27 May 2017 20:29 IST

Are you humane enough?

Being humane, especially to people around you, is extremely critical for being a leader

Almost every management institute has clubs or groups that pursue various interests such as community service or social work. The students organise events, such as an awareness walk for a cause. I have often observed a severe dichotomy in this behaviour. Although the students are totally committed to whatever social cause they are involved in, they are equally oblivious to a social issue which is right in front of them. Let me share an anecdote to explain this.

Heavy rains and the resultant flooding is fairly common in our country and it tends to disrupt life which also leads to misery and suffering. After one such heavy monsoon, I had gone to an institute for some classes and found out that the students were organising several assistance programmes for those affected by the heavy rains. They were collecting clothes, trying to organise a medical camp, and the like. I found it very laudable that in the midst of their extremely tight schedules, the students found time to do such social service.

One of the housekeeping staff, who would usually bring tea for the faculty, was an extremely cheerful person and I enjoyed talking to him. He always had an interesting, and often humorous, take on some current happenings and it would be a welcome interaction for me. However during this visit after the rains, I found him to be very different and he seemed very preoccupied, which was quite unlike his normal behavior. When I asked him what the matter what, he told me that one of the walls in his hut-ment had toppled over in the rains and that he had been finding it very difficult to raise enough money to get it repaired. Till then, his family was staying with a relative and that too was a temporary arrangement.

Look closer

I was struck by the fact that the students were taking so much of effort to help people whom they did not know or interact with and yet, this person amidst them had completely escaped their attention. This is quite common and one can see it all around us. For example, people would actively participate in campaigns against child labour and yet take tea from the small boy delivering it from the tea stall.

It is not that such people are bad, they are not humane enough. There are several reasons why people are not humane enough, such as being busy or preoccupies, but there is no excuse for this behaviour. This is even more crucial in the aspect of leadership. Being humane, especially to people around you, is extremely critical for being a leader.

Since managers are largely task-oriented, if a person aspires to be only a manager, this aspect of being humane is not very important. However anyone aspiring to for leadership needs to consciously develop this trait of being humane till it becomes a part of their nature.

Next time around remember to help out those immediately around you before rushing off to conduct community and social activities.

Recommended for you