Today one of my friends forwarded me the below story. I was not surprised at the conclusion of the story but I was surprised not to have read it anywhere earlier. Lets first read the story:
A crow was sitting on a tree, doing nothing all day. A small rabbit saw the crow, and asked him, “Can I also sit like you and do nothing all day long?” The crow answered “Sure, why not.” So, the rabbit sat on the ground below the crow, and rested. All of a sudden, a fox appeared, jumped on the rabbit and ate it.
Management Lesson: To be sitting and doing nothing, you must be sitting very, very high up.
Do you see people doing the same around you? Have you heard from your manager or any of friends quoting about his/her manager that I am your Manager? Have you seen leaders duping the warmth of their responsibility behind false powers?
I will be surprised if you weren’t. But the question is: is it correct to have such an attitude? Do people really don’t work as they go higher up?
I have two different perceptions on this. First, let us consider a fictional scenario. Mr. X passes from a top-tier institute from a not-so great branch. Industry Y was booming at that moment of time. X decided to join Y instead of pursuing a career in his core domain. Without much competition and leveraging on the good opportunities (including dirty politics like YES BOSS), he manages to climb up the ladder. Today, he is a manager, recruits people from top-tier institutes. Let me bring a simple IT example here which a lot of my friends quote. Their managers might be good at C, C++ but bad at the domain expertise for which he leads. So, what is the outcome? Subordinates don’t respect their managers. My only concern is if one needs to know C, C++ why don’t you go and hire someone from NIIT or Aptech and why do you go after engineering students for all this. One of my friends once mentioned to me that his manager mentioned that he was too aggressive to be in his company and today, he perceives the opinion that the recruitment process is flawed. One reason that he cites is that recruitment process in India does not look for the “FIT” and “CONNECTION”. Some standardized questions and if one answers them well, you are in. Now, when X goes for recruitment to a top-tier institute or someone really smart works under him and provided Mr. X’s competency is not up to an acceptable level, won’t he be exposed? Of course he will and it might not seem to be catastrophic immediately but it will for the long-term prospects of the firm. On the other hand, if he is competitive, he will gain the respect of his subordinates.
So, we have two different scenarios but who is responsible for encouraging such. I believe that it is the culture and system of the firm that is more responsible than the person. I, strongly, believe that a company exists if and only if it is competitive in the market and keep on innovating. And if any firm encourages the negative environment that we saw earlier, then there must be wrong somewhere in the middle of the chain. When people discuss with me such things, I tell them that probably the only way this can be corrected is through a 360-degree appraisal system. Individuals don’t do anything when they know their subordinates can’t do anything to them or their feedback is limited to closed doors. I feel introducing a 360-degree appraisal system where 50% would depend on the feedback of one’s supervisor and 50% of your subordinates would greatly help the organization keep the system clean and competitive within. And please make the process transparent. There has to be solid criteria on which people are to be judged at every level and they have to be open and available to all instead of any random person deciding it based on their convenience. And this is where HR has to play a very strong and prominent role. I, sometimes, fail to understand why HRs are so badly recognized in our corporate world but the more I try to understand the more I feel that is is they who are responsible for their irresponsible behavior. Some systems bestow huge responsibilities as one moves up the ladder and individuals help to steer not only their careers but also the careers of their subordinates, subsequently helping the organization. Some systems do exactly the opposite. But at the end, it is we who has to make the final call to which system we would like to become part of.
Bottom line is: Please DO what you LOVE. And the moment you start doing nothing, remember it won’t be long to become a STONE, which anyone can crush with a little force. And do GAIN RESPECT and not FORCE RESPECT. Remember always what Spiderman said, With great power comes great responsibilities. And it is only when responsibilities are carried out with due diligence, we GAIN respect. I remember watching one funny video which puts a big question mark the way some bosses work. I urge you not to be this and reject all those who follow such. Bosses should ideally be the mentors of one’s careers and should try to be role-models whom others can follow. Good Luck and here is the video link (Enjoy and but be cautious of your actions): Please DON’T SHIT while you SIT at the top.
PS: Some of scenarios described are fictional and some are taken from friends’ responses. I am not responsible if someone relates it in any form to me or my work as it would be purely coincidental. I, in no form, has written this post to defame any particular individual or firm.