Young Adult Nonfiction | 50 Chapters
Author: Colonel Alok Asthana
An authoritative guide to help you leaders and managers get the best out of your teams. A well-established practitioner puts across knowledge and techniques critical for middle managers - all in a racy, reader-friendly style. Daily leadership based on organizational behaviour and group dynamics.You can learn to lead as well as to manage.Would you much rather be loved or respected?Can you lead and delegate as per the capabilities of the follower?D....
An Unorthodox Address
This book simply could not have started with anything but this. It is a reprint of a motivational printout once issued to all Gentlemen Cadets at the Indian Military Academy, India.
You leaders and managers of today will find that the speech sketches out exactly what a follower looks for in a leader – Integrity, fairness and courage of convictions.
This short address does not cover all points of leadership, but the book does. Using these expectations of a follower as the start point, the book will dwell into how such leaders act in different situations and what techniques they use to get the best results from their group.
The address should also serve to remind you never to see yourself as the boss sees you, but always as the followers see you. The key is to always remember that the team comprises of you and your followers, not you and your boss. That’s the essential difference.
A rare speech made by a senior NCO of the US Army punctuated by boldness, conviction and honestly frank advice to junior leaders who have many years of challenge and adventure before them. The address though meant for a particular audience, has a kind of universality about it. It transcends all boundaries made by man and nature. Courtesy: Military Digest.
I feel a tinge of regret that I am not young enough to be sitting out there as one of you. You have so many years of challenge and adventure to look forward to. So many of these years are behind me.
Soon you will meet your platoon sergeants, your first sergeants, your sergeants major, your other non-commissioned officers and your troops. What do we expect from you as officers, commanders, and leaders?
We expect of you unassailable personal integrity and the highest of morals. We expect you to maintain the highest state of personal appearance. We accept you to be fair, to be consistent, to have dignity, but not aloofness-to have compassion and understanding, to treat each soldier as an individual, with individual problems.
And we expect you to have courage – the courage of your convictions- the courage to stand up and be counted, to defend your men when they have followed your orders even when your orders were in error-to assume the blame when you are wrong.
We expect you to stick out your chin and say, “this man is worthy of promotion, and I want him promoted.” And we expect you to have even greater courage and say, “this man is not qualified and he will be promoted over my dead body.” Gentlemen I implore you. Do not promote a man because he is a nice guy, because he has a wife and five kids, because he has money problems, because he has a bar bill. lf he is not capable of performing the duties of his grade, do not do him and us the injustice of advancing him in grade. When he leaves you or you leave him, he becomes someone else’s problem!
Gentlemen, we expect you to have courage in the face of danger. Many of you will soon be in Vietnam where there are no safe rear echelons. During your tour, opportunity will arise for you to display personal courage and leadership. Opportunities could arise from which you may emerge as heroes. A hero is an individual who is faced with an undesirable situation and employs means at his disposal to make the situation tenable or to nullify or negate it.
Do not display recklessness and expose yourself and your men to unnecessary risks that will reduce their normal chance of survival. This will only shake their confidence in your judgment.
Now, gentlemen. You know what we expect from you. What can you expect from us? From a few of us, you can expect antagonism, a “Prove yourself” attitude.
From a few of us who had the opportunity to be officers, and did not have the guts and motivation to accept the challenge, you can expect resentment. From a few of us old timers, you can expect tolerance.
But from most of us you can expect loyalty to your position, devotion to our cause, admiration for your honest effort-courage to match your courage – guts to match your guts – endurance to match your endurance – motivation to match your motivation – esprit to match your esprit- a desire for achievement to match your desire for achievement.
You can expect a love of God, a love of country, and a love of duty to match your love of God, your love of country and your love of duty.
We won’t mind the heat if you sweat with us. We won’t mind the cold if you shiver with us. And when our cigarettes are gone, we won’t mind quitting smoking, after your cigarettes are gone. And if the mission requires, we will storm the very gates of hell, right behind you.
Gentlemen, you don’t accept us; we were here first. We accept you and when we do, you’ll know. We won’t beat drums, or carry you off the drill field on our shoulders. But may be at a company party we’ll raise a canteen cup of beer and say, “Lieutenant, you’re OK” just like that.
Remember one thing. Very few non-commissioned officers were awarded stripes without showing somebody something, sometimes, somewhere. If your platoon sergeant is mediocre, if he is slow to assume responsibility, if he shies away from you, may be sometime not too long ago someone refused to trust him, someone failed to support his decision, someone shot him down when he was right. Internal wounds heal slowly; internal scars fade more slowly.
Your orders appointing you as officers in the United States Army appointed you to command. No orders, no letters, no insignia of rank can appoint you as leaders. Leadership is an intangible thing; leaders are made, they are not born. Leadership is developed within yourselves.
You do not wear leadership on your sleeves, on your shoulders, on your caps or on your calling cards. Be you Lieutenants or Generals, we’re the guys you’ve got to convince and we will meet you more than halfway.
You are leaders in an army in which we have served for so many years and you will help us defend the country we have loved for so many years.
I wish you happiness, luck and success in the exciting and challenging years that lie ahead.
May God bless you all!
One-to-One Relationships and Processes Social and Organizational Psychology
Avoid Giving Equal Treatment to Unequals
‘It is difficult to soar with the eagles,
when you work with the turkeys’
– Langsam’s ornithological axiom
Your incentive policy must ensure that people find real benefits in working hard. Don’t take refuge in the saying that justice requires that all men be treated equally. That is indeed true but only to ensure equality before law, not as a policy on incentives and penalties. Indeed, all employees are equal the day they are hired. They are entitled to certain basic rights outlined in the core values and policies of the company. All deserve to be treated with basic dignity and respect. But what an employee does after one is hired should determine how he or she is treated beyond the basic rights of employment. Each employee should be treated differently — I might even say inconsistently — based upon how he or she performs and behaves at work. Individual treatment of individuals and a situational response to them is the only fair way to manage.
Where there is no incentive to excel, there is no excellence. Where there is no consequence for failure, people fail to perform. Equality often breeds mediocrity. Employees themselves seek an environment where all can rise according to his or her talents. The poet, Robert Frost said: “I don’t want to live in a homogenized world. I want the cream to rise.” A case study reported in ‘The Boston Globe’ reveals that member employees themselves do not want a free ride. Collaborating on a complex project and meeting a tight deadline, the seven employees involved in the project made their own decisions on how the bonus should be parceled out. Surprisingly, it wasn’t a case of 1/7 to each. In this case, one employee who was considered the hardest member of the team received the highest portion of the bonus. Another employee got nothing.
There are several reasons for differential treatment of employees.
There is nothing so devastating to the morale of people as the equal treatment of unequals. In a setup where a stallion and a donkey get equal benefits, no one will take the trouble to be a stallion.
After basic justice has been secured for the employee, all other policies must be guided by the interests of the organization. That is what hard-nosed management is all about. Organizational interests indeed require that the more competent rise faster. Most managers reward everyone equally because that calls for less work. It takes effort to probe which employee is really furthering the interests of the organization more than others.
Are you ready to put in that effort?
How to Motivate
“I sit on a man’s back, choking him and making him carry me, and yet I assure myself that I am sorry for him and wish to ease his lot by any means possible, except by getting off his back”
– Leo Tolstoy
Do you have a shortage of good, motivated subordinates? Well you are not the only one. Whenever Sitting Bull, Geronimo and other Chiefs pow-wowed, the first topic always was, ‘shortage of good, motivated men.’ That anyone lacks motivated subordinates is pure nonsense. Your men are trying to prove their worth to you. They are not de-motivated, they just look that way – beaten by the overlapping and some very foolish policies, rules and systems.
Please don’t be so presumptuous so as to try and motivate your men. They are not here as a result of forced recruitment in the organization. Your men were motivated enough when they joined. Each soldier competed with a few thousand to get that job. Each officer cadet competed with lakhs to get entry in the army, each manager with at least one hundred. Where has all that motivation gone? It is you and your system that has turned these cheery-eyed lads to bleary-eyed moaners. Motivation is the parent state, de-motivation is a contrived one. Remove the cause of de-motivation and all will be OK.
Eric Maria Remarque in ‘All quiet on the Western front’ tells us of the crib of 20 year olds –- ‘We became soldiers with eagerness and enthusiasm but they have done everything to knock that out of us.’ This is true of other organizations too. Tear down the system which does this to them and they’ll soar. You don’t need to motivate them and also you can’t. The doors are locked from inside. Just stop de-motivating them and all will be well. All you can do is create a climate in which people will motivate themselves.
All motivation theories confirm that positive benefits are basically avoidance factors. In a park where bullies enter and trouble citizens, provision of extras see-saws will not help. You just have to remove the bullies.
The bullies and de-motivating factors are not less pay and less perks. The true de-motivating factors are ‘hassles.’
What are ‘hassles?’ Philip Crosby tells us that ‘hassle’ means people spending more time working on each other than to make something happen together. It is often said that in a hassled organization, it does not take corporate staff to keep them busy. Its members themselves create work for each other. The irony of a hassle company is that it isn’t something created on purpose or malicious intent. A ‘hassle’ company is simply one in which the management and the employees are on different sides. The hassle-free company is one in which all employees are together and there are no sides. Being an employee in a hassling company is a lot like living at home and having your parents decide all sorts of things. Life has some built in hassles which we bring upon ourselves. However, there is no good reason why others should be allowed to do it to us. Hassled people just do not produce quality work; sometimes they produce no work at all.
Perks or a Sense of being Special?
For motivation, material perks almost always amount to naught. Look up the experiments of Hawthrone Studies. Researchers experimented on a long term basis with a group of women who assembled telephones. Their working conditions were improved vastly and the output immediately increased. At one point, the extra comforts were suddenly withdrawn. But to the surprise of the researchers, the output kept on increasing. Investigations showed that changes in working conditions, one way or the other, had been quite immaterial. The output was being directly affected by human aspects. As a result of the attentions lavished upon them by researchers, the women got a feeling of importance. They felt ‘special.’ Soon they became participating members of a congenial, cohesive group, which met their needs of affiliation and achievement. Withdrawing the extra comforts did not adversely affect the output as, by then, the group had been fully formed.
Stop trying to motivate men by handing out lollipops. First time, it does motivate some. Second time, they expect it so it fails to motivate. The third time, they demand ‘Where is my damn lollipop?’
Do reward work or punish?
Do rewards work, as we think they do?
It has been established that when rewards are linked to specific milestones of performance, quality of work suffers over a period of time. Employees become more interested in rewards rather than doing the right thing. The intrinsic motivation is lost. Reward system creates competitiveness in the work place which is not healthy. For one winner, there are several losers. Extrinsic motivators undermine intrinsic motivation. Quality can only be obtained by working with people, never by doing things to them. Competitiveness is not such a good thing. The Japanese believe that it would hurt group harmony to compete on the escalator by running up the steps.
It is not that rewards do not work at all. They don’t work in the long run but in the short run, they do. But to get even that benefit, you should reward for output, not input. Reward for results, not mere activity. ‘He takes up so many improvement projects’ is hardly worth rewarding if no one improves. One reason for a lot of meaningless activity we see in organizations is that most managers do not differentiate between input oriented evaluation and an output oriented one. Once you make that simple shift, award for ‘maintaining machines’ now goes to ‘maximum machine availability,’ ‘coaching subordinates’ turns to ‘subordinate effectiveness’ and ‘teaching Excel’ to ‘Excel usage.’