Public sector banks should focus on leadership skills

public sector

G. Naga Sridhar

Given the ever-increasing scope for economic activity and competition, the public sector banks are faced with challenging times. Apart from meeting their business goals and ensuring good returns for their shareholders, they also have social responsibilities — financial inclusion is an important one.

 One wonders whether managers in banks can apply the same principles of management, leadership and motivation as are applied by their counterparts in other sectors. “May be they have little that is different from the rest,” says Renu Challu, Managing Director, State Bank of Hyderabad (SBH). “The expectations of public sector banks are very high. Hence the leadership in banking needs to be a little different. One needs to be self-motivated and should be able to identify the right people for the right tasks,'' Challu told The New Manager.

However, the development of knowledge through various verticals is not easy in banking as one has to be competent in many areas.

“Leadership development is not easy in banks as there are regulatory issues, operational assignments and credit assessments. While foreign and private banks have different verticals, managers in public sector banks do not enjoy this luxury,'' she says.

SBH has put a lot of emphasis on the training and development of its manpower. It recently conducted a training programme for over 250 candidates in a two-day workshop organised by Talent Sprint, a skills development and HR consultancy firm.

According to Santanu Paul, Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Talent Sprint, the bank officials were trained in six assessment-based modules in leadership, psychology and other skill development areas.

“We find that personnel from the public sector banks are rigorous in their professional dealings. The feedback for our training programmes is very good,'' says Paul who was previously a key member of the leadership team at IT major Virtusa.

As PSBs have been on a hiring spree in recent years, inducting about 40,000 officers and clerks every year, a special focus on improving leadership skills is required, feels Challu.

“In a bank, the staff at all levels needs to connect with the outside world. This should be practised by those in leadership roles, so that their example can be emulated by their team members,'' she suggests.

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