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Bad weather!

The Chief Executive of a small software development unit walks into the office finds a file left open on the discussion table and immediately shouts at the top of his voice: “Can’t anyone work properly around here? Why are things not kept at the proper place?  Do I have to put up with such stupidity always?”

Two of his employees, out of his line of vision and earshot, looked at each other and grimaced – one said: “Another nightmarish day in office it seems.”

The other replied, “Thank God he does not turn up often.”

The Chief Executive called out the name of one of deputies and the person dragged  himself the Boss’ cabin reluctantly,  looking like a sacrificial goat.

“What happened to the proposal that was to go this morning?”

“I am putting the finishing touches – it will be sent to you for verification in a few minutes” said the man.

“You are not just incompetent, irresponsible too. I am going to put an end to this by terminating you. Go back and send me that file if you don’t want to get thrown out.”

The draft proposal reaches the Manager in a little while and within minutes of reading it he shouts for the hapless employee once again; points out 4-5 errors and says:

“You have been here for 2 months – why haven’t you learnt what is to be done? Do I have to do everything here? I know nobody in this organisation is going to be as good as I am. Still is it wrong to expect some level of skill and commitment from the rest of you.”

And thus went a typical day in that small outfit.

The Chief was hardly available in office – he travelled across the world in pursuit of various interests which went beyond software. He did not spend time in training and coaching the employees. They were just allocated tasks and expected to deliver results. Hardly anyone in his team had direct contact with the end customer because the Chief felt permitting such interactions would reduce his hold on the business.

Even when he was in the city the contact with his office was maintained on the phone and most times the conversations were one way – he was issuing instructions and the employees had to execute what was told. The employees usually found his explanations long-winded and confusing. He was not able to simplify the task for them. But nobody dared to ask questions fearing a backlash.

In order to keep his costs low this businessman recruited people with just the basic skill requirements and pushed them hard to deliver his expectations. He never invested in providing them any additional training nor did he permit them to speak with the clients to understand their requirements with greater clarity. He expected them to pick up skills on their own and keep doing what was asked off them.

It is not difficult to see why they are not able to deliver. They had not been trained or coached, nor were they motivated to perform. They have not been given any encouragement or recognition for the work done, nor were they given the opportunity to learn from their mistakes.

To top it all he barked at them and did not attempt to build relationship or trust. He was absent at most times and made the team wish he would never ever step in. Such behaviour puts them on the defensive and even distracts them to the extent of making mistakes when they worked.

He was putting into play a destructive cycle of fear, demotivation and inefficiency.

He lost no opportunity to say that he was way better than they could ever aspire to be and never gave them opportunities to benefit from his knowledge.

I have been a nasty with some of my subordinates in the past and seen firsthand how my behaviour and words impacted them. I know such acts cannot be reversed and sometimes can leave permanent scars on the minds of people who receive such treatment.

It’s tough to change such people because they see nothing wrong in their own behaviour. Only when people start leaving them or when such behaviour gets a rude retaliation from someone that it dawns on them.

Anger, ego and rudeness are like bad weather … they cause a lot of pain and leave a trail of destruction!

P.S: I have not recommended any solution or remedy here because the answers are obvious to any sensible person.

  1. June 16, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    Right on. Very accurate observations.

    • JayadevM
      June 16, 2012 at 4:44 pm

      Hi Shoba,

      Seeing you at the blog after a while. Thank you.

  2. Raaj
    June 19, 2012 at 3:26 am

    Yes Jayan… the answers are obvious… yet one can find such ‘organizations’ at every corner and enough poor souls to put up with nonsense.
    Thanks to unemployment… no, underemployment!

    • JayadevM
      June 19, 2012 at 6:24 am


      People will leave such organisations at the first opportunity

  3. Jamy
    June 20, 2012 at 6:05 am

    You will not gain any respect by being a tyrant…. so true Jay!

    • JayadevM
      June 20, 2012 at 12:26 pm

      Hi Jamy,

      You have not only been a regular reader but also the one who leaves a comment afterwards most often.

      A brief one when busy, but at least that, and a lot of useful anecdotes when you have more time. Thank you!

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