Weeds and seeds

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Two scenarios… and a valuable leadership lesson for warm relationship with everybody.

Scenario 1:

That was his daughter’s birthday. Ragav had promised his wife Mohana and his

4-year-old daughter Smitha for an outing in the evening. It was agreed that he would come by 6 p.m., and all would go to the beach side restaurant. Smitha was at the peak of her joy with all the natural expectations of that tender age. In her eagerness she got herself ready by

5 p.m. and was waiting at the entrance with her eyes on the road. Every now and then she would ask, “Why dad is not coming?” “He will come! Wait!” told Mohana. Although her tongue uttered those words, Mohana’s inner mind was thinking exactly the opposite, due to her 8 years of experience with Ragav.

Time was rolling. It was 9 p.m. and there was no sight of the dad. The poor kid went to sleep with eyes filled with disappointment and empty stomach. Mohana was totally fed up. These experiences were not uncommon for her. During the last 8 years of her married life, she has been in the receiving end of excuses from Ragav, for not fulfilling his promises – heavy work at office, client calls, meeting with boss… so on and so forth. In all Ragav has not earned Mohana’s trust. Although she would invariably be burying her anger, there were times when it’s ugly face showed up.

Scenario 2:

There were heated arguments in the conference hall of that company – Aruna Auto Components. The wage revision talks had not come to any amicable settlement from both the sides – the site chief (known for his arrogance and rigidity) and the union leader with all his negative attitude towards the site chief. They were harping on the same point without any further improvement. Kumar, the HR manager was often intervening to ease the situation. The heated arguments took an ugly turn when the paper weight on the table (till then in the hands of the site chief), accidentally rolled over and fell on the union leader. That was enough. All the office bearers joined together and they were about to manhandle the site chief. Kumar cleverly pushed the chief to the adjoining hall and gently put his hands on the right shoulder of the union leader in a friendly manner.

“Come on! Let us go to my cabin! Cool down! We will continue the discussion later. Please follow me.”

There was silence!

“Don’t you believe me? Please come…”

“Ok Sir! We respect you and your words. We would not have joined this talk without your presence” said the union leader. What could have become a very awkward incident was cleverly averted by the presence of mind of Kumar.

Kumar had developed a warm relationship with everybody in the company within a very short period of his joining. Whenever any conflict cropped up, he would be there to address the workers and he would see that it got resolved amicably. He would be rigid as well as flexible as the situations demanded – rigid in his principle, flexible in the relationship.

“Let us go to Kumar sir! He will definitely give the right solution” – He would be present to help anyone during a crisis situation. Such was the confidence level he had developed with the employees.

“Let us not take this issue to him. This case is very weak. He won’t yield” – Workers also knew that he would not yield that easily and he would be very assertive.

The company which was once notorious for its labour problems had become an island of peace after his joining. So it is not a wonder that Kumar was able to cool down the union leader in the situation mentioned above. He could use his persuasive power on others since he had built close relationships with everyone over a period of time.

Mahatria often says, “Weeds grow on their own; seeds need care and attention”.

Whenever any conflict cropped up, he would be there to address the workers and he would see that it got resolved amicably. He would be rigid as well as flexible as the situations demanded – rigid in his principle, flexible in the relationship.

In both the scenarios there are expectations and emotional reserves in the relationships – be it personal or official. Emotional reserves are like the seeds and expectation is like the weeds. Seeds here represent the upkeep and maintenance of the plant amidst the unwanted growth. If there are more weeds and there is no or less attempt to remove the weeds, the growth of the plant will be hampered. The same is true in relationships too.

If the seeds are less and weeds are more, the relationship becomes very cold and lacks the warmth – as in the case of Ragav and Mohana. The past behavioural memories also play a major role in the present state of the relationship. Unfortunately both Ragav and Mohana do not attempt to remove the weeds and allow it to grow negatively leaving a bitter after taste. They are not willingly opening up communication to sort out the issue and over time the weeds pile up. In the growth of the weeds, the seeds of the relationship die.

On the contrary, when the emotional reserves are more, the trust one has in the relationship also grows. The past behavioural memories play a significant role here also. Overtime Kumar has solved the problems of the workers amicably and gained the trust of the workers. He willingly opens up communication, knowing very well that it could even turn out to be unpleasant. Here the seeds are allowed to grow faster than the weeds.

When we plant lots and lots of seeds, one or two weeds cropping here and there can be managed. When we build lots and lots of trust in a relationship, one or two misunderstandings can be dealt with. On the other hand with no trust being built, misunderstandings will ruin the relationship like a barren land filled with only weeds and no seeds.

For a harmonious relationship, be it in the family or business, the emotional reserves have to be maintained on a constant and continuous basis. The family or business leader has to keep an eye on this and be vigilant over any possible lapses. Once we take care of the seeds we can enjoy warm relationships with everybody at office and at home.

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