Saturday, 29 March 2014


Children consciously or unconsciously pick up the behaviour styles of their parents,close relatives, peers or teachers.However the major influence is that of their parents who guide & mould them right from infancy. It is from their parents that they learn what is right or wrong.They learn to speak sweetly or rudely, softly or loudly.Whether they respond to viitors/guests, warmly or otherwise would depend on what they picked up from their parents.

Interestingly, I have noticed during my experience in industry for over three decades that employees exhibit work behaviour that they have picked up from  persons who were their bosses in the initial years of their career. Later bosses also have an influence but the single most powerful influence is that of the first boss. If an employee is open to suggestions, consults others  and is  inclusive in his or her behaviour, it would tell more about the boss with whom he/she cut the first teeth.Fingers point in the same direction if the employee is brash,impatient or tends to engage in power politics.

The manager/boss/leader is likely to have a contribution in  an  employee exuding confidence, being willing to accept feedback for improvement without being defensive and being  proactive in approach.Conversely,the influence of the boss could be seen when an employee tends to blame others for his mistakes,tries to save his own skin instead of going in to the details to solve the problem that has come up in collaboration with others.

The tendency of the juniors to pick up work practices of the bosses is all the more, if the boss has been acknowledged as "Successful" in the corporate parlance- frequently credited with achievement of milestones and regular, quick movement up the corporate ladder.Corporates have generally been concerned mainly about the ends rather than the means to an end.Therefore it is possible that quite a few of those exhibiting poor interpersonal or ethical behaviour could be adorning senior level positions.

The juniors then conclude that  rude, brash, manipulative individuals have become successful  because of these qualities that they frequently exhibit and that this is worth emulating. Marshall Goldsmith in his book "What got you here won't get you there" points out that that these people have become successful not because of the said behaviour patterns  but the success is in spite of such behaviour.In fact if they can correct these flaws, they can become even more successful.

The purpose of this post is to draw attention to the phenomenon of our behavioural styles as leaders  impacting not just us or even one generation of employees.It gets passed on a long way in to the future with rippling effect.Hence the onus is on us in leadership positions to exhibit behaviour that is civil, ethical and harmonious, Seen this way, being a role model is not another empty rhetoric but a real and  live aspect that influences work culture in our organizations for many years to come.


  1. Our behaviour changes as per situations we faced everyday in our life, wether it is personal or professional life. More important is Attitude towards ourself, towards others persons define our personality.

    Behaviour depends on our attitude. If attitude of the employees in organization is not good, then it directly affects the cultural and other aspects of it.

    Always be +ve and enjoy life.

  2. Liked your advice- Always be +ve and enjoy life.! The article says that for this to happen the initiative to come from those who are in leadership roles.Thanks for sharing your thoughts Ankit!

  3. Excellent write from an accomplished management professional, leader, trainer and writer! From a woman's perspective, I usually liken the managerial behaviour with the mother-in-law mentality...A m-i-l's behaviour towards her daughter-in-law reflects her own experience with her m-in'law..and the poor, unsuspecting d-in-law takes the brunt of m-i-l's frustrations with her own m-i-l. In the banking sector, I've seen my senior colleagues who could not pick up technology easily, being extra rude and indifferent towards the youngsters for whom tech is such a cake walk. Also, these seniors would cover up their ignorance under the garb of their position of power and make the youngsters do all their computer-related work. This has also resulted in some cases of managerial password compromise and major frauds. I believe that leadership is a continuously evolving role, adapting itself quickly to change and carry the team along the changed path, guiding and nurturing their talents. No leader can work in isolation and similarly no team member can too...Thanks for sharing this highly enlightening and interesting write, Rajeev. Much obliged.

  4. Oh such a beautiful analogy of M-I-L and D-I-L. Employees develop a style in the industry as well depending on how they were treated when they first joined. Thank you Padmaja for your insightful feedback!.