Friday, 5 July 2013

Two Biggest Life Lessons make for Management Best Practices!

It has been a great day for me today! Now greatness can be defined in a myriad ways – You could have got a raise or a promotion or good feedback on that major presentation you made to the Board. The day may have started well with a piece of joyous news about the family. You just started on a month long holiday after a seemingly long period of hard work and some serious tilling. It could also be a simple yet complex reason – that things went your way – simple in its outcome, that they happened, complex in their modalities, on how they came about. In my case, it was a special day today as I learned a great lesson; as a matter of fact two.

So let me share them with you and also discuss with you the reason they are great lessons indeed, for work and life.
A Win-Win Situation
As a writer, it is my constant desire, like any other writer, to be read, accepted, acknowledged and appreciated. So, when I write stuff, I want to see them lapped up on the old and new media.  The Social media has spewed thousands of avenues where one’s writing can be featured and very greedily, we seem to want it all.

While posting one such article I had an extended dialogue with an online Group Manager, who very professionally explained to me why she was rejecting my articles from the Discussion Board and putting them under Promotions. I disagreed with her, as the articles were not promotions – for any business or website. The intent was just to share a topic I felt had wider value, with a wide audience. The long dialogue ended on a pleasant note, with the Manager not only understanding and agreeing with my honest and credible point of view, but she made some very nice comments and promptly sent me a Connection request.

JC Hammond, the Group Manager and also Freelance Blogger, Content Curator, Social Media Specialist, Editor - The Preternatural Post, had the following to say to me -

“Well, one of the Group rules is BE NICE. It always amazes me how many people have trouble doing that. I approved your new link and really enjoyed the article.” And later added, “Given our discussion, you are the kind of professional I enjoy being associated with so I'd like to add you to my professional network.”

What a win-win situation!

A Lose-Lose Situation
On another Social media platform, I was an indirect and passive party to a discussion that was clearly vicious, seething with malice, swollen headed and in two simple words, ‘not nice.’ Rohini Majumdar, another passive participant and a young, dynamic, UK-based freelance designer, had this to say in the thread - "This is hilarious. You know what's screwing up this planet? The Ego. The need to be right, bigger, better, stronger, whatever. Who cares?  We all just keep consuming and two pennies worth to this circus. It's very entertaining." And with that she seemed to have hit the nail on the head of the biggest problem that eats into our personal relationships and professional equations. A trait that has the propensity to demonise us, squash all good sense, destroy and denigrate our true personality and turn us into a laughing stock to the repugnant pleasure of others.

This discussion was clearly a ‘lose-lose’ scenario, where not just the antagonist but even the protagonist lost. The offensive attacker lost his reputation and came out of it as the ‘bad man.’ The receiving defender lost both his time and peace of mind.

Two Lessons Which Will Take You Far
Lesson 1 - BE NICE

When you decide to go out to work and make a career for yourself, the first speed bump that you hit against is people who are not so nice – the Boss is seldom nice (especially when viewed from a skewed angle), the Management is not nice (with their large axe to grind), the HR is particularly vicious (always the management’s watchdog) and the immediate Supervisor is almost the Villain (with the sole aim to show you in bad light). The organisation-specific emotions are often woven around this theme and rarely do we find a consummately happy, content and satisfied team player. 

The biggest problem, however, lies with you. When you are not so nice yourself – to the Boss (yes, you heard that right), to the peers, to people who report to you, even to the guests, to the blue collared workforce that actually makes the foundation for the Organisation to have a certain positive rhythm - the energy gets reflected back at you in a much higher degree of scorch and burn.

When you are not nice then you indulge in the following vices –

1.    Bring in negative energy with you into work. An energy that is as threateningly infectious as the good energy is refreshingly so.

2.    You take affront at the slightest of slight and then plan to counter it with revengeful acts.

3.    You give an ear and mouth to information that is not your business in the first place, the sort of business that often festers menacingly in the water cooler corners or the cafeteria. Gossip mongering comes easy to you.

4.    You get into convoluted loops of name-calling emails that swell up with unpleasant character assassination; when they are actually meant to convey sane, sensible, value-adding, professional thoughts and ideas.

5.    Your strategies are centered on stealing credit, back-stabbing, being slothful yet demanding recognition and reward, dressing up the mediocre as something magical and passing the buck.

6.    You hate everything that the Boss, management, team asks for.

7.    You refuse to share information with your team and those who report to you, making their lives difficult and their deliverables out of reach.

8.    You trounce upon people mercilessly; but whine and whimper uncontrollably at the faintest payback in the same vein.

9.    You cut corners in your work, don’t think twice before snapping ties that bring no benefit to you and cruelly rend the rope that others sweat out to climb up to the next level with effort.

10.    You have the mean machine going on all its engines, in all its deviousness with the focus on hamming, harming; shamming, shaming; gaming, grandiosing; vindicating, vilifying.

But if you are nice then you are naturally kind, compassionate, understanding, team-playing and positively productive with your nous blend well with your niceness.

Being nice brings in fewer furrows on your forehead; less worries, more enchanting wonderment; it makes you less jealous and more zealous; less abrasive and acerbic and more affable and intrinsically aggrandizable!

If you are nice then the Universe is your ally, the world your oyster, the Boss your mentor, colleagues your cheerleaders, work a place of good fun and mirth and life a magnificent roller coaster ride in a Fair full of surprises – some that you rejoice in, others that you learn from.

What’s more! if you are nice and ask for things nicely of ANYONE, you usually get them!

Lesson 2 – KILL YOUR EGO

Okay, tell me quickly who is the master of your mind? YOU in all your wise consciousness that Jung would be proud of or a negatively-driven Ego being nurtured by an inferiority complex in a make-believe world that even Freud would be ashamed of!

If you want to visualize what is Ego then picture this - You are sitting atop a giant Redwood tree with a saw in your hand desperately trying hard to halve the branch you are perched on. Which side are you sitting on? Yeah, you got it right – the side that is going to fall hard with the biggest thud on solid ground. That is Ego and this is what it does to you.

So, what is the kind of cross you bear, if you nurture your Ego?

1.    To cradle an Ego is like nursing a wound that never heals. In a work environment, the strikes you make and the wounds you receive are in multitude given the number of people you need to work in unison with.

2.    If you have a big, misplaced Ego then you have a passion for bringing everybody around you down, including yourself.

3.    An Ego makes a Boss turn a workplace into hell and himself into the Satan’s sentinel.

4.    The Ego acts as an impediment in your road to greater learning and path to success.

5.    The Ego blinds you from reality, deafens you against voices of reason and caution, immunes you against the touch of humaneness in you and makes you utter things your sane mind would never think of saying. Outside the informality of your house and into the formal world of work, this is nothing but hara-kiri.

6.    When you act out under the influence of Ego you create such a spectacle that the fence sitters and bystanders find the show disdainfully entertaining. The blood is on your shirt and you are not even cheered for it, let alone respected or sympathised with. 

7.    The Ego has been the Achilles’ heel of many men of might and has engineered their shameful fall into the deep gorge of disgrace and anonymity.

8.    The Ego cuts you off from the team, destroys the spirit of common goals and vision and turns you into that bad patch that must be removed if beyond rectification.

9.    It is Ego that makes you stick with your wrong and not admit a mistake. It shackles you such that prospects of growth are more like a grind and a work day full of problems that pull you down rather than filled with passion for excellence and superlative performance.

10.    The Ego deviously designs to hold you back into a rut when an open, clear, fair, wise mind would take you to greater heights of reward, recognition and positive responses from all around you.

“The ego may have its uses but it should not be allowed to be the boss. To be alive is to fall into the ego trap. The trick is to trick the ego into serving something bigger than itself,” philosophizes Rohini Majumdar, a follower of yoga and meditation who is endeavouring to not be taken a prisoner by the urban 9-to-5 life of routine and bondage.

Therefore, if you must get violent at some stage in your life, then you must pick up the sharpest knife of reason & rationality and kill your Ego!


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