Saturday, January 9, 2010

[rti_india] Jaante nahin main cheez kya hun?



Recently, in a lecture at IIM Lucknow, our Professor came up with a topic that I think is relevant to one and all. He was talking of inter-personal relationship between the senior and junior members of any organization.
He began by narrating a very interesting episode. As per him, a meeting was going on in some organization. There suddenly out of blue the senior officer asked one of the junior officers, in a rather offended tone- "How have you done this to me?" The subordinate officer got completely surprised by this statement as he could not think of one single thing he had done that might have been taken adversely by the Boss. So he asked his superior officer- "Sir, I can't really understand what you are saying?" Immediately came the curt, this time loaded with visible annoyance- "My wife could not understand me in the 42 years of my married life. How dare you even think of trying to understand me?" The subordinate understood that the boss was unfathomable and in the course of his service, he also came to understand that bosses have to be unfathomable.
The Professor followed up this incidence with another hilarious but thoughtful story. This was about a boy and his uncle. The boy was a sharp and intelligent one and was also confident of his abilities. One summer his uncle came to his house. During the course of their interaction, the uncle asked the boy how his studies were going on. The boy said that they were going on fine. To this the uncle said if he could ask a question to cross-check his level of studies. The boy replied in the affirmative. The uncle's question was- "You go to your school every day. Now tell me how many pillars are there in your school building?" The boy was completely dumb-found. He had read so many things and felt that he kept himself quite abreast through TV and newspapers even about the latest happenings. But he had never even thought about the number of pillars in the school. When the boy kept mum, the uncle said rather coldly and sarcastically- "So, you don't know even such a simple thing. Very bad." The boy felt really bad. He got humiliated. But he kept his confidence. The very next day when he went to the school, he counted all the pillars. He also did very good in the subsequent exams. When his uncle came the next year, the boy was eagerly waiting for interaction so that he could answer his question. The time came. This time again, the uncle asked the same question. And the boy replied with great enthusiasm- "Sixty seven". This time the uncle's response was no less noteworthy- "So, you go to school not for studying but for counting pillars. Very bad." This uncle, the Professor said, was a representative of a typical Indian boss.
With the above two examples, the Professor extended his thoughts by saying that many of the Indian bosses believe in playing the game of "hide and seek". They don't want to let the subordinate understand what exactly they want. Thus most of the time and energy of the subordinates gets wasted only in trying to find out- "What exactly does the Boss want?"
He also said that many of these bosses are very fond of saying- "Tu jaanta nahi hai, main cheez kya hun." (You don't know, what sort I am)
Finally the Professor concluded that such tendencies and such styles of functioning are surely detrimental for the proper functioning of any organization. He was of the view that there shall be frankness in the relationship between the boss and the subordinates. And mutual trust. Thus if the boss, instead of playing the game of "hide and seek" comes to properly reveal himself, his objectives and priorities, then things would start running in a much smoother way.
I personally felt as if he was speaking related to my own parent department. Though I am sure, many of you might also have faced such situations and such organizational behavior even in social sector organizations? Civil societies.

Amitabh Thakur
IIM Lucknow
# 94155-34526



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