Thursday, 19 December 2013

My “Gandhi-giri” experiment at Workplace

Gandhi-giri or Gandhi-ismdoes it really work in our day to day work in office ? What do you think ? 

Mahatma Gandhi’s principles of non-violence, integrity, truthfulness, honesty etc – does it sound too bookish and idealistic to be followed in practical scenarios where politics and rivalry are rampant ? Though I am a great fan of Gandhi, these questions plagued me too.  

So , I decided to do an experiment and in this blog post , I will describe my experiment with Gandhi-ism at my workplace.

As in any organization, there are managers who are effective and liked by his/her team and there are managers who are not so effective and usually not liked by his/her team but in general have good rapport with the senior management.

There was one such manager of the latter kind who invariably tried to put me down in some way or the other. My team loved and respected me and were really peeved whenever they heard or saw something which went against me.  

One day , in my weekly team meeting, I saw people looking at each other as if they wanted to say something. My team meetings were open and everybody had the right to speak and say “No” or be the devil’s advocate. I sensed something and smiled and nodded – triggering them to open up.

Ma’m” they said, “In the management review meeting yesterday, you were on vacation and XYZ said our team could not  complete the assignment on time... quality was poor ..... “ and they went on and on. 

Ma’m, this is always the case, whenever you are not around, all these things are being told ... We said something on your behalf, but since so many senior people were around , it would have sounded inappropriate if we said anything more ..... 

They were really hurt.

I was silent for a few seconds and then smiled.

Well ... Is it the truth ? “
 “Do we have the data to prove our statements ?"
“Do you think XYZ did the right thing?”

I smiled again – trying to keep my stance by remembering Gandhi.

Ma’m,  XYZ’s team has asked us to help them for the next 2 weeks for completion of their tasks ... but we will not do that...we will mess up their work and it will serve them right ....

You will do no such thing” I said. “We will help them fully and after completion of the task, we will send XYZ a thank you note saying you liked helping his team and in future, if the need arises, you will help them again ...

The team was stunned and nobody spoke for a few minutes.

I said  “If we also act in a retributive way, then what is the difference with us and them? Let us follow the path of truth and peace and non-violence ...”

Though grudgingly, my team did exactly what was told to them.

After a few weeks , again we had to help XYZ’s team and we did the same , with a smile on our face.

After two months, we had the Management Review again.

XYZ praised my team profusely. After the meeting, he personally came to me and again thanked me for the co-operation for which he could meet the deadline which was so important for his promotion. 

In his eyes , I could see the guilt and repentance for his earlier behaviour ... words were not needed.

I looked up at the sky and thanked Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and his leadership principles.  

My experiment with Gandhi-giri was successful.

Do you have any such experience to share ? Do write about them in the comments.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

The Teacher Who had a Gun

The little boy clutched his father's fingers and hid behind him.  

He was afraid and ashamed. He had almost failed  in Maths and his father , after looking at the report card, was really worried  about the future of his son. 

"You have to help my son improve in his maths "

"But ... I have never taught maths to a 11 year old kid ....  and I really do not have time as I have to prepare my own Semester end reports ... " the young man with curly hair, earnest eyes and honest smile lamented

"I understand. I just want you to help him with the maths for these two months of his  summer vacation... "

"But ... "

"I know you will be able to make a difference ... I have heard you ask intelligent questions and go to the very depth of any issue. That is exactly what I want my son to imbibe from you ... I want you to invoke interest in Maths in my son... marks really do not matter so much .. and I know that you will be able to ignite the interest in him ... "  The wise father persisted. 

So , from the next day, the lessons started . 

The LCMs,  HCFs, Mensuration, brackets, simple equations. Questions were invited and encouraged. Stories about Pythagoras, Archimedes, Einstein were discussed.  Tips and tricks were talked about . The boy looked forward to the lesson.  After a month, a mock test was conducted by the teacher.  The boy got about 70%.  

The teacher laughed and told him " You know, I have a gun.  If you make silly careless mistakes, I might use that "  . The teacher told that  in good humour. but it was etched deeply in the mind of the little boy. 

For the annual exams, the boy worked very hard and during the exams , he was pleasantly surprised when he was able to answer all the questions. 

When he got the report card and saw that he had secured 98% in maths, the boy was overjoyed.  He took his report card and ran to show it to his teacher.  He panted excitedly as he held out his report card . With flushed face and bated breath he waited.

The teacher looked at the report card .  He looked up, smiled  and said  " You know, I have a gun.  And I might use that. What did you do with those two marks?"

And the boy remembered this forever and became one of the most renowned mathematician of his times.

The quest for perfection. A leader imbibes this in his followers. And help them attain the peak of excellence !

Do you know of any such leader who inspires you to reach that level ? Do share your experience.