Sunday, September 16, 2007

Employees are Responsible for Themselves

First we need to move away from the concept of organization taking responsibility for the emplpoyee. Taking responsibility for the employee is a stupid, nonsensensical concept. We are not able to carry out this reponsibility (not that it is possible) and make a pretense of trying hard to fulfill this responsibility, then fail and then feel inadequate and also make the employee feel let down.

Fundamental theme has to be that employee is responsible for his life, what he is and what he wants to be. Organizations are only a context. Like family is a context. What is the context? Like families fulfill a certain need of the human being which is emotional need, feeling of completeness, organizations too fulfill a certain context for the employee. The context provides the employee to learn, to grow, to fulfill need to make money, to express his potential.

Seen in this context, the employee - organization relationship moves beyond the relationship that can come from a contract. A contract is where something is given and something taken. Here the relationship is between the human being and the context, where the goal is the expression of the individual. It is the same as that of a nation-citizen. A human being-family. They are not complete, they are not perfect; simlilary organizations should also be able to take such a position, and only such a position. Anything else will make them feel inadequate and imbalanced.

Strengths will enable a person know what he can do well. So what should one do when one finds that he is in a role which requires some other kind of strength. He then has two options. Either he gets out of the situation and finds a place where he can exercise his strengths or learns to manage the situation. The best way to manage the situation is to acknowledge the strengths and the lacuna as well. Let us assume that I am not good at people management but am a brilliant tecnical guy. But my role demands that I involve myself with people. Then maybe I should bring in a person who will help me fill this gap. This is not something new. Even CEOs take help. What are boards for. They bring together different kinds of strenghts and fill something which he may need, but is by himself not capable of producing. Things fail when we make a pretense that this can be met. Typical problems confronts the managers. They are into the position and then they are left high and dry expected to fill all that is required for the role.