Though I belong to northern part of India but in my professional life, for maximum number of years I have worked in southern and western parts of the country. It is only now, since 2005 that I shifted my base to northern India . Sometimes, people ask me the difference that I noticed in terms of work-culture, workplace environment and practices in northern and other parts of the country, during my professional journey. Usually my reply to those queries is: “People in western and southern parts of India compete for success and growth. They have constructive and positive approach. They value their and other’s time. Where as, in northern parts of India , people love to grow at the cost of others…by harming others. They have political mindset. They have destructive mindsets.
In western and southern India , the attitude is, “Lets grow together. You don’t harm me and I will not harm you; you have your own strengths and I have mine, we will grow together”. But in other part of the country, people want to be in lime-light. The philosophy is, “Only, I will grow. You, either perish or live in my shadow”.” This is the general attitude, perception and behavior of people. However, exceptions are always there.
Growing together – The Importance of Team Work
How good are you, when it comes to team-work? Do you understand the importance and synergy of team-work? To my knowledge, “We Indians” are very bad players of team-work. Each member of the team wants to hog the lime-light, wants to take the credit for the “Success” of the team and “Love to Blame” his team-member for the failure of his team. Be it any team; as small as a team of two members or as big as a team of fifteen members, we have always failed as a team. Hard to digest but this is a fact. Some of the factors our failures as a team are:
1) Personal Ego (Larger than life ego)
2) Its only “me” and no one else
3) Lack of knowledge (Subject Matter Expertise), Confidence and Self-Belief gives rise to self-doubt and “insecurity”.
4) They love to “Demand Respect” rather than earning respect.
When you have ego, arrogance and insecurity, you tend to block others’ success. You tend to harm them. You tend to play “Political Games” with your own team-members.
Team-work in Corporate World
Now, let me narrow my write-up to “Team-work in Corporate World” and “Team-work within a department”. You cannot do all the work that is expected from you and hence, there is a need of a team. “Delegating your Work”; Outsourcing; Vendor Management is nothing but steps towards “Team Work”. We talk about man-hours and man-hands. For example, I as an individual is capable of doing X work in seven days but along with my team of three people, I should be able to complete the task in three days.
But it’s not me who has done that work in three days; it’s my TEAM. Many times, knowingly or unknowingly we harm our own team. In the process of showing others “my control over my team”, people hurt the team, insult the team and thereby affect the morale and sprit of the team. There is a saying, “Don’t kill the hen laying golden eggs”; but some people divide the team because they feel insecure. They divide the team. They back-stab their own team members; they gossip about one member to another and they insult their team-members in front of others. They do all this because, they don’t have subject matter expertise, and they are not sure about their position. They don’t have self-confidence and self-belief. They feel that the only way that they can survive is by using the old tactic of British India , “Divide and Rule”. Just like the British rulers of that time, these team-leaders and team-managers are aware that “if I let these people unite, I will not be able to survive. A very bad tactic, isn’t it??
Role of Team-Leader / Team Manager
There is a saying in Hindi, “Yatha Raja, Tatha Praja” (As the king, so the people). Hence, the Team-Leader or a Team Manager have very important role to play in “Team Development and Management”. As is understood that to be a Team-Leader or a Team Manager one should have at least one person to supervise and manage. Team Leader should have confidence in his own abilities, knowledge and skills. If he does not have enough confidence in himself, I will doubt his abilities and skills to boost the confidence and morale of his team. To be honest and fair and based on my personal experiences, I do feel that 90% of managers have sense of insecurity from their subordinate. They feel that their subordinates will grow faster. They feel that their position is not secured. They have very low Emotional Quotient. Hence they try “to block” block the pace of growth of their juniors / subordinates. Here are some blocks that Managers / Team Leaders put on the way of their subordinates growth:
Dam – When you construct a dam on a river, it does not stop the growth of the river; rather it generates electricity, helps farmers in irrigation and control floods. Similar is the role of this block in your profession. He guides you. He mentors you. He grooms you. He sharpens your skill. He helps you to grow. He is a catalyst. He knows that he is big enough for you to harm him in any manner. It’s like an executive reporting to a President. This is a positive hurdle.
Hurdle on the road (Rock, big & heavy stone) – Imagine a situation when you are traveling to some place and happen to face this hurdle on the road. What will you do? Either you will remove the hurdle or you will just pass by its side. Another example that I have is roundabouts in Chandigarh . You can not drive over them but need to drive around them to move on other side of the road. In a similar manner, there are blocks in your professional life and you can grow only by ignoring and avoiding them. They feel that they have put, big enough hurdle on the path of your career to slow-down you and/or stop you. It might take some time to over come this hurdle but this is not permanent. This is arrogant / egoistic but temporary hurdle.
Wall under-construction – This is a positive hurdle that you can face in your life. As you grow, the other also grows. He is intelligent and knowledgeable. He is willing to learn all the time. He is a person with high-self esteem. He has high expectations from himself and also from people around him. He is not afraid by the growth of his subordinates. He does not harm the growth of his subordinates. He does not sabotage their growth. The more his subordinate grows, the higher he increases his own level and his competencies.
Closed Door – This is a negative block. Whatever you do, you will face rejection. Things will just bounce on you. This person is afraid of your success and pace of your growth. When in open and competitive market, he feels insecure. He feels comfortable and secured when he is in closed room and that is why he keep the doors closed. If you want to grow in the presence of such superior / boss, you should either be pleading him or buttering him (making him comfortable) or requesting him or you should wait for the right opportunity. (You should look for the ventilator to enter in).
If you want to draw a line, longer than the one which is already drawn, the best way and constructive way to do that is to draw a new line, parallel to existing line and longer than that. Same way, the best way to grow in professional life is to always keep yourself updated with the latest in your domain; to sharpen your skills; to have dreams and to have confidence in yourself. You cannot grow by suppressing someone lower to you. Even if you manage to grow in this fashion, you will not be able to sustain that growth. Be honest to yourself and to your team-members. Don’t lie to them. Share the credit. Most importantly, “Learn to Work in a Team”. Talent Acquisition is Important but Talent Management is Equally Important.
Gone are the days when people use to “butter” their bosses and use to say, “YES Sir” for every order / instruction of their bosses. This is the era of competition. You want to grow then come compete with people.
That’s an end of the write-up. Do share your views and comments.