Tag Archives: office

Literary corner: Good Boss Bad Boss–Robert Sutton

Copyright@shravancharitymission

Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about.

    Robert Sutton is a professor in Stanford University. This book was first published in the year 2010. In life we all have bosses. Some are good and so remembered. Some are atrocious and are soon forgotten. So, quickly analyse yourself as to in which category you fall.

    Numerous studies around the world drew similar conclusions, noting that 75% of the workforce reports that their immediate superior is the most stressful part of their job. And a lot of feudalism still exists out there. Professor Sutton, the best-selling author of ‘The No Asshole rule,’ explores how good and bad bosses affect the workplace and what distinguishes one from the other.

    Sutton’s research is comprehensive and his anecdotes are interesting and far out. As you might guess from the title of his last book. He indulges in salty language and profanity, so be warned. With that caveat, I recommend his book to anyone who has a boss—or—is—a boss. I have divided the summary into 3 parts. The first part being:

NEGATIVE IMPACT OF BAD BOSSES     Bad bosses, especially bullies, have a profound negative impact on their workplaces. In a 2007 survey of almost 8,000 U.S. adults, 37 percent had experienced being bullied at work. Of those respondents, 72 percent said they suffered abuse from their superiors. Employees with their obnoxious bosses were more likely to make intentional mistakes that is (30% as against 6 %), and report sick when they were healthy (29 % as against 4 %), and put minimal effort into their work (33 % vs. 9 %).

    A boss can be bad in many ways, but whatever the permutation, ill-behaved bosses make people feel sick. In England, researchers tracked 6,000 civil service workers for 20 years. Those with bosses who were hypercritical, poor listeners or stingy with praise experienced higher rates of angina, heart attacks and death from heart disease than those working for benevolent bosses.

    Finnish or (Finland) and Swedish studies show similar results. Employees working for bad bosses frequently report feeling angry, stressed out, emotionally numb, depressed or even anxious. It is normally said an employee doesn’t leave the company but he leaves the boss. On the flip side, employees are more satisfied and productive when they feel their bosses care for them.

    Organisations with good bosses enjoy healthier employees, more profitability and greater employee retention.

BALANCE DETERMINATION AND “SMALL WINS.”

    Good bosses are not micromanagers who suppress creativity and interrupt workflow, and they’re not laid-back, like bosses who fail to achieve company goals. Good bosses walk the line between stepping in when necessary and letting their employees work without interference. Good managers have determination, or “grit”—that is, “perseverance and passion towards long-term goals.” Bosses with grit regard work as a marathon, not a sprint. They sustain effort through adversity and never stop learning.

    Good bosses don’t just plan to meet long term goals. They also set out to achieve small wins along the way and they also motivate staffers to reach for lofty goals. For example, some people ‘freak out or freeze up’ when their tasks become overwhelming or too complex. People are more effective when they conquer smaller tasks and celebrate small victories. Helping staff members stay calm and confident is one reason to break projects into manageable, and contained segments.

    Bosses must meet certain performance goals without destroying their workforce. Partners at one law firm made, on an average, almost $1 million a year, but over time they became exhausted by their quest to achieve enough billable hours to satisfy their bosses. Like many other high pressure leaders, this manager was oblivious to his nasty behaviour and bad reputation. Bad bosses tend to have inflated views of their own abilities and performance. By contrast, great bosses strive for a balance between performance and humanity.

    As the research shows, the more time you spend around rotten apples—those lousy, lazy, grumpy and nasty people—the more damage you will suffer. When people are emotionally depleted, they stop focussing on their jobs and instead work on improving their moods. If you find that there are a few subordinates who are so unpleasant that, day after day, they sap your energy you need to inspire others and feel good about your own job, where my advice is—if you can’t get rid of them—spend as little time around them as possible.

    Flipping through the pages further. I see a list that includes the 11 Commandments for wise bosses. Further, there are topics like: How to lead a good fight; tricks for taking charge; and a recipe for an effective apology—which is interesting and the one I liked the most.

    The components of an effective apology are: No sugar coating, take the blame fully, apologize fully, take immediate control over what you can. Explain what you have learned, communicate what you will do differently, and get credit for improvements. Sutton describes how this looks when it is successful.

    In late August 2008, Maple Leaf Foods was responsible for a number of deaths and illnesses caused by bacteria in the meats produced in its plant. So then, how did the CEO, Michael McCain handle the situation? The CEO Michael McCain, announced in a press conference that the plant was closed. He apologized to those hurt by his firm’s products and admitted that he and others in the plant were responsible for the tragedy. He went into detail about the steps Maple Leaf was planning to rectify the problem and emphasised that it was his job to restore the faith of the Canadian people in Maple Leaf.

    By December 2008, polls indicated that confidence in Maple had risen from 60% to 91% since the crisis began. McCain’s swift actions and willingness to take personal responsibility were largely responsible for the turnaround.

    The author has also included sections on issues that bosses deal with every day, including how to create Psychological safety for your employees and how to shield them from “red tape, interfering executives, nosy visitors, unnecessary meetings, and a host of other insults, intrusions and time wasters.”

    These techniques not burdening your employees with excessive meetings, which are notorious time and energy suckers, intercepting and dealing with problems and people so that your employees can focus on their work, and proactively intervening with

upper management when bad directives come down that your people either cannot implement or that will likely harm the company.

    Then there is a chapter titled, “Don’t Shirk the Dirty Work”. Bosses are the ones who have to lay people off, confront poor productivity, or do other things that will hurt others. Author says that dirty work does less harm when bosses add four antidotes into the mix: That is production, control, understanding and compassion.

    First this, predictably helps people know when to relax versus when dread and vigilance are warranted, which protects them from the emotional and physical exhaustion that results when people never feel safe from harm for even a moment. Bosses, for example, can warn people that layoffs are imminent or, conversely, that workers are safe for the next three months.

    Second, the best bosses know that it is better to give people explanations they like than no explanation at all. Employees who are given sound and believable explanations for unsettling changes are less prone to become angry and anxious, retaliate, quit, steal, or become less productive. When fear is in the air, your mantra should be: Simple, concrete, credible and repetitive.

    Third, great bosses help followers feel powerful rather than powerless, especially during rough times. This means that dirty work will do less harm if you can give people some control over when and how bad things happen to them. Fired employees will suffer less if they have control over where they go next, how they leave, and when they leave.

    Fourth the best bosses convey empathy when they make and implement tough decisions. For example, don’t lay people off using text messages, email, or in a public place. Do realize that one day you may be on the other side of the table, so treat people the way you’d like to be treated in this situation.

THE 11 COMMANDMENTS FOR WISE BOSSES

  1. Have strong opinions but weakly held beliefs.
  2. Do not treat others as if they are idiots.
  3. Listen attentively to your people. Don’t just pretend to hear what they say.
  4. Ask a lot of good questions.
  5. Request others for help and gratefully accept their assistance.
  6. Do not hesitate to say, ‘I don’t know.’
  7. Forgive people when they fail, remember the lessons, and teach them to everyone.
  8. Fight as if you’re right, and listen as if you’re wrong.
  9. Do not hold grudges after losing an argument. Instead, help the victors implement their ideas with all their might.
  10. Know your weaknesses and flaws, and work with people who correct and compensate for your weaknesses.
  11. Express gratitude to your people.

    The worst bosses condemn their people to live in constant fear as they wait for the next wave of bad news, which always seems to hit without warning and at random intervals. The best bosses do everything possible to communicate when and how distressing events will unfold. When the timing of a stressful event can be predicted, so can its absence: Psychologist Martin Seligman called this the safety signal hypothesis.

     Predictability helps people know when to relax versus when dread and vigilance are warranted—which protects them from emotional and physical exhaustion that results when people never feel safe from harm for even a moment. Seligman illustrated his hypothesis with air-raid sirens used during the German bombing of London during World War II.

    The sirens were so reliable that people went about their lives most of the time without fear. They didn’t need to worry about running to the shelters unless the sirens sounded.

    The second way was explained to the author by a group of General Electric executives. I pressed them about their rather extreme ‘rank and yank’ system (which has been modified recently, but not much), where each year the bottom 10% of employees that is (‘C Category Players) are fired, the top 20% (A category Players) get the lion’s share—about 80%—of the bonus money, and the mediocre middle 70% (B category Players) get the remaining crumbs.

    I pressed them because a pile of studies shows that giving a few top performers most of the goodies damages team and organizational performance. This happens because people have no incentive to help others—but do have an incentive to undermine, bad-mouth, and demoralise co-workers, because pushing down others decreases the competition they face. The performance also suffers because hard workers who aren’t ‘A’ players become bitter and withhold effort.

    All bosses can be more effective when they work with the peer culture, rather than against, the peer culture. Bosses who are known as fair and consistent will get more support from the peer culture when they do their dirty work. Research on punishment shows that co-workers often believe that offenders are let off too easily by bosses—especially when they have violated the rules consistently, shown little remorse, and a fair process was used to convict and punish the wrongdoer.

    In the best of workplaces, bosses and their charges agree on what is right and what is wrong, and peers—not the boss—dish out punishment. Research on employee theft’ shows that ridicule, rejection, and nasty gossip by peers is 250% more effective for preventing stealing than formal punishment by supervisors.

    Here are a few great quotes from the book.

  1. ‘The best bosses dance on the edge of overconfidence, but a healthy dose of self-doubt and humility saves them from turning arrogant and pig-headed.

Bosses who fail to strike this balance are incompetent, dangerous to follow, and downright demeaning.’

  1. ‘The best bosses don’t just recruit people with stellar solo skills; they bring in employees who will weave their vigour and talents with others … no man or woman is an island.’
  2. ‘Bosses shape how people spend their days and whether they experience joy or despair, perform well or badly or are healthy or sick. Unfortunately, there are hoards of mediocre and downright rotten bosses out there, and big gaps between the best and the worst.’
  3. ‘Psychological safety is the key to creating a workplace where people can be confident enough to act without undue fear of being ridiculed, punished or fired—and be humble enough to openly doubt what is believed and done. As Amy Edmond-son’s research shows, psychological safety emerges when those in power persistently praise, reward, and promote people who have the courage to act, talk about their doubts, successes and failures.
  4. ‘Talented employees who put their need ahead of their colleagues and the company are dangerous.’
  5. ‘The best management is sometimes less management or no management at all. William Coyne, who led 3M’s R&D efforts for over a decade, believed a big part of his job was to leave his people alone and protect them from other curious executives. As he put it: ‘After you plant a seed in the ground, you don’t dig it up every week to see how it is doing.’
  6. ‘The best bosses do more than charge up people and recruit and breed energizers. They eliminate negative because even a few bad apples and destructive acts can undermine many good people and constructive acts.’
  7. Harry S. Truman said, ‘It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.’

    It’s a thrilling, educative and an impacting  book on management practices full of exciting quotes. I would give the book eight out of ten. A good read.

Posted by Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Share it if you like it

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

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Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

 

 

 

BOOK CORNER: ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY by Kamlesh Tripathi

Copyright@shravancharitymission

Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about.

    Book review found in one of the blogs published in the year 2013.

    Publication is by: Pigeon Books India/ in 2012

    Pages 276

    Price 160. Available in mostly all the online stores as of now

    It is story of a single woman. The scene of enactment is Delhi. As we all know in this devious world, women who are single, face a lot of problems. The problems could be social, professional and even sexual. The world in many ways takes them for granted. So within this framework this particular novel was written. the review starts with a few quotes out of the book as follows:

    “The canvas of human life had many hues but none sweeter than love. But it was also the most ephemeral. Where, material world ruled the roost. Qualifications, jobs, career, consumerism were the primary colours people chased and mighty materialism thereafter … to run after, all their lives.”

    If one had to read the book, ‘One to Tango’ without knowing about the author’s gender, one would confidently say that the book was written by a woman. Such is the intensity and detail with which the novel is written. But, Kamlesh Tripathi is a man and, for a man to write a book like a woman about a woman protagonist ‘Ria’—clearly its hats off to him!

    I say this because the novel reads almost like a journal with a women’s innermost emotions spread across the pages of the book. Many women who have seemingly crossed the age of marriage according to the superficial rules of the society might identify with this book. The review sheet further quotes from the book

    “She was once stunned at a feeler from one of her seniors that she ought to be available for a quickie as she too needs to satisfy her physical lust … a kind of open license … a never ending fright.

    Some of her married male cousins and friends had the birth right to hug and feel her body curves … if lecherous eyes could make love, she would have been mother of many bastards by now.”

    Ria is a single woman with a desire to get married like many bright intelligent working woman but, destiny has other plans for her. Suitors come and go, boyfriends woo and then leave only giving her pain and hurt. Ria thinks she is a jinx until that somebody special enters her life. But, is he the man of her dreams? His destiny has already been worked out for bigger things than just plain love, lust and relationship. So, where does that leave Ria? Does she finally get what she so badly wants and so very much deserves?

    Kamlesh’s narrative style keeps the flow of the plot moving even when Ria’s life stagnates. One wonders while reading the book—what more can the author offer? Is that it? And quite unlike other novels, the ending is unexpected, non-stereotype. That’s what makes the book stand out apart from the fact that the novel also single handedly concentrates on the theme of single women” and their personal pain. But, of course, the perspective differs from woman to woman.

Classified as a good read

    The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and with Pigeon Books India. Basis the review I of course would ask you to read it. It is also archived in a GOI library in Delhi and a prestigious library of Chennai.

***

Posted by Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

 

 

 

TRAFFIC SIGNAL

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    It is office hours. Rush time and in the morning. The traffic is really heavy. Looks, as if, entire India is on the move and with that, India’s GDP too. Perhaps, it’ll go up substantially today. So will the sensex. But the very first few indications on the mobile say. Sensex is wobbling. Just like the morning hour traffic. It’ll settle and shoot up, maybe, after, traffic hours. Say towards the afternoon. Mind, as usual is filled with a lot of clutter, that keeps fogging me. There is always so much to do and so much to improve. But, where do I begin and where do I end.  

    Thank God, boss is not in town, today. O Jesus! … It’s already nine thirty. He might call anytime, on the office land line. Arrey! where is this idiot Ramesh. He still hasn’t given me the data. Without it, how do I prepare the power-point, for boss’s meeting tomorrow? Mobile rings—it’s a call from home. ‘Hello! Just, thought, of reminding you. Don’t forget, to pull out the cash, for Diwali shopping’—that was my evergreen wife. See the trust. The call is over, even without, my saying a word.

    Mobile beeps. There is a whatsapp message. This could be the routine good morning, from Shashi. Arrey what is so good about the morning. It is the same old, Ram kahani. Sala kuch bhi nahi badalta hai is Hindustan mein. Mobile rings again … O—O boss.

    ‘Good morning, sir!’

    ‘Morning Anand, have you got the data from Ramesh?’

    ‘No sir.’

    ‘Speak to him. Drop my name. I need both the data and the power-point first thing, tomorrow morning.’ the call is over.

    Arrey yaar. I forgot to recite hanuman chalisa today. ‘Jai hanuman gyan gun sagar … Mobile rings, yet again. This time it is Ramesh. ‘Arrey yaar when are you giving me that data? Boss called for it just now.’

  ‘I’m carrying it to the office. It’s nothing great. You can’t prove a thing with it.’

   I restart my hanuman chalisa. Suddenly, the traffic light goes green. The car in front refuses to move. But the rear one is honking full blast. It appears, he has a greater stake in India’s prosperity than anyone of us. He tries to prove it, by honking. I’m about to complete my chalisa.

   O God! What is this life? God retorts, ‘this alone is life.’ I put my car in gear. It slides into motion. When, Lord Hanuman says, ‘bye—bye, see you tomorrow. I’ll take the aerial route. As I need to remind others, too, about their Hanuman chalisa. They are ahead of you and on this very road. Even Durga and Mahadev are doing the same. Bhakts are under a lot of work pressure. No time.’ I remember Mom. Dad can be remembered later. I’m starved of time.

    My stomach churns—‘breakfast!!’ I remember its lying on the seat behind. It’ll now have to wait till I reach office.

    I raise the volume. The RJ is once again there. To tell me how exciting life is. She connects with me every morning like a soul mate. Plays a few peppy numbers for me, to, rev up my mood. By the time I reach office I’m all perked up. When, I’m sucked in for the day. And why only the day, it is day after day.

   And that’s life.  

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By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share if you like it

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases. Should you wish to donate for the cause the bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(Archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. Book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

(CAN BE BOUGHT FROM ON LINE BOOK STORES OR WRITE TO US FOR COPIES)

*****

 

 

 

 

 

POEM: THE RAT-RACE

Copyright@shravancharitymission

THE RAT- RACE

In the heat of life,

There was never a summer,

But when the heat was over,

Only the winter got closer.

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In my hectic life,

I was always uptight,

About things that mattered,

And also about things that didn’t matter.

*

In the days of heat,

Life was like a marathon race,

Where some pseudo brainwaves,

Had termed it as a rat race.

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One initially thought,

It’s a onetime race,

But sadly, it turned out to be,

A lifetime of a race.

*

Where, the rats were surprised,

That it was some enterprise,

Where man stole the race,

And made it into a rat race,

And that too, without their gaze.

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It all started well,

Like the string of jingle bells,

But soon the jingle was over,

And you were left as a rover.

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There was so much to do,

And so much to improve,

Where I had my own dreams,

To brew and stew,

Until one day I realised,

I had a career to pursue.

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Between the race and career,

Man had no breather,

Soon he became a teaser,

And with that a big schemer.

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That resulted in endless pursuits,

And pointless disputes,

Bereft of generosity,

And full of ferocity,

Where humans were estranged,

And demons were ordained.

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From exhaustive to repetitive lifestyle,

To loads of competition,

Until one day I realised,

Sanity was about to get paralysed.

*

As the stance of life was changing,

Where heat was evaporating,

Where winter was upstaging,

Grace was receding,

And where time was forsaking.

*

Is when I asked the creator,

What happens now?

When heat becomes cold,

Summer becomes winter,

Hectic become skeptic,

And I become rustic.

*

Nothing said the creator,

As good sense of life is always greater,

Then the rat race,

That happens to be a crater,

And in disguise a hater.

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So come out of it,

To live in the winter,

That also has a summer,

That also has a shelter.

*

For rat race is just a phase,

And phase should not be a craze,

And the ultimate is encased,

In the wisdom of faith.

***

Share if you like it

By Kamlesh Tripathi

***

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases. Should you wish to donate for the cause the bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

         Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

         IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(Archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. Book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

Story of an Indian salesman who is lowly qualified but fights his ways through uncertainities to reach the top. A good read for all salesmen. Now available in Amazon.com

(CAN BE BOUGHT FROM ON LINE BOOK STORES OR WRITE TO US FOR COPIES)

*****

 

VIGNETTE: #SABHARWAL LEAVES #SWAMI BEHIND IN #KAROLBAGH

Copyright@shravancharitymission

h1h2

    Both Sabharwal and Swami were very senior to me both in age and seniority. Our office those days was in the sprawling boulevard of Parliament Street in New Delhi. Just opposite to the VIP police station, and not very far from the point where it embraced the ever famous Connaught circus. The pride of New Delhi and even India.

    Sabharwal, a Punjabi Khatri used to reside in Kirti Nagar. While, Swami a Tamil Brahmin in Karol Bagh. That happened to be the nerve center of the huge South Indian population, residing in Delhi then. Sabharwal and Swami (S&S) made an interesting duo. One being the likes of a carefree, lively and mast Punjabi. The other, a conservative and ritualistic Brahmin from the South. Sabharwal then was the liaison manager and Swami the admin manager of the company.

    While Sabharwal truly believed in YOLO (You only live once) and often basked in the theory of carpe diem. Swami prescribed to the simple Brahmin culture of south. And he made it more evident by sporting the famous horizontal chandan tilak on his forehead. Which noticeably, by the time he use to reach office used to dry up and change its colour.

    But even with all the asymmetry between them in terms of their origin, habits, language and gait, I still found S&S to be the toast of office. I guess, the combination was explosive and somewhat different. Apparently, they were very good friends. They used to come to office together in the morning and even leave together in the evening. In Sabharwal’s faded, yet rugged Vespa scooter.

    Once, like every other morning. Sabharwal, with his helmet tied to his chin. That reduced his audibility anyway, in the crowded traffic of Karol Bagh. Reached the usual spot, from where Swami use to hop on to his scooter.  He saw Swami standing there. And as usual he halted for a moment and moved on. Thinking, Swami is well perched behind him. In about half an hour he reached office. As traffic used to be much less those days. Only to realise Swami was there. Most likely he was left behind.

    Sabharwal, perplexed to this very unexpected one waited for some moments at the car park for him. Then slowly walked up to the office in the second floor. And following him soon. In Rambo style entered Swami, fuming. Mobiles were not invented then.

    ‘Arrey Baba, kya hua? Before, I could even sit. You moved the scooter, when my leg was midair.’

    ‘Arrey Swami, sorry yaar! I just don’t know what happened to me. I was in deep thoughts. Thinking, how to tackle that idiot in Udyog Bhawan. I stopped and moved, thinking you were on board, and since I was in deep thoughts. I never spoke to you and for some strange reason. I thought even you are quiet today. It was only when I was nearing Patel Chowk. I realised the scooter was feeling very light. Is when I turned around and you were not there.’

    Out of breath Swami was slowly coming to terms with Sabharwal’s gross error. Is when we all had a hearty laugh followed by a cup of tea.

    Today, Mr Sabharwal is not with us. To laugh and remember about this endearing and hearty episode. But we all have cherished memories of him. And this is what life is all about. My tributes to him, and may, he rest in peace.

*****

COMMUNICATION SKILLS AT WORKPLACE

Copyright@shravancharitymission

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Just think of the modes in which our distant forebears communicated long ago- the evolution of the written word, speech, smoke signals, semaphores and the Morse code-one can go on and on. Here, of course, we need to concern ourselves with communication skills and time management in work place and home in the present times. Popular work culture does not perceive separate rules for men and women. We are all global managers in the local set up. Consider home, for a moment, as an extension of work place, particularly in the context of Indian women. While life at home may be laid back, care free, but is not without responsibility. And there the difference ends. The modern employee needs oral, written and technological skills to excel. Even the most naïve housewife is expected to operate the washing machine, handle the microwave oven, run the mixie, to draw money from an ATM and even to drive a car- that is if she wants to contribute meaningfully to the chores of routine but modern domestic life.

Nearly all work involves interaction and communication with others. Clear and effective communication between individuals, between teams and among departments is a vital part of any successful organization. Without effective communication in work place, business results and team relationships suffer. Poor performers continue to perform poorly and productivity drops. Good people are overburdened with more responsibility. In our personal lives we blame each other for lack of communication and agree to live in companionable silence.

We can see that employees still need written communication skills. Yet interpersonal oral communication skills are the ones most prized by employers in the new informal workplace atmosphere. At home the oral word has to be more precise as well as concise to avoid attrition. The ability to follow oral instructions is an important parameter in the overall persona of an employee, especially for front office employees. Considering the important nature of this faculty even CBSE has incorporated it in the form of ‘Listening & Writing skills, in their curricula. Employees who work with the public or closely with teams need skills in empathy and feedback techniques, especially in fields such as customer service, medical, and legal. Critical thinking and the ability to function as part of a problem-solving group are also skills that employers look for. Today’s worker must remain cool under pressure, adaptable to new technology and to a fast pace.

With benefit of hindsight I’ve shortlisted a few points which may be of some help to you while interacting with people.

  1. Clarity: Ensure the information you need to convey is, firstly, intelligible to you. Communicate it clearly and directly. Use language that is specific and unambiguous. Check that the receiver understands the message as you intended. Avoid acronyms lest they be confused.
  2. Be attentive Without becoming an active listener means you cannot make a conscious effort to truly hear what the other person is saying—don’t interrupt or respond until the other person has quite finished. It should come as no surprise that the best communicators are also the best listeners.
  3. Deportment: this means using the other person’s name, looking them in the eye, and nodding to aid in demonstrating you understand what they are saying. If you are communicating in writing, reread before sending your message to ensure that it could not be misinterpreted or taken as disrespectful.
  4. Message & Medium. Some of us are better communicating in writing and some are better at speaking. Consider the preference of your receiver.
  5. Who is the end-user : you may have to style your communication with your boss, co-worker, customer or supplier, differently.
  6. Mode: More and more of our workplace communication is done via email, voice mail and text messaging. There are advantages and disadvantages to each of these, depending on the message and the audience. Texting can be especially effective when a quick question or answer is required without further explanation or repeated follow up, e.g., “What time is the school council meeting.”

The important thing is to stay focused on behavior or performance and not character. You are not a judge of character. Avoid being biased or opinionated. When you are on the receiving end, avoid getting triggered by difficult messages. Keep in mind the bigger picture and the long term implications.

Don’t be yourself all the time. Be someone a little nicer and never confuse motion with action. After all, “ a man diligent at his work shall stand before kings”

A.K.Tripathi

Anubhab Apartments                                                                       26/03/2015

THE OBSOLETE SWING OF 9 TO 5 – OFFICE HOURS

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With the rough noose of target around one’s neck and loads of life to carry on with; merely observing office timings has become more of a head count drill and a calculation of salary mechanism for the accounts and HR. For what, if I only observe office timings but don’t achieve my targets. I may still be sacked, even when I am a regular office attendee. But what, if I achieve my business targets and don’t achieve my attendance target. I may have to take a salary cut along with a sack for breaking office discipline, in spite of achieving my business targets. Where, management, at sweet will may be kind enough to sanction my accrued incentives.

Perhaps, there has always been a simmer of sorts between the Management and the employees on this account– office attendance–leave and the targets. Mind you, mere office presence, between 9 to 5 does not get you to your targets, with present day complexities and the sordid hustle and bustle of life. So something, close to high octane energy, something different together with a meandering passion is required to achieve those never ending and ever accruing professional targets of life.

The stated 48 hours of office in a week is just about sufficient to prepare the springboard from where you could dive to pluck your target. But the tedious groundwork starts brewing the moment you get up from your bed; is when your soul starts mating full flow with the business targets. That then moves with you to every corner of your house that you go to, including your precious morning throne. Supposedly your most private moment, where not even your better half is allowed, but those business targets are.

And, beyond the breakfast table, or to any other morning ritual of yours, including your morning prayers, and prayers collectively in tandem with your colleagues for targets. Thus, building the spiritual bulwark for the organization.

The average travel time to office in big cities has increased to over an hour one way and during this time also, you are glued mostly to your business and organizational targets. Where, all you do is to think, plan and set up a daily bit-by-bit approach towards achieving those milestones moments. For in the mornings it is not a rare sight to see business executives waiting impatiently to speak to their clients while they may take any mode of conveyance, including personal cars and two-wheelers, crowded buses and metro rail or a suburban local. And your business pursuit doesn’t just get over when you leave office for most us carry it home whether you like it or not. And the buck doesn’t stop there, as post a Sunday afternoon siesta, when the Monday morning blues erupt in you, is when you open your laptop to prepare for the Monday morning review, cutting into your well deserved weekend. For, if the review goes well your week is made, else, you need to build your entire week all over again. So, what earlier was in the confines of 9 to 5 has spilled beyond the time warp. Some management’s who are abreast to this reality, are sailing through competently with tweaked systems and procedures-employee friendly, but some are still struggling, only to conceive the reality.

The intricacies and pressures of both sides could be better understood. Only, if the modern day employer more appropriately termed as ‘management’ had ever done a job and the ‘employee’ ever ran an enterprise. For both uselessly keep visualizing the other side of the grass is greener, when it is actually a bald zone.

The point of essence is; today’s employee is not a 9 to 5 guy but a 24 x7 guy. Who at times operates from the designated office, from the road, his personal car or even a two-wheeler, airport, railway station, jam packed bus or a bus stand, cab, crowded local suburban, metro rail and at some lucky moments from his residence; for you can’t exist anymore on a obsolete routine of a mere 9 to 5 show up. And in all of this your gadgets (Smart phones and laptops) have become your office.

*****