Four ways leaders can create a candid culture. I laughed when I saw that title on the careers page in The Hindu newspaper today [16 July]. I must have laughed my belly out because Maggie came running from the kitchen asking if I was alright.
“Shall I clip this article and give it to …?” I asked her.
She looked at the title and read the fine print which said, “Start by listening. But that is just the first step. You also need to demonstrate that you truly want people to raise risky issues.”
Maggie prohibited me from doing anything of the sort my laughing brain was conspiring to do. “Why do you always invite trouble for yourself when you know very well that the world will never improve?” she asked.
I was not convinced. Trouble for myself doesn’t convince me.
That settled the matter. I put the pair of scissors back in its place.
But I kept wondering why The Hindu published such an article. How can candidness and management coexist, especially in today’s world? It never coexisted at any time. Managements are always secretive and manipulative. Haven’t I seen them for 30 years? Is my experience all wrong?
I read on. The article is about “a former president of a major defence company” who tried out candidness and succeeded. But then came the catch. The author says he will call that “former president” Phil. Why not name him actually if he is real and he really accomplished the tasks mentioned in the article?
I have given the link to the article above. You can decide whether such management is possible or whether such management actually exists (existed) anywhere.
“Praise publicly,” says the article. Phil is supposed to have “created a safe forum for people to raise questions – and then publicly lauded those who asked them.” Is that possible?
“Phil went beyond encouraging openness to teaching it,” goes on the article. How could I not but laugh? Management encouraging openness, let alone teaching it? My bones rattled.
Maggie came hearing the rattle. “Go and buy vegetables if you want dinner here.” By here she meant home. Having at least one meal at home with your most beloved people is a rare blessing in our times. So I went to buy vegetables.
A former student of mine, who used to pass every examination by ingenious methods including threatening his neighbour in the exam hall if the latter did not help him, ran into me in the market. In the course of the conversation he told me that he was doing MBA. I understood The Hindu article fully and my bones stopped rattling.