Compassion at Work
Dr. Junid Bilal
It is old saying that human beings in
organizations cannot act like machines because they carry their personal
problems, cognition, feelings and emotions at work place. Superiors cannot gain
respect, motivate and improve productivity if they are not sympathetic and
empathetic to their subordinates. The following real case shows how
unsympathetic attitude develop differences between a superior and subordinate.
The case was presented as it was narrated by an employee.
“I was working in an engineering
organization as a Mechanical Technician. I got a baby who was unfortunately
suffering from a serious illness and had to visit the hospital frequently for
treatment. One day, my child was admitted in the hospital and my wife rang to
tell me that the doctor wanted to speak to me urgently about blood
transfusion. I hurriedly looked for my supervisor to tell him the about
seriousness of the situation but could not find him in the hospital so I told
one of my colleagues to tell the supervisor that I had to go to the hospital
urgently and left my work place.
When the supervisor visited the workshop
and did not find me at work went back to his office and made a report to the
manager that I had been leaving the work place often without permission. After
meeting the doctor, I straight away came back to my work where I found from
the colleague that the supervisor visited the workshop but quickly left
without talking to anyone. So, I once again looked for my supervisor but could
not find him until next morning.
When I met him next morning during the
daily routine meeting, he just started shouting on me and accused me for
leaving the work place without permission. I was already upset so could not
control my anger and replied back to him angrily. So he immediately summoned
me to go to the office of the Manager.
In the manager’s office, I
explained the situation and reason to leave the office without informing the
supervisor. The manager consoled me showed his sympathies towards my child
health. He not only comforted me but also told the supervisor to go in my
shoes to fully comprehend the situation.
After visiting Manager’s
office, the supervisor did not show any understanding towards my situation;
rather finding the opportunity to treat me unfairly. It seemed that he took it
as an insult that the Manager did not support him. His behavior left me with
no option to talk to my Manager and request him to transfer me from the
Maintenance Department to another. He initially tried to convince me to remain
in the department but accepted my request later and transferred me to another
department after a month. Frankly speaking, I am happy and more productive in
the new department. My relationship is friendly with the new supervisor.”
The above case shows that it
was the manager’s understanding towards the personal problem of the employee
helped in retaining the employee. If the Manager had acted in the similar
fashion as the supervisor, they might have lost the hardworking worker. And,
loosing a hard working and trustworthy employee is not a success for any
organization. This is not a sole case when supervisors ignore employees’
personal problems rather it happens in many organization where superiors are
more concerned about production than employee. Production-centered superiors not
necessarily get more productivity; nor will it make them successful managers by
ignoring employees’ problems and needs. Balance between
production-orientation and employee-orientation can only make superiors
successful managers and leaders. To cut it short, managers should not ignore
human personal problems of their subordinates because we all join, without
considering the position, organizations with day-to-day problems that are part
of human life.
Case is taken from the research of Nadeem Yousaf
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