Monday, 31 August 2015

When the Stars dim ...

The Senior Manager was intrigued.   During my weekly calls with him, he muttered  "Ananya,  Ruchika wants to switch over from Delivery Operations to HR .... I wonder why ...anyaways ... ". 

He then continued with the rest of the agenda items. 

But my antennae was sharp enough to catch this and I made it a point to talk to Ruchika after a few days.  

Ruchika was one of the best performers in the Operations and Delivery Department.

We sat face to face. She looked a bit tired after the long work day. 

"Hey ! What is the matter ? Are you not well ? "

"No... I am OK... Just a bit tired ... you understand how operations are ... something or the other always cropping up . And the customers have become so demanding ... they want everything ASAP !"

"Hmm ... Ok ... so work is keeping you very busy ... eh ? "

"Yes ... Just that nowadays I do not quite feel enthused about my work .."

"Oh ... why so ... ? " I wanted her to vent out. 

"Well ... so many things ... sometimes at the end of the day , when I ask myself what have I achieved today ... a big question mark comes in my mind ... "

"Really ? You are not enjoying your work ? You are a good performer , you have a lot of experience in this area and I always thought that you are a workaholic  " I smiled at her. 

"Yeah ... but nowadays I do not feel motivated . I think I need a change . I want to apply for the vacancy in the HR department"

"Let me understand it better. The HR role is much below what you are currently doing and the salary too is not at your current level.. and I am not sure that you will like the support role . Line function like in delivery and operation is much more challenging that support functions . So, even if you are placed in the HR role, the chances are that you might not like it after a few weeks or months."

"Hmm .."

"Ruchika ... let us talk more and think deeply... I would like to understand why you are not motivated ? Any particular reason ? " I probed gently.

"Well ... " She hesitated . 

"Yes ... go on ... this conversation will remain confidential ... ".  I worked with the organization as a change agent and a coach. 

"I ... I don't feel that I am adding value ... None of my suggestions are taken and I am not a part of any decision making ..."

The clouds started moving and I saw some light .

I talked to her for about an hour and what surmised is that she was very unhappy and demotivated about the ways of working in her department.  She was given a lot of responsibility without authority.  

She was not made a part of decision making.  When she had joined the organization about 18 months back, she was bubbling with ideas and suggestions. But by and by when her suggestions were not even acknowledged , she just stopped speaking.  Ruchika also talked about not being appreciated but whenever there was any escalation, she would be pointed at. 

Dear leaders and managers, you all must be aware that these are the most common things why an star employee becomes disillusioned and demotivated . And there comes a time , when these people leave.  As the boss , it is your responsibility to get a hang of the pulse of the employee and take necessary action. 

After our 90 minutes of discussion, Ruchika looked fresh. It is very important to listen.  Just lending a patient hearing of the woes works wonders. Listening without being judgmental is a quality which managers should nurture.  

"Ruchika,  I understand. Can I request you something ? I would like you to come up with a descriptive account of what your role should be like. Mark the areas where you think you should be a part of decision making "  .  And thus I continued.... 

I will talk to the department head and do the following :

  • Put authority along with responsibility at the appropriate places
  • Smoothen out the process of working
  • Rewards and recognition - yes it is needed at all levels !
  • Put in a process for suggestion submission and implementation
  • Train the managers on listening skills 

Cheers !

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Teeny Weeny : Freedom

"I want a Baloon Mamma ...see the small boy is selling them ... I want the big red heart shaped one !"

"Buy her one ... after all it is 15th August today "

The little boy was already at their car window with an eager face. 

"How much for the red one ?"

"Rs 25 sir .. ok... Ok.. don't go away, I will give it to you in Rs 20 ... ok , ok ... Rs 10 ...."

"Mamma .. I will set it free and it will fly up in the sky ... Freedom ... !" 

Th little boy put the 10 Rupee note in his pocket. 

Another such five  sale of baloons and then he will be free to go home ... to his mother ... who is waiting for him to bring some food ....


Teeny-Weenies will spice up the monotony of the leadership posts . Hope you like them.     
Looking forward to your comments.

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Flaming Emails

Emails have now become an integral part of our work. With globalization, virtual teams,  distributed delivery models, emails have become a very important instrument for communication and working together.  

Emails aid us in our work,  but sometimes , it also becomes a hindrance . It is a known fact that there is no replacement of body language and so nowadays , video conferencing is becoming popular. But due to the ease and cost effectiveness, emails are and will always remain the main tool for communication .

In my career, I have burnt my fingers several times while using emails

It is a natural tendency to reply or rather retort to emails that hurt you. My dear readers, I caution you, even though the urge will be irresistible, refrain from instant reply to flaming emails. 

Sleep over it. Calm down . And reply after 24 hours. 

  • Flaming is a virtual term for venting or sending inflammatory messages in email. 
  • Avoid flaming because it tends to create a great deal of conflict that spirals out of control.
  • What you say cannot be taken back; it is in black and white
  • Before you send an email message, ask yourself, “would I say this to this person’s face?”
  • Calm down before responding to a message that offends you.  Once you send the message it is gone.
  • Read your message twice before you send it and assume that you may be misinterpreted when proofreading.
  • There are times when you may need to blow off some steam.
              Here’s a way to flame: Flame On,  Your message , Flame Off

  • Remember your audience and your situation before sending the email.
  • Understand the purpose of the email.  After you calm down from the shock of the email, spend a moment thinking about the actual reason the email was sent. Some people send hate mail to flex their muscles and just feel important. Such emails should be absolutely ignored. 

How should you respond to a flaming email ? Here are some tips :
  • Empathize with the sender’s frustration and tell them they are right if that is true
  • If you feel you are right, thank them for bringing the matter to your attention
  • Explain what led to the problem in question
  • Avoid getting bogged down by details and minor arguments
  • If you are aware that the situation is in the process of being resolved let the reader know at the top of the response
  • Apologize if necessary -  humility wins hearts and minds.

Any more tips  ? Do reply in the comments