A brisk walk into our history expounds facts whose traits are still found in our current work culture. Hitherto, we saw an era where the title “King” had all powers in a kingdom. All the people were to obey the orders of King and working people had no choice but to abide by his rules, even if they were to disagree.
Zamindar system then setup ordinary people to work for landlords. Again the people had to obey his/her orders and honor his/her title. It’s a big transformation in India from dynasties to British Rule to Corporate world. But even today some of the old traits continue to show up in today’s corporate work culture in India.
It’s still a norm we see in India where subordinates abide superiors. “Boss is always right” still holds good. Subordinates follow his/her decision without any objection even if they do not want to. It’s a give-in attitude most of the time. There is no right or wrong behavior here. We Indians by nature do not like to be in bad books of anyone, and we are being nurtured in the family that teaches us to respect our elders. Most of the times seniority takes precedence over talent (or merit).
Who vs. What
Superiors usually do not check what issue has been escalated to them instead look for who escalated an issue. Title, status does matter in Indian management. A subordinate challenging a superior is taken as insolence or hurting the ego of the superior instead of being open to new thoughts.
“Growth” – A Mistaken Word
This is perhaps the most widely mistaken word in work environment. Growth is calculated in terms of promotions and title but not in knowledge and experience. Every individual is worried of his/her promotion and tries to compare his/her position and title with peers they are aware of. Promotions appease job contentment. If there is no progression in one’s career, he/she is considered as non-performing individual. We need to be mindful that professionals like Doctors and Lawyers do not have promotions. But they are still highly respectable professionals in the society.
Work Takes Precedence Over Family
It’s the other way round about family here. Not that we don’t love family and don’t like to spend time, but market competition warrants individual to slog for more than normal hours. Fear of being considered as non-performer, if they are not being slogged. Also it was the expectation set by predecessors during “unemployment era” to woo the employers and that trend (and expectation) continued for years thereafter.
Never Say “No”
Saying “No” is considered as impolite behavior. Most of the times a straight no is masked (or camouflaged) with long statements that might confuse the client and make him feel we are beating around the bushes. It’s again just the cultural difference that we don’t want to be seen as impolite by not saying No.
As you can see we have acquired some of the behavioral traits from our history and some from our culture. Time would tell us if we continue to behave this way or if we would change.
Image Credit: KM Photography