A leader is somebody who moves other people to action. She knows what she stands for, the values and the rules to abide by, regardless of the circumstances. She allows her people to understand the values she is committed to uphold and communicates openly with her team, creating an atmosphere of certainty and trust. Having a great idea, and assembling a team to successfully execute it and bring that concept to life is the first step in creating a successful organizations. She has made everyone believe in her vision and carry them through to the finish line.
Sunita Sharma, MD & CEO, LIC Housing Finance Ltd (LIC HFL) is a firm believer in Robin Sharma’s philosophy that “Leadership is not about a title or a designation. It’s about impact, influence and inspiration”. She inspires her employees with her thoughts, influences with her work ethic and discipline. This has helped to build coalitions and commitments among the various teams of the Company. During her tenure, LIC HFL has reached newer heights in the last three financial years both quantitatively and qualitatively. The outstanding portfolio of the company has risen to well above INR 1.3 lakh Crs. It was during her stint that for the first time, the Company grew its income by more than INR 100 billion and has continuously been expanding its Net Interest Margins. What is noteworthy is that these splendid results have come in the midst of tough economic scenario and the overall subdued business sentiments in the country. Finessing strategies and carrying out operations on ethical plane were her secrets in furthering Brand LIC HFL in the industry. Her single minded philosophy of zero tolerance for non-performing loans has ensured that LIC HFL remains to be “Best in Class” in the area of Asset Quality.
She Joined LIC of India as a Direct Recruit Officer of the 11th batch in 1981 after attaining her Master’s degree from Delhi University. She holds the prestige of becoming the first woman to head LIC HFL, India’s second largest mortgage lender in its 25th year. Her vision was to transform the organization from a “Good Company” to a “Great Company”. To realize this vision, it involved forecasting and inspiring the team to see her vision. The first major milestone was when the Company’s housing loan portfolio crossed INR 1 lac crore mark in November 2014. This made Team LIC HFL feel invested in the future accomplishments of the Company and generate enthusiasm towards the planned goals. The rewards and recognitions that followed thereafter for the Company during the last 3 years were innumerable.
Last year, Ms Sharma was conferred with Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Award 2016. She featured in India’s “The Top 40 CEOs BFSI” published by Business Today in association with PwC. ABP News conferred her as “CEO with HR Orientation” during the year. She was awarded ”Women Super Achiever In Real Estate Sector” by ABP Real Estate Awards. She was also granted the “UDYOG RATTAN AWARD” by Institute of Economic Studies (IES), New Delhi in December 2013. LIC HFL also received lot of recognitions during the period. To cite a few, the Company was featured in Forbes “India’s Super 50 Companies”. Dun and Brad Street named LIC HFL as “India’s Leading Housing Finance Company of the Year”. Economic Times recognized LIC HFL as “Best Brands 2016”. For the third time in a row, CIBIL has awarded the Company for “Best data quality in Housing Finance Institution”. Outlook Money declared LIC HFL as “Housing Finance Company of the Year”. ABP News conferred two awards viz. “Best HR of the Year” and “Housing Finance Company of the Year”. The Company was also selected under “Most Recognizable Brands of Indian Origin”.
Her leadership is a pure reflection of her personality of a go-getter, inspirer and protector. She says, if you expect your team to work hard and produce quality content, you should lead by example. She adds, there is no greater motivation than seeing the leader working hard alongside every member of the team. She perfectly understands that leadership and learning are indispensable to each other. You can see this in her decisions which are dynamic and are customer centric. She is not averse to taking that odd risk and is ready to take responsibility for it. Her working style is very disciplined and systematic and she tries to impart this in the company’s culture.
She is no stranger to taking responsibilities. She has headed LIC of India’s Investments Department and Pension & Group Schemes vertical. She sits on the Boards of LICHFL Asset Management Company Ltd, LIC Mutual Fund, National Stock Exchange Ltd and Larsen and Toubro. She is also the Managing Director of LICHFL Financial Services Ltd. During her 4 year stint as Head of Pension & Group Schemes, premium income more than trebled. She also played a key role in LIC acquiring property worth more than INR 20 billion while she served as Regional Manager (Estates & Office Services). These are just a few examples which demonstrate why she is one of the most respected and inspirational leader in the country.
At LICHFL she was the Regional Manager of Northern Region which covered the states of Delhi NCR, Rajasthan, Chandigarh, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh where she displayed exemplary performance.
In its journey LIC HFL has come a long way and has been graced by the influence of many good leaders. Ms Sharma has carried forward this tradition and has helped the company become a mainstay in the financial services industry in India. One can sense her ambition and passion when she speaks about the company. She is not the one to rest on her laurels and believes that there is much scope of improvement not only for the company but also for herself. She believes that with changing times an individual and a company should also change. The team should feel motivated towards the continued success of the Company and keep the energy levels up. The product innovations brought out by her have been contemporary with times and relevant. Recently, LIC HFL launched the Affordable Housing Finance Scheme which is in perfect alignment to the Government of India’s mission of “Housing for All by 2022”. LIC HFL understands the nation’s need and strives to fulfill the dream of every Indian to have a home of their own.
She has always placed special emphasis on the company’s employees and she truly treats them as the company’s asset. She keeps in mind the employees’ best interests and makes certain that human talent is used successfully and resourcefully to generate high value. She believes in promoting a healthy interoffice lifestyle, and encourage your team to live up to these standards. She adds, guiding your team through the process of your day-to-day tasks can be honed down to a science. Delegating tasks to the appropriate departments is one of her most important skills. She says, “ the key to delegation is identifying the strengths of your team and capitalizing on them. If you are able to entrust jobs to each team member what he enjoys the most, then you are through. This has helped me in freeing up my time to focus on higher level tasks.” It is this fine balance that has seen a huge positive impact on the productivity of Team LIC HFL. Her principles, conviction, self-belief have brought her so far and she feels by evolving herself and keep her basics intact she can take LIC HFL to newer heights. She aspires to make LIC HFL a benchmark for every other company not only in India but the entire world. One has to merely listen to her to realize that all this is possible and that she indeed is a true leader who can guide her company’s stakeholders through every situation.