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Unfolded Difference in Workplace – Dr. Sushyni Kothuri

25 Nov 2023.

On World Mental Health Day, I happened to read a post in LinkedIn and it made me realize that there are many, who are facing the stress, trauma or depression due to work life.  There are many dysfunctional behaviours that we face at workplace. Sometimes the fear of losing the job, the position of the opponent and lack of confidence make people voiceless. Bullying, demotivation, labelling, impartiality and unreasonable demands are some of the nuances that also fall under dysfunctionality. For many individuals, it is difficult to express what they are experiencing. In recent years, people who behave rudely or make snide comments have been named as bullies. Bullies are not a new concept. We grew up with them and we came across them as verbal fighters or non-verbal abusers which includes pushing and humiliating to get attention. At work place bullying takes place in the form of demonstrating their strength or domination. But being in education field, facing bullies or being a bully is something shameful to even talk about. An employee is supposed to have a good remark when they leave any organization. During their tenure they are expected to brace their loyalty to the firm, but the question is whether the management has created a healthy environment for an employee!! is there a room for discussing the discomforts or small issues? As time travels by, these bitter experiences remain tangled. People gradually learn to settle and remain quiet as they are tired of trying.

There’s no “I” in Team.

Katzenbach and Smith (2015) defined a team as a group of people with similar goals and commitment to one purpose. They are jointly accountable for their actions and outcomes. Noticeably, this simple meaning seems to be neglected which leads to poor productivity. 

Often at a workplace, people in the authority mistake the term “teamwork” as an individual work and with the motive to earn credit from the management. Often in a workplace people in authority mistake, teamwork to be an individual work. Very sad to see that they don’t believe that many hands make light work. The leads often misunderstand that every other colleague in a team should work for them and not ‘with them’. The day we conquer over this thin line of difference, probably there would be no feeling of hierarchy amongst colleagues. Also when the work is not distributed equally, it also tensed to fall on the same shoulders. It always suggested to pause and check your behaviour. Are you taking an advantage of your employee? Or are you being taken advantage?

Leadership  According to Bucic et al. (2010), the leader plays an effective role in teams and they are influential. A good leader remembers that the employees or the members of the team are working together towards the same goal but not working for the leader. Sometimes the team members are involved in various activities and they are called functional teams where they are responsible for various functions. They are responsible for the execution of the vision and resolving the conflicts. The leader should remember that these types of team members will be returning to their occupational routines and they are no different from any. Leader responsibilities are not meant for work done but a lot more. It is more important to create a clear vision for the employees, understand organizational culture, focus on personality development, and encourage innovation and motivation. An effective leader focuses on guiding, inspiring and motivating the employees.

Get a life

Packed schedules, high workload, lack of support etc. are the few dysfunctionalities that create a stressed and frustrated work environment.  Management at the organizations tend to forget that the employees have personal life. Sometimes, the expectation that they keep on employees makes them vulnerable. Technology has been introduced to keep people connected and make things easy, but it seems to me that technology also blurred the boundaries between work and personal life. Few of my fellow researchers feel that the organizations should not expect any employee to be available after the working hours. The communication that happens over the groups, mails or calls should be stopped at least after an hour of working hours. The day we realize that the employee comes back on the following day and the work can wait till then, the pattern changes and therefore it creates a room for an employee to be productive and keeps them on toes. There is a famous saying and I quote “There’s always more work to do- but you still don’t need to work long hours”

Impact of Differences in Workplace 

The ramifications of these variances affect both the individual and the organization. As an individual we don’t claim our rights when we are right, we are in such a state where switching from one firm to another seems much easier than talking to people with very minimal understanding about the work done. The victims of these ramifications react negatively and take their frustration out on family members or friends. More conversations revolve around what is happening to them and why others are not addressing it. They feel voiceless and helpless. They feel alone and often stuck in a situation where they can’t escape. They start hating the job they do and avoid situations where they need to share their opinions.

Another form of distress that the employee feels is anxiety. They either think of the past or future and they avoid living in the present. They question their existence in the team, competence and decision-making. When the employee is controlled, he/she begins to think that their aspect of life is out of control.

At the end we should realize that the culture of a workplace is to work with ‘All’, none can work as an island, and we are dependent on one another to reach a unified goal. Why not look at the human fingers, each of the fingers has its importance but when joined as a fist it gets more power on its own. It is high time that everyone realizes their professional etiquette and manners to keep the team united and sporty. To be educated is not to have a lot of credentials or about the years of experience you accumulate, however, it is about how well one treats others and makes them feel comfortable to work with you. The authors’ intention is not to brag about the incidents or the negative experiences, it is just a way to remind and make professionals cautious about the imbalance in the workplace that is often overlooked at can be looked upon, if any of the behaviours mentioned above is disturbing your employees, it’s time to act upon and change it. Be the change to experience the change. 

“Work-life balance is not a luxury; it’s a necessity for sustained well-being and a life well-lived” – N A S Suresh Krishna, Founder, Wolfers Tech.

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