Art of Corporate Relations

Human relations in corporate world are as important as in personal life. Success is always a team event. Having excellent and healthy relations is the foundation of any team. The word ‘team’ is a noun that represents a set of individuals working in absolute harmony with common goals. No two individuals can work together until unless they have humane relations. In this article, I would like to share my thoughts about what it takes to build relations in the corporate world. Relation between two human beings can be as simple as you want and as complex as you want.

Before publishing this article, I was thinking what would be the right title of this article. I thought of a few ones that may fit into the subject like – “When Manager becomes Leader” or “Where Managers Fail”. I finally settled for “Art of corporate relations.” Intended audience here is anyone who has a team to manage and those professionals aspiring to be managers and entrepreneurs.

There are 3 basic building blocks between any two human relations.

1. Respect
– pious and prestigious

2. Trust
– beautiful but hard earned

3. Honesty
– as rare as cool breeze in dessert

We must have read and heard these 3 words, thousand times in our life. On first look, it may seem very simple and almost everyone would say that “yeah, I know it well and always follow as well”. But trust me; there are very few people who know real essence of these three gems (respect, trust and honesty). In my humble opinion, some of the old fashioned and traditional managers especially in hierarchical communities who believe in authority and consider being manager as luxury, do not understand the science behind these 3 building blocks of relations. That’s where team starts maintaining distance from them and starts looking at them as evil. When this happens, you as manager has failed. Another way of saying is a manager becomes a leader when he understands this beautiful art of managing relations. Leader is not a title given my companies but it is a state of mind of your team members where:

• They start looking forward to their manager for all their problems

• Strong belief that this man has to be right even though I don’t understand his reasoning very well but I am sure my career is in safe hands and if I follow him, I will be good and protected

• Willing to do anything for him

When the above happens, manager becomes leader. It happens if and only if you show highest level of respect, utmost trust and honesty to your team. Let me explain my perspective of these qualities.

Respect

It means you treat the other person with utmost dignity as you want to be treated by others. You consider other person on equal footing at par as you yourself. You understand the emotions of the person equally good as the person himself. You give due respect to the feelings of the person. You acknowledge the competency of the person and give highest value to it. You are excited when he is happy and you feel bad when he is sad. You are worried when he is in trouble. Show compassion to the human being and believe everyone is a divine creation of God as you are yourself. His happiness is precious to you. When this happens, it is respect in real sense.

On the contrary, I have seen managers showing authority, killing people’s emotions with disdain, treating people like commodities and focused upon to please their own bosses. This way, you will always remain manager. In this process, you will draw people’s anger and anguish along with curse. Believe me; curse of a distressed and honest person never goes waste. It is going to come back and come back very hard directly and indirectly to you one day. Do not be manager to achieve targets set by your boss only. If you are leader, targets will be achieved anyway but more effectively and efficiently.

Trust

It means you believe that your team is doing everything right with right intention. It may be the case that team does not have enough experience to handle a situation or may not have a particular competency to achieve highest business results (no one is perfect) – but then a competent manager should help them succeed by adding his own experience, holding hands of team members and taking them to the ladder of success along with you. It also means that if you have different opinion, you still (as a first step) appreciate the actions and thoughts of him. Then explain your perspective as someone who is refining his ideas, coaching him on missing aspects (if any) and giving him a sure shot recipe of success. Also show him that you as manager stand behind him in every scenario and will be there to protect and support in every situation. When I say show, I don’t mean show-off but you should really mean it. These things cannot be borrowed or pretended superficially but it is inherent to good managers (leaders) and comes naturally to them.

Unfortunately, traditional managers just impose things on subordinates. Such managers always try to prove in front of team that “I know better than you, you don’t know anything, you are wrong, just follow me because I am your manager” anyway. This is not trust but sheer authority exhibited in an autocratic way.

Honesty

Be very transparent in your intentions, be very open in communication explaining everything why you want a particular thing to happen the way you want – what benefits team would have if they follow you as manager and how it will help the team to succeed. Your words, body language, and emotions – everything should be pious and truthful. Create an atmosphere where team can open their mind, speak from heart, and talk freely and fearlessly in front of you. A good manager must inculcate the honesty as religion in his life and thereby inspire team also to believe in honesty. First you have to be honest to yourself, only then you can expect your team to be honest. You lie and believe me you will be caught one day or sooner. Now a days, people of new generation are smart enough to find the truth and then gossiping makes it even tougher for you to hide a fact. Honesty is still the best policy and would always remain. In front of customers, you can be politically correct but again, no hiding facts, no lies.

Where relations go sour

1. Bad intentions : In the pursuit of quick bucks, sometimes people follow short-cuts, too focused on appraisals and do everything to please the boss, start playing politics and back biting, stealing credits of other people around etc. In this process, they compromise with basic principles of life. There are primarily 2 root causes why people have bad intentions. Everything else revolves around these.

a. Incompetency : In my opinion, competent people rarely have bad intentions

b. Super ambitious : Desire to achieve something and achieve as quickly as possible makes you follow short cuts

Incompetency and being highly ambitious is a deadly combination. I have analyzed why this happens. It is because people want to achieve primarily 2 things in their life – Money and Authority. There is nothing wrong in it. But for talented and competent people, money and authority is the natural outcome and they are bound to get sooner or later. Problem starts when instead of focusing on developing skills, they focus day and night on money and authority. It makes them lose focus on competency and instead try to find quick and crooked ways to achieve this. It is here people enter the dragon of corporate evils (politics, lie, deception, flattery, yes boss etc.). At this stage, relation takes a back seat and you can never have good relations with your team.

2. Poor communication : Sometimes even though intentions are good but your communication is not mature and skilled enough to convey your true message. Remember the golden rule; you are as good as you can communicate. Probably I will write another blog on art of communication.

First make relations with your inner strength. Be honest to yourself, trust your skills and respect your life and your moments of joy – be a leader of yourself. Always remember to apply these 3 principles with other forms of life. If you are there, people will like you can be leader of masses.

Advertisements

Life in a Corporate -5, Importance of Professional Character

In my opinion, the following professional traits (positive traits) are very important in corporate life.

Positive Traits: Honesty and truthfulness, polite and courteous, down to earth, ownership and accountability, self-organized and self-dependent

I give a lot of emphasis to the above mentioned traits. I believe the above mentioned traits define your professional character. And if you have the highest quality of professional character, sky is the limit and you can do any work with ease. One of the fundamental differences between these behavioral characteristics and technical skills is that – these traits are inherent and cannot be taught to large extent. One can try to inspire a person to follow the path of honesty but only to a certain extent. If the person’s natural wiring of mind is such that it knows only vicious intentions then even best of the teacher’s can’t do much.  On the other hand, technical competency is a science which can always be learnt provided one has the aptitude to know and work with technology. Technical knowledge of respective job function (be it programming skill or any other skill like HR, sales, project management) can always be developed easily if someone has right attitude and ability to learn.  IMO, working in IT industry is not a rocket science. But still people fail, people get terminated, people develop poor quality software and develop poor relations – all of this because they miss one or more of the above mentioned positive traits.  People become so much focused on impressing the boss that they stop learning, stop developing skills, take short-cuts using below mentioned negative traits. Continue reading

Life in a Corporate -3, Art of Writing Resume

Resume is the generally the corporate identity for any individual. In professional life, this is the first thing shared with anyone. Psychiatrists can even guess the personality of a person by looking at the resume. It is the first impression of you to any stakeholder who wants to engage you. Besides, resume also represents our written communication skills and presentation skills.

 

While making any professional document, it is very important to know the target audience. For resume – anyone from any background can be the audience. In fact, language of the resume should be written in such a manner that any kind of audience can easily understand. Another attribute of resume is that it should be able to generate interest in the reader and the interest must continue till the end. Here are few tips that might help:

 

  1. Short and simple sentences.
  2. Avoid abbreviations. If required, use extension at least first time.
  3. Nouns should be used as it is. (e.g. JUnit, JBoss, WebLogic).
  4. Same tense (past or present) throughout the document.
  5. Avoid repetition of phrases.
  6. Be explicit wherever possible. Write objectively. Avoid ambiguous words like etc., many, approximate. Idea here is – if you don’t know precisely about yourself – who else would know?
  7. Consistency in font, style.
  8. Avoid local references. Resume generally goes to international customers. For them any local reference (name of local university) has no meaning unless it is a well known thing (e.g. IIT, IIM etc.).
  9. Avoid highlighting (using bold) things unless it is of really significant importance.
  10. Grammatically correct. (e.g. no uppercase letter in between a sentence,  full stop at the end etc.)
  11. Avoid using copy paste from other person’s resume.
  12. If you have written any article or blog, it is good to give URL(s).
  13. Header and footer should appear on every page and must be consistent in font.
  14. Project description should be simple and concise so that it is easy to understand by anyone and generates interest.
  15. After finishing the resume, take a print out and verify if everything is in right format, no truncation.
  16. The project history should be in reverse chronological order.

 

Life in a Corporate -1 Art of Appreciation

I am starting a series of blogs where I will share my thoughts about human behavior in the context of corporate life. The first one in the series is about ‘Art of Appreciation’.

Appreciation is one part of human psychology that brings smile to the other person. Nature has provided human beings abundance ability to appreciate. It does not require any special skill to appreciate someone and it does not cost anything. Objectively, it has following hidden benefits:

  1. If people around you are happy, it will help you also to be happy.
  2. It motivates people and helps improve performance which is required to be successful
  3. If people around you are successful, then as a part of team you are bound to be successful
  4. It brings people closer to each other, increases harmony reduces enmity

Everyone has his own way to appreciate and how s/he wants to be appreciated. There is no rule of thumb to determine what the best way to appreciate is? I am highlighting a few types of appreciations:

  1. Public appreciation or in private
  2. Written or verbal
  3. Formal (email) or informal (skype, test message)
  4. In meetings in presence of peers or one-to-one

Frequency and timing of appreciation is also important. Some people need it too often and for others, once in a while is good enough. Timing of appreciation determines the impact of appreciation. If you appreciate today’s good work tomorrow, it may dilute the impact. Various ways to appreciate are:

  1. Words (can do wonders)
  2. Certificate (friends and family too can cherish)
  3. Monetary Incentives (e.g. movie tickets, gift vouchers, any other form of cash incentive)
  4. Gifts (e.g. book, souvenir)
  5. Bigger Responsibility

Sometime people don’t appreciate. Reasons could be:

  1. Lack of awareness about the importance of appreciation
  2. Peer competition prevents people appreciating others. It’s a myth that by appreciating, they are giving away advantage to peers and bringing others in limelight. In other words, people want to take all the credit themselves and hence prevent them to appreciate which is a violation of team spirit.

Appreciation must always be real based on your true judgment of good work of others. It must never be fake just to impress someone. Motive of appreciation is never to impress but an expression of your happiness straight from your heart about good work. We should be generous to appreciate colleagues, friends, and customers. Ability to appreciate is a reflection of your ability to collaborate. It has direct link if you are a team player or an individual contributor. Appreciation at the right moment in appropriate manner to the delight of the other person can spark someone’s performance to reach to new peaks. It can also help bridge the broken relationship.