Renewed Leader


“I will teach him what I can do. What he think about himself?” Samay said with great frustration about his supervisor. Vishal asked with a surprise, “What happened Samay? Nilay used to be a very good friend of yours. Now how come you are so angry with him.”. “Friend, huh!! He was friend till he was not made as supervisor. Once he has become supervisor, he thinks as if he can do anything.” he said and continued, “Today morning when I came to office I was late, then I checked my emails and went to Cafeteria. There we had some discussion with cultural committee members about the forthcoming activities. When I came back to desk, he called me and asking me, why I am not at my desk from morning etc..I track my time. Whenever I am late, I make sure I work late or work at home to complete the work.”. Vishal said “Okay!!! But his question is valid. Question does not mean that he is blaming you, he is just asking a question? Have you answered him and said the reason. Have you given the assurance that you will cover up for this time.”. Samay shouted, “Why should I? He has less experience than me, I was in interview panel when he was hired. I have worked on more complex jobs than him. Now somehow by playing some dirty tricks he became supervisor. I do not feel like giving explanation to him. He is the most dirty mind I have ever seen”.

Situation gradually became more bad and lack of trust gradually started to ruin the environment. Samay being close to most of his team members, he could influence others. Everybody started finding fault in Nilay. They had more team meetings in cafeteria, staircase and many other locations outside work without Nilay. I am telling these as team meetings because entire team used to gather and mostly discuss all bad qualities of Nilay.

Nilay was not doing anything wrong which caused people in his team to go away from him and become his enemy but he was doing everything as per procedure which made him a villain.  He introduced strict timing, no non-sense talking, strict deadlines and all other things which is written as qualities of a disciplined team. Then a time came when he had to go through a personal trauma as his wife fell sick for a prolonged period and this made him to stay out of office more often. Project did not complete in time and this resulted Nilay to be in Performance Improvement plan due to negative feedbacks about him from the team members. He was demoted from a supervisor to a individual contributor and was put in Vishal’s team. And as expected Samay became the supervisor of the team that Nilay was supervising earlier.

Now Nilay was completely devastated. His wife passed away in a prolonged disease. his job is at danger and his confidence was almost nil. More importantly, he did not know what mistake he did. he tried his best to take care of his wife, spent money, went to best doctor, spent all him time to take care of her but he could not survive her. At work, despite all the personal problems he tried to be timely, he ensured his team follows discipline and he did not leave any loose end. He was confused, frustrated. At the same time, management was looking for an opportunity to throw him out of this company as Samay was close to management.

Vishal had a complex task. He is now supervising a member who was a supervisor once upon a time and was his senior at college. He ensured he spends a lot of time with Nilay everyday after work. Then Vishal explained Nilay that what happened in his personal life was not in his control but what happened in professional life was very much in his control. He was designated as supervisor by the management but he did not put effort to make sure his team members believe him as a supervisor.

Nobody likes to be supervised by another person unless they truly consider the other person as a leader whom they would love to follow. Rules, disciplines are good for smooth functioning of a team but for that you need to have a team first. Here team means a group of people believing in a common goal with a leader ahead of them to guide and support them. It is not that this 4 cubicle people are of this team. Team is made with a thin silky string trio called emotion, trust and communication. Here Nilay lacked these and he has a reason for it. His wife was not well so he was not able to work on these soft parts in team building.

At the same time people are not bad. certain misunderstandings, selfish motives and fear of self survival makes a supervisor rule master but not a leader. Misunderstanding is due to lack of time to do emotional exchange.

Vishal, assigned a very complex project to Nilay. Management wanted him to be thrown out so Vishal convinced management that by giving this difficult project and a strict deadline, he will fail. So management was satisfied with this and started preparing termination letter for Nilay. This was a highly visible project but an internal project so missing deadline will not hamper company’s image but success of this project will make it big. Senior management were waiting for this project to complete.

Vishal, did not help Nilay at all during working hours. After Nilay leaves for home, he used to review the project, its status. He saw that project was going good and in fast track. He was very happy to know that Nilay is a very good developer. He did not give any positive feedback to Management about Nilay. Project was near to deadline and Vishal discovered that Nilay has not touched one module at all and it looks like he has already forgotten about that module. Vishal worked late for 4 days continuously and completed that module himself without informing Nilay. Nilay came running to Vishal the day before the deadline and said “Vishal I did a blunder. I completed forgot to see that page of the spec. I have not done anything of that module. It will take 3 days more to complete”. Vishal said, “How could you do this Nilay? You are such a senior member and you are so careless. Anyway you have to finish it. Go ahead and start it, let me see if I can help you anyway”. When Nilay reached his desk and opened his email he found an email from Vishal. On opening that he could find that Vishal has already taken care of that. He just integrated that to rest of his module and started unit testing. Except few typo and other mistakes he found everything fine, so delivered the project. It went through Quality Assurance department with only one defect, that to, in the module that Vishal did. Nilay fixed it in no time and project was delivered in time.

Management questioned Vishal, how could he complete this complex project in time without much defects. Vishal showed his helplessness and said “He is too good. Nobody can deny that. I learnt that from this project. I consider him as my leader”. Due to successful project completion, low profile maintained by Nilay and recommendation of Vishal who has undisputed reputation he was promoted back as Supervisor.

This time he spent a quarter in building the team before implementing the rules. He made others believe that he is beside them in case of need and that he will act as an wall for any trouble that comes to any member of the team. He also made sure that any appreciation is shared among members but pain is borne by him. He was more an assistant to his members than a boss. He was quickly promoted as manager in future years and was very successful.

Namaste!!!

– Stray Dog

2 thoughts on “Renewed Leader

  1. 3 cheers…superb naration.. i am sure you writing is a mixture of real incidences + fiction, but u alway try to keep the story around u..:):) Get so much positive wibes and confident that it is possible to rise in corporate if u get good leader on top of u at any given day and time..

    One more thing i can see[I will not say learn, as i knew it and a great believer of it], that author even being at senior position a great believer that essantial pillers of team are emotion, trust and communication!!:) i can see totaly opposites in now a days leaders\managers otherwise:):)specialy in knowledge industry like Software

    • Thank you Darshak. Yes majority of this story is fact. I too see the opposite in many so called leaders. I mentioned so called because I do not consider them as leaders at all. They remember their manager’s birthday more than their spouse’s. This is unfortunate. But from my experience I can say confidently that these fake leaders fail at one point of time. We have to hold the faith tightly and march forward. When you chose the path of truth then you ought to experience difficulties. I will also add one more point here. Leaders need to be tactical as well. Which you may call as politricks because they have to compete and win over these fake leaders? I will write in detail about this someday.

      I am glad you liked this post.

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