Toughness of boss !

An overwhelming thought arose during my routine meditation today. And in the eyes of my mind I was pulled back for a while to about 5 decades to a time when I as a fresh college graduate from Anand veterinary College and joined NDDB.

I had recently joined and posted at NDDB Head Office in Anand undergoing training in Farmers Organisation and Animal Husbandry Department.

When I recall that incident it plays like a movie scene in the eyes of my mind.

One day as Dr Chothani entered the hall were our department people had their office desks he saw me sitting on my desk.

He lost no time and started bombarding a volley of questions. “Why of is this fellow sitting in office? What is he is doing here?” . These questions were addressed to every one in the hall.

It was my first such experience of open verbal firing coming from the boss . I got scared and wondered what would be my future in such a fearful climate. A climate where senior talk openly like that !

But that wasn’t the end.

Pointing at my reporting office Shri NG Trivedi, Dr. Chothani went on “How is he competent to train field people?” And then he walked into his office cabin.”

There was a hush of silence for a while.

After a while Shri Trivedi, perhaps in order to bring some normalcy and calm me down, as a protective measure, decided to give gave me ten minutes to refer and be prepared for a written examination in Milk Cooperative Society Management.

Some how I prepared myself and took up the challenge. After joining NDDB I was slowly learning that tasks can be given at very short notice and one has to perform treating each assigned task as a challenge. A challenge stood in front of me!

I secured 72 Marks. That made my boss happy. He then went on to explain to Dr Chothani about my skills and competence !

He lost no time and started bombarding a volley of questions. “Why of is this fellow sitting in office? What is he is doing here?

A number of questions loomed in my mind. Why the display of such dreaded toughness in a boss? Why was he so heartless while admonishing me and Shri Trivedi in front of others?

While pondering over the incident , it occurred to me that it was a situation in which the boss wanted to teach a lesson that survival requires impermeable toughness !

Do or die , there is no other option ! If we think over more we have more empathy with such bosses as they were foundation stock of most challenging implementation of systems under Operation Flood Program ‘which required to take and swear toughness to get work done from people without considering too much about the emotional element.

Such bosses are just work on a sparkle in their mind ,whatever solution comes they implement immediately as perhaps they have no second thought!

Such an approach may work in a situation that calls for tough actions in times of tough opposition. But is that a sustainable strategy to get work done and achieve overall goals ?

Such toughness displayed by bosses induces and is more likely to create a tradition that is followed by others to work in the same manner.

Bosses who follow of traditional “tough” approach learnt from their earlier bosses, show “artificial” toughness. They hardly smile. Their sole hardware is their brain and logic. Heart is treated as a barrier and thus all emotions are kept aside !

Such “tough boss clones” neither live their own lives nor allow others to live theirs.

Such bosses do not like a relaxed work place atmosphere as they do not entertain such thoughts. They have only seen a tough and angry shouting bosses as if the house is always on fire,trying to find remedy by inducing fear ,suppressing people’s emotions and thus the potential of people always remains in slumber as they have hardly any interest to interact with such whimsical people!

When I was in Regional office Delhi with a novel task of as board director in a Rajasthan Milk Union, I always tried to get my my work through persuasion considering the overall situation and thus my task was easy but the “clones” were not happy and kept asking me why am I not aggressive? This was in contrast to the prevailing atmosphere wherein other “clones” would loudly talk about their “accomplishments !”.

Like an “artist” I used to work from my heart ! I was made cultural secretary keeping in view my past at NDDB HQ, were I was actively participating in organising garba during Navratri festival!

Now this was not liked by the “clones of tough bosses” who had hardly experienced the emotions from the heart ! They would tell me “What kind of activities you are taking up ? Leaves this all” May be jokingly but with sarcasm was visible !

I don’t have a black and white answer for this dilemma

I have experienced approach of “toughness” and thought it was right in that phase of early years at NDDB practiced by some of the “foundation stock” and in later years also by the “clones of tough bosses”.

However, it would appear that the “clones of tough bosses” learnt the technique but applied it without any consideration to the prevailing circumstances.

Those interested may like view this video explaining Douglas McGregor’s theory x and y

Was Dr. Chothani a typical theory X boss? Or Theory Y boss? The answer is that he mastered both approaches and based on the situation he used one approach or the other. The “clones of tough bosses” learnt only the toughness and were oblivious of the prevailing situation while deciding their approach to tackle an issue.


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