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Updated: Nov 1, 2023

There was this young professional chef, Alex, working in a famous restaurant in the town. His specialty was making variety of juices using Mango. The customers started to crowd into the restaurant and the business started growing. The customers, the restaurant owner and Alex, all were happy and satisfied.

As the Business started growing, the restaurant owner hired a Manager to look after the restaurant. Manager was very competitive and wanted to build efficiencies by selling more and reducing costs. He started looking at different vendors who could supply Mangoes at a cheaper rate to the restaurant. Alex voiced out that the mangoes were not as per the expectations and that they may not taste better.

Manager was adamant, after all, his KPI was to build profit margins. Alex tried complaining about the manager to the Restaurant owner, but he was too busy enjoying the growth, and Alex continued working with the available mangoes, the demand slipped, customers started moving out to other places and the restaurant, the best in the town until a few weeks back, started seeing a decline.

The restaurant owner saw that the complaints and feedbacks, all was about the taste, he spoke to the Manager and fired Alex.

This is a real time scenario and happens with individuals in organizations.

We can talk about how the Owner was at fault and mistakes that he made, How the Manager should have been open to take Alex’s feedback and sympathize with Alex for there was no fault of his.

And this is an appropriate analysis. But it allows for people like Alex to become victims of such situations.

What do we mean by being a Victim?

“a person who has come to feel helpless and passive in the face of misfortune or ill-treatment.”

When does this happen?

There are a few behaviors that allow this to happen:

1) Low self confidence – one feel’s low of self, not capable to handling a situation

2) One dimensional thinking – thinking that there is only 1 particular way of handling the scenario

3) What do I do? – Limiting themselves to think that they cannot do anything about it

All the above behaviors demonstrate on how an individual thinks low of himself and allows inaction as justification.

Being an HR professional, that’s the toughest part you will have to handle.

You may be wearing different hats of being a HR Business Partner, Talent Management or Talent Acquisition. The way you identify the traits of Ownership by the professional will be the key deciding factor.

Let us explore the above scenario and see what else could have Alex done:

1) Spoke to boss about the business impact rather than sounding like a complaint box about the manager

2) Made 2 sample juices with both the varieties of mangoes – made the owner & manager taste it and feel the difference

3) Created a customer survey with different samples and taken feedbacks and gone back to the manager and owner

4) Get the earlier vendor to meet the manager and see what negotiations can be done to improve margins

5) Look at what other possibilities existed to reduce costs and share those with the bosses

And the list goes on.

As a professional, you will need to bring this thinking to your profession, own what you do and get the people to own their roles.

Disputes, conflicts, complaints will be there and will need to be handled diligently. Just ensure that you are not doing that by letting people be victims and using you as a shield.

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