Hema A. Krishnan, Ph.D.

     Hema A Krishnan, PdD

    April 18, 2017
    Track 4 

    TITLE: What Courageous Leaders Do: They Honor and Respect Others 

    One of the most important attributes of courageous leadership is the ability to treat everyone with respect and honor. Wharton Business School Professor, Michael Useem, in his leadership checklist book, describes it as “Honor the Room.” Shakespeare, in Richard II, describes it as “Mine honor is my life, both grow in one. Take honor from me and my life is done.”

    Whether it is the person who brings in the coffee or the mail, the chauffeur, the custodial service employees who clean the offices and remove the trash after all have left, or employees who are new to the organization, a courageous leader treats everyone with equal respect.

    Professor Useem has provided three tips on how a courageous leader honors all individuals, irrespective of his/her positon. First, we need to be genuinely interested in their lives and recognize and appreciate what the employees do for the organization even if their task is mundane. Second, we need to seek the guidance of our direct and indirect reports. Great leaders do not have egos. Third, we need to engage the front lines. The hallmark of a great organization is when the employees see themselves as “us” and not “them.” These three simple acts: honoring all the employees regardless of their position in the organization, exhibiting genuine care, seeking the guidance of junior level employees and putting the interest of others
    above ours, requires courage.


    Hema A. Krishnan, Ph.D. is a professor of Strategy and Global business, and has been employed at Xavier since 1993. Since 2004, she has served as chair of the Management & Entrepreneurship department at Xavier University, for five years, and for five years as Associate Dean of the Williams College of Business. She has several years of business experience at the managerial level and was the first woman in India to be appointed to a Sales position in the petroleum industry. She writes (pro bono) for magazines and for leading English daily newspapers in India on the subjects of global strategy and leadership.

    Hema has made several keynote speeches and has served as distinguished speaker on the topics of business strategy, strategic leadership, international business and change management in industry and academia on numerous occasions in the U.S. and Europe and in emerging countries such as India and Kenya. She has lived in three continents of the world, Asia, Europe and North America, and has made presentations in four continents. She was the President of the Xavier Chapter of Beta Gamma Sigma society, a scholastic society, during 2003-08, and serves as the AACSB mentor for Mount Kenya University’s business school at Thika, Kenya. She conducts research in the areas of mergers/acquisitions, top management teams and corporate restructuring and has published over 35 articles in premier journals of business. She serves on the editorial board of a number of prestigious business journals. Hema teaches International Management, Strategic Management, Strategic Leadership, and Global Strategic Thinking.

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