Friday, February 23, 2007

managerial quotient

My roommate comes back from a motivation session at his office to tell me that his manager knows exactly when to pat an employee on his back and when to prick his ego with a pin. He rambles on that his manager keeps every little thing in mind when he dishes out dispensations, and that his actions are invariably timed. This manager doesn’t interest me a wee bit. But the whole image of his profession does. I’ve never been able to entirely understand the need for sleaze in the shrewdness required of people who manage others.

By acknowledging the smartness of a manager, we understand his tactics, i.e., we know the motive of his actions. And by that, mostly we realize that his motives are ulterior. So, in effect, we know that what he does or say may not truly reflect what he feels about us. Armed with this realization, we still gloat over public pats and frown over dressing downs. This reveals 2 things: (1) we’re smart enough to figure out genuine accolades from fake displays, and (2) we still fall for it and take it at face value or just refuse to see through the veneer.

It’s like your brain that would’ve shouted out, “saala, dikhaawa hai,” if your colleague would’ve been wowed, now, when heaped upon with praise, revels in the sweet shit. As much as it is no earth shattering revelation, it is one of those helpless things in life. To just understand it isn’t enough. On the other hand, your reactions will just insult your intelligence time and again and make you wonder if you would’ve been better off without the knowledge.

Until here, of course, we have been passive agents, the ones who have been at the receiving end. Very soon, we’ll become one of 'them,' serving opinions with very precise motives in mind. I don’t know if we shall pause to think about how we viewed this tribe of managers or, even if we do, just banish it out of mind like when asked upon to account for a bad habit.

Is there a honest way to go about managing people? How much will being genuine cost? Or is this the scrupulous way?

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

You're so right about being sucked into something we are completely aware of as being wrong. Do u think it has anything to do with our upbringing that we just seem to consciously let wrong things happen to us? That we actually slowly become the people that we seem to be? or is it just part of growing up? because it's very depressing to think about it either way :(

Goli said...

I am not sure.... I think the best way is to be very honest. By being shrewd, dishonest you may get away once, twice, but I guess it will finally collapse.
I was handling some people in my previous company, and the thing which I made very clear to them is that, they could come and give me galis, debate me, do anything, but whatever we decide finally we have to abide and work for it. Small things like a occasional surprise icecream party, making sure that I am there, if something has to be done on weekend, do wonders.
I guess being manager does not mean that you are the best and your ideas are worth more than other people, it only means that you have stepped up to take the responsibility.

satyajit said...

@anonymous: I'm not sure about upbringing...its a very vast thing and throws a thousand questions..for example, we have been taught against lying..so, do we remember the first time we saw our parents lie? or cheat?

@goli: Will it collapse? People put so much value upon this acumen, cunningness, or whatever that they consider it a requisite to success..they guard themselves against being taken for granted, and may be as a pre-emptive measure always take steps to stay ahead..this feeling of insecurity may be pushes them..but whatever it is, being honest sure does come at a premium..why else are there so few honest ones around

PritS said...

I was watching a cartoon yesterday. The one with uncle duck and his three naughty nephews. So in this episode what happens is these kids make a very beautiful and big ice man and look at it with full happiness written all over their face.
But shrewd uncle could not digest this, so he boards a sledge, hides himself in a big gown of fur and comes and ruins the iceman.

Next time, kids are all set for this. They have understood the trick. So they take a big rock and build an iceman around it. Bigger and better. uncle comes and what happens after that you can understand.

Its all about taking what you want and leaving the rest of it.

SUCHARITA ROY said...

i dont know what to say abt it because i dont see management as an ultimate issue in hospitals as of now. but i remember the scene in jerry maguire when jerry hands out his booklet and get s sacked the next day.. and the end of it ..

i dont know if the manager gives a lot to it either. its a routine job except fr the appraisals where cmpany policy is to make a mountain out of a mole hill of mistake and not give the one his due..i am not sure bt i think upper in the hierarchy..he must ne facin th same..so where does it end?

satyajit said...

No, it was not a booklet. Nor was it a memo. Please, please it was a mission statement..havent you seen the movie?

Ravi Heda said...

U r right in pointing out the two things where we figure out the ulterior motive and still fall for it... but can u help not falling for it when we r supposed to do our job, we cant say that we wont work boss - u r being like this bcos u want the work done! :)

satyajit said...

Thats true..though what I'm asking is 'how can the manager be intelligent when you can very well figure out what he wants?' If it was something that you relized later, after you've been hoodwinked into doing shitty work or extra work without realizing it, then ya the manager sure is smart..but when u can see that this guy is just sweetening u to get his work done, hows he smart?

SUCHARITA ROY said...

okies...now that you remind me it was.i got the idea.I feel I have to watch movies more carefully than reading blogs. But i dont want to do that.... :D