“Un-tempered temper, the worst bane”- 3 July 2013
Dinesh always wanted to be in marketing. So, when he passed his MBA from a decent B-school, he pressed for and got a job in the marketing division of a mid-size company. During his college days, Dinesh was known for what he described in his self-assessment form for the job “straight-forward approach”. However, his colleagues in the MBA programme often described Dinesh as a person with explosive temper. During those two years in B-school, and also before that at the engineering undergrad level, Dinesh was known to have ‘bought’ many a fight with people known or even unknown to him, for reasons often very flimsy. Yet, his academic credentials were impeccable and got him the job he wanted so badly.
When he joined with 11 other fresh MBAs, Dinesh wanted to be Numero Uno among them. He was smart and understood things quickly. So, whenever a problem arose, his solution would emerge in almost no time. On most occasions, that solution was acceptable to the bosses. So, in the first 5-6 months, Dinesh started enjoying a decent reputation for his efficiency.
So far so good. But when the youngsters started getting more and more tough assignments, their personal qualities started weighing more than their professional expertise. And the person in the biggest difficulty was Dinesh, thanks to his explosive temper that would spare none — from bosses to peers to even Class IV employees. On one occasion, Dinesh picked up an unending and heated argument right with the Division Vice President.
The VP who was on the verge of retirement could not understand the reason for Dinesh’s outburst. He said, “Young man, I realise that you have a point. But at this particular stage, we cannot adopt such strategies in the market because our product is new in the market and has to compete against established brands. So, we will wait for a few months and then push your idea into practice. So, just have a little patience”. However, Dinesh was in no mood to listen to the wise man’s counsel and shouted back, sending shock waves in the team that had gathered for discussion. Ultimately, the Division VP asked Dinesh to shut up, and directed the team to do things as per his instructions. Then he left, calm and composed.
Dinesh, however, kept fuming, and did not listen to his friends’ advice to calm down. In subsequent days, whenever the Division VP came to the section, Dinesh picked up arguments, mostly without much substance, with the old man. Yet, the old man ignored all the outbursts and kept doing things in a calm manner.
Then came the time of the old man’s retirement. On that day, he gave a list of youngsters he wanted to be promoted. Dinesh did not find his name in the list. Yet, he was called by the CEO for an interview.
When Dinesh turned up at the CEO’s chamber, he was all eager to pick up a fight. For, he was not being promoted. He was not being given the raise he felt he deserved.
The CEO, however, was calm and smiling. He said, “Dinesh, I am happy to meet you after you have established your superior marketing skills. The Division VP is retiring and he has given a list of promotions etc. Your name figures there, but only after I have talked to you. If I am satisfied with you, then you will get your promotion, in fact two promotions put together. But I must tell you that even when he has praised your skills, the VP has cautioned the management about your explosive temper that stops you from thinking logically. When I read this adverse remark, I talked to a few others and all of them confirmed the correctness of the remark.
“So, here I am having been left with no choice but to heed the word of caution. But I must advise you to cool down your temper. It does not pay to be so angry all the time. The Division VP has said in his report about you that you have superior skills but those get clouded by your angry outbursts. In fact, he has been very kind to you. Perhaps, in his place, I would have advised your termination. But the old man has left a good word for you. I must thank him.
“But, Dinesh, I have to wait for at least a year before I reconsider your case. But I would request you to understand what I am saying, and mould yourself accordingly. That will help you, not only now but also later in life. So, hold on. Calm down and master your un-tempered temper. At the right moment, I will call you over and do the right thing”
Dinesh was dumb-founded. On one hand, he was realising that the big boss was right. On the other hand, his temper was rising for being sidelined.
As he walked back to his section, his head down and shoulders sagged, CEO’s secretary came following him. She said, “Boss wants you to see him three days later. Don’t miss the time — at 12 noon exactly when the boss has his lunch.”
Dinesh spent the three days all in a huff. He did not speak even to his parents at home. On the third morning, he confided with them about what had happened. Father said only one sentence, “Listen to him. You will be benefitted.”
At 12 noon in the CEO’s office, Dinesh was asked join the Big Boss for lunch. And then the boss declared, “Dinesh, your promotion will take place exactly three months later. But until then, you will have to demonstrate that you have controlled your unbridled temper. That is the only assignment for you. Once you do that, I will promote you and send you to another Division where you will head a section. But until then, behave.”
What happened thereafter is not the issue in point. The point is that one’s qualifications hold no water if one’s qualities as a human being do not match with those.