Article (June-2019)


Sometimes keeping quiet costs more…

Mihir Gosalia

Designation : -  

Organization : -  Mumbai


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1) Analyse the leadership traits of Hoshiyar Singh and Gautam?

Hoshiyar Singh believes that by instilling fear in the minds of the employees, disciplining them, by following hiring & firing policy at all times and thus making them feel insecure about their job is the best way to run an organisation. "Company aise hi chalana chahiye" is what is the belief of Hoshiyar Singh. Hoshiyar Singh comes across as a highly temperamental person who must also be a very difficult person to work with. Hoshiyar Singh likes creating an atmosphere of instability, anxiety and uncertainty. He constantly likes to keep on chopping and changing. His is not a people - oriented type personality, lacks people handling skills, does not value employees and is definitely not a sociable person to work with as seen in the case study that he has no control over his language to his subordinates and other office colleagues. Singh comes across as a person who would like to be in control at all times, a controlling type. This type of personality nature also stems from a deep fear of insecurity within that will lose grip if things are not in control or if unaware of everything that is happening. Such type of personalities lack 'Trust' in people. They are also very poor in delegating tasks or in getting work done or will get very average quality work output because of attitudinal nature. They will never be able to inspire or motivate people. Great leaders don't talk down to their employees or make them feel inferior. Respect is a must.

Gautam on the other hand appears to be a soft spoken person who prefers stability & security and thus would like to avoid confrontation at all times especially with his seniors for the fear of reprisal. Gautam is just playing it safe to preserve his position and privileges, just following orders. Gautam is thus most likely to follow his senior's instructions at all times without asking any questions or policies. He will go about quietly doing his work & report when done. Gautam also appears to be a highly resilient type person given the fact that he could bear Hoshiyar Singh's temperamental attitude at all times and work for so long with him.

2) How do you rate the COO attitude and behaviour?

The COO appears to be a dreadful person to work with who is more worried about pushing his weight around than building relationships. COO thinks that the organization revolves around him and that he is indispensible, maybe like the owner of company. COO seems to ignore employee feedback. Attitude of COO seems to be that of a hard "Taskmaster" - whose sole focus is on getting the work done, come what may. By continuously drilling the employees, COO is making them unhappy at work. COO also appears to be a person who will abuse power because of his position. He appears to be of insensitive type.

This attitude and behaviour may work in the short term and may produce short term results but it is not good for the long term sustainability and health of the organisation.

3) Where the problem lies in the story and do you also think that Gautam's attitude was the reason of high attrition?

The prime reason people quit their jobs is a bad boss or immediate supervisor. 75% of workers who voluntarily left their jobs did so because of their bosses and not the position itself. In spite of how good a job may be, people will quit if the reporting relationship is not healthy. Attrition is mostly a issue related to managerial competencies.

Bad bosses are the No. 1 cause of unhappiness at work. People see the company only through their immediate boss. A manager who keeps abusing employees all the time and ill treats them will create an atmosphere of anxiety and distrust. A recent study says that 56% of employees would turn down a 10% raise to stay with a great boss. Treat employees fairly, reward them for their hard work and they will give 110%.

It is seen in the case study that Gautam has lost too many exceptional employees including Sunil DGM-HR who became disheartened because Gautam didn't stand by him. Sunil too was humiliated by COO Hoshiyar Singh in a particular incident, but kept quiet because of Gautam. After that Sunil just went through the motions and quit HMCG Company until he found another job. Gautam was missing Sunil in present scenario when he was preparing a presentation for Board on increased rate of attrition and proposed solutions. So the quiet nature of Gautam and not reporting to Board despite him was having the authority and power to do so when it needed to be is definitely one of the reasons for high attrition.

4) Had you been in place of Gautam, how you would have handled the situation?

Had I been in place of Gautam, I would have collected all the facts, data, information on high rate of attrition, summarised and presented them to the Board of the organisation along with the proposed solutions. All Exit interviews data would be placed in front of the Board indicating the key reasons why people have exited the organisation and what is to be done about it, to stem the flow of attrition.

Also I would have taken anonymous feedback from current employees, the resulting data of which would have supported the specific reasons for attrition and thus make the presentation to the Board on reasons for attrition more impactful. As VP-HR, it is within my authority to voice out beneficial suggestions for the organisation to tackle attrition and not just be quiet about it.

Also, I would have initiated succession planning for senior leaders, managers, and other workers at all levels of the organisation. This would be a proactive measure to counter attrition rate and fill the vacancies immediately as compared to reacting and taking action after the employee has left. By doing succession planning, by considering candidates, both internal and internal, the focus of the organisation will thus be on future sustainability and growth.