Anil Kumar Beejawat- On Humility in Leadership

36

“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, its thinking of yourself less.” – C.S Lewis

First day at his first job, a young Anil Beejawat learned the basics from his subordinate! Today, CEO of the Indian unit of the world’s largest ceramic brand, he still remembers his first teacher on the job. This sense of gratitude defines Anil’s leadership style to this date.

After completing his MBA in the 80s, Anil landed his first job in Hindustan Sanitaryware where he worked for 13 years. 2 years into the job, he was promoted to the position held by an employee who had been with the organization for 18 years! This was followed by a very challenging phase in the life of any young man – supervising people 10-15 years older than himself. Back then when the only pre-requisite of being a leader was experience, Anil proved himself worthy of leading a group of employees much more experienced than he was. With great respect for his subordinates and empathy towards them, Anil won them over. He understood their difficulties and went out of his way to do away with unnecessary tasks, especially bureaucratic ones, and so reduced their workload and earned their trust and reverence.

Anil Kumar Beejawat at the launch of RAK Ceramic’s orientation center in Gurugram

Anil used his position to add value and change the way things happened, and for the better! Back in the day, with no luxuries of technology – keeping records, tracking samples and filing were daunting tasks that his team members had to break their backs for. When Anil noticed the bureaucracy which made life harder for his people, he took the initiative to discuss a change in policies with the management. At a time when the workforce wouldn’t have imagined talking to the decision makers, what Anil did was almost revolutionary! He bridged the gap between the employees and the management, convincing his experienced team that this young man could make things happen!

To deserve respect, it is imperative to be respectful. With illustrious years before him, Anil has grown through, as well as shaped the ceramic industry in the country – and all of this with a mild attitude. “Skills can be taught but attitude is part of a person’s sanskar,” says Anil. He has never believed that hierarchy is enough to demand or command respect, it is something you earn by being empathetic, caring and respectful towards others. Anil’s mentor, Mr. H.L. Somany, warned him against this gentle approach but Anil admits that establishing superiority is something he could never learn. The success of all the organizations he has led proves that being gentle is not a weakness but a strength, one which is the hardest to develop!

Skills can be taught but attitude is part of a person’s sanskar

He compares heading an organization to being the head of a large family. When credit as well as the blame for each person’s actions is borne by the leader, motivating each employee to do their best is essential. “I believe in instant recognition by putting my appreciation on record immediately”, Anil says about the culture of gratitude he has developed at his workplace. Celebrating the achievements of employees on a regular basis has helped create an environment which encourages hard work through rewards and recognition! He has always emphasized on training and development in the organizations he has worked with.

I believe in instant recognition by putting my appreciation on record immediately

Anil at the launch of Maximum Mega Slabs by RAK Ceramics 

Anil has been at the top of the hierarchical pyramid in the companies he has worked with, and despite that, he is a boss everyone loves.  It takes hard work and character to lead hundreds of people towards one common goal. When asked about how he deals with this intimidating task with such clarity, Anil says “Whatever you do ask yourself – are you adding value to the lives of those around you? Are you creating wealth for your organization? That will always show you the right path.”

Whatever you do ask yourself – are you adding value to the lives of those around you? Are you creating wealth for your organization? That will always show you the right path.

Anil Kumar Beejawat has been in the sanitaryware and ceramics industry since the past 40 years. Starting his career with Hindustan Sanitaryware and Ind Ltd. as a Marketing Manager, Anil worked there for 12 years before moving to Somany ceramics as General Manager Marketing where he worked for 7 years. Then he joined H&R Johnson India Pvt. Ltd. as the Vice President and after 3 years returned to Somany Ceramics Ltd. where he worked for 12 years and earned the position of President before becoming the Group CEO for Simpolo Ceramics. Today, Anil Beejawat is the CEO of RAK Ceramics India Pvt. Ltd. which is the world’s largest tile and ceramic organization. Trained in classical music, Anil is also skilled in playing the violin and the mandolin – he likes to indulge in music and read management books and spiritual literature when he finds the time.