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A Big Cheese

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I have great passion for writing fiction, articles especially writing for children.

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Leaders do not do different things, they do things differently!

Manager Vs Leader

When I first happened to enter the corporate world, fresh from college, I had great expectations in my career. The thing is it seems so glossy from outside but lousy when you enter. I had joined an Investment Bank during a month-end when people were so busy and didn’t have the time even to look around or to each other. The monitors of their computers had huge data scrolling down and forth which seemed like they had to deal with enormous information of several gigabytes and terabytes with utmost care. The floor was huge with quite a lot of cubicles around with close to hundred people. It was a busy bee office. No one has time for anything. My manager escorted me to every cubicle to introduce me to everyone. They shook hands and smiled asking my name and told their names in return and sat back in their chairs to work. I know this is common everywhere. But for me it was strange as I had been to that office just after my college. Everything seemed so scary and disappointing, putting my spirits low. At that moment the one thing unnerving me is that this is where I will belong for the time until I work here. The very fact of staying associated with a corporate organization like this seemed very murky and low as it seemed like a scary house shaking my spirits in and out. Whenever I socialize with people in the office each day with new faces, they would tell me that I will get used to everything. The problem is not whether or not I will get used to it. My problem was will I be satisfied with the job.

However after a few days of engaging with my new office, I came in contact with Mr. Suraj Sharma, one of the managers on the floor and also a person who takes care of my process when my manager is away from office. By his behavior I thought he might be a big cheese on the floor. Unexpectedly, he seemed to be my greatest hope to stick to the office after our first conversation of introducing to one another. More than a manager he was my best friend ever that I could think of when I was left with less hope and courage. He was not just a hope for me but to many of the new joiners and desperate ones.

I was warmly welcomed to be his friend. He was so openhearted and earnest that anybody would long to be his friend. I happened to sit with him for dinner in the cafeteria one day and was curious to know about him more. He said his first job was in a renowned media company which is based in Canada but the branch where he worked was Singapore and after five years of service moved to Bangalore and that is how he happened to be here in this organization talking to me. He even had the privilege of taking up his dad’s petroleum business but he chose to work in a corporate company as it was part of his passion and also to enhance his skills. He was not the kind of person who would grab things so easily from parent’s inheritance. He wanted to prove his capabilities and potential. Though he had so many endorsements in his life, yet he chose to do what made him happy and fulfilling. When I heard him say this about his life, I thought this is the kind of person I want to associate myself with. The guy who is self-motivated and can inspire all the people who just surround him for a conversation with him. He is truly a self-made person.

One thing which stands out in my memory is that he was an amazing example to show people the qualities of a dexterous and incomparable leader. All the other managers who carried a billboard titled as ‘manager’ are mere managers but no one is a leader. A manager is always a task master who would assign the job and least bothered of how it can be done. Their mannerisms would be like, “Hey guys I want this assignment to be done by this deadline or else you may have to face the music”. Seems like not less than a dictator. If it is a leader, the usual dialogue would be, “Guys let’s do it together”, “Don’t lose hope, I’m with you”, “Let’s fight a good fight”. He/she would also make sure the work is done but with interpersonal engagement with his fellow beings. Him engrossing with them fosters team spirit and becomes hard to disrupt the unity. This is exactly what I saw in Shaw (this is how I address him, even now).

I used to wonder how only he could maintain such a friendly rapport with his team mates. There was no point in time I found his fellow subordinates left without him. He was with them all the time right from working on the floor, during lunch breaks and tea breaks and even on weekends. He kept the team members and the team lively always. Thus, it was so obvious that his team was performing amazingly well compared to others. I have seen him energetic not just at finishing his work but also in arranging extra-curricular activities, team lunches, team outings, long journey trips and corporate social responsibilities. He is just the one that any individual would want to connect with.

I have asked him several times what he does to keep his spirits up and the answer would be ‘Networking with people’. It is as simple as he could ever think of. I have also seen him active in taking the lead in the business conferences that were held during the need of the hour. I have admired his level of confidence in the midst of those gatherings. He usually takes up initiative to speak up for his team and other teams as well.

He was always an approachable person to anyone in need of help. He doesn’t use negative words like ‘No’ or ‘don’t know’. He would make an effort to get answers and this is why people love to seek from him. He was never a guy who said this is not my job to explain or something of that sort. He is an easy-going and cool guy.

But however, on the flip side of his story there are some envious characters who used to speak behind him like cowards. They were those guys who couldn’t draw a parallel line with him. He became a manager within two years of his service and that was envied by those employees whose chances of becoming one like him was shallow even after years of service. People would say he doesn’t know much and under qualified for the position he is holding. As mentioned earlier he has got the best interpersonal, leadership skills and communicative skills. He may not be a subject matter expert but he is fast at learning and also a great communicator when it comes to helping his teammates. The best communication with your personnel and building a trust makes up a good leader. That’s what he promoted through his actions.

With communication ability you grow as a confident person and become poised in handling personnel at work and also help in enhancing your skill sets to greater amounts without limiting yourself. You could be anywhere with your ability to understand people and being approachable. Networking with them does the magic. One cannot think of a person in a certain responsibility of handling a group of people heading towards a common goal if he cannot communicate efficiently and build the best rapport.

A leader is a game changer and is always a happening person. It happens through humility. A well-known author put it beautifully this way- “A boss has the title, a leader has the people”.

He has been a great inspiration to me as always. After all a leader is a LEADer by the way. He who leads…

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