If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not doing much. Please make mistakes, but don’t make the same mistakes again.


I love that you clarified it and that’s the point that I wanted to make. By the time they come to you, they have probably already made mistakes, they probably already tried to come up with a solution, they’re stuck and now they’re coming to you. You’re solving it with them, so you’re not necessarily solving it for them but you’re solving it with them. That’s a key distinction of leadership.


If you don’t make mistakes, you’re not learning anything. – Manjiri Gokhale Joshi Click To Tweet


I know another topic that we talked about previously is we do have those leaders, especially in the higher position, senior positions, who are maybe not nice people because maybe they need to be in control or whatever. I know that you had mentioned that has to do with their high levels of insecurity. Can we talk about that for a little bit?


This is interesting. It’s bringing me back to Bosses of the Wild because one of the leadership personalities is the rabbit. We all love rabbits. Tell me of a person who doesn’t like rabbits. They’re so cute, sweet-looking, harmless, and all of that. Likening the rabbit to the first-time manager, first-time leader, first-time CEO, or first-time director of a company, they are sitting in their glass cabins, everybody’s looking at them, observing them, and saying, “One wrong move. Let’s see what they do.” They’re afraid of making mistakes. I liken this to this rabbit because, in the animal world, the female rabbit can become a mom when she’s three months old.


She’s three months old, she’s had this litter, and she doesn’t know what to do with them. In the jungle, in the wild, you’ve had instances of them eating up the babies because they simply don’t know what to do. They’re so confused. They don’t know what happened to them. They eat up everything simply because somebody else could come in and grab them but the same mom, the same female rabbit, is a good mom afterward. On the next litter and the next litter, she takes care of them because by then she’s not confused.


I would liken this to first-time leaders. You will find this a lot with first-time leaders saying, “I don’t want to delegate? Why am I the leader? What am I doing if my team is doing this?” Once people get rid of that, they’re going to be fine, but as you said, it’s sometimes you find it rarely but if you find this in senior leadership, something is wrong. You do find this often among young managers but not later.


The other reasons are the top management’s nasty behavior. It could simply be one more personality which is the eagle personality. The eagle personality is high on integrity but low on emotional quotient. They do need a copy of the emotions book because they’re not able to understand that empathy is critical to leadership because they do their own thing and say their own thing. Even if they’re right, they will say it in the wrong way. If you say things in the wrong way and the team is not with you, they’re not going to do it for you or they might do it but never do it late.


 This is another and the third I mentioned was the hyena personality. They’re truly nasty people but at the same time, female hyenas are good leaders because if they have a team that listens to them, they can achieve outstanding things in their life. You see it in the animal world as well because that’s one place where the hyena clans have the queen at the top.


The males are at the bottom, the queen is at the top, followed by the queen’s daughter and the other female relatives. They achieve outstanding stuff because nobody, not a single person in the team, will dare to go against whatever they’re saying. That’s not a form of leadership that I’m a fan of but it works for some people, so be it.


NWB 13 | Compassionate Leader
Compassionate Leader: Leaders need to understand the motivations of the team.


I loved everything that you said, especially encouraging your team to make a mistake. Also, As a leader, when someone does make a mistake, if you don’t have that empathy, you’re not going to be able to teach them that it’s okay to come to you when they make a mistake because if you bite their head off, they’re not going to want to come to you when they’re making mistakes and you damage the whole situation even further.


To me, anytime that I either made a mistake or that someone under me or whoever made a mistake, let’s get it corrected, learn from the mistake and let’s not do that again. It’s a little bit of how we’re all humans, and we make mistakes. I like the way you manage that. One of the things I want to bring back to a full circle is compassion for people.


I read that you have a lot of compassion for your team. You lead a team with disabilities and for that, you have to have a specific set of skills to be able to lead people with disabilities because they’re having more challenges than someone without a disability. For someone who is struggling as a manager, how would they try to connect with their people? How would you suggest that they summon that compassion within them to be able to help others?


I get asked this a lot of times for the leadership teams I used to lead in the past. Somebody from that team asked me, “You now have a leadership team of persons with disabilities. Do you treat them differently or do you treat them the way you treated us?” The answer to that is that we hired 400 persons with disabilities in 2022. Out of which 100 are in the organization and the rest went through the process I called Self Selection. Are you interested in yourself? If you’re not interested in yourself, there’s not much I can do to help you, when I say, yourself, your own career, your own growth, and all of that.


If you are interested in yourself, your disability makes no difference to me because you’re interested in yourself. You’re going to do everything else that’s being said. Coming back to the leaders, out of these 100, we have identified 30 people as critical talent. When I say we have identified, they have identified themselves because they’ve consistently worked.


They’ve been through difficult periods of their own life but still continue to work, learn, and give what they tried to do but also make a lot of mistakes like what we said they would do. Out of these, fifteen are emerging leaders and I spend a lot of time with them. I spend a lot more time with them than with most of the people in my life right now.


My answer to this person when she asked me, “Do you treat them like ourselves,” was, “Yes, because these fifteen have chosen to be leaders. We did not ask them to be leaders. We did not force them to be leaders.” Nobody in the world forces you to be a leader. You always have the chance to say, “I don’t want this. I want to sit in my corner. I want to write or I want to do whatever I want to do with my spreadsheet but I don’t want to talk to people.”


Empathy is critical to leadership. – Manjiri Gokhale Joshi Click To Tweet


If you don’t want to talk to people, you can’t be a leader but these people have decided to be leaders. In that case, once you’re there, then they get the same treatment as anyone else. Honestly, if somebody who’s visually impaired, can’t walk, has cerebral palsy, or whatever else, there is empathy where if somebody says, “I can’t switch on my video today on the call because my back is hurting,” absolutely fine because that’s done. There’s no problem but if somebody says, “I can’t spell this. I made a spelling mistake,” even if there is severe cerebral palsy and she cannot speak, walk or write, she can spell. There is no going away from excellence.


My husband and I brought Maya CARE to where we are now. We said, “We don’t want you to be in a place where people are acknowledging you because you’re disabled, you’re special, or you’ve done something. That’s not the point. You’ve overcome that and you’re as good as any leader in the world to do what you need to do. How does it matter to anyone else when you’re working on Zoom, Google Drive, and all of that, and you’re able to speak on the phone? How does it matter to anyone else that you can’t walk? Leadership is not about walking.” At least in the areas we work in, it’s not about walking. That is not anyone’s business.


Coming back to empathy, it’s having the confidence to understand the motivations. Understand what the team wants and what the problem is. I find it easy once I understand what the problem is. Until the time I don’t understand what the problem is, I’m as much in the dark as anyone else. If anybody tries to fool me and says, “This happened because of my disabilities,” I know because we never asked anyone to do things they can’t do, somebody who cannot hear works as my PA and she’s the one sending out calendar requests and all. She’s never asked to make a call. There’s somebody who’s visually impaired who works with her to make the call.


These are little ways we worked around but the main thing, the empathy for someone saying, “I want to do better,” doesn’t go away. The secret is to care. If you care, it’s exactly your own children, your own family or friends, because you care about them, you have no problem communicating with them. If you’re so distant and if it’s a work situation like, “I don’t want to see you. I’m not interested in you after 5:00 PM,” then that’s never going to work.


I absolutely love your answer. You educated me and the fact that, in general, for people with disabilities, you’re absolutely right. It’s about excellence and about treating them with the same respect as anybody else and the same expectation. I love that you hold your team to the same expectations as everybody else.


The second thing that I loved about that is that they have self-appointed themselves as leaders. In order for you to be able to want to advance in your career, you do have to have that self-appointed motivation and draw it out of you so that you can do different things. Also, get out of your comfort zone, eventually move up the ladder and maybe even lead other people.


This has been a wonderful conversation, Manjiri. The last thing I’m going to ask you is, a lot of times, I listen to podcasts and the conversation is great but I wish I walked away with some actionable things that I could do. Could you provide us with maybe two different actionable things that our readers can do so that they can apply in their careers?


Yes. The first one is to understand what you want in your life and what it is that makes you happy. Don’t try to be anyone else. I’ll give my own example. Years ago, I understood that what makes me truly happy is seeing other people succeed, other leaders especially succeed. If I hadn’t understood that about myself, I would have continued to be enrolled to do things but I’m not able to influence other people.


The first thing is to know yourself before you try to lead anyone else. The second thing is what I said at the beginning of this session. Decide who to lead and who deserves to be led by you. Once you decide who deserves to be led, everything else will go right. Don’t spend your time and energy on the wrong people, people who don’t want to be led. This will work for everyone else.


I love those two things, Manjiri. Thank you so much for spending time with us. I hope that all the readers got good ideas on what to do. By all means, get the book, Bosses of the Wild. Manjiri, I want to thank you so much for spending time with us.


Thank you, Rosie. It was wonderful talking to you. Thank you.



I had a good time talking to Manjiri, especially about her Bosses of the Wild book, where she compares different leadership personalities to animal personalities. I thought that was really clever. I’m going to recap the two tips that Manjiri provided us. The first one is understand who you really are. Figure out what makes you happy. You’re not going to be able to lead others well until you figure out what makes you happy.


Tip number two, decide who deserves to be led by you. Don’t waste your time or energy on people that don’t want to be led. I felt those were two clever tips for managers. If you have any other suggestions or topics on what we can do on this show, by all means, please send me an email or contact me on LinkedIn. That is a wrap for this show. Remember to be brave, be bold and take action. Until next time.



Important Links



About Manjiri Gokhale Joshi

NWB 13 | Compassionate LeaderA Masters in Mega-Project Management from Oxford University, Manjiri has demonstrated the financial turnaround and scaling of three organizations while nurturing senior leadership teams. She was honored by Virgin Founder Sir Richard Branson as one of 12 among 13,000 applicants selected by LinkedIn and Virgin Media to judge and mentor entrepreneurs for a £ 1 million fund. She is the Founder of Maya CARE, a charity serving the elderly while empowering the disabled. She has published five books.