Personal and Professional comfort zone

“Follow the leader”, though this trend has been prevalent for quite sometime, it is gaining even more impetus in the recent times. Many organizations are trying to fight hard against such practices. This trend was existing in the organizations for years. This happens because of the personal and professional comfort zone created due to the relationship factor. The boss is then seen as a competent senior professional, capable of transfer of learning and a good coach to have. The juniors also feel that they may professionally grow faster with a known boss in the new company.

Although we have not seen this trend in our organization, there are good examples in the global financial industry when whole teams move after bonus time. There are probably two factors that lead to such situation, the current situation in the company and the opportunity outside. If the entire team leaves, this is probably a sign of dissatisfaction with the current strategy of the firm regarding this particular division. On the other hand, there may be a great opportunity outside the firm to set up a company or a business unit in another firm. Typically, such behavior reduces in frequency when the economy slows down.

The leader knows the skills of team members and modifies the system in such a manner that everyone is comfortable and hence succeeds in getting results as a team. They also make and get habituated to living in a comfort zone. When this leader leaves the organization and a new person joins, it will be like fish out of water for the teammates. They are asked to do things differently or what is considered as acceptable suddenly changes its meaning. Coupled with this the previous boss sends a lucrative offer, which is hard to resist and this is when team members take such a drastic step.

This trend will be predominantly seen only in organizations where people relate more to their boss than the organizations itself. It happens when employees see their organization through their boss. They get so comfortable and happy to work under their boss that once he leaves, they feel insecure/unhappy that the existing situation might not continue, which is why they leave.

How does this ‘herd mentality’ impact an organization and its functioning? There is always a short-term impact. It creates a need for the company to replace the team, which in turn will lead to problems in some other firms. This is exactly what is happening in banking when times are good. Of course this is poaching at its best and highly unethical if things at the existing company are not bad. Poaching is leaving in bad standing. It will come back to haunt you at some point in time later. Employees are the roots of an organization; as the knowledge, experience and talent of the team grows deeper, the organization prospers. If these roots are nipped, the organization remains small, like a bonsai tree. Generally the responsible leaders will not cause any damage to the company that they have worked for. But there are some instances of heavy damages as well. It is not a healthy reflection for the present company. It may lead to an environment of uncertainty, confusion and low morale in the rest of the team. It also hurts to lose good professionals and add to the hiring efforts, time and money. These kinds of separations do reflect a kind of poaching phenomenon. This process per se does not appear to be a good professional process. This trend definitely impacts an organization as it disturbs an entire team and hence the functioning of that vertical and management needs to make extra efforts to pull the team back together in place. Such an act is not expected out of a senior official as being a senior person and having worked in the organization, nothing that is detrimental to the growth of the organization should be thought of.