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Indigo Fracas – Flawed Disciplinary Action

Indigo Airlines flew directly into a storm kicked up on the ground! Two Indigo staffers were caught on video trying to pin down an abrasive passenger. This was a fight more common among kids at school. Not at an airport. The incident happened in mid-October. The video, shot by an Indigo cargo handler, came out in November. Curiously enough, the cargo handler was removed from the job. As per Indigo’s public statement, he had instigated the other crew and was directly responsible for things coming to a head. Still, no matter what the cargo handler did, there is no way the people who actually got physical can be let off the hook. This is where Indigo seems to have gone completely off the radar. Let us accept for now that the cargo handler was the instigator. Even if that was the case,were the two other staffers such mindless automatons that they would just follow someone’s bidding, even if that be of their own supposedly senior colleague. Indigo claims the staffers used force to rein in an out of bounds passenger as a matter of…

Why Feedback falters

“So much of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to work.” – Peter Drucker As a trainer, as you grow older, you may not become wiser. But you begin to think and wonder if you ever thought about things before! What was I thinking of when I asked people to use ‘sandwich technique’ for feedback years ago?! Praise first, Criticise again, End with Praise. Who was I kidding when I asked people to not focus on the person, but focus on the behaviour. That keeps it specific and makes a person less defensive, I said. Both are specific suggestions, much lauded. Both reduce things to a formula. And formulas and human interaction; never have the twain met! What is wrong with the ‘sandwich technique’?  As a feedback recipient, do you consider yourself a thinking person, someone who observes, learns and predicts? If you do, you know soon enough that here is a practiced technique on its way. Mechanical, contrived, and utterly predictable. And once you know what’s coming, you stop listening. I can very well…

How to be an Employee : Peter Drucker’s classic career advice

Being an employee is an art, says Drucker.  And he says getting fired from your first job may be a good thing! Isn’t that interesting? Peter Drucker wrote on this topic almost forty years back. The Basic Skill  He starts off by asking, ” What can you learn that will help you in being an employee?” The answer, unsurprisingly, is communication. Drucker calls it a basic skill which very few students bother to learn. This one basic skill is the ability to organize and express ideas in writing and in speaking. For Drucker, an early start is beneficial. ” The foundations for skill in expression have to be laid early : an interest in and an ear for language; experience in organizing ideas and data; in brushing aside the irrelevant; in wedding outward form and inner content into one structure; and above all, the habit of verbal expression. If you do not lay these foundations during your school years, you may never have an opportunity again. You should take courses in the writing of poetry and the writing of short stories. Most…

Living with your work-identity

In a play being staged in Italy, the actor was hooded and being hanged. Something went terribly wrong and he was being strangulated for real. There was a medical practitioner in the audience who noticed his bodily struggle and rushed in. The actor died in the hospital later on. Without the medical practitioner, he would have died on the stage itself. This got me thinking about our work identity – to what extent is it a part of our social life. For doctors, there is almost no social life independent of their work identity. Everywhere they go, they stay doctors. Once upon a time, they were invited to mark themselves as doctors on rail ticket requisition slips. This is very handy in times of a medical emergency on board the train; or a flight for that matter. Doctors might be on a honeymoon, but their Hippocratic oath will take precedence over their wedding vows if somebody needs immediate medical attention. Such is the nature of their work. On the opposite end of the spectrum is an intelligence agent, more commonly understood…