Tips for efficient business managementA Positive approach to work life [Archives:2006/969/Education]

August 3 2006

C. Rajendran
Site Manager
Arabian Yemen Cement Co. Ltd
[email protected]

The present day situation in Industry and Business Enterprises has made Experts in the fields of Behavioural Sciences and Management to focus their attention on the attitudes of the people working in such organizations apart from identifying their potential capabilities at large. This has become a necessity in view of the fact that we are now talking of Team Building in Organisations rather than merely the level of intelligence in the people. Working as a Team has become a prerequisite in organizations in the same manner as we talk of skills development. This has led to a situation where we are attempting to strike a balance between the Intelligent Quotient (IQ) Levels vis – a – vis the Emotional Quotient (EQ) Levels. A person inducted into an organization must be intelligent enough to learn the work content and deliver the requisite output, but at the same time possess an inherent quality to interact and get along with his superiors, peers and subordinates in a manner that would create a harmony in the work situation. Therefore organizations are looking for people with not only the required qualifications and skills but also the potential of the individual to be a Team Member. It is in this context that Positive Thinking and a Positive Approach to work become relevant.

Let us for a moment examine the concept of Positiveness. This can be done with a few simple illustrations which are part of our day to day happenings. For example, a Door half closed is half opened. A Tumbler filled with water upto the half mark may be considered as half empty but it can also be taken as half filled. The latter part of each statement reflects a positive approach to that situation. The concept of Positiveness purely stems from the attitude of people. The mental make up and approach of a person towards himself and his surroundings could make a big impact on his lifestyle and approach to his work. It is this aspect of the human nature which is attracting considerable attention in the present day scenario of Business and Industry. One would wonder why so much is being talked about attitudes. In real life situations we can quote several examples of a company losing its customer base by the very manner a few individuals have handled critical situations. The fact remains that the capabilities of the company or its product were never in question but the big question mark was on the attitude. Many such instances can be quoted in functional areas of Production, Maintenance and in even Quality assurance where attitudes of individuals have caused the damage.

Having said this it would be pertinent to bear in mind certain assumptions arising out of practicality in real life situations while talking of Positiveness or a Positive Approach. One should bear in mind that you are not born positive. It is the circumstances and situations that makes your attitude positive or negative. On the other hand you can choose to be positive and all the while learn to be positive. Adding a little further on this you can practice being positive or choose the opposite according to what you desire to achieve. Very many times it is said that these attitudes do not develop overnight or within a short span of time. A Biblical quote will amply illustrate this point. To Quote:

'The ancient shadows and twilights where the childhood had strayed

The world's greatest sorrows were born and heroes were made

In the last boyhood of Judas Christ was betrayed.'

That is to say that the circumstances in which an individual grows or the many wounds inflicted on his mind during his life could make him adversely react to his surroundings thereby revealing his attitude. This is a factor about which people involved in organization development are much concerned. There is a silver lining in this concept in that you can learn to be positive which automatically gives a leeway to those involved in this aspect of behavioural studies to find ways and means to tacitly make people realize and correct themselves without in any way harming their interests. It is for this reason that Personnel Departments of yesteryears in Organisations are gradually changing to Human Resources Development Departments not merely by a name change but by realizing and adding the necessary inputs for a functional change.

This now leads us to identify some of the characteristics of a positive attitude. One of the important attributes of a positive attitude is to be non judgmental. Now how do we explain this. For instance we come across an individual who is shabbily dressed but desires to talk to you. Very often in such a situation, we may be inclined to avoid talking to him because we get a feeling that he is not a person worth talking to by virtue of his appearance. This is a pre-judgement without knowing the bare minimum details about this person. One may not know at that point of time that he may be a gem of a person but his economic condition might have forced him to present himself physically in the manner that he stands before you. This creates a situation that even without having been introduced to that person you make a judgement for yourself that you should not talk to him for his very appearance. This shuns you away from the person, thereby losing the opportunity of gaining something which he may have volunteered to give to you because of his good nature.

This could remind us of a couplet which runs thus,

” Judge not your Friends by the outward show

Feathers float while pearls lie below”

In real life situations, particularly in organizations we try to shut ourselves out from many of our colleagues and subordinates purely on account of the fact that we have already formed our opinion even before assimilating all the facts about them. We are at that stage pre judging the person or persons. The same applies to situations as well. This is a natural phenomenon which occurs day in and day out in our daily life. We have had experience of Bosses telling their Personal Assistants not to allow a person or persons because they have for themselves (the Bosses) taken a decision that it would not be worthwhile discussing any issue with them (the person or persons) even without hearing what their problem is in that particular situation. In very many situations conflicts have risen on trivial matters purely because of a pre judgement of an issue without knowing the details from the persons directly involved. Small issues in industrial situations have got complicated or aggravated for want of a positive approach to the issues involved. That is to say do not pre judge the issue without knowing the full details.

On many occasions we come across executives occupying responsible positions saying ” This man! I know him well. He is useless. It is not worth considering him for anything.” What is it that we have done in this situation.We have only looked at may be the man's weaknesses and definitely not his strengths. This rings the bell of not being positive or rather harboring a negative approach. By adopting this approach at very senior levels or, for that matter, at any level in the organizational hierarchy we tend to unknowingly introduce a cancerous growth within the organization which ultimately could have a detrimental effect on the performance of the organization as a whole. Therefore be non judgmental in your work life.

The second attribute of a positive approach is to be in control of yourself and your surroundings. Control of your self is required for any person and it can be done. How about the surroundings which are not in your control. This only means that by being in control of yourself and behaving in a manner which wins appreciation you will be weaning away the others as well to influence a change in the surroundings. This may look unrealistic in the first instance but one should realize that charismatic leaders have changed the course of history of Nations. You can ask for yourself the question: were they positive or negative. For that matter, good managers have led their respective organizations to tremendous success and growth.

Just for one moment ask yourself the question what was in them to make them successful.

Basically one should understand that any individual should feel happy within himself and make himself happy with his surroundings. Many would feel that it is easily said than done. The crux of the situation is that very many times we do not attempt to do it but feel that others should create it for us. This feeling that others should do it for us would appear to be an Utopian dream. We must take the first step for ourselves and it is then that we can realize the change that is taking place around us. Take for example a person may be one of your own colleagues enters the office with a broad smile and spontaneously wishes everyone good morning where till then the mood was at a low ebb. The whole atmosphere can change. This is not just an example for its own sake, but real life situations where an individual's presence has changed the atmosphere of the whole place. One can confidently say that the person is in control of himself and tends to take control of the surroundings as well.

The third attribute of a positive approach is to be creative. Creative thinking has always opened wide vistas of knowledge and development of the individual. The rigmarole that individuals undergo as part of their daily routines makes them mechanical in carrying out their work with their movements coming from the subconscious mind. The mass of the population in the present day circumstances are plagued by this phenomenon where creativeness is relegated to the back. In many organizations one can see for himself the situation that when the superior explains a new concept or an update on a process the immediate response will be that it cannot be done or it will not work in our situation even without analyzing the whole concept. This can be attributed to two things: by responding that way the individuals save themselves the burden of exploring new avenues which for that moment reduce their work content or maintain the status quo. The second aspect of this situation is the accepted fact that individuals tend to be secure in what they are doing as a routine and would not like to entertain anything beyond that. This gradually tends to make them detest any change and over a period of time stunt their growth. A realization at that stage may be too late. Organizations are attempting to sustain the process of creative thinking amongst their employees by evolving systems like Total Quality Management (TQM) through simple techniques such as Quality Circles, '5-S', Khaizen etc. where interdisciplinary groups or teams are formed within the organization to bring about continuous improvement through creative thinking in the work situations or the activities being performed. This stimulates the thinking process and thereby acts as a self motivator for individuals and groups to develop themselves. Such exercises bring about an attitudinal change more in a positive direction.

A fourth attribute of a positive approach arises out of being optimistic. By nature we are quick enough to point out something which is bad but often we are reluctant to appreciate what is good. One aspect of optimism is to think that something good will take place. Very often teachers tend to tell their students before the oncoming examinations to expect that you will get an easy paper on the subject but be prepared for the worst. What are they trying to do there. They make their pupils have a feeling of optimism in what they are going to perform and at the same time prepare them for all eventualities. A practical way of looking at this is to always think that something good should take place or happen and work towards it. You will find that you will succeed. Innumerable illustrations can be given in the day to day happenings where this has been proved.

Ultimately a positive attitude or approach can be realized through one's ability to communicate effectively. By communication we refer to all facets of good communication starting from the body language to read , write and express what you are doing or wish to do and at the same time listen to what others wish to express to you. It is only then that the message will get transmitted to the sources where you desire this change.

In conclusion it can be said that an attempt has been made in this article to highlight an attitude quite relevant to present day working of Industry and Business enterprises. This is equally important in our daily life. The pressures and pulls of daily life has made human beings to behave mechanically as machines are meant to do. This situation has to change for the betterment of the society. Posterity should not blame us for what we have done for our future generations. Production of goods and services are a requirement for the development of a nation. Man's creativity has brought in the Robotics with which many of the Industrial Production is being carried out today but the majority of men and women should not be made to function as Robots. The attributes as discussed above should be instilled in the individual being so that his or her better qualities are brought out to build up his own strengths as well as those of the organization.