Understand Employees

Three Ways to Understand Employees

Human beings are different from each other and what they can do best naturally differs. It is necessary to find out what each team member is good at and what he might fail in doing. Often, the employee is not capable of deciding or knowing what his strengths and weaknesses are and that is where the top management has to take a call. These pointers are more helpful when there is a change in the role of an employee internally, than at the time of recruitment. The larger issue arises when a good and performing resource is given a new role or promotion on the basis of past performance which then goes down. I am giving below three military examples which might help:

Every good soldier cannot become a good general. In corporate life, promotion is given to a person only when his prior performance has been commendable. Typically, an executor becomes a manager when the execution-based work has been done very well. What many people fail to understand at this time is that a good soldier does not necessarily become a great general. There is a big difference between execution and the management of execution on the one hand and managing the people who execute on the other. A soldier is termed good when he performs his duties as he should, while a general becomes successful by leading people to do things. After a lapse of time, a general cannot do a soldier’s job although he had reached that level due to his performance as a soldier.

The wingman is as important as the pilot. A wingman is a pilot who flies beside and slightly behind the lead in an aircraft formation. He primarily protects the lead pilot by ‘watching his back’. In our context, the wingman would be the person who supports another person in doing a critical job but who is never in the limelight or in the front. Every job in the world is crucial, but it is more important to do a job to the best of one’s ability than to do a big or significant job. Often, team members want to take the most ritical or vital job in the company/vertical, thinking that it would get them recognition. This is true, but that does not mean that a less important job need not be given the same attention.

A captain can’t do anything without a navigator. A navigator is the person on board a ship who is responsible for its navigation. The captain is the boss on the ship, the most senior officer in charge. He is responsible for everything that happens on the ship, but he is assisted by the navigator on how to get the ship from point A to point B. In our context, a navigator would be the person or the team who helps the entrepreneur/CEO to take the company from a particular stage to the next— every company’s immediate goal. The CEO is the person responsible for doing that, but it is the navigator who ensures that he is informed of the progress all the time and is advised how to go on from there.

The point of these three examples is that each employee is different, each employee plays an important role in the life of a company and in a team and each employee has the ability to do great work if he is given the right role.

Written by Rudrajeet Desai

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