Be A Heartful Boss
By Tushar Pradhan
Modern workplaces are increasingly becoming important places of human interaction. As more and more people start spending a majority of time in the workplace, relationships among colleagues, between boss and employee, among team members, is becoming a very important aspect that can generate either a sense of togetherness and common purpose or can degenerate into a cesspool of negativity, opposition and controversy. Various human resources professionals struggle to keep the workplace an environment that is healthy, inviting and conducive for mutual progress. While a lot of success has been achieved, tangible and replicable results are yet to show. Some workplaces seem better than others, but mostly driven by individual initiative and drive, not by any standard model.
The biggest reason people cite for leaving an organisation is not pay, emoluments, environment, designation or any reason that may appear most logical from a career perspective. Most people leave because they can’t get along with their boss. This shines the light on the fact that the boss-reportee relationship is the most important in the chain towards making an office environment productive.
What makes a good boss? Many supervisors face the dilemma of either appearing too harsh versus being too lenient and fear being taken advantage of. While setting examples appear to be part of a ‘boss’ narrative the important element that escapes most ‘bosses’ is the establishment of common purpose and mutual trust and respect. Human beings are sensitive and they can ascertain the benefit of any action very acutely. If personal gain of a few is the result of collective action, this clearly leads to lack of cooperation in further pursuits.
Thus the ‘heartful’ boss is the one who has empathy. How does one develop empathy? One way is to develop a sense of absolute confidence in oneself by being open to scrutiny by team members. While most people approach this relationship from the ‘mind’ and try and achieve empathy by outward show of action and demonstration by awards, the more successful way would be to truly mean it by the ‘heart’. The heartful way is enduring, trusting and confident. A heartfelt handshake, a silent clap, a genuine word of concern at difficult times goes a long way in generating this camaraderie than formal announcements and brightly packaged ‘gifts’ in exchange of team goals met. While official recognition is important, such genuine ways of showing thankfulness truly makes a boss a joy to work for.
Empathy is also the outcome of a meditative practice that helps an individual come to terms with his or her own drawbacks and gives one the confidence to change. This change leads to broader change in the work environment till it eventually encompasses humanity at large.
Tushar Pradhan is the Chief Investment Officer at HSBC Asset Management (India) Pvt. Ltd. He has been practicing Heartfulness Meditation for two decades and is a Spiritual Trainer and Coordinator of Heartfulness Institute.