Article (June-2018)


Case Analysis I - First connect, then correct

Sandiep Grovar

Designation : -   Senior HR Consultant

Organization : -  Senior HR Consultant


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1- From the data provided in the case study, Viplav appears to be a typical Manager who was desperate to correct someone without connecting.
Respect, they say is to be commanded and not demanded. You command respect by being worthy of respect. First and foremost, being a newcomer, he should have earned the trust of an old timer who has been in the system for 10 long years. For doing that, he could have found some genuine positive points about Ratan to win him over and/or sought support for understanding the culture. Once he would have earned some trust, earning respect as the next step is relatively easier.
Did Viplav make Ratan understand any new concepts or did he reach out to him and offered his support for any issues that Ratan may be facing. Did he try to encourage Ratan to enhance his qualification by enrolling to some online courses? In short, what is the value add Viplav did to a non - qualified subordinate?
Moreover, CFO supposedly knew Ratan's calibre beforehand, as he must be doing the extra service even before Viplav joining. Then why did he put Ratan under a new comer? All this data points to the fact that Viplav also somewhere failed to act as an effective boss to an old but disconfirming and non - cooperative employee.
Viplav seems to have succumbed to the circumstances by not giving any work to Ratan and also by taking over all of his responsibility. When CFO conveys that he (CFO) will take reports from Ratan - Viplav does not disagree or put across his point to make CFO understand that if Ratan was reporting to Viplav then Ratan should be asked to give reports to Viplav only and not to CFO - to put records straight.
Even his conversation with CFO speaks only of what is happening between Viplav and Ratan and not what could be the consequence of the situation. Also, there is no data to speak on a desperate Viplav's efforts to approach the CEO or/& HR Head. It is difficult to comprehend that the HR & CEO are not aware about whatever is happening in an important department.
The way things are, CFO obviously doesn't care about Viplav's feelings - in a way CFO is not bothered whether Viplav (by giving him the lowest increment despite some sweet talk earlier) stays back or leaves. It was, therefore, in the interest of the organisation that Viplav should have had a one to one with the higher ups and apprises them of what's happening. In case their reaction is also lacklustre - Viplav should know what to do next.
2- Kanwaljit Singh, CFO appears to be a timid person with huge sense of insecurity. The reason he had to put a mole to spy on his own subordinates, speaks volumes of his managerial style.
He is a biased manager (and not a leader by any standards) who is desperate to survive and is not bothered about the basic hygiene factors like -
a) Respecting the hierarchy in the department
b) Communication
c) Conflict Management
He is also lacking to sort out differences between Viplav and Ratan and instead plays safe by (perhaps falsely) acknowledging Viplav's performance levels.
The case study does not point out his relationship with GM - Finance and other Deputy Managers. So, from the data available it is safe to construe that he has a fixated approach to manage things - he has pre-conceived notions on longevity of CAs, as an example. He appears to be having issues with managing different situations.
However, he must be doing few things right to have survived for 12 long years in the system. Either he has few secrets up his sleeve so as to demand the respect from his higher ups &/or is delivering the results despite issues within his department. He also had his way of promoting Ratan and giving minimum increment to Viplav.  
3- It is important to understand that such situations of organisational politics do occur and one needs to learn to deal and manoeuvre to remain in the game or gain. It is extremely vital for a new comer to gauge the culture of the organisation and then play accordingly. Having said that, there is no denying the fact to acknowledge the core competence of the employee. He/she should be able to achieve his KRAs and showcase what difference does he/she brings on the table.
In this case study, if Viplav was doing some extraordinary work, neither CFO nor Ratan could have afforded to put him in any sort of discomfort. When CFO tells Viplav that he has exceeded the expectations - it shows the mentality of timid leaders like him, who are afraid to confront their Managers and have instead a goody - goody relationship on the surface level. There is no data to show if the actual performance rating was ever shown to Viplav. 
It is therefore crucial for the employee to continue to exceed the performance levels but at the same time be smart enough to stand out and get noticed by the higher ups.
On the other hand, any progressive organisation can not afford to let leaders like Kanwaljit Singh flourish who continue to encourage nepotism and disregard professional working culture for their own small gains. HR needs to play a vital role and have a hawk eye along-with adequate tools like Skip level meeting, 360 degree, Stay & Exit Interview and a whistle blower policy in place to ensure no harassment takes place. Even a performance management system that has a valid reviewing mechanism could have prevented this occurrence.