Saturday, 30 November 2013

In between the Conference

I had discussed in a  detailed post the impact of incivility under the title"Lost Customers, Lost employees & Lost productivity"   and how it can prove to be very expensive for the company in the long run.What is true of corporates could become true for professional bodies.

Here I wish to share an ugly incident I myself experienced recently. I had attended the Southern Regional conference of NIPM organized by the Chennai chapter at hotel accord Metropolitan ( Details of the learning from the conference have been posted by me separately in the last post ).At the conference, the first few rows were occupied by seniors-stalwarts some of whom have retired 15-20 years ago.I noticed that after each session, mike was  passed on only to the first few rows for asking questions.Most of the time they were not asking clarifications on the presentation made but giving their own  views on HR in general..when a moderator feebly protested & requested  to ask questions relevant to the topic, he was told that it was a senior member's right to express his views,which need not necessarily be on the topic presented.

 Seated in the middle rows,I had a question I wanted to ask.The person compeering had announced that written questions also could be sent across for answering by the panel although no one passed out slips or came to collect slips from the participants.However I took a sheet from my note pad, wrote the question and moved to the front to pass on my question. I had gone a little distance when  the compeer told me that time was up & that I can talk to the speaker during tea time. I told him that this is not fair & that equal opportunities was not being given to everyone. He was very annoyed at this but took my slip to the panel.It is another matter that it could not be read as tea was announced. I thought the matter was over.But little did I know that a great surprise was in store for me!

At tea break I chatted up with some delegates after which I was quietly sipping my tea when the compeer appeared from nowhere.He asked me angrily  "What is your problem?" I was just trying to figure out what he was speaking about when he started literally shouting at me as to how dare I insult him. He said that that I had actually  insulted not just him but the entire NIPM organizing team.I was taken aback by this accusation & by the disproportionate nature of his anger. I asked him quietly "Why are you shouting?" He continued to shout & said his voice is like that,on the higher side.I told him that by shouting at me before so many people, it is he who is insulting & humiliating me and not vice versa.At this time two gentlemen, senior in age came running & took me aside. I asked them as to "why they are are  concentrating on me when all the shouting & violence was being exhibited by the other guy" .In a way I could understand their plight, they dare not confront him when he is in such ferocious mood. Later they told me not to take it to heart & that the said person is known to be short tempered.

 Actually, I maintained my peace for three reasons. If two persons instead of one behaved in the same fashion, it could  result in a brawl with  HR professionals becoming  the laughing stock of society,the least you want to see in a professional conference. The second reason is that I was representing my company & needed to maintain the necessary discipline & dignity. The third reason was that quite a few of the present team organizing this conference was personally known to me and I did not want to embarrass them in any manner.

The compeer  was very competent in his role.In fact on the previous night he exhibited his prowess as a singer as well. I understand that he retired in a very senior position in HR from the industry. But does all this give him the right to behave in this manner to fellow professionals.Perhaps ,having worked in a very senior position he is not used to others even suggesting to him that "something is not fair"  which he deems as an "insult".

It is my humble opinion that professional bodies like that of NIPM need to introspect as to the kind of people they would like to project as their  face. All the qualifications in the world or all the brilliance in the world pale in to insignificance without emotional intelligence.If a HR person cannot manage his own emotions what can he tell or expect from others? I bring  this incident to the notice of HRDians only for the purpose that we need to remind ourselves that we may have to go that extra mile,difficult as it may be,  to practice what we preach.  


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Rajeev sir, you have shown a good example of cool temperament, discipline and dignity. You are right at your end and equal opportunities must be given to the participants to put queries infront of panel. There is nothing wrong in that.

    I really surprised on the concerned person's strange and misbehaved reaction on that matter, His short tempered trait describes his negative attitude too. I feel, Every human being in this world thinks and react as per his / her own understanding.

    "There is little difference between peoples and that little difference, makes a big difference. The little difference is "Attitude" and big difference is whether it is positive or negative"

    Hats of to you rajeev sir :) , I respect your PAIN : Positive Attitude In Negative situation :-)


  3. Thank you Ankit.Your expansion of the word "Pain"is interesting.

  4. Rajeev sir, Thanks for your compliment :-)

    Ankit Sharma