Case Study – Mismanagement of Leadership

There are efforts made to mimic the ‘best practices’ globally, by many companies, however, many a times these are merely thoughts. What is uncanny though is that even though there are numerous statements made about management practices, there is little or no leadership at various places, Big Brands and Name.

High potential talents, highly experienced professionals are sharing their thoughts with us on how they have been ridiculed and mismanaged by the leaders of the Organisation which boast of their vision and leadership. One such case which is shared by a silent reader is presented here.

Rajat, was looking after the over all operations and expansion plans of the company. He has enjoyed the past several years and have found the assignments, to be both intellectually stimulating and experience wise rewarding, and as he also worked in diversified fields, departments and organizations ranging from engineering, domestic appliances, pharmaceuticals to cosmetics and FMCG. The total Span of experience is 35 years.

He joined this company as Unit Head of their factory and was reporting to Unit Director. He was given full charge of the Unit and took over the systems which were almost non existent. From introduction of new techniques and more than 100 needs based systems to training the whole team to follow and implement systems he made almost all departments of The Unit, right from Accounts to Production started to function smoothly. In a year or so the Unit Team learnt to work on systems and not on personal commands.

Discipline of systems & maintenance of hygiene resulted in considerable growth in Production as well.

Since all operations were looked after by Rajat, the team approached him for all issues and solutions. His decisions were quick and clear.

Although in every thing development Director was kept informed verbally and in writing too, yet he felt neglected and isolated, despite the fact that all vital powers were still with him. Earlier he was handling all issues and was surrounded by people always. But now the things have changed, rather transformed but he did not take it positively and started complaining against Rajat to the top bosses. He encouraged some employees to extract and convey to him in age old style and language, “Whats going on, eh? Kya khabar hai”

This was enough to divide the team in two groups i.e. Rajat’s team and his team.  Quality of operations deteriorated. And to control the situation before it hampers more Top bosses interfered and decided a way out. They said,” Rajat has introduced and implemented the systems now he should hand it over to the Director and start looking into audit of the quality of systems he follows.” Rajat agreed and kept sitting in his cabin and asked for documents to audit. For one full month none came nor could The Director respond to the queries raised by Rajat. Now the problem is Rajat is writing daily to Top Bosses about the serious irregularities but no action.

Now no body is interfering. Why? May be, because they have their own kind of compulsions which stops them from being involved, Rajat kept sitting in his cabin and waited for documents, as he was told not to communicate with any one.

Now Rajat says that, “the lesson I get is that if hierarchy cannot make a team, it is myth. Because it takes lot of depth, experience and maturity to decide and implement division of powers and rolls judiciously. If hierarchy operates like age old caste system, then anarchy and dictatorship is much better an option. I am truly appalled by this mismanagement madness, and constantly strive to find some semblance of sanity”

So what caused the hue and cry, the attribution of responsibility, blame, credit, the attribution of causal connections and the attribution of simple mismanagement? Which one?

In such companies, people are not allowed to think only a limited and tightly regulated repertoire of beliefs, behaviors and emotions is permissible.

I would not give the solutions for this case study, this time demand from all of you a solution/s. Is the organisation at fault, can’t be as it’s a mere entity, when this kind of mismanagement blends with learned helplessness, it reinforces even further people’s already strong inclination to over-identify with the norms that have been decreed by the group’s leaders. The leaders, meanwhile, have adorned themselves in the garb of omniscience and infallibility.

Thus, the accounts of organisational actors cannot be read simply to discover an invariable and unyielding objective truth about organizations and their mismanagement, but rather to explore their meaning for the actors(specially leaders) involved, their attributes, how they perceive and handle situations, such actors who would like to flaunt but are shallow beneath.

  • Atulvatsyayan

    this is a terribly unclear article

  • Seshaprakash

    The story line is not clear it looks cooked up. If it were truly a team effort, it could not have been the success of Mr.Rajat, alone, it would have entailed the support of the entire Management. And to say that the Management ignored what Mr.Rajat is writing – I do not agree after the fact that management has seen improvement in production and finance (after all that is what all managements want). However, it is likely that Mr.Rajat’s popularity may have caused a lot of heartburn and a division based on sycophancy evolved. And it is also possible that vested interest may have taken roost and derailed Mr.Rajat’s processes. If a proper 2nd line were not created by the management or Mr.Rajat, then it is very likely that impact is very much visible for everybody to see. Though I do not buy the story – the underlying impact is true for many organizations.

  • Cyrilsunil

    is it about the ego with the management and indvisual or unclear role and responsiblity?. In many organisations leadership doesnt have monitoring ? more clearity could have given better conclusion.

  • naresh

    Unit Director shd hav been proud of having such calibre under his dept, without fear he shd bring his capabilities to the notice of management, ultimately UD will b praised along with R for achievement , by creating groups & divisions UD is the ultimate looser as hod he must b answerable for performance.think UD is jolous & feares hi may loose out .The basic fault lies with Top Management , they shd from time to time interact with R alone & find out abt his ways of functioning, this way co.will never loose capable person

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Hey Atul, I would appreciate few more lines from your side as in what you interpreted from this article. Also, it is not an article, it is a case – a real life one shared by one of the readers. :) so if it looks unclear, let us know what is that that you didn’t find appropriate.

  • Secuture Bureau

    Very interesting scenario but played in most SMEs in this country especially where the Director is a 2nd or 3rd generation of the family owning the business. The only solution is either Rajat should seek greener avenues with his vast tested experience as he seemed to have been the virtual CEO, or the Director having the interest of his company in mind should leave his ego behind and acknowledge the capability of Mr. Rajat and keep him going till he can find a suitable successor either in the Director himself or someone else in the pipeline who can continue the success story.
    Unfortunately this is how most family owned SMEs set limitations to their potential in this country. It is no doubt most unfortunate.This can be only solved by the likes of the Director to undergo a paradigm shift in their beliefs and attitude shifting gear from focussing on self to focussing on the body corporate.

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Hello Mr. Prakash, if you can spare some more time and elaborate how it looks cooked up, as such senior guy with 35 years of experience need not cook any such stories to get importance. Also, there is some unclarity as in what you want to say. Not even once Rajat mentioned that he wasn’t a team player, or he was enjoying his success alone..i wonder on what basis you drew that conclusion. Rest I agree….thanks a lot for throwing light on such issues prevailing in many companies.

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Unfortunately, this is the saga of a well renowned Pharma company, and the guys associated with case no amateurs, in fact both of them are experienced. Rajat can leave the company that would be the last resort, but lets provide him some more options. Let me know if you guys need some more information related to the case will ask him to provide that. Thanks for your contribution here…:)

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Thanks Cyril, for me also its a case of unclear responsibilities and mismanagement of two leaders, Rajat and the Director. Please let us know what all information or details you would want to conclude it better, we will seek the information from Mr. Rajat. Thanks a lot!!

  • Ravi Singh

    Unfortunately this is a very sad saga of how to ruin the true potential. To me, the case needs a bit more of information, hinting towards the personnel rather than professional relations between the two party in the case. The bottom aspect of the case is certainly related to more than just the corporate success of Rajat.

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Sure Ravi…will ask for more details from Mr. Rajat and share with all of you here……..:) thanks for your efforts…

  • S. K. Singh

    This is a case of two experienced persons of same caliber with unclear responsibilities. Also what were the top management vision of taking the company to greater heights. The top management was not able to handle the two persons growth vision as it is clear from the case that even after establishing systems and processes for better productivity by Rajat, they sidelined him. This means that the top management was not convinced and sided with the Director.

  • naresh

    Archna ji,
    leaving a job is not the ultimate solution as Rajat must b 55+ besides, he shd try to enlighten Top Management abt his performance,Mind u ,I am agnst complaining abt UD as it looks he is havng great support of Top Management (he may b wid co for few years)& wait sometime for reactions

  • Aswini Swain

    According to me there is a solution for this case… Rajat has to handle this case in a diplomatic way… As Rajat is a very efficient person his counterpart is feeling belittled… The only option for Rajat now is to make a mutual decision and to compromise with his counterpart so that he can get a chance to show his efficiency.. He should enter into a negotiation process for a devision of responsibilities with his counterpart… As he is doing auditing now, his other potentialities remain obscured and by this bargaining process at least he can get an opportunity to use his potentials… Who knows, may be after that his inherent potentialities will be communicated to the top management and his real skills will be recognized by them and no one can point his finger further… The only thing that he has to do is to handle his counterpart very carefully, I mean in style… and I know he can do it..

  • Krishnaok

    What I feel is that the management style of Mr.Rajat caused the issue. The “management of change concept” envisages not only the workers but includes the top management also. The Director had felt that his whole authority has been undermined and it will seem to him that Rajat is out to get his head. See for now, what Rajat is suffering now, the director also suffered the same way. What Rajat should have done that whatever he did should have been done/implemented through the Director taking him into confidence rather than keeping him posted on all he does.

    Now there are two ways out. Have an appointment with the Director and take him into confidence. If all Mr.Rajat has done is worthwhile (ie if it not exaggerated) Director will not want Rajat out as he knows that he had goofed up on the job and if Rajat leaves his job will also be in stake. Start from the beginning and Iam sure in time Rajat can turn the tables again.

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Thanks Krishna Ji…very valuable insights and highly appreciable one too…..I really hope that Rajat would be reading this solution. :)

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Thanks Mr. Singh…i agree with your opinion here, but the question remains the same why would management mis manage their leaders in such a way….The director may also have done some good work for sure, and Rajat too….why differentiate without mentioning the reasons….thats the query…

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Thanks you Naresh ji…very aptly suggested,Rajat should not consider complaining about the Director at this may leave him with more empty space….but yes, he should gather all courage to speak up and fight…:) Thanks again…

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Hi Aswini, Bingo!! i guess this is what we have been looking for…and your confidence instills more courage and confidence in us…do you by any chance know this Mr. Rajat of ours???…:) just curious…

  • Malaypattnaik

    We all have human needs even if he is a director, here, the director has felt excluded from the high growth scene (maybe intelectually). Probably, to me Rajat has thought leadership is about people beneath him and not about the people above. Now, Rajat should change his mindset and insted of feeling cynical should take it as a learning process, because he should not forget that, whatever he has acheived was only possible with the director’s support in the first place. On the other hand if things are irretrievable, he should not waste time sitting in a cabin seeing his talents/skills go down the drain rather he should make a head start again.

  • Neel2685

    yes…Many More Rajat are around with such ideas..may be its true..caste based..biased family business leads to such set back of any organization.

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Hi neel, But this case is from a large Pharma conglomerate….its not family business and caste cannot be an issue….