The Weekend Muse

Random thoughts from my daily experiences

Archive for October, 2009

Fear… or Respect?

Posted by Shrini on October 31, 2009

How does one gain respect? Of course, it through demonstrated Capability, Strength of Character, their Good deeds, ability to Motivate, and a host of other characteristics – universally acknowledged or recognized by the people working around the individual. The question is – does the ability to instill fear, automatically generate respect?

For instance, take Bob, a Manager in a BPO, who is seen as a typical “Type A” personality – hugely impatient for results, aggression, public bouts of anger directed towards team-members who fail him, contempt for mediocrity and at times, publicly humiliate people who fail to live up to his high standards of performance. It is no surprise then, to see the team cover in his presence, and defer to his will, under most circumstances. Such managers, it is said, do not do too well for themselves in the long run and are the prime contributors to the attrition statistics of an organization.

Fear, in the corporate world, can manifest in many ways. While it may mean an extreme case of losing one’s job, it also includes fear of a bad appraisal, fear of missed opportunities/recognition or the fear of being shouted at in public.

Which leads us to the question – is fear really so undesirable? Would you really care about your boss if you believed he was incapable of harming you in any manner? How many times have we not seen individuals “take on” their superiors in public forums, in well “calculated moves” to establish themselves in the pecking order? I can’t imagine anyone attempting such hara-kiri with a ferocious boss! If you were not tracking your teams’ deliverables, do you think they would really work towards maximizing productivity and improving quality – on their own?!

It therefore transpires that… Respect exists in the domain of Fear! An employee who fears the Boss or losing the job that he/she holds, is seen to be more driven at work and aligned to the Organization (read… the Manager).

I know most of my readers would recoil at the thought of “Attila the Hun” as the next team leader… well I would not want to report to him either! But then… what’s the harm in theorizing a bit over the weekend… as long as my boss doesn’t get to read this?

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When having more choices works against you…

Posted by Shrini on October 1, 2009

Most of us have encountered change – some of us more than once, in our careers. A lucky few amongst us actually had the luxury of choice, when it came to these changes. The options presented to us could have been within the Organization or there were multiple job offers, each with their own unique offering, making the process of selection quite challenging. My experience tells me that often, if not always, the bounty of job offers often leads to results, least expected in such a situation.

Take for instance Tom, who has two roles to choose from, within his organization. For the sake of simplicity, we will assume he has no competition and either of these roles is his for the taking. Dick works in the same organization and his department is being wound up. He is presented with the remaining role discarded by Tom and has no option, other than to look for a job outside, in a shrinking market.

After much deliberation, Tom picks up the Marketing role which seems to be far more promising compared to Operations role, which he feels is relatively staid and low profile. So by default, Dick ends up with Operations.

Once again, for the sake of simplicity, we will ignore the deciding parameters for the job themselves, as these are unique to an individual and no single job parameter appeals in exactly the same manner to two different individuals – much less a combination of these.

Reverting to our friend Tom, we find that all is not too rosy on the job front. A few weeks into the role, he realizes that all is not too well in the new role. What starts off as a few minor irritants are fast morphing into bothersome traits that are making him regret his choice. All of a sudden, the Operations role that he let go of, seems more endearing. Before long, he hates his job, as nothing seems to be going right for him – leaving him convinced, that he made the wrong choice. Soon enough, he is back in the market looking for a “better job”.

On the other hand, Dick who was on the verge of losing his job has come to terms with his new role and has decided to make the most of it. Soon, he realizes there are opportunities waiting to be tapped, which he exploits to the hilt. Needless to say, at the end of the year, Dick has a better appraisal than Tom.

What went wrong…

When Tom took up the new role, subconsciously he kept comparing his role to the one that he had let go. While we would all like to believe that our “dream job” exists out there somewhere and spend half our lives looking for it, the truth is that the so call dream job needs to be built and developed within our current roles! Tom lost no time in identifying his pet gripes within his role while ignoring all the opportunities that presented themselves to him. His imminent loss of interest in the role started a downward spiral, from which he found it very difficult to extricate himself.

Dick on the other hand, knew he had to make the most of what he had. Very soon he started liking the job and his positive attitude helped him achieve better results, leading to a much more satisfying outcome.

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