Pre-mumble: I have been unfairly criticized of fighting the cause of mere mortals and completely ignoring the superior beings that bosses are. Only cursory glance of my scribblings will throw mud into those jaundiced eyes and sever such caustic tongues. Still, peace loving and reasonable person that I am, thought the only way to make them unjustified critics see light is to give them something to chew on. Write one about them that they can flaunt around; throwing their hats in the air; followed by vigorous shaking of bloated heads and thunderous back-slapping; feeling here they atlast have somebody holding a candle for them and waving their banner; in short one of the old-boys.
So onward I go and, you spare a few moments wading through this much-ado-about-something, for the sake of those poor souls suffering indignation though sumptuously fed on power and pelf. Who knows, following the path that’s brought to light in previous scribblings and with little luck you may find this article too coming handy one day.
The brood of the bosses is a universally reviled lot and unjustifiably so. Disproportionately higher share (exponentially speaking) of power they are vested with, the humongous and recession/inflation-proof pay-packets and perks that get penciled under the blotted head “Top Management”, the seemingly lopsided dictum of collective (read every inch of the corporate real-estate save the corner office) responsibility of failure and individual (the bit of plush carpet area left out earlier) ownership of success; all are but one-side of the coin.
How tortuous to conduct business deals under the scorching sun, without consideration to reducing their handicap, only focusing on inking that multi-million dollar deal, in the lush green surroundings of a golf-course? How humiliating to be branded CXO? Not somebody but X! How difficult it is to separate the genuine boot lickers from the rug-pullers? How excruciating it is to look very often over one’s shoulders to differentiate the wily back-stabbers from the willing back-slappers in the boardroom? Trading off in the process forward-looking vision to skin saving hind-sight?
But these are easy to handle. One can take these rough with the smooth. They are but trifle diversions compared to the following, which require continuous stratagems to keep one’s sanity in check!
What of the herculean task of shepherding scores of mutton-headed sheep, crazy mules, lazy asses, podgy pigs, croaking frogs, sitting ducks, wailing quails; and various other distasteful dregs who make up the bottom of the organizational pyramid; from a definite doom which they (the mutton-headed sheep………et al) seem to hurtle the organization towards a sure doom every working moment (provided they do work)? How taxing it is to yoke them to their cubicles and make them work and perform productively round the clock without a whimper? The culprits are the underlings or those devils popularly known as sub-ordinates.
Most of the bosses, I know of, commit the blunder of trying to be humane. They know their carrot and stick policy well; but only from the wrong end. They have munched carrots all along their climb up the corporate ladder and deem that the same works for the current ranks of sub-ordinates and makes them perform the way they think they would and should. The wise ones smile at such benignity. “Child-like” they dismiss this act of compassion and some even go to the extent of drubbing it “permanent loss of reasoning”. Why, you may wonder! Rightfully so. For long, most of the upper echelons of the corporate world blindly trusted the make believe power of performance boosting carrots, viz- increments, paid holidays, wall-of-fames, star performers, public praising and private censure, positive strokes, offsites at exotic locales, up-skilling, fast-track programs and other such illusionary riff-raff. Blah. And blah again. All lies in the wonder la-la land.
You and I, who belong to that creed supposedly getting softer in the head and conscientious in the heart, from continuous nibbling at the dangled bunny-booster, know better. It’s not that our craving for carrots is far stronger than our shivering at the sight of the dreaded sticks. Less than average increments and public knowledge of the same (leaked through the ever willing HR or Accounts Depts.), extended probationary periods and public knowledge of the same (secretary pool spreading the gospel), hijacking of plum projects that have the potential to get into the radar of the top management or The-One-Who-Matters, rationing of stationery, being assigned to the task of arranging projectors, pencils and pads of the all important meeting but trumped at minuting the same, given a seat away from the whiteboard in a brainstorming session, sent to cities whose air-travel is less than 5 hours (within the country and non-business class), minute scrutiny of reimbursement bills….the list is endless.
For 24 carrots that we lick our lips at, there is one stick that outweighs those benefits and sends shivers down our spine. But we know we are in safe territory as long as the bosses think of us as adults and don’t know us for the children we are whose fate is well known if the stick is spared. No wonder then the sages of yore, wise they are, said “Dandam Dasha Gunam Bhaveth” – One stick imparts ten virtuous qualities. We are glad that the bosses haven’t read their scriptures. Or read them but don’t remember them well. Here’s hoping that the situation sticks to that and doesn’t get any stickier!
Om Tat Sat (OM, That is the truth)