Quick Hits: Krishna Kumar Nanjundaprasad, PMP

On the value of empathy, servant leadership and happiness.

Krishna Kumar Nanjundaprasad, PMP
Location: Bonn, Germany
Title: Project manager
Organization: Tata Consultancy Services
Industry: IT

What adjectives best describe you?
Authentic and persistent.

What’s the one must-have skill for project leaders right now?
Empathy. Being socially aware—and not judgmental—is very important for a leader. The pandemic disrupted the traditional ways of working. Everyone has family and personal stuff, but still people come to work to do something meaningful. A leader can only respect this feeling and respond to it by embracing empathy and letting go of any kind of bias.

Why does the world need project leaders?
Leaders are visionaries. They focus on long-term goals. They do the right things at the right time. They break through barriers. They help people succeed.

What’s the best project management advice you’ve received?
My current manager said that I should forgo my “now or never” attitude. Good things take time to become reality. We need to start from where we are or with what we have and work from there. As a result of this advice, I am learning to embrace a minimum viable product attitude.

What’s the most interesting project you’ve worked on?
Right now, we’re finishing a healthcare infrastructure and application monitoring software that transforms the user experience and incorporates new practices from lessons learned during the pandemic. I love projects that take us out of our comfort zone, help us understand our limitations and challenge us to think out of the box to facilitate our growth.

What’s the secret for effective communication?
A good culture. People need to feel safe to air their opinion and also know that they’re heard and their opinion matters. This will ensure transparency and timely communication.

How did the pandemic affect your leadership style?
I transitioned from a transactional leader to a servant leader. Being there for the team when they need me opened up the doors of transparency. Trust has increased among my coworkers, and it has translated into a more interactive and collaborative team. This positive atmosphere improved the quality of our software, resulting in higher customer satisfaction. Now I am addicted to servant leadership.

What film are you recommending these days?
Rocketry: The Nambi Effect. It’s based on the life story of an Indian Space Research Organisation scientist, Mr. S. Nambi Narayanan. It taught me that having a vision, dedication and persistence can help lead motivated people.

What helps you relieve stress?
My daughter’s smile. Before that, it was seeing my wife and my mom happy—which still does the job. Seeing happy faces around us makes life—and work—positive.

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Image credit: Carsten Behler


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