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Monday, November 26, 2012


Today I am writing about a subject that most of you would be able to relate to it as it involves the workplace.

It is important to understand that workplace is a mini picture of the society that we live in and what happens at the work place is in some way a reflection of us as part of a larger society. What we do? How we behave? Is in some way a reflection of the norms of the society at a given point in time? When we join a new organization we all expect the rules to be very clear and transparent. However, it is the same very people who would like the rules to be tampered with when it comes to their own individual cases. Sometimes it looks like everybody wants the rules to apply to all except to themselves.

In my experience in managing people for the last 16 years in India, I have come across a variety of samples and have used them in my writings on this blog without using their names. Today, I am using one such case to drive my point but with a sense of caution that not everyone is the same and it should not be generalized. It only shows one type of employee within an organization and how their personal goal is so much in conflict with the organizational objectives.

The employee in question was a very different type of employee and I have always been very cautious of such people. This type of person at the workplace is one that will make you feel very good by following the not so important rules as long as they are with you. They will say good things to be on your side but inside their heart they have a very devious design waiting to be put in place. They will bend 90 degrees to say hello to you at the first sight but in their heart they are thinking something else. They are always trying to show you how important they are to the organization and how they can make the system so good and appealing. However, they can never take a responsibility and carry it through. The best part is that they will have a thousand reasons why it cannot be done. They like to give advice and act like a consultant but they cannot do anything worthwhile to add value to the organization. Having seen a number of such cases I now understand how they operate and how you can identify them so that you don’t waste time on such people. Many of these types of employees also play on the concept of I know such and such a person, or I am very close to so and so individual. This is their mean of creating a place for themselves in the social order. I call it as trying to be someone by climbing on the shoulders of some known people.

If you look around within your own organization you can find them. They are always very visible figures although most other employees know the reality; they just hang on with the person. These are the type of people for whom it is not too long that they begin to get exposed and they begin to look for other options to move on and that is when the real person begins to come alive. Such individual have a very short work life in any place of work. Thus the first thing that you will notice about such people is that their CV has a lot of job changes with a lot of them not lasting for over a year. That is the amount of time it takes an employer to understand the reality of the person and begin the process of letting them go. But we have to remember that these are very cunning people, they can sense that their end is coming and they will begin their search process and make a move before being fired. It is at this point that they want all the rules of the organization to be changed to accommodate their exit. Now the very rules that they had felt were great suddenly become bad as they don’t give them the flexibility that is desired.

Remember these are very dangerous people and are a drain on any system. In order to get their way they will tell you all the rules and the laws as per their convenience. The real person begins to appear, they will tell you things about you or others in the organization about whom they always talked very highly. What is going on here is the thought that comes to your mind? Well remember that they are now done with you and they don’t have to bend 90 degrees anymore because that was just a show to start with.  They did not do that because they respected you but just that they wanted to be in your good books. Such employees are there in every organization but they are there for a very short time.

One other impact of such people leaving the organization is on what they plan to do next. They will always try and tarnish your image and the make sure that all efforts are made to disrupt the whole system once they leave. These would include writing mails to your superiors, spreading rumors within the organization as to how bad things are in the place. There is nothing new in this pattern of behavior. In fact it is expected from such employees who have a short-term life. Remember that they cannot do any damage to you or to the organization as they are completely exposed and slowly the market catches up with them and they become “a don’t touch him” personality and it is then that they realize that their deeds are now known in the market place.

The most important rule of the game in such a case is to just ignore them and don’t let them bother you or the organization. They have a natural tendency of decay and destruction. Paying too much attention does not help in making the workplace a healthy and creating an environment for focused achievement. It is important to remember that all rules are made to serve the larger interest of the workplace. They are not intended to fulfill the individual desires of the employees.


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