I recall an incident that occurred in my office a decade ago. Anita, a soft-spoken team member, had an argument over performance with her manager, Meeta, one of my colleagues who was aggressive about performance and personality. Anita, a team member, was always sweet, soft-spoken, and courteous to everyone. Despite this, her performance did not meet expectations. It was difficult to confront her since she was friendly and approachable to everyone. Any confrontation with Anita could lead to a negative brand image, which had been avoided by previous managers. As Meeta confronted Anita about her past and present performance and offered her one last chance to improve, Anita began to cry. As soon as everyone noticed Anita was crying, Meeta became a villain within a couple of hours. Meeta didn’t get swayed by her image and acted appropriately.
As a result, Anita left the office. However, Meeta had to spend almost a year rebuilding the reputation she had lost.
Tears can sometimes be more powerful than truth…
In another incident, my friend Paul insisted that his maid wear proper clothing while performing household tasks. As his maid wore low-neck dresses, he found it inconvenient to walk around the house in her presence. The maid, out of anger, spread a rumor that my friend had made sexual advances toward her. She further mentioned that all the maids employed at his home were subjected to this treatment. A rumor of this nature in an apartment complex in a metropolis is extremely dangerous. While residents may not believe it, maids easily believe such things and avoid working in such houses. In the end, the lack of proper helper made my friend’s life became significantly more difficult over the next two years. I once heard him tell me that he woke up at 5 a.m. to clean the house, prepare food, and take his toddler to school. Additionally, he as a single parent, had to arrange child care. His child lived in an unhealthy environment for a couple of months before he could find a better child care.
Poor people can sometimes be troublemakers.
Loss of objectivity in judging people ultimately affects our personal and professional relationships. It does not matter whether it is a good thing, a bad thing, or worse, our perception is so deeply ingrained that anything that is contrary to the norm is either taboo or has to be dismissed out of hand…for example, we believe workers, women, and the poor are always victims and then attempt to rationalize and explain them later. We seem to have lost the ability to think rationally/objectively – men are not always right and women are not always right. How often do we review the details before making a decision. As a result of constant bombardment by the media, these perceptions have been further adversely affected. I wonder if we lose our ability to think or forget how to apply logic after a few years.
– Tears can be more powerful than truth
– A weak person can be stronger than strong people
– A soft spoken person can be more wicked than a harsh person
– One steady job holder can be more successful than job hoppers
– Minorities can be more powerful than majorities
– The illiterate can be wiser than the literate
It is important to evaluate every individual and situation objectively at all times. We also need to build a relationship with a friendly person who can vouch for us in case of a troubled situation. Relationships and networks are essential to our success as we need to work with various types of people on a short term as well as long term basis.
Additionally, image and personality are integral components of relational building, which are essential to establishing a successful career. Like defensive driving, we are responsible for our actions and others’ actions and act carefully to avoid mishaps.