My Juniors

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I read a quote of Charles Darwin.

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it  is stupid. Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science. It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”

And it set me thinking. Do I judge my team members rightly, or should I be judgemental at all. I think I need to be judgemental about their attitude to work, because that is what I am paid for as a manager. I need to judge their personal relations or things but as far as work is concerned, I do.

One thing I am gradually realizing is that we at times forget the age difference. Luckily or unluckily, most of my team members are around 30, give or take 3 years. So I often tend to expect from them behaviour more suited to my age viz. 42. But they can’t. Let me try to describe them.

One is very impulsive. He wants to do everything right now, I mean if he decides to start doing it. Many a times he does not do a job inspite of several reminders. But if he starts, he needs to finish it asap, even at the cost of accuracy at times. He recently told someone that he does not want to sit beside me, as I keep reminding him of jobs to do. He keeps passing on things from one person to other, so I have stopped relying on him to keep things in confidence. Though I use this weakness of him now if I want somethings to be known to others but don’t want to tell myself. He is very envious too. Any info or facility that his peers or seniors are getting, he would like to have that too, even if he does not deserve it.

Then there is another young lady, who is very touchy. If a senior, including me, tries to explain something to her for her benefit, she gets irritated. She reads a lot, fiction, self-help books and what not, but still I am shocked to see her immaturity level. She also shares personal feelings and family things at the drop of a hat. In our very first meeting she told a lot about her husband. I felt good that she confided in me, but that she did it was surprising. Again since she is very methodical I start leaving complete control to her and then I get a shocker when she leaves out some major thing. Then I am reminded of her age and experience.

There is this another junior who is very ambitious. She is no longer formally reporting to me now but she is functionally doing a lot of things as a team member. She recently revealed a hidden side of her when she told me after a meeting, I have many weaknesses but I know how to try and manage seniors. She was talking of my reporting boss. This statement was a shocker, as I thought it came naturally to her and she did not deliberately work on it. But she did, good for her. Then again while introducing me to her friends, she dropped the fact that she is reporting to big boss now, implied meaning being that not to me. Well there is nothing wrong in that considering she shared a very confidential info about those friends before taking me to introduce to them, as she wanted to. So I thought maybe she wanted to make good impression on them that she is reporting to the Head, so I was okay, but it did sound very unlike her. She is taking part in a competition and she is reaching out to many seniors spread across different locations. This tenacity and thought process impressed me a lot, as I might not have done it.

Another junior is again very adjusting. Over last 5-6 years, he has changed a lot,, controlled his temper, enhanced his knowledge, grown his network, got his priorities set and learnt how to manage big boss. He does mind that his being from a vernacular school is taken as his weak point, but is coming to terms with this also. He confesses that he is not very comfortable lying to me. But I do find that he wastes a lot of time in office on social media, but fb is banned now in our office so let us see.

There are two people aged more than me in my team, one male and one female. Male person is more interested in his personal work, which he devotes 30-40 % of office time to. He is afraid of taking responsibility,  avoids multi-tasking, tries to pass on problems upwards or downwards, is never anxious about timelines and is a poor planner.

The female is hard working, street-smart, always cheerful. But this is the judgement I made about her when she started reporting to me, prior to that I used to think of her as a shirker, flirt and useless girl. But how wrong I was.

So enough judgements about juniors for today, right.

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