Leading Beyond Lines: Dhun Chhokar's Journey from Design to Management

Leading Beyond Lines: Dhun Chhokar’s Journey from Design to Management

Remember the time when you were jittery and nervous about your career and were seeking advice from everyone? We’ve all been there, collecting tips—some worked, some didn’t. But amidst all the pieces of advice, we received this common success mantra: pick a path, create a plan, and stick to it until you succeed. Sounds foolproof, right? Many of us followed the advice and worked tirelessly because, let’s face it, who wants to fail?

These plans usually lead to two outcomes—success or failure. But one thing is sure: doubt will creep in if you don’t explore and push your boundaries. If you’re currently questioning your choices, Dhun Chhokar’s managerial story will inspire and nudge you to explore your potential.

Dhun is a self-proclaimed wild child who believes in doing things her way. With a background in media and theatre, she’s explored every corner of the creative world—from collaborating with stand-up comedians to trying her hand at acting and working with various production houses. These diverse experiences played a crucial role in shaping the person she is today.

Stepping out of her comfort zone transformed Dhun into a people person, a trait that smoothly carries into her role as a manager. She currently leads On Purpose’s national team for digital and visual storytelling, overseeing a team of over 20+ members. While recognizing her progress, she strongly desires continuous learning and improvement. She consistently strives to be a better version of herself. Let’s have a closer look at her journey.

Dhun’s Evolution: From Designer to Manager at On Purpose

At On Purpose, Dhun started her journey as a designer, leveraging a natural flair for aesthetics and visual composition despite lacking prior knowledge in editing and designing. Through her strong work ethic and determination, she quickly mastered these skills on the job. On Purpose introduced her to the corporate world and PR role, where she not only acquired technical skills but also honed her leadership abilities, gradually assuming more significant responsibilities. Dhun marked a significant milestone by transitioning into a managerial role within three years. Reflecting on this shift, she said

I had no idea what it meant to be a manager. At that moment, it felt cool that people would report to me.

Dhun Chhokar
As a first-time manager without formal training, Dhun felt a bit lost, much like others in her situation. However, her founder’s support helped her navigate the new challenges of managerial duties head-on. Dhun sees On Purpose as more than just a workplace. It is her training ground for professional and personal growth. She credits On Purpose for offering the platform to learn and evolve, from mastering hard skills to developing the qualities required for leadership. Through this journey, Dhun learned that every challenge is an opportunity for development. She believes in embracing experiences and challenges with an open mind, knowing they contribute to the growth of an individual.

Overcoming Managerial Hurdles: Dhun Chhokar Shares Insights

Dhun encountered significant challenges as a manager, one of them being fostering genuine empathy and understanding towards her team members. 

The biggest challenge personally was when I had to understand people’s problems.

Dhun Chhokar
She admits that empathy wasn’t a skill that came naturally to her. When she assumed the manager role, she realized the importance of empathy in creating a positive team environment and understood that merely hearing her team members’ problems wasn’t a comprehensive solution to address their concerns effectively.

Dhun decided to work on developing empathy to overcome this roadblock. She committed to truly listening, absorbing her team’s perspectives, and empathizing with the various personal or professional situations they faced. This shift in approach allowed her to consider her team’s individual circumstances and personal issues, ultimately contributing to a more understanding and supportive work environment. Dhun realized that this change not only improved team dynamics but also helped their professional growth. 

As a manager, standing up for team members when they aren’t able to meet expectations is a significant challenge.

Dhun Chhokar
Dhun encountered a challenge as a manager when she had to advocate for her team members in front of management and clients, especially when they couldn’t meet expectations due to personal reasons. Balancing the needs of her team with organizational expectations demanded considerable effort and posed a significant hurdle for her to overcome.

To address this challenge, Dhun made clear communication a top priority. She encouraged open dialogue among team members and clients, providing a platform for effectively expressing concerns. Dhun ensured that her team felt valued and supported by actively listening and engaging in honest conversations, fostering a cohesive work environment characterized by trust and collaboration. She promoted transparency and mutual support among team members through regular one-on-one meetings, further solidifying their bond and commitment to shared goals.

Clear Communication in Leadership: Dhun’s Perspective and Advice

Dhun’s background in mass communication and her success in the PR field are testaments to her strong communication skills. She believes effective communication is key to tackling any professional challenges. With her experience, she offers valuable insights into the power of communication. 

Communication is everything, irrespective of your role.

Dhun Chhokar
Dhun recommends prioritizing honesty and openness. Building trust with your team and stakeholders fosters reliability and credibility. She suggests transparency in addressing positive and negative aspects, strengthening relationships, and building trust over time.

Furthermore, she emphasizes the significance of establishing authentic connections with team members. Rather than simply issuing directives, Dhun advises managers to articulate their expectations clearly. Through respectful assertion, managers can align their expectations with their teams’ goals, eliminating ambiguity and fostering mutual understanding and productivity.

Dhun firmly believes in clear and transparent communication with her team members. However, she also acknowledges that despite her commitment to delivering her best, there are occasions when communication may not be as effective as desired.

Imagine this: You’ve carefully laid out tasks and deadlines for your team, spending time and effort to clarify everything. But, despite your efforts, some team members go off track, causing delays that slow down the project. It’s frustrating, right? Even though you’ve explained everything clearly, seeing your team not follow instructions as you hoped makes you wonder if there’s a better way to make sure everyone understands and gets the job done efficiently. In times like these, Dhun shares her way of handling such situations.

There are still times when I fail to communicate and end up in situations I didn’t expect to be in.

Dhun Chhokar
She acknowledges that setbacks are part of the journey and encourages embracing self-comfort to navigate disappointments. Also, learning from these encounters enhances your ability to understand other team members better.

Despite best efforts, communication may still falter at times. Dhun advises embracing acceptance in such situations. Not every challenge has an immediate solution, and recognizing this alleviates self-blame. Over time, experiences become valuable lessons, enabling individuals to adapt and grow. Understanding that perfection isn’t always attainable fosters resilience and encourages continual improvement in communication skills.

Dhun’s Tips for Effective Management

Dhun has offered two actionable tips to help managers improve their leadership skills and team dynamics.

Your team members are always watching you and constantly making assumptions.

Dhun Chhokar
Dhun believes that as a first-time manager, it is crucial to take time to pause and reflect on the type of leadership you wish to embody. While doing this, consider the individuals who inspire you and the leadership styles you admire. This reflection can help shape your approach to management. By being intentional about the kind of leadership you want to bring in, you can set a positive example for your team members and earn their respect and admiration.

Team members look at managers critically to see if they are good enough to become their mentors.

Dhun Chhokar
Dhun emphasizes that providing mentorship and guidance to team members is a critical role for managers, often overshadowed by workload. She believes managers should prioritize offering support, even if it begins with just one team member. Recognizing the transformative impact of such support on team dynamics and individual growth is critical. By being approachable, empathetic, and supportive, managers can cultivate a sense of community within their teams and create a lasting positive impact on their team members’ lives, personally and professionally.

How Can Risely Help?

Dhun Chhokar has developed her leadership style by working closely with her company’s founder and her mentor, an opportunity only some aspiring managers may have. But here’s the thing: we miss out on the nitty gritty and don’t always have the support to overcome similar challenges. That’s where Risely steps in as a solution. Risely is an AI buddy for managers, offering the guidance that every manager needs to unleash their true potential. With tailored steps and insights, Risely empowers you to solve challenges in simple steps:

  • Identify your challenges: The journey begins when a manager starts by defining their challenges. From 50+ challenges, managers and team leaders can identify the issues hurting their team.
  • Test your skills: In the second step, skills and qualities, such as expectation setting and prioritization skills, are tested with the help of leadership skill assessments to see how well you have achieved these critical functions. These assessments help us create detailed reports for skills and abilities.
  • Start growing: Now comes the good part: where your progress becomes Risely’s agenda. Managers can start making progress with the help of daily nudges, toolkits, and the interactive AI coach – Merlin, who is there for you through thick or thin, whether day or night. 
Sounds exciting? You can start a free conversation with Merlin now!

Kickstart your leadership development journey for free now!

Learning from mistakes is great. But what if we skip them? Find the loopholes in your skills with Risely’s range of assessments today.

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