Last year, I had the opportunity of working with some distinct groups of people. Both groups having folks who are masters in their domain; own the people and provide them to people like me who own delivering projects; have their own growth paths where no inputs are sought form us kind of stuff.
When I last worked with those groups, we concluded an assignment and we decided that we would reward the team working on the assignment with small token of appreciation. The token eventually turned out to be much more significant in value that we initially had planned for. However, when I was planning the list of people who should get the same or not, we decided not to include the external groups for some reasons mentioned above aka how they engaged with us, they had their own way of rewarding people that my core team didn’t have. However, the rewards went out and immediately there was a huge hue and cry where as to why those people were excluded. The debate lasted for almost 2 months and finally we decided to pick a few people from those groups and gave them the same reward.
I was sitting today, thinking about the situation in context of something else and i ended up thinking what i would have done if I was the part of that group. I tried to put myself in their shoes and here is how I am playing this in my head right now:
As a worker bee – basically a person who comes in and get the work done. As a worker bee, I would be disappointed that I worked so hard for someone and they didn’t consider me for a reward. My effort would have felt little and i would have felt cheated. At the very least, I would have expected some communication.
As a leader – someone who leads the group and may not have bene involved day in – day out on the project and looks at things from a distance. I would not have any expectation from that other team a reward for me although I might have been providing leadership. I didn’t do anything to make it evident that I was adding value apart from the fact that I was around (or maybe that was the value). But, then if i was a leader on the team, I would have first opened a dialogue with that other team to first understand their perspective and not launch an attack which happened in this case.
The way the leaders on the team played out was – we are offended, you did a bad job, include us or else. Is that really the leadership that one would want to provide. It only went ahead to add distance between the two teams who once interacted very well. I agree that I was at fault as well by not communicating and leaving it to a point when they had to react to it – i could have been more collaborative. But, I would not have done what was done on the other side. Two wrongs done make a right and this one didn’t. There was a reason why those groups didn’t get any rewards and those reasons were important to be communicated. No one did that; no one tried to make it happen.
Two wrongs don’t make a right – in this case it certainly didn’t. And even today after several months since the equation – I have this open nagging feeling in my head – we didn’t work as leaders (me and that other group) to let the people know what was right. We just acted and reacted.
I don’t have to describe what “Responsibility” is; I assume we all know of it because in some form or other we do have responsibilities. However, many a times we measure our responsibilities in terms of the value of the object we are responsible of. Let us assume that we borrow 2 objects from someone – 1) A jewelry piece like a gold necklace worth 50K and 2) A travel bag worth 1K. If you ask yourself honestly a question – “how much will you be worried if you lose one of those items?”.
I am going to make a generalized statement – “Most people would most worried about the necklace and not care so much about the bag.” And, by care I mean not just loosing it, but also damage, handling it and anything else that may cause harm to the object.
Yesterday, I was presented with something similar. We borrowed a travel bag from a relative and as I planned to come back from USA, I figured out that the charges for me to carry that bag will be around $150. I instantly decided that it was not worth spending that amount of money on ensuring that bag gets back. It was decided that we will talk to the owner of the bag and if need be we will buy another one from India and simply replace it. Today, as I think of it, what would be the reaction is this was the case with a necklace worth 50K. I can safely say it would have been very different.
So why does responsibility changes with the cost of the object. Thinking more deeply into the subject, I realize that it is not just the cost of the object – it is linked to the value of object for the owner. However, many a times we assume the value of the object based on how we value objects in our life. How many times have you considered an anniversary card that you received as just a card and misplaced it and not thinking that it valued so much to the person who gifted you; more so misplaced a present/card that someone else received because you don’t value care of the ones you receive. Do we care enough to ask the person if it is okay to let the thing be ask them of their opinion of the object and its value (not monitory, but importance) for them and then decide how we should make amends if anything should happen to it.
And, I also tie this up to debts to the person. Taking something from someone and not returning it back for whatever reason or returning it back not in its original condition means like borrowing money and not giving it back or giving a partial amount back. It is just being in debt of the person forever however small it is. And all that counts up. So, I finally decided that I am going to spend the money and take the bag back to India and ensure that I am not in anyone’s debt no matter what it costs me. They handed me a bag and I was responsible of getting it back to them. More so, it ensures that I don’t let go of my sense of responsibility no matter how small the object it.
People or Things themselves don’t hurt or hinder us. How we view things and people is a different matter. Strange!!
It is our own viewpoint and attitudes and our reactions to those people of issues is what can cause troubles. We do not choose what is sent out way, but we can always choose how we respond to them. We can freeze in and let us get hit or we can move out of the way or we can choose to catch it and throw back. Based on how skillful I am in catching and then throwing it back will define if it will hurt me or not.
Two different schools of thoughts:
“It doesn’t matter what other people think of you. All that matters is what you think of you. We lose so much energy worrying about the opinions of others, wanting to be liked. Leadership and personal mastery is about rising above social approval – to self approval.”
“It is other people’s opinion and what they think of us is probably just a mirror for us. If people are the true mirrors, where is the harm in taking a peak every now and then, to see how flawless we have become, to see how good looking we have grown. Every morning we look for self-approval but we need a mirror to tell us that; and we do not ignore that. Similarly, should we disregard the other mirror of people for giving us this truth? There are times when it will give us an idea on how to correct our appearance so we can shine on (feedback) and there will be other times, when we know we are shining but we still need confirmation that we do indeed shine (recognitions).”
So long as you are living by your values, running your own race and living your dreams, who cares what anyone else thinks/says about you? It should always be about doing what’s right.
I always look into the mirror and do what I find is right for me.
“How many people, make you feel special?” “How many people, make you feel extraordinary” – a few; maybe you will be able to count them on your fingers. Yet, most of us do not realize that they do so. Even when we do realize that; we are so busy with other chores in our life that we choose to ignore them.
God – has His own ways of teaching you lessons of life and some are not that easy. Some times those lessons are very easy going and you enjoy while, but at other times they bring in a lot of pain. It is like how one is educated. Play school, Pre-primary are all so much fun. We learn so much and yet enjoy. But, when we reach high-school the lessons get tougher and mistakes cost heavily. It is important who we are and how we choose to define ourselves.
- Path to doors of destiny
Our lives are filled with crossroads and once we decide which path to take those path lead us to certain doors that help us define who we are.