Article (January-2019)


When arrogance dilutes competence

Anil Kaushik

Designation : -   CMD

Organization : -  Focus TPA


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It was not a very good start of the day for Ravinarayan DGM production engineering of this manufacturing unit. Joined only six months before, Ravi was finding some difficulty in handing his manager sushant who was there for last 12 years i.e. since start of the unit and gradually promoted to this level.

The factory is a joint venture of India and Japan with management control of Indian professionals but at the same time Japanese management has deep interference in operational activities as they have deputed their people as operations head, quality and engineering Head. Indian Management Board also kept one manufacturing head having administrative control over all affairs. Both these Operations head and manufacturing heads were reporting to Indian MD.

Half an hour before Ravi had a hot altercation with Sushant. Actually Ravi asked the new graduate trainee to submit his activity details for discussion, because in spite of repeated calling to Sushant, he was not providing the details to Ravi which caused delay in planning certain activities. Knowing about asking graduate trainee to provide activity details directly by Ravi, Sushant shouted on him in a derogatory manner as to why he asked the GET directly to provide details and bypassed him? Sushant's tone was on high pitch. He cautioned Ravi, his boss that this way he can't survive in the company and he (Sushant) was not afraid of anyone as he has seen many bosses who have failed to control him and ultimately left the company.

Ravi was not prepared for this in front office openly when Ravi came out from daily morning meeting. "Sushant - what happened? Why are you so annoyed? Let us go to the office and talk", Ravi tried to play down the incident which was noticed by other managers also coming out of the meeting room along with him but nobody stayed there and pretended as nothing happened. It was shocks for Ravi as he never imagined that asking GET directly to provide details will make Sushant so furious.

Both went towards Ravi's Office but on the way while passing through corridors of manufacturing area, Sushant was talking very loudly. He also challenged Ravi that he can do whatever he likes. He does not care for anyone. Ravi decided not to go to office with him and replied, "Sushant, I had to ask GET because you were not caring for my request since last 15 days and thing were getting delayed. I must know what you are planning and how you are going to deliver". Ravi reminded Sushant that few days back he was instructed to take along another Astt. Manager while visiting Tooling Vendor companies, but he avoided his instructions and went alone for visit. Ravi came to know only this fact when inquired from Astt. Manager about the outcome of visit and he revealed that Sushant did not take him along as he kept waiting.

Ravi felt humiliated. He went to Manufacturing head Mr. Gopalan and reported the matter. Ravi briefed him about the incident and also said that it was not his first incident. Sometime back also he misbehaved with some store people when Sushant was requested not to avoid/bypass the laid down process for dispatch of moulds and dies to tooling Vendor Company. Sushant thrashed him also for "intervening" in his way of working.

Actually Sushant was blue eyed boy of Japanese Operations head Mr. Takimoka  and whenever,  his incidents  were reported to him, he took casually and advised manufacturing head Gopalan and Ravi to adjust with him as Sushant was very old, senior and high potential manager and was delivering the things as per expat's desire. Sushant's ability to perform at high level put by putting his heart and soul without caring for working hours in completing tasks made him ignoring of following processes. Sushant did not enjoy reporting to Ravi or any other senior including Gopalan except operations head Mr. Takimoka.

Manufacturing head Gopalan was also not happy with Sushant's behaviour and attitude and he was getting repeated reports about his arrogant behaviour. After listening to Ravi, he said, "need not to worry, don't get upset, I will take care."

Next day after morning meeting Gopalan met MD where Mr. Takimoka was also sitting in his cabin.

Gopalan : Sir, now enough is enough. We need to take call about Sushant. His incidents of misbehaviour are increasing. Yesterday, he openly insulted and shouted on Ravi  in front office. He does not want to follow processes and systems. In last five years we have lost three DGMs.

MD kept listening and saw towards Takimoka for a moment. "But Mr. Takimoka, You always gave very positive report about Sushant? What I am listening? Don't you think we should do something about this issue."

Takimoka, sensing the gravity of matter, made an attempt to control the damages. He said, no issue, I will talk to Sushant and make him to apologise to Ravi and he will also improve about his behaviour. Leave it to me. I will handle. He then asked Gopalan to meet him in his cabin with Ravi to discuss and resolve the matter.

Before Gopalan could take HR head into confidence and brief him about incidence, He saw a mail from Sushant with copy to Takimoka, Ravi, HR head and M.D. Following is the mail :

"Dear Sir, Regarding yesterday Incident, I want to say that I was very much engaged in various jobs since last few days causing stress and during that state of mind I talked to Ravi Sir. If something has hurt him, I feel sorry for that. I never intended to insult him. I have been giving all my time with full devotion at the cost of my family and personal life to the company. No one should doubt my loyalty and commitment. I will try to improve upon my behaviour also."

Gopalan gave a call to HR head and Ravi and requested them to come to his office immediately. But, after reading sushant's mail, Gopalan was thinking in different direction.

Questions for Discussion
1. How do you interpret the personality traits of Sushant? Was he a good manager?
2. How do you underline the approach of Mr. Takimoka  in this episode?
3. How Manufacturing head Mr. Gopalan should handle this matter now?
4. Should Ravi also change his functioning style keeping in view the prevailing  relations dynamics?