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Marginalize The Villains

Source | LinkedIn : By Ramesh Srinivasan

There were two, maybe three trouble-makers in the team of sixteen. Sarcastic comments about project deliverables and deadlines, private jokes in team meetings, nonchalance about missed deadlines and reluctance to participate in important team issues were some of the visible disagreeable acts by this cohort. They had an enviable swagger about them, daring the manager to pull them up, punish them or shame them in public.

The manager was at her wits’ end, and started by appealing to their innate good sense, and their feeling of belonging and wanting to fit in. She then moved on to counseling them, pointing out the long-term deleterious effects of their behaviour. Finally, as a boss, she spoke in stern tones, dictated tasks, and demanded their commitment.  But then our Grandmothers, in all their infinite acquired wisdom, have told us, “Be good with good. Never be bad with bad. You can’t wash mud with mud.”

They shrugged off all her soft and hard approaches, and continued with their disruptive behaviours. The legitimacy of their grouses aside, the manager was more concerned about the effect of the never-do-wells’ activities on the rest of the team. If not controlled, some of the well-mannered team members may be tempted to emulate the trouble makers’ deeds. Before you know, the whole team could simply spin out of her control.

In most companies, a manager’s displeasure alone is not enough to dismiss staff. While building a case against the outlaws takes time, not being able to handle the situation will reflect on the manager as well.

Whichever way this ends, she was certain that she is not going to come out of this looking good. The Swiss analytical psychologist Carl Jung would have pointed out the positive side of this sordid situation to her: “Everything that annoys us in others can lead us to a better understanding of ourselves.”

Erich Segal, in his book Doctors, points out that mankind has no cure for majority of the diseases on earth, including the common cold. Why do we then take medicines every time we have a sore throat or a running nose?

The human body is made of innumerable cells. To start with, a few of them get infected. Each cell then proceeds to infect as many adjacent cells as it can. When sufficient cells have become unhealthy, you feel ill, and become bed-ridden. The body feels discomfited because of this tug-of-war between the infected cells and the ‘good’ cells. In fact, the word disease stems from this ‘dis-ease’, or a lack of ease that cells begin to feel in the company of each other. As long as the infested cells persist with this process of recruiting the ‘good’ cells, we will continue to feel unwell.

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