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Friday, March 26, 2010

Rajit Nair

Like previous years it’s school and college exams time coinciding with several Hindu temple festivals in Kerala, India. While the students are struggling hard to memorize the textbook contents with deafening music in the background, parents are praying hard for divine intervention for their ward’s success. Almost all local TV channels are running special programs on how to cope up the exam stress aimed at both parents and students having exam fever. I don’t think nowhere in the world, such seriousness and tension, equally for the children and parents could be seen. It happens only in India and where Indians live!

Similarly, it happens only in India where the elephants are tortured in the name of religious and other extravaganzas. The domestic version of the largest land mammal on earth is physically tortured by making them walk miles and miles on the bitumen highways meant only for wheelers. Upon reaching the temple, they are made to stand still for hours and hours with the idol of the deity along with its custodian, the priest mounted on top (click to see an elephant getting ready for a temple procession). The elephant’s ‘manage’, the mahout will be guiding the huge animal walking alongside in relation to the temple rituals. Animal lovers always protest and raise alarms against such cruelty. In addition, the male elephants periodically undergo a hormonal surge known as ‘musth'. During this period, the elephants would become boisterous and violent. What the animal need is total rest and care. However, for monetary gains, the animals are ‘rented out’ even if the owners know that the elephant is having the early symptoms of ‘musth’. Our TV channels celebrate with live satellite feeds on elephants going on the rampage and killing their mahouts and other innocent people during the festivals. It should be noted that even the elephants would lose their patience and resort to violence and revenge. Let us stop abusing these beautiful, elegant animals. Why can’t we explore other meaningful options for our festivals?

From animal planet to corporate planet where we could witness more hate and love stories. Over there, human employees who are at the receiving end from the sadistic human managers. How many of you have been a victim of such sadistic managers? To answer while serving in a company would be difficult, but self-realization of such tortures is the foremost step. Watch out for those managers who make you work like a caged animal, treat you badly and by paying you peanuts!

Salary definitely is not a great motivator in the modern times. But good treatment and appreciation counts. I don’t preach for the employees or urge them to revolt. I strongly believe work is worship. Personally, I used to enjoy working without counting hours in pursuit of corporate goals and objectives. What I mean is if someone exploits your passion or worship, and treats you badly, then you should rewrite the definitions of worship.

I know an organization where the employees celebrate when the dictator manager is away or sick. Employees from all departments will get together during the break hours. Otherwise, such reunions were not allowed or not possible when the dictator manager is around. If present, either he will make them work on something insignificant just to engage them during the siesta time.

Some unpopular managers enjoy in planning official trips during holidays just to restrict the employee being with his family. Official issues leading to outstation travel require prime attention and certain positions demand travel, agreed! However, when it becomes a routine even for issues that could be solved over the phone, then the employee starts hating the manager and soon his job.

In another organization, employees hated the manager as he interferes in each and every petty issue like lady employees burning scented candles on their desk. However, the manager’s objection was due to the safety hazard an unattended candle could poise, that too in a centrally air-conditioned environment.

The technology savvy manager controlled the Internet misuse by the employees during the work hours. As part of it, he blocked social networking sites, chat programs and online music sites. The moment the manager left the organization, the servers never had rest due to the unprecedented data transfers. Who is the bad character here?

To have a good and understanding manager is like winning a jackpot. However, the universal doctrine is that the employees hate their managers. This behavior has direct links with leadership styles. My outlook on leadership was detailed in my article titled “Thy Lead the Ship!”

Most of the employees are highly emotional beings. The more loyal and hardworking, the more they expect support and appreciation from their managers. This high expectation is where the problem sides. The moment such employees feel that they are being ill treated, the wild elephant in them may run amok.

Some managers are tuff but they support their employees in crisis and in good times. The employees won’t feel or understand the benevolence, as such managers won’t show any signs of their empathy outward. But when such managers leave the organization, the vacuum will remain unfilled for long and employees start realizing his value.

My friend working in an advisory firm is lucky to have a manager who ensures that the employee (my friend) gets a minimum two weeks break every three months. Because of the work pressure and the amount of time the employee puts behind even on holidays, the manager appreciates that and treats him well. I know more than twice my friend rejected mega job offers from other companies, because he will not get such a caring and understanding manager elsewhere. This shows that money is not the employees (at least for some) are after always. Job satisfaction owes to lot other factors as well.

A manager should not have ego and selfishness. The best manager besides supporting employees will ensure that the employees are constantly learning and their growth path is clear. Learning is the most important feature as far as the employee is concerned. As in any relationship, a give and take is what drives the manager – employee relationship as well. When a manager provides avenues for learning and growth, then in return the employee would give 100% of his efforts in realizing the desired results. Blessed are such organizations, where harmony and divinity exists next to growth and business success.

Today’s materialistic world it’s very rare to find such divine managers and such noble employees. In the volatile economies, organizations chase targets and profits and don’t care for the ‘feelings’ of its employees, then how can you expect employees to be dedicated to their work and loyal to the company? The employees are programmed robots destined to achieve targets and profits based on rigid built-in systems and policies. The human element is in for a long vacation!

This is one of reasons why we see only very few successful companies in the corporate map. In pursuit of such blessed environments, employees migrate from one company to another. Only few may discover and end up in such promised lands. Majority fail to reach the preferred destination and slowly get gripped by the frustration, react like a pachyderm. Do you harbor a frustrated tusker in you?

There is no prize for the best comment, only my gratitude for your support!

Do post your comments!

Please keep visiting http://stateoftheartconsulting.blogspot.com/ (every week) for more on the series “Fearless or Shameless”.

stateoftheartconsulting@gmail.com



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