“Look buys, you better not touch my things. I work hard to keep them in good shape. Why do you mess up with my work station?,” Darshan asked rather indignantly when he saw that someone had sat at his table in the night duty previous day and eaten his meal. The fellow, God bless him, had left crumbs around his PC monitor, spilled water on the table, dirtied the seat, and had tried to open the computer which was none of his business.
As Darshan expressed his anger, someone in another corner of the hall laughed derisively, which again hurt Darshan. “Darshan, this is office. Such things are going happen here. You don’t have to be such a fussy guy,” a colleague said. “After all, you don’t have to worry about things in office so much. Whatever you do, you are not going to get paid extra for all this care,” another guy said.
This was Darshan’s daily bread of woes at office. He was damned serious about his work and did everything meticulously. His work station was always neat and his pace of work faster than that of others since he wasted no time in loose talk. The bosses, too, realised this and gave Darshan a lot of opportunities to grow within the organization. In just three years after Darshan joined the firm, the bosses had elevated him to a higher and supervisory job with better pay and perks.
All these things created jealous colleagues. Most appreciated what Darshan did, but a group was jealous and tried to disturb his peace of mind. They even tried to deflate his two-wheeler’s tyres when he was about to go out on an urgent assignment.
The boss was witnessing all this silently. He felt like intervening, but chose to wait and watch how Darshan handled things. He only counseled the young man that he “should not lose patience”.
Darshan took the advice seriously and decidedly kept cool whenever someone tried to mess things up. In a couple of years, things started falling in place. The jealous group realised that Darshan was not going to get provoked. They also knew that he would not let them get any opportunity to enter a fight that would spoil atmosphere.
Internally, however, Darshan felt all the time irritated. What kind of people are these, he once wondered while talking to the boss. The boss smiled. He said, “Young man, they are out to prove themselves right. For, they do not care for their career advancement. And they feel that the are justified because the office does not pay them according to their calibre. That is why, they have come to grief. Don’t think that they are happy. On the contrary, they are unhappy inwardly. Try to take them info confidence and you will know!”
Again, Darshan took the Boss’s words seriously. He started making friends with the jealous group and realised that the boss was very right. He decided to be a leader of sorts. He initiated an effort to help his colleagues to think of excellence as a way of life. That was hardly easy. Colleagues laughed at him. They felt that he was management’s agent. They also thought that he was trying to be too smart. But slowly, one or two colleagues started to think positively. Their behavior did not change immediately, but the edge of jealousy got a little blunt. For, those colleagues also started enjoying whatever they were doing.
No workplace can be ideal. Yet, when people taste excellence, they generally appreciate if they get an opportunity to pursue it themselves. But then, much depends upon how the organizational leaders make effort to create a proper atmosphere in which thrives the thought of excellence. The difference between good and not –so-good organizations lies here and not in pay-packets they offer to their employees. Yes, pay-packets make a lot of difference, but more critical is the leaders’ ability to create an atmosphere of excellence.
To many, this may seem like poetic nonsense, that is, something untrue or impossible. But my over two decades of experience of industrial counseling tells me that such efforts – of trying to create an atmosphere of excellence – pay rich dividends.
Published in The Hitavada – Work Behaviour – 10 Aug 2010