New Delhi: Vijay Chadda, chief executive of the Bharti Foundation, believes in empowering employees by giving them the freedom to take on new challenges. “We challenge them often, giving them a chance to push their limits," he said. Bharti Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Bharti Enterprises, implements initiatives in the fields of education, sanitation and legal aid.

In an interview, Chadda spoke about his people philosophy and his definition of an ideal workplace. Edited excerpts:

What, according to you, is a great workplace?

A great workplace is made of happy and wholly satisfied employees who are engaged and deeply connected with their work. A workplace should also provide a professional environment to work in and must value their workforce.

They must get an opportunity to grow and freedom to try new things. My personal belief is to empower people by giving them faith; of course they must be monitored as well.

Why are people important in the growth of a company?

People are critical for any organization; to grow the people should always come first before the processes.

I transitioned to corporate life from the armed forces... My expectations from my troops were different; when I joined the corporate (world), I had to adjust.

So a leader in one place can be a leader in someplace else; you just have to make certain changes based on the organization and philosophies.

What is your personal people’s philosophy?

A leader has to lead by example. I will never ask them to do a task I don’t believe in. Moreover, I believe in giving my employees freedom and entrusting them with responsibilities. With the right kind of guidance I think each individual has the ability to perform and grow.

How do you ensure that women employees feel motivated and see personal growth?

I don’t think motivation depends on gender. A woman employee must feel safe and secure at work. She also needs an understanding and sensitivity from the employer towards certain requirements...But sensitivity is equally important for male employees because today gender roles are getting diffused. A father has to play the role of a mother and a mother has constantly played the role of a father.