A Unique Leadership Concept with Nikunj Sharma

This article is a lightly-edited summary of the key takeaways from our speakers’ appearance on our podcast, “The Shape of Work.” If you haven’t listened to our show yet, be sure to check it out here. These speakers have an incredible stable of startup experiences to draw from, the kind of stories that are unbelievably helpful for HR/people managers to hear.

In this episode of The Shape of Work, we welcome Nikunj Sharma, an experienced professional in the animal welfare sector.


Name of the guest: Nikunj Sharma

What he does: Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer at Mercy For Animals India Foundation

Find him on LinkedIn.

Get Smart: “I believe that communication is the most important part of any organization.”


In this episode, you will get valuable insights into:

  1. ‘Tight-loose-tight’ leadership.
  2. The feedback procedure of MFA.
  3. Building a culture of faith and fearlessness within the organization.
  4. Eligibility criteria for working in MFA.


‘Tight-loose-tight’ leadership:

Communication is the most important ingredient to being a good leader. Nikunj encourages integrating teams by organizing interdepartmental meetings, check-ins at regular intervals, and making them work together. 

They follow the concept of ‘tight-loose-tight’ leadership. It indicates being tight on expectations, loose on the delivery method, and again tight on evaluation of the work. This concept is especially good for remote work. Even the non-profit teams work better if they share ideas. They conduct weekly meetings where employees come together and discuss these ideas, appreciate each other’s work, and suggest other options. This turned out fruitful for their teams and generated new ideas.

This is how they went about inspiring ideas and leadership in the team.

The feedback procedure of MFA:

Nikunj explains the importance of recognizing each other in the workplace. Feedback is taken seriously by everyone. Being a global organization, Mercy for Animals has a centralized system that helps with project management. Anyone who joins the teams is trained on these software. It helps them perform better.

The organization sincerely believes in giving and receiving feedback. Their People Ops team in the US has a 360-degree feedback system where anyone can give feedback to their colleague, supervisor, or anyone else.

It helps in understanding any issues that employees might be facing and building trust in the employees. Moreover, they are a strong proponent of teamwork.

For effective performance management, they have quarterly conversations. They set up goals and evaluate them at the end of each quarter. Here, team members can give their feedback to coworkers or supervisors and vice versa. The strong feedback mechanism has helped develop a good relationship among employees.

Building a culture of faith and fearlessness within the organization:

As the CEO of MFA, Nikunj ensures zero barriers for employees to reach him. His colleagues are allowed to reach out to him directly at any time of the day. They have also developed a culture of openness where the individuals can express why they disagree with the CEO. Their work culture is similar to that of a startup. They prefer an open desk culture to make reaching out to each other convenient. They also encourage new ideas and decision-making. MFA wants the employees to know and learn from each other. Employees also deserve proper time offs and weekends.

Regular vulnerability checks for keeping a check on the mental state of the employees is a regular practice they perform. 

Eligibility criteria for working in MFA:

Working for the cause of saving animals has been a relatively new concept. Hence finding people willing to make a difference is a difficult task. Thus the company needs to have good eligibility criteria while hiring. They need people who are compassionate and committed. But, at the same time, they should be well-educated and skilled as well. The candidates need to have some sort of experience within the area of animal rights. MFA has an elaborate recruiting process.

Dhristi Shah

Hi, this is Dhristi, Content Writer and Editor at Springworks India. I am a keen learner and am passionate about everything related to writing.

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