Back in school, I had to do a science project along with a partner. My partner was decided by the faculty. He had a reputation of social loafing in the class & that made him not to contribute to the work all the more. We had a very tough deadline & I knew that I will need efforts from his side to successfully finish the project. I designed the project outline & wanted to delegate some work to him. However, he told me he wasn’t interested in the project. Somewhere in my heart I knew that he was capable but had no motivation & confidence to work. I tried talking to him & told him that I believed in his capabilities & really needed his ideas & efforts in order to complete the task. I thought it will take me a long conversation to convince him, however a small talk & some reassurance was all that it took to get a commitment from him. From this I realized that it is very important to trust people’s abilities & give them a fair chance to prove themselves. This is a classic case of positive reinforcement. “Positive reinforcement occurs when a reward, is given for a specific desired behavior” (Fritscher, 2009). In this case the reward was intrinsic which also improved his performance. In management this can also be related it to “Pygmalion effect” or “Self fulfilling prophecy”.
I had appeared in a group discussion few years back in order to get selected for a special workshop conducted by some eminent industrialists. Much to my surprise, my GD group had the best speakers I’d known. When the GD started, I could not get an entry to speak even once as the group was extremely aggressive & everybody wanted to speak as much as they could. At last the moderator told the group that everyone will get 30 seconds to speak & conclude. That was the only time I got a chance to open my mouth when everyone had already spoken enough & all my points were spoken by someone or the other. Since I was the last person to speak & had no new points so I decided to summarize whatever happened in the entire discussion in a nutshell. I had written down in a piece of paper the most important points of the GD along with the name of the person who mentioned those points. I neatly mentioned in all that in the end. During the interview, panel told me that they had missed out on few very good points during the GD which I brought to light when I was summarizing. Apparently they told me that they really admired the fact that I was so attentive throughout & heard each participant so carefully in the GD & gave them their credit while concluding. I was able to make it to the workshop finally when there were some very good speakers who could not. From this experience I learnt the importance of listening in communication. Often there are managers who are great speakers but being a good listener is equally important in order to succeed in life.
In past I was somewhat forgetful & I’ve paid heavy price for that at times. I used to try very hard to remember all the details for example what all to buy from the grocery store or what time to meet a friend or when to pay my bills. But after a while I realized that making a mental note was perhaps not enough because I still used to forget things. It was a rather frustrating situation as I was trying to fight from my own self. However, I figured that there needs to be a way to solve this problem. I started carrying a pocket diary & a pen with me all the time & mentioning in it the important notes anytime I needed to & also made sure that after now & then I refer back to the diary. This way I started creating a “To Do” list on a daily basis along with making it a habit to note down all the important things in the diary. This method helped me a lot & I also started remembering all the details. The learning from this is that every problem has a solution. Being a manager also requires out of box & creative thinking many a times in order to come out of a tricky situation. Having an open mind is a key aspect of a successful manager.