Human Operating Manual

A lot has been written and said about Leadership. One of the attributes of Leadership which clearly stands out for me is the ability to take people along and harnessing the collective energy to convert a vision into reality. However, it is easier said than done. And we all know, the more difficult the task, the more practice is needed to be successful. Just like, “Charity begins at home”, I strongly feel that even Leadership begins at home; the home, the family provides a wonderful platform to practice the attribute of “taking people along”.

We use various objects such as TV, refrigerator, washing machine, microwave, two-wheeler, car and so on. For these objects, to a large extent, we generally know the the do’s and don’ts for operations and smooth functioning (or low maintenance). For example

·         We know that we should not put diesel in the petrol car else it breaks down.

·         We know that the door of the refrigerator should not be left open.

·         We know which utensils to be put in microwave and which ones not to be put.

We all take great care to follow the instructions for use of these objects. We make a lot of effort to teach our children with repeated instructions on how to use these items. We reprimand them if they don’t follow any of the instructions, given the possibility of breakdown for these objects.

Now let’s think for a while. For the people around us, for different members in our family, for our relationships, for our teams, are there not different operating procedures? Are there not instructions to use (interact) and are there not Do’s and Don’ts?  Somebody gets disturbed if things are not kept systematically, somebody gets disturbed if there is loud music and for somebody unnecessary arguing triggers the breakdown; even this list can be very long.

Are we aware of such operating instructions for each member of our family? Do we strictly follow them? Unknowingly, we will let our family member breakdown but not the car. It might be an exaggeration but if we really look into our daily life, don’t we take our family members for granted? Don’t we throw all such instructions to winds and still expect nice behavior? Question is, “Is that Leadership behavior?”

We have expectations from everybody. A real Leader is one who is aware of his or her responsibilities as well; who knows that the response or the behavior of our fellow beings is largely triggered by our behavior either directly or indirectly. Even if one does not believe that the behavior of others is triggered by ours, at least one would agree that we do influence others’ behaviors, to whatever extent possible. Will it not be worthy to know the operational manual of individuals? Can one spend some time to become aware and conscious of it? While dealing with people, can we be as alert and careful of their operating procedures as we are while using the repairable and replaceable objects in our daily life?