Thursday, January 11, 2018

Makar Sankranti - The Festival of Kites

Makar Sankaranti is very pleasurable festival of India. All aged people celebrate the festival with joy and happiness. 

Makar Sankranti is one of the most auspicious days for the Hindus, and is celebrated in almost all parts of the country in innumerable cultural forms, with great devotion, fervor & gaiety. The festival of Makar Sankrant traditionally coincides with the beginning of the Sun's northward journey (the Uttarayan).


Makar Sankranti is one of the few ancient Hindu festivals that have been observed according to solar(Sun) cycles. Being a festival that celebrates the solar(Sun) cycle, it almost always falls on the same Gregorian date every year on January 14th, because of the complexity of earth-sun relative movement. The festival is dedicated to the Hindu sun god, Surya. 

“Wish you all a happy Makar Sankranti in Advance”
“Be safe and keep safe others”
Enjoy The Festival

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

How to get along with the Boss

You must have read or at least heard about the subject topic, may be titled somewhat differently like “How to manage the boss”, “How to deal with the boss”, etc - with or without an adjective prefixed to boss. Generally, the word boss conjures up a scenario where there is a supervisor and the subordinates in commercial field, though similar type of relationship might exist in other situations also. The present write up discusses the boss – subordinate relationship in commercial field. 

Going by the popular perception, a boss is a person who superintends a group of persons for getting the work done. Bosses themselves would be happy with this perception as it glorifies a boss as a person with authority but a good boss has a wider role - mentoring, problem solving, mustering and allocating resources, planning, monitoring, rewarding, disciplining and punishing. 

Though the word boss has old masculine flavour and perceived as such in general even today, females are catching up fast and gender gap for the role is narrowing. An entrepreneur mobilizes together the factors of production (Land, Labour, Capital, Enterprise or Entrepreneur). A boss manages one or more of these factors on behalf of the entrepreneur. While on the subject of boss, any one would be intuitively reminded of a leader. Though they both are pivot of group dynamics, they have different characteristics. 

Why is cordial relation between the boss and the subordinates important?

Modern economy has brought us many comforts and also a good amount of workplace mental tension.  If Top Ten factors creating the mental tension in workers’ life are listed in order of the gravity, the factor of tense relation with the boss would figure in Top Three. The issue merits the top attention of the stakeholders as, apart from the health issues, it is the worst villain affecting the productivity and job satisfaction. In extreme cases, the subordinate becomes averse to working under the boss and the boss fretting for firing the subordinate. Such a situation does not auger well for any, including the organisation. 

Why does the relation become tense?

There are two sides of the coin. Let us start with one.
As the boss is soldiering higher responsibility which he alone cannot discharge, he has to appreciate the importance of the contribution being made by the subordinates and credit them for his success. He has to appreciate the fact that the subordinates are coming from different type of culture and family background than those of his own. 

The caliber gap between the boss and subordinates is inherent due to various reasons. He should strongly believe, though it may not be a ground reality, that each employee is a dedicated to the organisation and send positive signals about the employees while keeping eyes on laggards. He has to accept their deficiencies with bit magnanimity and mentor them to raise up their level. He has to provide conducive atmosphere where the subordinates can deliver their best. 

However, even after applying the lessons he/she has garnered from management books, experience and Case Studies; when he finds that relation with subordinate/s is becoming lukewarm, he should introspect and ponder over the factor that spoiled relation, before the lukewarm relations degenerate into grudges and prejudices. 

The factor/s can be one or more of the following:
  • Insulting the subordinates in presence of the colleagues/peers
  • Withholding the employee benefits just to prove his/her importance
  •  Ferreting the fault of a particular employee and amplifying the same even when the fault is   negligible and such fault of other employees is ignored, even though noticed.
  • Pocketing himself the credit of a good work done by others when he has no contribution in the achievement or passing on the credit to an employee who has not contributed in the achievement.
  • Nurturing the groupism
  • Bullying the subordinates
  • Ignoring the genuine demand from subordinates for resources for achieving the goal
  • Lopsided distribution of workload
  • Fixation of targets/Key Responsibility Areas in a sloppy manner.

Now another side of the coin:

The objectives of keeping the post of the boss by the top management are well understood by the subordinates but their perception about the role and the actions of the boss is hazy. If the drivers appreciate the role of the Traffic Police, it would not be an eyesore any more. The subordinates would do well if they appreciate the fact that the top management must have good reasons for posting a boss and that too a particular person as boss. As he is sitting at higher plank, he must have wider and better perspective of the situation. Each of the subordinates is an extended hand of the boss and sum total of their performance is the performance of the boss. And hence performance of the subordinates is the foundation of healthy relation with the boss. 

When a subordinate finds that his/ her relation with the boss is under stress, he/she should examine the following probable reasons which led to the impasse and dwell upon the corrective measures:

  •          Poor performance
  •          Dishonesty / unethical practices jeopardizing the interest of the organisation
  •          Overt or covert disobedience and rude behavior to the boss
  •          Poisoning the ears of the top management to tarnish the image of the boss
  •          Not adapting to the working style of the boss
  •          Priorities not aligned with those of the boss
  •          Misrepresentation / Lack of communication
  •          Taking the boss for granted / Over acting / bypassing the boss
  •          Reluctance to take more responsibility
  •          Negativity dampening the team spirit
  •          Insincere praise of the boss with ulterior motive
  •          Argumentative nature wasting the time of the boss
  •          Peering through the keyhole in the personal life of the boss

Restoring the healthy relationship between the boss and the subordinates:

If the both the sides are not stubborn on the issue and deliberately do not wish to pull on with the tense relationship, the situation will thaw and relation will become normal with the passing of time, as happens in social set up. Each side will find out some face saving device and implicit gestures to come closer so that tension can be defused. This process takes bit longer time.  Rather than waiting for this to happen, it is imperative to initiate the process by both sides in the interest of both the sides and also the organisation. 

The best way is to meet and speak up and frankly discuss the issue with sincere intention to normalize the relationship. Either side can initiate, putting the ego issues aside. Restoring the normal relation between the boss and subordinate/s is a ticklish task – easier said than done. 

What boss should do:

  • Not only monitoring but also mentoring the subordinates
  •  Facilitate a conducive work environment
  •  Communicate with subordinates
  •  When warranted, punish a delinquent subordinate without hurting his/her self-respect
  •   Release dues / perks/ benefits gracefully
  •   Give / share the credit of a good work done
  •   Set the targets/ goals / Key Responsibility Areas after due process and review the same  objectively
  •  Differentiate false flatters from performers and appreciate  the performers

What subordinate/s should do: 

  • Perform. Performance is the key to be in the good books of the boss. Walk extra mile if you want to stand out from the crowd.
  • Get well prepared with the fundas, facts  and records before approaching the
  • boss. Bosses are time-poor.
  • Behave courteously with the boss. Courtesy begets courtesy.  
  • Win the trust of the boss.
  • When required to confront the boss due to divergent views on an issue, look at the issue with his/her perspective. Submit your views politely and with all humility. Do not harp on your views, just hint at it. Dissenting voice before the boss is like a red rag to a bull. Not just listen to the boss but also read his/her face. Remember, “Boss is always right” and even if he is wrong, he is boss.
  • Adapt to the working style of the boss. Not following his/her style inspite of repeated instructions is a “reasonable” trigger for blasting.
  • Go to the boss not only with the problems but also with the probable solutions.
  • Keep the boss informed.
  • If you feel biased/offended/harassed/singled out, seek his/her appointment and speak up to him/her without making noise.   
  • Do not criticize the boss. That is a prerogative of his boss. Nevertheless, you venture into this, your words will certainly reach to your boss through grapevine. Bosses have powerful antenna.

Wish both the sides all the success in their endeavour for healthy relations, ever after.