Getting into the Inner Circle
Try as much, being in senior leadership role means that typically you are cut off from some internal group discussions and gossip since you are considered the management person and will always take side of the management. I always felt that I had a good, strong and healthy relation with all my team members and they felt free in sharing any issues with me, but then there is always that last mile, which I was not a part off, which I realized the other day.
I got included in a Whatsapp group, which had all team members of mine. Initially I felt that a new group has been started given that many people had left us in recent past and this was good and easy way to remain connected, but when welcome messages came my way, I realized that this group wasn’t that new… only I was new to it.
And the reason I wasn’t added to this group earlier was that people would discuss things about the organization they felt should not be discussed in front of me, as they believed I was a pro-organization person. My inclusion now in the group, after I had quit, meant that the team believed that now that I am not on the senior leadership position on the organization, I am no longer pro-organization.
Interesting thought! That forced me to think a bit. Was I pro-organization or not? And why does the team believe that earlier they could not include me in the group discussion?
As I thought, I ended up doing what I do pretty often these days… I started writing about it and here’s a blog as an outcome.
So first things first: Am I pro-organization or not? The short answer is yes and the long answer is: back in August 1995, when I joined the organization at a salary of about Rs. 8.5 K per month, I had nothing to claim as my own. Everything I had was provided by my parents. The cloths, the bag, the notebook, the bike and even the deposit for the flat rent and the rent of first month, was all provided for by my parents. This is typically true for most of us, so nothing fancy in that. But from them till last month, whatever assets I own now are all due to the salary Infosys paid me over the year for the work I did there. The stable life that I am living today, with full security for the future of self and family, is all courtesy Infosys. So I am definitely pro-organization. My interests in terms of what I wanted to work on now, the kind of creative freedom I wanted, the kind of growth I was looking for, was no longer possible with Infosys and hence I left it. It in no way means that I now don’t like the organization and am willing to discuss everything against it. I will always remain indebted to Infosys for making me what I am today, but yes, I am more open to all kinds of discussions now.
The other part is that as a manager there is some expectation that organization has and it also is a duty of sorts. Even if we don’t like something or some policy, we need to abide by it and ensure that our teams follow it. So while I did this, I got branded as management’s person. I think instead of not discussing in front of me, people rather need to understand that there are formal ways to raise an objection and discuss the same, but if we aren’t able to convince the other side, we should fall in line. There should be a healthy discussion on such topics where both parties are willing to listen to each other. If the team comes, thinking that they are talking to a management representative and he/she will always take side of the organization, then it is wrong. The leader has mostly more awareness and background on different aspects and hence can usually better explain why some decisions were taken, the way they were. He/she will also be receptive to the thoughts team has and can mostly escalate them to the right forum. But, as I said, the team typically feels that such discussions are one way and don’t participate whole heartedly in it.
I have personally seen, where I could have a dialog with individuals on different aspects and policies, they were usually better receptive of why some things are the way they are. So I will urge people to not shy away from their managers, but rather discuss with them the issues at hand and get the full view.
In short, being out of Infosys, the team now felt that I will participate with them in any discussions. I could have done that earlier also, had they come to me. Anyway, I guess I am thankful to have joined the inner circle now