Tact is required to get work done at the work place

The work place can be an office or a factory or outside these places. I am writing this based on my own experiences at the work place. For any employee whatever position or level he is in has to get the cooperation of others to complete his task. All kinds of characters are found in any organization and some people by their nature do not cooperate easily. They are sadists or egoists or suffering from an inferiority complex.

I have worked in 4 organizations and I have come across these types of people in all the four organizations. My tact has come to my rescue and in the end I was able to complete the work assigned to me in time and to the satisfaction of the superiors.

I will go into details of these characters and my tact. First as a Trainee I was assigned a project on maintenance requests. I decided to meet a few persons who generated a very abnormal MRs indicating urgency when it was not required. Out of the people say colleagues in the organization 2 or 3 refused to meet me on the pretext that they were busy doing some work in spite of telling them that I required only 10 minutes. I got the information from the workers of the department. Right from the time I was assigned the maintenance project I started cultivating friendship with the workers. Coming back to the department foremen who refused to meet me, either they were thinking I came to ask on behalf of maintenance department or they thought they will get a firing from the top management or their departmental head. The level of the concerned person generating MRs was that of a Foreman.

With my experience I learnt that the larger the organization, the more will be the abnormal characters both inside the organization as well as outside. I joined Larsen & Toubro Ltd. in their supervisory cadre as “Purchase Engineer” or “Buyer”. I was given the responsibility in sub-contracts now called “outsourcing” and had to handle about 250 items. Some of them   required thread gauges. It so happened that for some of the gauges, only one was available both for the factory and the vendor.  The Gauges depending on the work in the factory was released by a technical assistant for the vendor.   This technical assistant was an abnormal character.  His position was two levels lower to that of a supervisor. The buyers were in supervisory cadre and had to approach him for the release of the gauges.

The concerned technical assistant who I had mentioned above was suffering perhaps from inferiority complex. He was not even acknowledging my presence leave aside extending normal courtesy. I was also new to the organization. I thought it over and came to know  from others that he had graduated from the same university as I had graduated in Engineering. He was a B Sc. Tactfully standing in front of him I talked about the same university and various other things connected with the university. He seemed to gain confidence about me and slowly established friendship. He was then eager to talk to me about various things and also released gauges in time for the vendor.

In my work I was supposed to visit various workshops, small and big. One big workshop was TM Industries Private Ltd., TMIL in short. I had to interact with their MD who was also a technical person to assess the status of the items. He used to accompany me while taking a round in the workshop showing all our items.

TMIL was making items of intricate nature of accuracy for our company. At that time (late 1970s) the workshops having machinery of the calibre of TMIL were just 7 or 8 in Mumbai itself. The MD was a highly egoistic person but was pleased if the Tea offered by him was accepted and sometime was spent with him in chit chatting. I gauged his weakness and had some tea, spent some time with him chit chatting.

Due to strict inventory control L&T was taking monthly requirement of high value items depending upon the order of Drills. Therefore there was low stocks kept of such items that were  utilized in assembly during the month. It so happened, that a TMIL skilled worker who was working on the machine called M 4 Milling machine, cutting key ways into the drive rod, genuinely fell ill with Jaundice and he was not able to come to work for 30 days.  The MD expressed his inability to supply Drive Rod for that month. He expressed the same to my superior.  But responsibility of supplying the items from the vendor was on me. So after my superior left TMIL workshop I started chatting with the MD about things other than the drive rod. I happened to mention that his trousers were very smart in appearance and whether he had purchased imported cloths for the same. He was pleased with my statement and told me a long story as to how he had purchased the cloth from the showroom of a local textile manufacturer. I patiently listened to him and at last requested him to do something about the item Drive Rod. He told me that he would positively deliver it in the next week. I did not question him further on how he was going to do it. In the subsequent week, when I visited his workshop, I found that the MD was himself on the machine cutting the key ways in the Drive rod. He has asked me to send a vehicle to collect six drive rods required for the month. I thanked him profusely and sent the vehicle the next day to collect the six drive rods. Here my tact and patience worked to get the Drive rods from TMIL.

Comments are closed.