Monday, May 28, 2012

Right directional career path

We, being the social creatures, live life with the support of one another in all activities of our lives whether they are trivial or significant. We like to share our joy, emotions and feelings with others.  It is difficult for anyone to stay aloof. We have to be social, at least to some extent to ensure self development. We need to exchange respect to one another, and prefer to share our skills and knowledge with others for mutual benefits.  So, in order to get acknowledgement, one needs to be empathetic. Here, one has to understand the role of empathy. Empathy is the state of mind that enables you to neutrally participate in others feelings and experiences.  You can visualize the gravity of the situation other person is passing through. If you transform this thought in the words of one of the eminent management gurus Peter Drucker, it will read as “for any situation, you get different aspect of results when you see the same thing in other man’s shoe”.  

Empathy is the mental state of putting yourself in others’ place and seeing the entire thing in his purview.  Precisely this is the reason why understanding the empathy requires a lot of knowledge about human behaviour.

Human behaviour explores the relationship of people which needs a close analysis.  Behaviour controlled through mind which is very tender. It is possible to understand person’s inner sense by becoming empathetic. 

Empathy plays a vital role in life. Its effect is seen profound at work place where most of the people spend eight to ten hours. They come across conflicts, diversities, management issues, technologies, rivalries, etc., there. Empathy plays a crucial role in managing diversities in the organization. The very reason behind this is the homogeneous or heterogeneous masses of various diversified groups feel that they only understand the problems and challenges in a better way. However, empathy should not be misconstrued as sympathy, but it may or may not be preceded by sympathy. The prominence of empathy falls to know the other person’s beliefs, values, emotions and feelings. Emotions are the core ingredients to sense and assess other’s feelings. When a person is emotionally charged to the fullest extent, he / she can experience and understand other’s feelings in a better way.  In the same way, gestures and postures play a significant role from the view point of empathy. Sympathy is often expressed gestures and postures, which leads to empathy. In an organization, various decisions are taken for growth and development of the business. These decisions bring benefits intrinsically as well as extrinsically. Some may like the decisions; some may find them disagreeable, who later on, turn disgruntled towards them. The disgruntled employees show resentment, anger and frustration and outrange the sanctity of the decisions.
With all these, a skirmish develops amongst the accepters and the non accepters. Ultimately, the work environment gets polluted with conflicts and cold war, and a revenge taking phase comes into existence there. In this scenario, arguments, cross arguments, mudslinging, etc. become routine affairs among the employees which obstruct the growth of the organization. The decisions do not fructify because of the misunderstanding of a few nonchalant employees. If the value of empathy is understood and recognized properly and if it is implemented efficiently, this type of situation can be curbed, and in this type of situations, empathy works to subsidize the turmoil. Not only that, the scenario will be quite more positive where the disgruntled will not go for a lock-horned situation even if they disagree to the decisions.

There are some managers who tend to console their work forces, when they are passing through tensed situations by practicing empathy. They go to the root cause of the conflicts and try to pacify the discontented personnel without becoming emotionally burdened. They hold mastery, courage and conviction to apply the qualities of empathy without getting influenced by the feelings, anger and frustration of the disgruntled employees. By this, they remain impartial rather than being sympathetic to them. A manager who shows sympathy towards the causes of their disgruntlement, can not remain neutral, and later, will fail to take corrective actions.  As an expert in empathy, you will understand the inner sense of your employees, but you will keep yourself untouched with what they feel. Since, you are not emotionally involved, you will be more analytical to draw the conclusion of the problem. Practicing empathy is not that much easy as it includes a search of a right course of action through an in-depth analysis of others’ feelings with remarkable control over self emotions. Efficient and successful managers tend to show mastery to generate an emphatic working environment by which, they know when to exert and what to expect from their employees. 

Some of the tips to encourage emphatic working environment are given here below:

1.      Share your plan, actions, and thoughts with your employees.
2.      Be a patient listener to their opinions.
3.      Show respect and concern to your employees’ feelings and they will in turn return the same to you.
4.      If there is any unjust or unfair, settle the same in amicable manner.
5.      Teach them emotional literary so that they can master this skill.
6.      Keep an effective communication channel opened for mutual benefit and trust.
7.      Encourage tolerance and create an atmosphere of positive and constructive feedback.
8.      Acknowledge acts of kindness, passion and brain-storming.
9.      Care for their issues even they are of minor nature.

We often misconstrue that empathy is just to acknowledge the other person’s feelings but in reality, it is much more than appreciating the inner stake of other’s feelings.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Completion of work in time

Meeting deadlines is very important in taking up any assignment.  It applies to almost all activities of our life.  Accepting the deadlines and adhering to it, is a common phenomenon applicable to all our undertakings.  No one can overlook it.  Ignorance to it obstructs the momentum of the work process and weakens the growth rate. Due date is a base of any project.  If you fail to comply with due date stipulations, not only you, but also the firm you are working for is put in an awkward situation before its customers.  A precise action-plan and its committed implementation is required to meet the deadline.  Further, punctuality in carrying out phase to phase activities as per the action-plan is very vital in the process of accomplishing the target. Sometimes, it is extremely difficult to gear up you whole team to achieve the task as per your desired level. Once you discipline yourself in respect of working on the action-plan, you can insist your team members to follow the guidelines of the action-plan set by you.  When the hardship put in by the team members, returns with results, they get satisfied and further encouraged to strictly work on the set plan.  But as a team head, you need to motivate them as an when they seem wearied and fatigued.  Your motivation makes them more serious about meting the deadlines.

For an organization, fixing up a target date is very important in respect of taking up any undertaking. If the organization is sensible about it, the growth and prosperity will not be a bottleneck.

For an organisation, target date is very essential to abide by from the legal point of view. If the company fails to fulfill the contractual obligations in time, it is supposed to bear the monetary loss or face the legal action. Whenever we fix a target date, our minds get alarmed and awakened towards the requirements we need to comply with, and it pushes us to intensify our efforts. When our efforts are converted into success, our confidence grows, and with the increased level of confidence, we become capable enough to embrace more challenges. We are encouraged to reach the milestone.  It is seen from the behavioural research that we perform well and produce the best when we are challenged with target date.  Due date also makes us focus on the particular tasks, and the focused attention helps us to prepare accurate planning. Through such precise action plans, we are encouraged to adopt the concept of meeting deadline. But the ground reality reveals that the managers depict plans on papers, but miss out this, because they do not develop the culture of maintaining deadlines among the employees.  This is particularly true when the team members are not committed to the deadline concept

Realistic target:

Setting a realistic target is very very important. A target that is not reachable can work as a discouraging factor and demoralizes the spirit of team members.  A concrete ground work, detailed calculations and a lot of home work is required before setting the pragmatic target. 

Schedules are to be fixed with rational thought on factual grounds so that they are hassle-free achieved. Internal and external factors are to be taken care of while deciding a due date for achieving a specific target. All the permutations and combinations with respect to an activity are to be thoroughly assessed before setting any deadline.  Otherwise, the deadline will prove a paper plan only. If, by any chance, achieving the deadline is impossible, it is better to interact with the authority concerned and present all the facts before him.  The manager’s responsibility lies on this very fact that the deadline is fixed on the basis of statistical data analysis, research of past datas, scanning of information etc.  And once the deadline is set, it is to be ensured that the same does not fail, at any cost.

Work environment:

Positive work environment and the culture derived therefrom plays very vital role in enforcing strict adherence to time schedule. Team members follow their leaders, and if they find the leaders lacking the ability of completing the work within the set time frame, they will also tend to a habitual deferment from the stipulated schedule. It will work as a contagious disease. Once you start to fail in achieving the deadlines, others will also be on the same track. And ultimately, a colossal loss will take place in the business. So, the first and foremost thing for a manager is to set his own example by maintaining the deadlines while completing the job. 

Further, one of the most desired qualities of a manager is to praise his team members when they reach the target within a scheduled time span. But at the same time, he has to ensure that no one compromises or ignores the required standards of quality while doing the job just in order to get appreciation and reward.

Dilution of goal:   

If the target is not realistic, all efforts stand meaningless. It’s like a boat without sailing. A realistic target is to be set through discussions so that it can be attained within a specific time period. However, it happens that even after a precise planning, the target is not achieved and the company stands to suffer losses in terms of money and customer confidence. Monetary losses, somehow, can be made up, but customer confidence, an intangible asset for any company, cannot be regained easily. Once a customer distracts his attention from you, it is not easy to divert his mind once again towards you.

To win customer satisfaction, a manager has to first provide quality goods / services to customers, and for that, he has to make his workforce produce quality goods / services. He, in order to motivate his people, may introduce a reward system by which the workforce is given extra bonus, incentives, promotion, etc. The reward system should be linked with the ratio of customer satisfaction. This arrangement will stimulate the team members to realize the importance of meeting deadlines and thereby, they will put their all efforts to ensure maintaining time schedule.

Broad picture:

You have to inform all your team members about the deliverables and the importance of timely delivery of the same. You have also to inform the details of the deliverables to the stakeholders. Knowledge about ins and outs of the stakeholders will make your team members aware of the completion schedule of the job.  Stakeholders may be internal or external customers. And, it is very important to know the exact application or intended use of the deliverables. For example, an integrated steel plant releases an order on your company for a ladle handling crane to transfer the hot metal from a steel melting shop to a structural mill. If the crane is not supplied in time, the purpose of ordering the equipment to you shall remain null and void and their production will be hampered. Such action will augment customer’s dissatisfaction towards your firm. If you are aware of the importance of timely delivery of the deliverables, you will know the disastrous consequences in the event of failure in timely delivery. Under these circumstances, you have to knit all your members closely in such a way that they focus their whole attention on the activities of supplying the equipment in time.  As a manager, if you generate the behaviour of focusing on this broader activity among your colleagues, you will definitely reach the deadlines.  

Individual responsibility:

Each and every team member is to be assigned with a clear cut responsibility.  Their roles are to be specifically defined to enable them start their jobs without any ambiguity from the beginning itself. It is to be ensured that everyone is having a clear understanding about his role. This clarity will excite the team members to complete their assignments within the timeframe stipulated. And if this concept is adhered to strictly, the job never gets delayed. Further, another advantage of having clarity about the functions is one can commence the corrective actions well in advance, in case of any delay is anticipated by the team.  It also avails the opportunities of open communication, responsiveness and an implementation of a plan of action. It is ensured that team members have all the resources at their disposal to supply the deliverables by the due date. 

It is but natural to maintain a positive and constructive work environment with a system of feedback generation, so that timely completion of job is made feasible. In this way, you can achieve a dual advantage – one; you can maintain a time schedule and the other; a tremendous customer satisfaction.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Developing self reliant people

Everyone wants to pocket a high dimensional success, which of course, comes through very many obstacles.  But, the true strugglers, overcome the hurdles and reach the ambitions, they dream for through self reliance.  Ambitions develop a passion of achieving the desired goals in a person, and make his life more meaningful.  Constant efforts are required for any accomplishment, and it is possible only when you rely upon your own abilities instead of searching for an outside assistance. It’s ok if you seek out some sort of guidelines or instructions from others, but total dependence may cripple your efforts and prove as good as one type of slavery for you. 

If you develop a habit of being self-reliant, you will be able to evacuate all stumbling blocks from your way to success.  No doubt, a self reliant person has to put sweat-pouring efforts in all his missions because his attitudinal behaviour compels him to fight and conquer all his battles himself singlehandedly.  He is destined to work in this fashion.  But, this whole process of his hardship gains him the unprecedented knowledge of the specific subject, and this knowledge, sets him free from all uncertainties, fear, impatience, gloominess, etc.

However, there are many other factors that help you make self reliant.  They are as under:-

Self help: 

         It is one of the good habits to gear you up.  Without any outside aid, support and advices, if you are able to manage your business, you will become more independent; and this will render you enough strength to handle challenges in your life; be it academic, professional or social.  Once you succeed in yours tasks all alone, you would start believing that “self help is the best help”. Your mindset will enable you to convert the challenges into opportunities.

         However, self reliant people never like any bindings; they are the independent performers who, all the times, look for freedom to express their views and action plans and to implement their programmes. Though being freedom lovers, they do not work in a disordered fashion, but they set disciplinary standards for themselves and strictly follow the same until accomplishment of the targeted aims. Such personalities are truly full of confidence and self reliance.
        
Capable to achieve: 

         If you are self conscious about your capabilities, you can definitely produce the excellent results in all your endeavours. But, the consciousness alone cannot serve the purpose.  You need to hone your skills and chase the tasks with commitment. Your skillfulness empowers you with self reliance which in turn, earns you enough abilities to garner success.

         Abilities are attained through a lot of hard work, perseverance and diligence, which enables you win the success – a pillar that uprights on the soil of pain-stacking hard work.

Pernickety Workmanship:

Your efficient way of accomplishing tasks increases your inner strength and empowers you to take up bigger challenges.  If your efficient way of working becomes your attitudinal habit, you will be able to realize your potentiality to a level, where you can judge investing more of your time for a perfect workmanship in any sphere of your life.  And the perfection in workmanship brings you an abundant success. 

Perfection comes through commitment, sincerity, knowledge and skills.  The more you increase the knowledge, the more you understand the task; and the more you know the task, the more it comes easy for you.  Your ability to complete the tasks gets perfect.  It is the knowledge that makes you perfect in your workmanship.

Power of sustenance:

Your existence depends a lot on the strength of your self sustenance.  You can grow in confidence with the development of this trait in you. Sustenance enables you to discriminate the favourable and unfavourable situations. You will also be able to find out remedies even in the unfavourable situations. By the strength of self-sustenance, you will have a joyous state of mind and you will enjoy involving yourself more into the jobs carrying bitter situations. As your involvement gets deeper and deeper, you would grab required tactics to overcome the obstacles and feel more comfortable. Therefore, instead of avoiding adverse situations, you should embrace them, whatever the consequences may be. This can be possible only when your self sustenance strength is at a moderate level, if not on the peak.

Compatibility to discriminate:

When you are able to develop the skill to discriminate right and wrong and act upon accordingly, you will be a successful person.  You will be able to catch the path which leads to happiness and comfort. The discrimination is essential for development of self-reliance. You will be able to fetch respect from society as well as from your colleagues at workplace, if you discharge your duties sensibly and with total commitment.

If you want to be self reliant and enjoy your work, you need to choose the path of freedom which will finally take you to the expected goals. You have to essentially devote yourself to hard work which will make you perfect and efficient.  This efficiency will render you excellence in accomplishing your assignments.  Finally, the state of perfection will make you self-sustainable and you will be able to take directional measures; and you will enjoy success in every phase of your life through your ability of discrimination.

A self reliant person does not depend on anybody’s mercy and is capable enough to guide himself to the right direction.  He acquires a quality of doing the things on his own and in this process, he becomes more confident.  Self reliance demands sincerity, considerable endurance, patience and observation.  A self-reliant person tackles situations he comes across in his day to day life and lives a comfortable life. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Resources availability

I have seen many managers quite often murmuring about the mediocre or lacking performance of their employees. But the responsibilities of their failures cannot be entirely passed on to them. Lack of strong system and its proper integration is the main lacuna.  Comfortable environment, socio-cultural set up and its utilization, growth opportunities and a system of recognition of employees’ good works with rewards are the decisive elements for the growth of the employees.  When these aspects are in place, the performance level definitely rises up to the expectations of the management. As these elements affect the performance of the employees, they stand significant in deciding performance of the firm too.  We can say the good performers decide the well-being of the business, and hence, the management should provide all, that is necessary, to generate good performers.

Pleasing environment at workplace, social values, amenities and facilities are the things that attract people to work for the organization. An efficient lot of workforce moves to the place where all these elements are taken care of by the management.  People’s regular attendance depends on the dazzling environment at workplace.  Vivacious environment at workplace, of course, motivate the employees to augment their performance; but this alone cannot be considered as a yardstick for all good results. But, this should be coupled with some other criteria which are as under:-

Cultural Environment:

Pleasant culture at workplace is an important factor in any organization which induces employees to deliver their best.  In fact, it is the backbone and a central force for an organization.  The behavioral pattern of employees comprising of the sequence of their mixing with one another, their contribution to the achievement of a corporate mission, their hard attempts to reach the goals, etc., reveal the cultural system of the organization. A healthy organizational culture develops closeness, bonding and a tendency of respect among the employees for one another.  And nurturing this type of culture produces positivity within the organization, which ascertains abundant growth of the firm. The management with due consciousness, can create a culture where the employees are charged to deliver fabulous outcomes / services to customers. 

Recognition environment:

A human tendency always leans towards growth and excellence. Organizations are to fuel this tendency of employees so that their skills are sharpened. They should be kept appraised with the latest technologies and be imparted with required trainings. By doing these activities on a regular basis, the employees are upgraded and empowered to achieve more and more.  A proper recognition and reward system is to be developed to encourage the learning behaviour of employees.


Achievement of performance environment:

         The main objective of any organization is to increase its operating efficiency and thereby establish such an environment where a high level of performance is achieved.  This not only raises the moral of the employees, but also increases their confidence level, which is the most crucial and a yardstick of a business.  To maintain the environment of high performance, an organization is to continuously monitor the skill level of all categories of employees, and to impart periodical trainings through external experts. The schedule and contents of such trainings, should be so chalked out that they enhance the functional and cross functional skills of the employees. 

For example, an employee having brilliance in business development of a particular product, namely, Pump, can be encouraged for service related training, so that, he can be empowered enough to participate in the sales negotiations and influence the clients by presenting successfully the features of the product from service point of view. This leaves a big impact on the client’s mind and wins a huge success for the organization. 

Monitoring the results:

Any organization maintaining a system of reward and recognition of the good works done by its employees is considered as a role model to trust the moral of the employees.  The conventional methods of appraisal, in today’s modern management, stand ineffective to produce results projected by the organization.  A traditional system does not guarantee professional growth of employees; they fail to advance in their career objectives.  But, by proper counseling, the employees can be motivated and the process of such motivation should be lined up with a periodical review of their progress. 

Reviews are to be conducted quarterly, and the findings thereof are to be discussed with the concerned employees with a view to motivate them. Negative criticism and demoralization are to be strictly avoided.  Positive approach adopted during the discussions brings changes in the viewpoint of the employees and makes them more proactive. Further, their enthusiastic approach increases the productivity. During the review, employee’s skills are to be examined, and necessary training is to be imparted upon them to strengthen the weak sides of their skills.  But at the same time, it is also to be ensured that they acquire new skills to adopt modern technologies. A tailor made reward and recognition system brings more results which is the need of the hour for any organization.

The organization who is believing in positive environment has ability to establish a bonding employee relationship of different cultural diversities, have organized method of reward and recognition for achievers, can always expect world class output and performance from its workforce. 

People are to be considered as asset; and the more you polish it, the more it will glitter to trigger the profit level

Monday, May 21, 2012

Appreciation of a shared technique

The quality of a charismatic manager is to pass on kudos received from his superiors to his associates, colleagues and juniors.  A manager, who possesses this trait and nurtures it, is the leader in true sense. A leader gives more and takes less. He maintains this quality throughout his professional career. As a mentor, he guides his team, and ensures their victory and share the joyous ceremony with deference for other’s achievement. He minimizes recognition of his share in the success, but exaggerates the spirit of victory by admiring the contribution of others.

What do these leaders do when any of their juniors or colleagues commits a mistake? How they become nonchalant on the eve of success.  Let us examine these issues.

Environment with mistakes:

If you commit a mistake in your work, your boss will yell, use derogatory words, demoralize you and straightway blame you for the mistakes.  This is a natural scenario.  Most of the self proclaimed leaders duck their heads very conveniently and pass on the buck of blame to others. These leaders grow to the top sacrificing the altruistic approach, and accuse others for any mistakes. This is a law of nature to skirt the shame of failures and separate themselves from the team members so that they remain untouched from the blame of committing mistakes.

But, a true leader, as stated above, is a captain of a team, and it is he only, who has to take the total responsibility of failure.  It could be anything; for example, non-completion of a project in time, inability to grab the order or any other mishap that may lead to unproductive output.

As a leader, one has to inculcate the habit to shoulder the responsibility for the mistakes committed by his junior colleagues.  He, as a captain of the team or as an in-charge of the department, should have enough guts to accept the blame of failures. An example of leading the team from front is to be set forward. But, a leader, at the same time, must not allow generation of lenient environment within the organization.  Once, he shows the soft approach towards the mistakes committed by his teammates and shoulders the responsibility of failures, the persons involved will go on committing the same errors repetitively, and would probably go rebellious. Under these circumstances, a leadership becomes less effective.  In that case, a leader has to eradicate all possibilities of committing mistakes from the system gradually by studying the root causes of the same. He also has to counsel his juniors so that the mistakes do not occur frequently.  He has to explain the gravity of the particular situation aroused by the mistake to his squad members.

Joyous phase for happy outcome:

The team should be a center for the leader around in which all his attention is centered. It should be above all your ownself and aspirations. You have to seldom think of your individuality and always work to develop the team spirit amongst the members.  Do not take credit for any success, but pass on the same and share all the kudos with your team members. Praise your team members freely and publicly for all their sincerity and contribution they have put in.  You have to develop an environment of admiring your team members for their accomplishments.  When you will continuously apply the principle in all your endeavours, the team members will be charged and will be always eager to extend more and more cooperation to you for better performance and achievement.  In this way, the rate of success will be doubled, tripled and sometimes may be 5 to 6 times as compared to expected level. You will be bewitched and more you express your gratification for them, indirectly you will get back more than your desired share of credit. Your tremendous effort to being everybody on the common platform and arouse a feeling in them about their success with the proverbial of “15 minutes of fame phase immediately after the achievement”, the entire laurels will come back to you only.  So, as a manager, take the blame on you for any mistakes and automatically you will find the loyalty factor for you is reached to a sky rocketed level.  With every instance of your passing on kudos to them for any good work, level of respect for you will be enhanced to beyond your imagination.  Your team members will be always charged to give extra output because of your this altruistic behavior and your extra ordinary supportive role.  With the resultant appreciation, trust and accountability, you will have no difficulty whatsoever to get the work done by your team members.  They will go out of way to ensure the success of your mission.  

So, if you praise unbiased and wholeheartedly, there is always a chance of getting replenishment of the same countless and boundless and that is the real achievement for you as a true leader.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Extracting work

In today’s world, where every industry is facing fierce competition, curving out top performers out of many proletariats, is a nail-biting task for Managers. It is also very crucial to specifically identify such people since the growth is generally maintained to the tune of 50% to 60% on CAGR basis with unparallel performance of top performers. Lackluster performance of low performers brings the atmosphere of rue in the organization.  Despite all these hanky panky, the recent data emerged from an explanatory survey says that 50% of the top performers of any company leave the job without assigning any broader reason. But, most of these performers prefer to leave their present organizations yielding a severe mental frustration. Above kind of research provides inkling that low performers are content with their jobs, and they are statistically least in the job hoper’s category.

Though finding out good performers from the talent market is really a heart breaking exercise, the employers through their human resources department should ensure recruiting high category performers who master the particular functions of their jobs and attach themselves to the company for a considerable period of time. This group of people is well tuned to deliver the anticipated performance and if such a lot of people leaves the organization abruptly and frequently, managers extracting work from them, are required to detect the reasons of their sudden exits. If a fact-finding reveals that their positive attitude saddles them with extreme work pressure and drags them into exhaustion, a remedial action should immediately be taken so that repetition of such attrition of crop-fetchers is avoided. A remedial action may consist of proper job scrutiny, workload distribution and periodical change over of responsibilities according to real scenarios in light of the company’s objectives and their achievements. Of course, inspite of all these measurements, about 30% to 40% of high performers yet remain with a tendency of leaving the jobs for better career. But by formulating proper HR policies, counseling with employees, surveying their satisfaction level, inducing the skills of all categories of employees, the attrition rate, though not completely eradiated can surely be minimized.

Despite all the remedial steps, if the attrition rate stands beyond control, one more alternative still lies with the employer. If the inkling of survey stated hereinabove with regard to top performers’ tendency of leaving the jobs frequently and the lower performers’ attitude of sticking to the same job for a long time is believed to be true, the indication is that the company should focus on augmenting the skills of the low performers who are always a permanent asset of the company, and increase their abilities to produce more for the organization. It is very sure that such lot is content enough with their existing job and will not flee away. It is a better course of action to put them into a race and fetch the best out of waste.

The low performers are also to be periodically assessed and reviewed so that the lacking, if any, can be addressed to and the performance can be improved. By this way, an organization if can’t prevent the exit of high performers, at least can extract the best from the low performers and maintain the equilibrium of growth. A high rate of good performance from the group of low performers counterbalances the deficit arising out of exit of high performers. This situation if view from different angle, we can see that it may ease the monetary burden of the organization. A huge investment made on the high performers is washed away when they walk off; whereas spending money on low performers reaps good crop as they adhere to the organization because of their contentment with the present job. Further, it helps company save money by spending less remuneration over low performers as compared to high performers.

Though a challengeable job for HR management to train the low performers and get better results from them, it can play a vital role in development of the organization. A company can turn the low performers to a high rewarding lot by implementing certain steps like this. However, skill-augmentation training only can not bring difference, but the motivation for the assigned responsibilities can produce desired results. Developing positive attitude in the employees towards their job can prove a better element to fetch the maximum from them. Departmental heads should also be encouraged to practice cordiality towards their subordinates as it proves a moral boosting factor for them, which finally benefits the organization. It is found that the senior people avoid appreciating the astonishing performance of their assisting staff with the belief that they are bound to do well because they are paid for that purpose only and there is nothing admirable. This attitude of seniors really disappoints the hard working people. But they should not neglect the fact that just remunerations run employees’ families but appreciation runs their brains, boosts their innovation, increases their loyalty and strengthens their commitment.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Developing soft skills

Today’s business is very much complex and competitive. It is not as simple as two plus two is equal to four now. Establishment of any business depends on how a businessman exercises certain fundamental things like attending customer complaints / queries, solving their grievances and problems, offering timely delivery of goods, maintaining quality of material, etc., etc. These are the basic things which every businessman is required to take care of with due commitment; but for that, he is required to achieve some talents which are known as soft skills.

Soft skills is a sociological term which relates to a person's "EQ" (Emotional Intelligence Quotient), the cluster of personality traits, social graces, communication, language, personal habits, friendliness, and optimism that characterize relationships with other people. Soft skills complement hard skills (part of a person's IQ), which are the technical requirements of a job and many other activities.

A person's soft skill EQ is an important part of his or her individual contribution to the success of an organization. Particularly those organizations dealing with customers face-to-face are generally more successful if they train their staff to use these skills. Training for personal habits or traits such as dependability and conscientiousness can yield significant return on investment for an organization. For this reason, soft skills are increasingly sought out by employers in addition to standard qualifications.

It has been suggested that in a number of professions soft skills may be more important over the long term than technical skills. The legal profession is one example where the ability to deal with people effectively and politely, more than his or her mere technical skills, can determine the professional success of a lawyer.  Interpersonal skills hold high importance in the field of hotel, hospital & service industries, where one has to come across and tackle different people for their varying requirements. Unfortunately, soft skills are overlooked in the Indian system of education, and hence, sometimes it happens that an excellent academic record holder fails to deliver desired results. However, it is not difficult to pocket these skills; they are possible through a special training.

Communication ability, interpersonal skill, guts to tackle various people and problems, etc., are the skills that can change the image of a business. These skills are not taught anywhere or found in any books, and to a big mishap, they are not even integrated in the Indian academic system. They are necessarily required to be developed by a person himself with consciousness. It is a need of the time that every businessman grabs hold over these skills along with his expertise on techno-commercial features.  Sometimes it happens that academic knowledge fails but the soft skills succeed to bring results and thrusts the growth of a business.  These skills can be further developed and honed by interacting with the people belonging to the similar field. For example, IT professionals can grow in their skills by setting up contacts with domestic and overseas wizards of the field.  Transmitting right information to a right person at the right time is called a proper communication, and this bears a huge significance in any business. All may communicate; but a few can skillfully communicate. 

CEOs of current time are very much required to sharpen the soft skills to ensure growth of the business. Even the CEOs having abundant business experience may feel the need of soft skills while dealing with global customers. Soft skills make a person more social in the field he or she relates to, and when it comes to the corporate world, they are very much useful. As discussed hereinabove, these skills develop friendliness with people through efficient communication, social grace and good interpersonal skill. A person having less command over technical skills may counterbalance the deficit by his mastery over soft skills.  In our day to day life, many a times we see that a person of good tongue sells a bit lower quality of goods very easily, whereas a high quality material cannot be discharged by a person who is not good at speaking.  Command over soft skills also grants a person required confidence which creates a win-win situation for him.  Half the battle is just won by showing a friendliness and sociality. However, it does not mean that the inferior goods or services are always accepted by people or a good businessman is allowed to do so.  But, it is an excellent scenario when the businessman offers better goods or services to customers with a bit of soft skills mixed with them, the results will surely be surprising. It is true that good material only does not serve the purpose, but the good behaviour which is a resultant of soft skills, turns the situation in businessman’s favour. Take an example of a shopkeeper who directs us to some other shop for the item we look for is not available with him. Though directing to other shop does not earn a penny to him, but he shows the right direction and this attitude of him will leave a good image on our mind which will in turn drag us to his shop for any other item in future.

Practicing soft skills in business as well as domestic life produces amazing results for us.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Make leaders

A person having required authority, power and more importantly ability to direct a group is viewed as a leader by people. A leader, in addition to having skills and talents, possesses uniqueness in his style of working, behaviour, etc. Every group is led by such a selected person. It is also important that the folk follows him and gets directed by his instructions because all in the group walk on their own will is not a healthy situation which ultimately produces failure for the group.

There are many qualities a leader should have. A true leader is able to identify the real needs of his group / association, and according to the actual needs, he lays down plans and strategies for the cohesive assignment of a group. Sometimes a group, growing as an organization, involves more than one leader who looks after different functions of the firm individually. They head over different departments and get the works done by their subordinates. In the corporate terminology they are called managers.

In any organization, whether big or small, nationally acclaimed or internationally renowned, the supervisory staff and workforce are governed by a managerial staff. These people supervise and direct the folk to perform their responsibilities to customers’ satisfaction. They frame out systematic plans for everything starting from staff management to logistics and to a cash flow arrangement. They are usually viewed to be efficient and good managers, but a question always arises is, whether they are good leaders too. Sometimes, good managers may not be good leaders. Good managers may lack leadership skills if they overlook or compromise on qualities of a good leader. A manager having good governance skills may enjoy limited or short term success; but an efficient leader gifted with the governance skill can pocket boundless success. So, the need of the time for a good manager is to hone the leadership skills. 

A major characteristic that differentiates good leaders is the magnetism they have to attract and retain the people with them for a longer period. People trust the leaders for their ability, honesty, integrity, confidence, enthusiasm, tolerance, their analytic nature, calmness and desire for excellence. These qualities of good leaders are either inherent or developed by him, which pull the mass towards them. Leader’s responsibility is not only to get the jobs done by the people working under them, but they have to also roll up their sleeves and stretch their hands for the common responsibilities along with the people. They can thus win the respectful authority over the people working under them. Further, leaders should be able to keep the group united for the common cause, encourage harmony and respect among them for one another and more importantly, they needs to be seen as a source of inspiration. Leaders should be confident in the uncertain and unfamiliar situations and be proactive when people look at them for assurance and security. Leader should also be enthusiastic towards the collective work or cause, and the smaller or bigger ideas put forward by the team members should be welcomed by them. Never give up approach is the basic quality a leader is desired of.

Trustworthiness – A rare commodity

As far as corporate world is concerned, the management measures trustworthiness of a manager from the honesty and integrity he practices in his day to day work. It also considers the graph of his success and abilities to resolve the criticalities arising out of routine job. Trust is an imbibed quality of any towering personality, and by influencing others, good leaders win people’s confidence. People follow the path their leaders set before them and put trust in them. As per eminent writer Mr. Green, the trust quotient comprises of creditability, reliability, intimacy and self-orientation. Creditability is about how much a leader is to be believed. Reliability is how dependable the leader is. The intimacy is how far the people become intimate with the leader. Self-orientation is how much the leader focuses on himself as compared to his focus on others.

In any organization, people tend to evaluate the manager’s trustworthiness with in-depth analysis of his performance, competence and attitudinal behaviour towards them; more importantly his openness of sharing information.

The following qualities are taken for granted for trustworthiness:-

a)      Promise keeping
b)      Public appreciation
c)      Self responsibility for own mistakes
d)      Maximum contribution for the growth of a team
e)      Honest sharing of information with others.
f)       Ability of self development for guiding the people
g)      Trusting people and their abilities
h)      Accepting people as they are
i)        Sacrifice of self interests for the interest of the mass
j)        Walk the talk of the people

One thing to remember is that the trust is an element that takes years together to build, but takes a minute for breaking. So for any great leader, the main ‘mantra’ is to develop trustworthiness.

HR department is to ensure that the managers of the organization put thrust on this activity of making leaders for their respective operations.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Act as a facilitator

Gathering for meetings and then arriving at concrete decisions is a very rare phenomenon in today’s hurly burly corporate world. Organizations arrange such meetings with a purpose to resolve certain issues by exchange of views & information among their employees. But, most of the meetings usually end up with conflicts, ego clashes and opinion-differences for the reason they drift away from the focal points. Almost all the top management people of corporate world are rankled by people’s getting together for meetings. It is predominantly found in every organization that meetings conclude with contradictions for want of clarity on the objectives and direction. Such wandering folks, crisscross one another, spend fruitless time over baseless discussions and depart with no outcome. We can say – the meetings for solutions end up with more severe problems. 

To ensure smooth operation and to avoid waste of time, such meetings must be monitored systematically by top management people. In order for that, organizations appoint a moderator / facilitator who exerts his authority without autocratic attitude.

A facilitator is someone who helps a group of people understand their common objectives and assists them to plan to achieve them without taking a particular position in the discussion. The facilitator tries to assist the group in achieving a consensus on any disagreements that preexist or emerge in the meeting so that it has a strong basis for future action. The facilitator’s role is like a midwife who assists in the process of birth but is not the producer of the end result. It is a tenet of facilitation that the facilitator does not lead the group towards the answer that he/she thinks is best even if he possessed an opinion on the subject matter. The facilitator's role is to make it easier for the group to arrive at its own answer, decision, or deliverable.

Further, the most usual scenario seen is the resolutions passed in such meetings are immediately forgotten by the participants. They do not bother acting upon the decision taken. In fact, a lack of their commitment is felt here. But, it is not only the participants who are responsible for their such attitude. Their commitment to the decision depends lot much on how the matter is presented before them. Here comes the role of the facilitator who transmits the importance of the matter effectively to the participants to make them render their complete attention, adhere to the decisions and pursue the matter decided devotedly. A facilitator is a person who helps a group of people understand their common objectives and assists them to achieve them without taking a specific position in the discussion. He also helps the group to achieve consensus on any disagreements that preexist or emerge during the meeting so as to establish a strong basis for the meeting. 

A facilitator should be a multitalented personality who can control the folk with diligence. He is desired to encourage the participants for a fruitful discussion by maintaining the discipline and the dignity during the meeting. He should be able to identify the off-track movement of the folk and immediately divert their attention to the focal point and thus escape the possibilities of proposed waste of time. In nutshell, all his efforts should be directed towards fetching out the desired results from the views and information exchanged by the participants through a congenial atmosphere.

Role / characteristics of a facilitator:-

1)   To research the meeting for its purpose

2)    Prepare a draft agenda and present before the expected attendants.

3)    Make out the areas of disagreements and the proposed consensus over it.

4)    To present the objectives of the meeting before the attendants, and ensure that whole focus is laid on the agenda and the meeting is not drifting away from the central subject.

5) To wipe out possibilities of adverse situations like generation of complications, leg pulling activities, oblique comments, etc. during the meeting. To make the atmosphere most conducive for a cohesive decision.

6)   To strictly follow the time schedule and to ensure that participants express to-the-point ideas instead of making vague elaborations, and thus, avoid waste of time.

7)    To remain calm and quiet without exerting his own opinions, and ensure that each of the participants expresses his views on the subject.

8)    To be a good listener and be able to control the situation when it goes out of control at the time of members’ agitation and aggressiveness

9)    The facilitator has to ensure free flow of information during the meeting and encourage the participants for expressing their views without wrangling.

All put together, a facilitator must be outspoken, neutral and capable enough to exert his authority for a fruitful collective decision. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

No Confrontation, only Consensus

Confrontation in the families, societies, nations, corporate world or at the global political societies prevents the development. Though not desired, the confrontation automatically develops everywhere. Various aspects generate conflicts amongst the people working together on the issues of common interest, and this scenario is natural too.  People of different minds and views getting together on a common floor tend to quarrel due to opinion difference

The extreme pressure generated during the execution of time-bound assignment develops confrontations and clashes amongst employees. Certain strict stipulations further ignite the conflicts and ego clashes between the senior people of the organizations, which ultimately worsen the health of the firm and question its survival and prosperity.

In order to secure existence and growth of the firm, “I” approach should be eliminated, and an approach of consensus should be adopted. To retain the talent pool, managers have to lead from forefront with the involvement of the employees. The combined efforts of employees and managers followed by their cordial relationship ensure steadfast growth of the company. To develop consensus type of culture, following strategic aspects are to be considered and human resources department is to act as facilitator.    

1)      Open communication culture: It is often seen in the organization that the information is not passed on to the dealing hands but is stuck up or sometimes retained deliberately at a specific desk. Such situation creates havoc in the organization as the work is delayed due to the stuck up of information. And it is therefore desired that a communication system is open and transparent in all functional areas of the organization. Formulation of policies with respect to Marketing, HR or Production Planning is to be made known to all concerned, and the policies should be very transparent and acceptable to the top management as well as to each employee. Any ambiguity in the policy formulation may create suspicion among employees, which in turn, will discourage the collective efforts put in by them towards achieving the corporate objectives. Management has to work in a scientific and professional manner with collaborative attitude.

2)      Atmosphere of less grievance: In the earlier days, employees did not detach themselves from employment even if they were treated shabbily and rubbed under employers’ heals.  But, now the situation is different. Today’s employees are more talented, and since the job opportunities are plenty, they do not tolerate any unjust, but flee away immediately though their loyalty for the employer is well acclaimed.

Therefore, the chances of developing any grievances amongst employees for the management’s policies should be instantly eliminated at the grass root level, and the employees should be motivated in right perspective by offering them freedom of work, appreciation for their efforts though they are less encouraging and by inducing them with extracurricular activities. Such policies & practices can narrow down grievances to a bare minimum level, if not at zero level.

HR should eliminate chances of confrontation among employees as well as the possibilities of clashes between employer and employees. They should find ways to escape such situations by resolving critical issues to the satisfaction of all concerned.

3)      Strong approach: In any organisation, managers find it an uphill task to keep the flock united when it comes to a newer generation of highly qualified young people. Their aggressiveness, assertiveness and smart way of handling the issues bring remarkable results in a very encouraging fashion; but their rebellious attitude, at the same time, creates hindrance for managers. Instead of getting irritated, managers should counsel them and impart positive elements in them. Governing people of the organizations should know that this is the force, which can divert the direction of wind. Managers need to give them proper direction, show them the best possible way of doing the job and involve them in crucial decision making processes to make them feel their importance in the organisation so that their rebelliousness is converted in to productiveness. This way, the most difficult batch of assets is turned to the highest rewarding lot. 

4)      Clear Picture: Ambiguity in any matter is the mother of all problems. The governing authorities including HR personnel should ensure that the matter presented should be crystal clear to each and every concerned so that even a thin margin of error is diminished. Clarity in the matter enables the managers to prepare precise plans, which in turn, produce targeted results. Accurate action-plans save valuable time by avoiding unnecessary time consuming.  Managers must make their vision, mission and their plans very explicitly to the concerned so that all people, down the level, interpret and reflect the same in their jobs in right perspective. Such environment slims down the chances of confusion, errors and confrontation, and the managers are enabled to guide the folk excellently for their performance.

Managers must make their vision, mission and their plans very explicit to the concerned so that the people, down the line, interpret and reflect the same in their jobs in right perspective. Such environment slims down the chances of confusion, errors and confrontation, and the managers are enabled to guide the folk excellently toward the achievement of targeted goals.