Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The search for a hero

I was always fascinated by people who keep their cool under extreme duress. I am speaking about people who may seem ordinary but displays leadership by providing the right guidance in complicated scenarios. The world might be disintegrating around them, but they keep their head high and heart strong. According to me, such a person is a hero. We may think it is easy to find heroes. To tell you the truth, it is a rare species. Every leader has a flaw. Unfortunately, the most common fault of leaders is their inability to control their anger. Hence most of the leaders we come across get automatically disqualified from the title of a hero. In my constant quest for extraordinary people, I came across a hero. But there was a surprise in store for me in the interaction with the hero.

The hero is an acquaintance. He was handling multiple initiatives which were giving him quite a bit of trouble. By observing the buzzing movement around him for updates, you will be able to guess the magnitude of his pain. On one such day where the pain levels were high, I found him sipping a cold beverage, that too a non-alcoholic one. On seeing him enjoying the drink, I enquired unable to contain my curiosity. "How can you be so cool?" But the hero's response disappointed me. I didn't get an answer. Instead, I received a warm smile from him. A few days later, the hero tracked me down. I was surprised to find him. I was even more surprised when he brought up our previous interaction as part of the conversation. "I didn't understand your question. That is why I was not able to respond". I was not sure where this was leading. So I waited. "Another person asked me the same question. That is when it dawned on me. Stress does not show on my face. It may be a bad thing because then people think I am not serious. But I am glad. The unfortunate part is that I can't see my face when I am confronting trouble. I can only feel my heart beating faster. I might not be panicking, but I am worried."

I was puzzled. Here is a man who qualifies to be called a hero. But he doesn't realize it himself. While this thought consumed my mind, the hero spoke again. "I wish I could see myself during such situations. I always admired people who kept a cool head while confronting problems. I never thought I was one such person." The final statement reminded me of all the great quests and their ending. What you search is closer than you think it is. In the hero's case, it was closer to home.


Picture Courtesy: Lovro67

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Things to do on the work anniversary of your colleague

I am turning another year old at my workplace. As I turn grayer at work, I realize there is a lot of company in this matter. All of them are getting congratulatory emails on the completion of the milestone. As I brace myself with anxiety and anticipation for a similar email, I can't help wonder. Why do congratulate someone on their work anniversary?

Take a good look around your workplace. There is always demand for doing more with less. It has always been there. When we think we had squeezed the most to attain this objective, there is yet another demand to perform a miracle. While we try to get the best out of ourselves, there is the sword of Damocles. It is in the form of machines. They are rising. Or did I miss it entirely? Have the machines taken over? These are minor when compared to other challenges. As you age in the organization, the wisdom you have gained acts as a deterrent. The wisdom tells you not to jump to conclusions. This characteristic is interpreted as risk aversion.

With all these worrying facts, it is easy to give up anytime. If a person has stayed on for another year, it means that he has stayed on despite the challenges. Giving up is easier than staying on. So you should not be showering him congratulations. You should be thanking him. So the next time you compose a congratulatory email, please think it through clearly. Try to find something nice about interaction with the person and thank him for that. If you can't remember a beautiful thing, then keep it simple with a thank you. Smileys are acceptable and a perfect ruse for covering up your ordinariness of the relation.


Picture Courtesy: chriscom
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 India License.