Why can’t he just be a leader?

I sit here at 11 in the night and waiting for my approval to trip back to India. I sent request for the approval on Thursday and have been waiting for three working days. I know the approval will come but I am waiting for the date that will come back in the approval – can be 15 or 22 july.  I was supposed to go back in early July but has been pushed already. My anxiety to meet my family is increasing.

As I sit here and wait for the email to come, I can not reach out the person who has to approve the request. Only person I can reach out to is my manager and he is three levels down the person who has to approve. This makes me think – are they leaders? Why can I not reach out to anyone above my immediate manager? Why do we even have a hierarchy in place? Can we not do work in a horizontal leadership model? Why does pyramid has to exist?

The reason I know I can’t reach beyond Harsha (my direct manager) is because I have been asked so, I have been told rather instructed to go via Harsha for any details I need from people above him in hierarchy. I have been told by Krishna (Harsha’s manager – our Director) that he will meet his direct reports for any details he needs and there is no need for us to meet regularly. I feel he has shut the door on us and it will only open when we have any issues or escalations.

Why can’t he have the door open for all of 150 people who report into him? Why not? Why can’t he just be a leader? Or are they just managers?

Wait For The Brick

There is a very famous story: A young and successful executive was traveling down a neighborhood street, going a bit too fast in his new Jaguar. He was watching for kids darting out from between parked cars and slowed down when he thought he saw something. As his car passed, no children appeared. Instead, a brick smashed into the Jag’s side door! He slammed on the brakes and drove the Jag back to the spot where the brick had been thrown. The angry driver then jumped out of the car, grabbed the nearest kid and pushed him up against a parked car, shouting, “What was that all about and who are you? Just what the heck are you doing?

That’s a new car and that brick you threw is going to cost a lot of money. Why did you do it?”

The young boy was apologetic. “Please mister … please, I’m sorry… I didn’t know what else to do,” he pleaded. “I threw the brick because no one else would stop…”

With tears dripping down his face and off his chin, the youth pointed to a spot just around a parked car. “It’s my brother,” he said. “He rolled off the curb and fell out of his wheelchair and I can’t lift him up.”

Now sobbing, the boy asked the stunned executive, “Would you please help me get him back into his wheelchair? He’s hurt and he’s too heavy for me.”

Moved beyond words, the driver tried to swallow the rapidly swelling lump in his throat. He hurriedly lifted the handicapped boy back into the wheelchair, then took out his fancy handkerchief and dabbed at the fresh scrapes and cuts.

A quick look told him everything was going to be okay. “Thank you and may God bless you,” the grateful child told the stranger.

Too shook up for words, the man simply watched the little boy push his wheelchair-bound brother down the sidewalk toward their home.

It was a long, slow walk back to the Jaguar. The damage was very noticeable, but the driver never bothered to repair the dented side door. He kept the dent there to remind him of this message: Don’t go through life so fast that someone has to throw a brick at you to get your attention!

God whispers in our souls and speaks to our hearts. Sometimes when we don’t have time to listen, He has to throw a brick at us. It’s our choice: Listen to the whisper … or wait for the brick!