As i start a new job, am again faced with the same task that can make or break any stint.
this is the task of gaining acceptance of the people around.
Have earlier in my career had a terrible experience when a superfluous boss deliberately created attrition and friction as a way of creating space for himself within the organisation. He first made judgements about people and then went about justifying them. I later realised that he was one of many who follow this practice and that it was excruciatingly simple to fall into that trap. Today, fortunately i have been able to evolve my own rules.
These are the 6 simple rules of love, of mutual respect and understanding that work as well in real life and love as they work in the corporate world.
a) Dont talk. LISTEN ! -How many times have we heard this and yet we all love the sound of our voices. Take it from me. It is always wonderful to hear others talk. Specially in a new role in an organisation, avoid talking about your past job, role or achievements unless specifically asked. Never ever boast, rather underplay if you can. Talking about yourself raises barriers and prompts even sleeping Johns' to wake up and take a sniggering look. So hold your horses till there is sufficient camraderie and bonding with the team and the team understands you.
b) Dont CRITICIZE - No one is ugly, fat, lazy or dumb! They are all great. Dont look for opportunities to run down the current system and specifically ur predecessor. Restrain yourself Hold the diatribe, because one needs to first understand what the system really is. what makes it tick? survive ? thrive ?
c) BE OBJECTIVE - Dont beat around the bush if you are convinced about your understanding of the system or its practices and need to talk change - just cut out the criticism. Instead, be objective. Focus on what changes will a new proposed system bring in for the organisation. Dont make it people specific.
d) GENEROSITY - Like in life, everyone loves a good gift. Be generous, specifically to your predecessor - not in an artificial way and not to please anybody for sure but because you believe that whatever he did was not prompted by ulterior objectives but because he believed those actions were in the best interest of the organisation. Ur view on those actions could be different but there should be no doubt on the sincerity of purpose behind them. My observation is that the more one gives, the more one receives!!
Recognise the fact that Ur predecessor too could have emotions and sentimental attatchment with this role and maybe some uncertainty about his own future. Be generous to him and plan a grand farewell for him with the rest of the gang. Thats the least he deserves.
e) Have confidence. Give Responsibilty- give small projects with clear responsibilities to those who you think can contribute. It doesnt matter what level they are at. Appreciate little gains. Celebrate.
f) BE POSITIVE. - God created us to be positive, to unite others and to move forward. Never divide the team. On the contrary, create a positive atmosphere that encourages people to think, to stretch while still having fun. Get teams and individuals to understand the role played by others. Get them on the same platform. Communicate !!
and there are 3 more rules - contributed by my friend Susmita - which are just as important
g) WILLINGNESS TO LEARN from peers/juniors who have been in the system for much longer and definitely know more about the category/business/bosses more than you do. Juniors especially provide a lot of information about people and processes as they are usually eager to please and therefore more willing to share. Respect for their knowledge/expertise helps one learn the business much faster.
h) BLEND IN NOT OUT - Go with the crowd in most things( if everybody eats in the canteen and you would prefer ghar ka khana, at least a couple of times a week, go along or take your dabba and eat with them. So, esp for women, if everybody wears salwar kurtas, avoid westerns; if everybody has kids, don't talk about what a pain in the a... you often find them to be.
i) CHARM the HR & FINANCE team - (though am not personally sure of this) - i do see some merit in this. But this could vary from one organisation to the other and the relative importance and visibility of these functions within the organisation.
Over the years have concluded that there is enough and more for each individual to do and to achieve. I believe that as much as all of us, even the universe wants us to succeed. We just need to believe that and have confidence in our own ability and in the capability of the team to spring positive surprises and deliver better results. We need to stop our primal instincts of pettiness, of hatred and of making premature judgements about others. We need to let love, patience and belief take over. Respect for people in the team, aknowledgement of their contribution and an understanding of their working styles, their problems, their styles of thinking, need to be all respected.
This is a fail safe formula to gain acceptance in a new system, a new role and in a new organisation. It guarantees not just entry into the team but a team that gradually learns and adapts to play, laugh and work together minus the stress.