Monday, October 23, 2017

Face and Authenticity

Does WYSIWYG(What-you-see-is-what-you-get) work for humans?Why has having-a-face or 'losing a face' become such an important metaphor in today's society? Do we live only for such acquired or perceived prestige of prestige or face?

Frankly, at the workplace, it is often a difficult choice. If you have lead a team and conducted common weekly reviews with your team, you would come across folks who are performers and are consistently looking to excel. And then there are those who don't and get regularly pulled up. It surprises sometimes that there are folks who are pulled up for work take it easy in their stride. And then there are those, mostly high performers, who require to-be talked with purposefully injected 'downgraders', else they withdraw into a shell at any negative feedback.


Picture Credit: Tom Pumford

As humans, we tend to take negative feedback personally, when we have 'invested' ourselves heavily into the success of a project. Maybe this is the reason the 'critical' folks in a team, who often reach that stage of relevance or importance to a team by their past performance, often take such feedback as a loss of face. They even express deep embarrassment at their own work output at times, asking for more time. And they do it privately. Some individuals even have the temerity to defy the managerial deadline for a deliverable because they feel they need some more time to polish a document or refine a marketing creative, rather than release a deliverable they are not satisfied with.  The manager's dilemma is whether to make an example before the team by providing direct and public feedback on operational issues or do it privately. With personal experience, I have seen that a call on the office intercom, even if the team member is a few steps away, often is very helpful. And if there is an unavoidable public feedback, it is time for the manager to take the team to lunch! The 'face' has to be dealt with, you see!!

One also comes across organizational leaders for whom any divergence of opinion is hard to accept, even when their own exposure or knowledge on an issue is a limitation. Such leaders tend to take such differences personally and easily brand such 'expressing' team members as rebels, without factoring in the intent behind such outcomes. Many of them, having worked in manufacturing environment have an inability to handle such divergence, and tend to put down such divergence of opinion by organisational force. They seem to be inheriting their perspective from the old master-slave or owner-servant midset, even if that is not a valid organisational paradigm anymore. They tend to misjudge and have to be communicated using downgraders, lest they treat it as a personal insult to their status, whether ascribed and/or achieved!

It is often very prudent to know the culture of the organisation as well as the background of the individual to be on the right side of things. The culture of the organisation inherits from the location of origin(Sillicon Valley, Seattle, Boston, Baden-Wurttemberg, or Mumbai, Kolkata etc) as well as industry(IT driven, manufacturing, healthcare, etc), size(2 member startup, 100K Steel Company) etc.  One can ignore such aspects only at tremendous cost. My views. What do you think?

Test

1 comment:

Ramachandran Veetikazhi said...

I feel, apart from the place and industry, organizational culture has also a lot to do with the initial leadership team which started the organization. They are the ones who imbibe values, like parents. Over a period, these values take deep b root and become difficult to change.