Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Need of Human Relations and Inter-Personal skills in the Office/Work environment

To explain better about the Human Relations, ie., the Inter-Personal Communication skills in a work environment, we present to you a letter written by a colleague 'Anand' to his friend and co-worker 'Vikas' as the latter was often suffering from low self-esteem, a little bit of Superiority complex due to his Ego and also a little bit of Inferiority complex due to the insecurities he had in his mind.

In this real life story (names changed and alias names used to protect privacy), the person Anand is always looking for continuous improvement and evaluating his performance based on the values he learnt from various leadership and personality development books, while his friend and colleague Vikas was obsessed with Self-doubt and he always expected others to appreciate him, and he hadn't made an effort to realize his own weaknesses, let alone the conversion of such weaknesses to strengths. He was never happy with the responsibilities he got in his job though he and his colleague Anand were paid the same salary at the and of the month without a single penny difference.


Both were working for a company DUK based in Baroda, in a Project Engineering team in Baroda under their boss 'Maninder', and they were sent on deputation to a job site where a new factory was being setup in a very remote place of India. These two guys are supposed to mingle up well with the local team and carry on the assignment towards the objectives of the parent company.

On the personal front, both Anand and Vikas were living in a rented house along with other Indian friends. During the evenings they used to cook their dinner together, they all used to go around to different places on the weekends for recreation. Despite all this, Vikas was tending to be alone not mingling up with his other friends.

As they both were from the parent company they naturally got a good responsibility to lead the local team, and Anand, by virtue of his previous hardwork, his recognition in the company and his total experience, was offered a position to lead the site team under the title, 'Site Team Leader'. And Vikas was offered to work as a deputy to Anand.

As usual, you might have understood by now that Anand, being more positive and proactive, was quickly liked and appreciated by the local team so much and he was an active member in the Site Project team, while 'Vikas' with his negative attitude was doing entirely the opposite. He, in his mind, never accepted Anand to be his superior, though he knew that Anand was one year senior to him and he achieved many things with respect to him.

Instead of being proactive, he had chosen to be reactive and further he also started attacking his good friend Anand emotionally by sending a string of personal emails.

Anand at first thought to pacify his friend positively by verbal discussion, but then felt that if the person on the other side is not in a position for a fair discussion, there is no point talking to him. So he too replied back to him as follows:

*********
Dear Vikas,

This is yet another mail, you have sent to me with your normal procedure of misunderstanding people and jumping to conclusions with your own customized ‘Stained glass window’ concepts. Hence I decided to reply to your mail in two possible ways. One is negative and the other positive. For the negative reply, I need not explain to you anything apart from asking or telling something. For the positive reply, I need to answer with my justification.

My Negative answers first:
  1. In any company’s hierarchy, a boss can interfere in what a sub-ordinate is doing whereas a sub-ordinate can’t interfere in what his boss is doing, because a boss has the responsibility of the things including those of his sub-ordinates and the vice-versa can’t happen in any management.
  2. As Maninder told me personally and according to what he said to you in front of me, we two are not here with the same hierarchical level. According to Maninder, I am a project engineer and you are a Project engineer assistant, and this change happened when I was not in Baroda and without my involvement. So I am your immediate senior/boss. This is also true as per your experience in this company and as per the differences in your problem solving/coordinating capabilities compared to those of mine. I don’t need to give you any proof for that.
  3. And Maninder also told you in front of me before our departure that he will seek my opinion or feedback about your performance. Why you couldn’t prove yourself before Maninder is not something I need to bother.
  4. Do you think that you have always done some greater and useful jobs than me or Ram or Harsha or Salim? If yes, then list them out and show it to me personally. We discuss that. In comparison with me, how many times did you get up from your seat and walked to others like Harsha or Ram or any other to have any friendly chat during the office hours?
  5. Relations are to be made by spending time with the people and by trying to understand them. This world is like a mirror and it reflects what we truly are. Read any good personality development book and you will find it. If you have a personal good relation with any colleague, then only you can make a good professional relation.
  6. Please note that if I behave negatively, I can instantly complain about you to Maninder as according to him, you are not equal to me and he would be in my favor. I didn’t care a bit about the consequences, once I was frustrated, when I was complaining about Sagar or about Siddhu. Can’t I do this for you if I want????? It is only because of our relation (still existing though it has weakened so much) that I am still waiting for you to change your ways and paradigms.
  7. Have you read my previous mail properly? Have you understood the meaning in it apart from understanding each word separately? I even doubt if you had just deleted it after sending a read receipt and a ‘Thank you’ mail to me.
  8. From my personal experience and understanding during our stay, I know that you would be the first person to laugh at my failures. I experienced that through your gestures and body language though I never told you about that. This happened many times during our cooking sessions and on many other occasions. You are indifferent to sense the feelings of others. God knows how you would behave with your wife once you get married???
  9. And finally in spite of all the above said points, I have spent some hours of another Sunday’s time to clarify your doubts. This is the second time.

My positive answers now:

People have perceptions, they are mostly imaginative, and it is difficult for any other person to change them unless they change by themselves.

You have your perceptions (mostly negative and a few positive), I may have my own (mostly positive and a few negative). I am always validating and changing my perceptions as and when required. I don’t know about you.

If you think Harsha, Salim (Salim not even a junior to me, moreover he is AM here), Narayan, etc are juniors to you then who are you to me? I am your senior too, and Ram or Seenu are my seniors too.

Whenever I say seniors, I am considering their complete work experience. So when it comes to relations of the current generation, we should not look at these things. Otherwise we will also end up showing our ego or bossism among ourselves and may spoil our office relations. Just think, who among we two are maintaining good office relations and if not, what the reasons are.

Coming back to your point, the following issue was brought to my notice by Mohan and he repeatedly asked me to share with M/s. CEPM on the same day and so I did. I don’t know why he wanted to leave you though you two were moving around in the site. Because he asked me, I did and nothing else. If you want to know why he avoided you, you go and ask him. I am 100% transparent and I am not having any personal discussions with Mohan to grab some work from you.

As I said to you earlier, we are here (and I am here) to settle the problems as early as possible. These days whenever we have any issue, I am just thinking about the solution regardless of who is solving the problem. According to me, it is not Anand alone who is solving the problems, it is the ‘Engineering Department’ which is solving the problems.

If you look at my mails with my eyes, you can understand that in many cases, I use the word ‘we’ instead of ‘me’ though I might have done the work by myself. “TEAM WORK MEANS MORE WE AND LESS ME” and I love this principle. And it seems you are out of this team, as you distance yourself from all of us.

If people are only referring to me for any issue, that is because of Maninder’s official stand about my presence here. You can take part of what I am doing, I welcome it, but if you think I am grabbing your work, you are mistaken. I don’t need to prove myself in front of others who are here at Yerraguntla. I work for my principles and assigned responsibilities.

And about your feeling, “Will I not be involved in any engineering activity here at site, in that case my stay here is useless for me” it is your own mental block you are consistently creating and nourishing. If you have such thoughts in your mind, your body language will be affected and your results would be similar.

Because, now you have a defined responsibility (Designs control), all of us may presume that you are busy if you keep seriously typing something on your PC. Actually I always want to delegate some work to you, Narayan and Chandran. But I need to take the blame from others if some or all of you are not meeting the deadlines. So I need to think for a while before I delegate something to you. If I can do it by myself, I am doing it. That is all.

Here are a few points you have to understand:
  1. I am not here to interfere in your matters, but you see as per the organization chart, I can check whatever you are doing. Maninder himself told me over phone that I can filter what you are doing.
  2. Appointing you as Designs coordinator was not done by me. It was some understanding between Maninder, Preetam and Chandran. How is it related to me? I know that you have a doubt that I and Ram did something against you? I don’t want to worry for those things for which I am not responsible.
  3. You are also free to tell anyone that you are now free if you don’t have some designs control job, so that we can share some of our work with you. Are you doing that?

Note: If you keep sending this kind of mails with your misunderstanding, from the next time onwards, I only give you my negative replies, because I have my own limits of patience and positive thinking.

And finally, I take responsibility for whatever I have written here and I belive these points are true to the best of my knowledge and my understanding of the various situations, and I'm open to discuss with you if you too are equally honest. May be if there is a honest discussion, you could clarify to me where I'm wrong and where I have misunderstood you.

Best regards,
Anand.
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