Business leader | Motivational Speaker | Former COO, CMO | Current Country Head – Greenply Industries

Organisational Coma

Written by: Subir Palit
About the author: Business leader | Motivational Speaker | Former COO, CMO | Current Country Head – Greenply Industries. He has over three decades of experience in marketing in consumer electronics and building materials industry
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Marginalisation of smart employees at workplace, specially freshers ( new joinees) with more knowledge capital and wisdom has been prevalent in the past and continues even today due to feelings of self doubt and jealousy of those in current leadership positions as they are perceived as threats.

Knowingly or sometimes unknowingly such leaders allow their feeling of insecurity and current moods to become the climate of their organisation.

Systematically, these intellectually dishonest leaders in the organisation make it a point to appoint new employees and subordinates who are mediocre and are not the best options for the slots available. Their subordinates too follow the same pattern of hiring while forming their teams.

Within a short span mediocrity spreads all around impacting the overall performance and lead the enterprise to what can be termed as Organisational Coma”.

In my three decades of professional career, I have been fortunate, that except for a very short period of time I did not face this dilemma. Since it was not possible to shift to other assignments within the company I was working I decided to cut my losses early and left the company soon.  If your boss is insecure and intellectually dishonest your work dynamic normally is stressful, in effective and sometimes it gets difficult to maintain your self esteem and remain cool in the face of continuous attempt to undermine it.

There are so many signals but I am listing a few typical signs that your boss is not happy, not comfortable, sees you as a threat and the process of marginalisation has started -:

  • Suddenly your opinions are not sought on strategic or even operational matters
  • He avoids eye contact with you prefers communicating directly with your sub ordinates in meetings where even your Boss’s superior is present
  • He stops being available for you even for some quick and brief discussions. May be he is hoping you will get the signal and quit
  • You are missed out in critical memos or meeting and later told that it was inadvertent
  • Your suggestions and recommendations are put down and you are told that you have not understood the issue in the meeting and your subordinates are appreciated and accepted

Throughout the progression of one’s career, a talented manager will have a chance to lead employees with more technical skill and know-how than himself. In such situations, it’s important to accept that: the more talented your team members are, the better your team’s results will be, and the better you’ll look for it!

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The mantra is to learn how to manage talent efficiently, to optimize one’s team strengths and lead the company to success. The real source of energy behind the company’s growth and success comes from its people. Beyond doubt today, the knowledgeable and talented workforce is the one’s greatest asset. By investing and retaining them actually one is investing in the success of the organisation.

On the other side, leadership gaps are all too common and are typically driven by one factor, insecurity. All leaders may have insecurities whether or not they admit it.

Many leaders don’t realize how deeply their personal insecurities impact their managerial styles, and how habitual recurrent these behaviours can become if left unchecked. Not only does this trait manifest as undesirable behaviour toward subordinates but they are often embarrassingly obvious to the rest of the team.

Leaders who are honest with themselves and develop stronger self-awareness can make better decisions about what they need to change in order to improve. 

The golden advice for bosses and companies when it comes to hiring and building teams was shared by Jack Ma at the world economic forum in Davos.

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Ma said “When managers hire people who are smarter than them, the company grows. Learning in business is an important part of growing in business whether it’s from one’s team or competitors, an important trait for entrepreneurs is to always be open to learning.”.

19 thoughts on “Organisational Coma

  1. Sir I really enjoyed this blog & learned. The way you have ellaborated and termed it as Organisational Coma is really great. Keep blessing us with your thoughts & experience. Thank you!

  2. This is a real world experience that all of us have come across in the corporate world at some stage or other. The tendency to deny credit to the junior employee is a big demotivator which is the singular reason of people leaving their bosses. Thus the organization loses its bright & talented stars. If the breed of such weak & insecure managers grow in numbers in an organization over time then surely mediocrity flourishes which stunts the growth leaving it malnourished. The best leaders hires people who are smarter or more adept in some of the areas than them. This helps in cross- breeding of ideas with complimenting skills. The sum is always greater than the parts!

  3. Absolute analysis , and that’s why many company has not grown till the level they are supposed to be.
    This actually effects the company very badly and the manager also restrict themselves to certain level .Because selfish leaders cannot Create great team , and without complete team effort no one can achieve the great success .

  4. Indeed an insightful thought. if the organisational enviornment is condusive than many time your subordinate also inspire you to improve certain areas which sometimes are overlooked.
    And that is the reason many leader always remembered for their leadership style even if they are not holding any post and few leader remain the nightmare in once professional carrior till they hold the post as a superior.

  5. Absolutely pertinent & true fact has been expressed in an excellent manner. Thanks Subir . This state gradually destroys the culture of the organisation & encourages groupism, politicking & other negative activities & ultimately results in declining efficiency.
    The surprising aspect is that we have yet been unable to implement an objective & transparent Performance Management System or have not been allowed to do so. All rall talks about various management jargons ie open communication , team working, participative culture, transparency etc are put on the shelf only because of the insecure, incompetent & scared leadership.
    Thanks Subir for highlighting this fact nicely with the title “Organisational Coma “.

  6. It is often said that any team is only as strong as the weakest person, and if unfortunately, that weakness is at the top, then it only percolates down to the bottom most rung of the organisation. Employees take their cue from their boss and empathy and support for those below you is essential , not insecurity and envy.
    Very well analysed Subir. Greenply is lucky to have you.

  7. That was the story of India I knew. I know lot has changed since then because of leaders like you. Yet so much more Is needed done. Just saying!

  8. Excellent coverage on undercurrents in any organisation. This is the fact of life and people feel unsecure when they find someone competent around. One should understand that he can rise if someone occupies his seat. The time goes past till the guy becomes mature enough to understand the phenomenon of rising ladder.

  9. A universal truth but practised by selective corporate leaders. This is one of the reasons of high attrition rate in some organisations.

  10. Dear sir, good morning. I am really enlightened with the article and “Organisational Coma” is a very practical word related to your narration in the article. Most of the professional have faced similar kind of situation. But I would prefer to look into the matter little more in depth. In my point of view I would look forward for some more time to explore opportunities within the same organisation and try to overcome my suprior’s complexity by allowing him his thoughts with full patience level. I will try to communicate over email and messengers for his availability try to keep a decorum for future prospects. In this way my suprior will get some extra time to understand my point of view for the organisation’s goal. I would try to take him with me for every small decision for the interest of the organisation at initial phase and will try to give him a confidence of my capabilities and make sure that I am not his competitor but one of the best soldier of his team.

    Second part, regarding the new appointment and quality. A good professional have always trust on own capabilities and keeps sharpening his knowledge. So most of the cases he would go for quality recruitment and will ensure of the organisation’s prosperity in long term.

  11. Very correct. Fortunately, I have been guided by all my superiors in the right way which made me to where I am today. Oglf course, there are / were a few with indifferent approach. One has to quickly understand, if noticed, exit or move away.

    The day, one feels that I am not adding value to the chair or the day one notice that the contributions aren’t valued, it’s time to Exit!! Bitter truth of corporate life.

  12. Practical thoughts for both managers and team members. An open culture encourages learning and sharing of inputs and results and eventually drives corporate morale and productivity.

  13. Very well analyzed. This situation is also experienced in Govt and psu’s where boss has an upper hand but they keep on stressing for team work and compliances .
    Why the Recruiters and the MNC are not able to justify their selection process. Having said that and experiencing the way the talents are ignored what ethics and corporate culture has to say on it.

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