Raj and Ashok were two team leaders working with the accounts department of a group company. While Raj was managing the accounts of one of the group’s accounts, Ashok was managing another’s accounts. Both had 4-5 people as reportee and reported to the same manager, Anand.
Raj, an MBA in Finance, was very knowledgeable and had several years of experience. He was very meticulous about his work and managed his team well. His team members admired his working style and worked as per his directives. Raj and his team worked hard every day, ensuring everything was up-to-date. He and his team kept to themselves and rarely took a long break to speak to other colleagues. Raj also communicated less with Anand, thinking why to disturb his manager when he and his team could complete their work themselves. When his team suggested to him that, they should communicate more with Anand and other colleagues, Raj assured them that their performance would speak for them.
Ashok, on the other hand, was a happy-go-lucky kind of manager. He was easygoing and left it to his team to plan and do their work as they thought best. Instead of focusing on his work, he would spend time socialising with others, laughing, joking and making everyone smile. Everyone in the office liked him for his friendly nature and quick wit and loved to spend time with him. His team was also happy with him as Ashok always approved their leaves and never interfered with their work except to ask for updates. Whenever the team would lag behind schedule, Ashok would be quick to cover up for them using his intelligence.
Ashok also maintained a good relationship with Anand. He would also make it a point to visit Anand’s cabin daily several times to give updates on his team’s progress (which he, of course, showcased as his credit). Ashok even stopped by Anand’s cabin at times, just to have a chit-chat. Being intelligent, Ashok often came up with good suggestions, impressing Anand.
When the accounts department met for quarterly meetings, it was Ashok who did most of the talking, bragging about his success, giving suggestions and even keeping the meeting atmosphere light with funny anecdotes. Raj, on the other hand, preferred to be quiet and only responded if anyone asked him for an answer or a suggestion.
It went on like this for a whole year, and it was finally time for the annual appraisal. Both Ashok and Raj were expecting a good raise. Raj, thinking that his excellent performance will surely lead to a good raise. And Ashok kept thinking that his relationship building throughout the year would not go in vain.
Finally, both teams got to know how they fared in Appraisals. Ashok and his team members were ecstatic! They had done it! Their team was highlighted as the “Best Team” and Ashok bagged an award and a good hike as the “Best Manager”
Raj and his team, on the other hand, got an average rating and a marginal hike. The team members were furious with Raj and blamed him for this disaster. Feeling frustrated, Raj stormed into Anand’s cabin and demanded an explanation. Anand said that he couldn’t give Raj and his team members an average rating as he is not even aware of what the team is doing or how they are performing. Anand also blamed Raj for not communicating with him. He also informed Raj that even his colleagues had given him an average rating in 360-degree appraisal as they also don’t know him well. He gave Raj Ashok’s example, who not only kept Anand updated, but also earned good ratings from his colleagues.
Raj was totally dejected and felt that everyone was being unfair to him. He had worked so hard for the whole year, but even then his efforts were not appreciated. He thought of leaving the organisation and started looking for a job.
Something happened at that time that changed everything, including Raj’s life. Anand suddenly got another job offer and decided to quit. His position became empty, and the Director of Finance, Mr Balraj, decided to manage Anand’s role for a few months.
As soon as he took charge, Mr Balraj decided to take a closer look at each team leader’s performance. Till then, he had completely relied on whatever feedback Anand had provided to him, but now he thought of forming his own opinion.
While going through the employee records, Mr Balraj found that Ashok and Raj are managing the accounts of the Company’s biggest groups, and decided to focus on them. He found that Ashok was the favourite amongst the two and had also received the “Best Manager” award, while Raj had got an average rating. Being a man of experience, Mr Balraj started taking an interest in their performances. He gradually realised that Raj and his team were the ones who had been consistently performing well. They had everything up-to-date and completed all tasks as per the deadline.
On the other hand, he found several works pending in Ashok’s team and the entire team had a very easygoing attitude owing to Ashok. Feeling surprised with his findings, Mr Balraj started probing the root cause behind Raj’s average rating and gradually found the reason behind it.
He called Raj to his office and made him understand that it was not enough to work efficiently, Raj also needed to interact with everyone, build relationships, and highlight his and his team’s success. Also, he pointed out to Raj, it is his responsibility to keep updating his seniors about his team’s work progress regularly.
Raj realised his mistakes and decided to change himself. Gradually, he started communicating with his other colleagues, and soon they came to know about his team’s good performance, and also how much knowledgeable Raj himself was. Following him, his team also started communicating more with other departments and colleagues. Raj also made it a point to give regular updates of his work progress to Mr Balraj.
After observing their progress for a few months, Mr Balraj gave Raj’s team a special hike and promoted Raj to the manager’s position.