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How ‘me’ time makes JLL India's Radha Dhir more productive

Radha Dhir, CEO and country head of JLL India, on how her mentors shaped her career, and how she takes care of her physical and mental wellbeing

Dhir has a YouTube channel and podcast on fitness.
Dhir has a YouTube channel and podcast on fitness. (JLL India)

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For Radha Dhir, CEO and country head, India, JLL, reducing one's carbon footprint is important. While her organisation is inculcating sustainable way of doing business, Dhir practises it in her personal life too. For instance, during week days, everyone has bath with a bucket of water. “It’s a rule in my house. You can treat yourself with a shower only on weekends,” she says. She avoids using elevators in residential buildings as much as possible.

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Mumbai-based Dhir took over the leadership mantel of the commercial properties' services firm last year, after having worked at Yes Bank and Deutsche Bank. She has a YouTube channel and podcast on fitness, and is a trained classical singer.

Dhir speaks with Lounge about her mentors, on her productivity hacks and why one should not be emotionally attached to previous decisions.

Who do you consider your mentor and why?

I have been fortunate to have a mentor to guide me at three different stages of my career. They all were my superiors in my previous organisation. The met my first mentor was when I joined the dealing room as a management trainee, the second one was when I was in middle management and beginning to build teams and a business, and the third one helped me when I became managing director and took on a senior leadership role.

All of them took a keen interest in my career and its progression. They guided me on how to grow businesses, taught the importance of building an internal and external network, how to articulate strategy and the business story, and more importantly how to be an effective leader and develop a team of leaders.

One major insight you incorporated with the help of your mentor’s guidance?

One key piece of advice I got was to be nimble and quick to respond to changing external factors, and not to be emotionally attached to existing/ past decisions. As a leader, you must learn to make tough decisions, and I have always remembered that all decisions are taken keeping the organisation and the clients in mind.

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What does being a mentor mean to you? How do you mentor your colleagues at work?

To me being a mentor means being a trusted advisor, friend, buddy, and confidante, who is there to provide guidance and support in navigating a career and enabling another person’s professional and personal development. This is most effective when you keep in mind the mentee’s needs which he or she would have defined upfront.

I start first by listening to the mentee, and what is it that he or she wants out of this mentoring. Once the outcomes are defined, I engage with them regularly and share anecdotes, and experiences from my career that have helped me and could guide them. Most important I always provide non-judgmental, honest, and candid feedback. This I do in an informal setting or have also done as part of formal mentoring programs.

What’s your morning schedule after waking up?

I am an early morning person and am awake by 5.30 am. I am at the gym by 5.45 am. I work out every day for an hour, no matter which city or time zone I am in. This is my most important time of the day and I do not compromise on this - am most energetic, get my best thoughts and ideas, and keep me both physically strong and mentally fit. When I am in Mumbai, post my workout, at around 7 am I play with my dog, and am ready at 8 am to leave for work.

What’s the one positive work routine that you have developed over the pandemic?

No unnecessary flying to different cities and countries for meetings. The approach to meetings has also changed as you can conduct these meetings on Zoom calls effectively. And this is also good for the environment.

What are some of your productivity principles that make your work easier?

I believe that if you want to do something, you will have to find time for it. So, taking care of one’s physical and mental wellbeing is important. For me, carving out time for intense workouts, listening to music, playing a sport or spending time with family helps me stay productive. You have to find ‘me’ time or whatever is your zen. Also, have interests beyond work. Do not be a unidimensional personality.

Monday Motivation is a series featuring founders, business leaders and creative individuals who tell us about the people they look up to and their work ethics.

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