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Love and Pardon – The Corporate World

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Love and Pardon – The Corporate World

The title of this piece is rebellious. To several managers and practitioners of management this may actually be a blasphemous caption. It is corporate Heresy to talk about such lofty concepts as love and pardon in a business setting. This philosophy is meant to be talked about post a sumptuous dinner with a good Havana cigar between the fingers and to an audience that is close to intoxication. To imagine and use these intangibles as the cornerstone of leadership and organisational culture is not every manager’s cup of coffee. The demand here is for emotional quotient (EQ) to be in excess or at least be match-able with the intelligent quotient (IQ). “Is it not by love alone that we succeed in penetrating to the very essence of a being?” (Igor Shavinsky)

Personally, this writer passionately subscribes to the use of these intangibles in the world of business for assuring the best of tangible results. Let me explain.

Love is a debased word, because of its excessive, incorrect usage in our everyday life. The sublimity of the concept of love is lost in the mundane general understanding of it.

The most grievous antonym of love is hatred. The ordinary meaning of hatred is intense dislike. Hatred represents evil. It is a negative force and sentiment. Managers who display resentment towards their teammates can never get their commitment to perform. On a shop floor where hatred is openly traded between constituents, none can expect such a workforce to operate in cohesion for the overall good of the entity.

Instead, those possessed feelings of detestation and abhorrence towards colleagues will only exacerbate the sentiment of mutual animosity. In defiance of the natural instinct to love, hatred and dislike drive deep wounds into the culture of the organisation. If the supervisor feels that their manager is obsessed with the feelings of dislike for them, it is but natural that they would involuntarily give less than the best towards productivity. There is a Persian proverb which says a broken hand works, but not a broken heart.

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Hatred in the corporate sector can be looked at from the standpoint of at least two corporate manifestations; hard hatred and soft hatred. Hard hatred is when the supervisor visibly demonstrates by thought, speech and action his/her resentment towards an individual or a group of persons; soft hatred involves where the expression of the negative sentiment is more sedate; for example the manager can persistently to the chagrin of the supervised can completely ‘ignore’ the presence of an individual or even the entire teammates. Being not counted can be a major de-motivator. Being ignored, consume the workers.

Loathsome attributes spark more of revenge, anger, retaliation and spitefulness. A handful of managers demonstrate in their actions the many facets of hatred that can despoil the culture of the organisation.

The environment must be filled with the feelings of mutual affection and love between all the members. This brings peace to the working conditions. In the world of politics, there are numerous politicians who despite sufferings and pains, have jettisoned hatred and have replaced it with the feelings and emotions of love. Nelson Mandela is a case in point.

The managers have to learn to demonstrate affection for their colleagues for reasons of their defects, as well as for their qualities. Just as love and goodness begets more of them; so does hatred beget more acetic hatred. Enlightened managers sow seeds of love and reap its benefits through higher levels of commitment from their team members that eventually go towards ensuring better performance and results. Love and compassion are the elements of positive energy that must be recognised for effective utilisation between the two opposing or conflicting parties even though there maybe no obvious and visible dispute between them but inevitable sense of keen competition creates unannounced tensions.

Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. Existence of emotions of love ensures growth. Love is nature’s second Sun, said George Chapman. Leaders melt away mountains of hatred through positive energy. To do so they have to love without reason and for every good enough reason, they must refuse to hate.

It is a good practice to break bread with the teammates; it allows for the flow of openness; in the process colleagues discover the hitherto unknown but valid reasons for turning down their initiatives, instead of them having to harbour a thought that it is the intense dislike of the supervisor, that may have prompted such decisions.

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A manager who wishes to make himself/herself to be filled with emotions of love and affection towards co-workers, will inevitably be an individual who has subdued the ego and is unwilling to belittle himself by hating others. (This thought is borrowed, but rephrased, from the author Wayne W Dyer, who has written on spiritual solutions to problems).

Feelings of affection for fellow colleagues permits for gentler and kinder responses towards them. Love conquers all malice and ill will. A manager, who is connected to the concept of totality would find it easy to sow seeds of love and harvest its excellent produce.

In the discharge of everyday responsibilities and its related work, all of us are prone to committing mistakes, errors of omission and unintended commission. How should the manager react to such lapses? The easiest route for him/her is to lose their shirt in public, by pointing all the blazing guns in the direction of the one who may have committed the error; the difficult task is to amend and reprimand with grace and dignity.

Pardon is an act of forgiving or being forgiven for an error or offence, the managers must employ absolution, clemency, mercy and leniency in dealing with the errors on the job.

If the error is one of procedural lapse, it can be corrected quickly, but if the fault is likely to cause long-term financial or reputational loss, then that would call for special skills to take action  in such situations the manager must focus on the ‘issue’ to ensure that it is contained for impact. I have witnessed many managers in crisis situations take to blame game; the consequence of which is that not only the matter remains unresolved but continues to gnaw at the foundations of dedication, while the erring member is put to the launderers. This is a zero game managerial response and must be avoided at all times.

To lambast is a choice with the leader, concomitantly there is this divine choice of forgiving too within his armoury of managerial tools  what option is actually chosen will be dependent upon what the leader has fed his inner soul with. The evil and tyrant mind will go for the punitive action; the one possessed of humane skills will opt for redemption of the mistake, through first corrective action, followed later with dignified counselling.

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