Subtle Matters – Changing the Game

Over the period of time, he had started noticing people around him behaving in a cautious manner with him. They were either agreeing to whatever he said or were expressing their disagreement in a soft and cautious tone. Many people had started limiting their interaction with him to just greetings and smiles, without engaging into any discussion. Mohan was quick to catch these signals and understood that he had got some introspection to do.

He decided to carefully observe his own interactions with people: including his students, his junior and senior colleagues, his subordinates, and others. Over the period, he was able to identify some important patterns in his interactions with people. He found that he was very approachable and light-hearted when he was interacting with people junior to him, especially his students. His demeanor was able to immediately make the person comfortable to enable an open discussion. When he interacted with his seniors, he was either too overawed with respect, which often made him reticent, or he was too forthcoming in expressing his disagreements, at times making the situation uncomfortable. Even when interacting with some of his peers, he would, at times, tend to suppress their views by forcefully expressing himself.

He realized that when interacting with people with whom he felt secure, he was unconsciously trying to make them feel comfortable. When interacting with seniors, he either felt being less than them, which made him reticent; or felt like challenging their positions, which made him unconsciously confront them. He tended to suppress the peers unconsciously as he felt insecure in his position with them. Having known this, he decided to be more careful to control himself going forward. He observed some improvements at times, but still at numerous occasions his subconscious mind was able to overpower him. He was aware of this, but did not have any better tools or mechanism to deal with these tendencies.

As the time past and he felt increasingly comfortable in his role, he witnessed that the number of people who he was challenging was increasing. He was getting negative vibes from people around him consequently. Gradually, his behavior even towards students was becoming overbearing, especially for those students who were non-serious about their work.

On one occasion, he was on the duty of an invigilator in an examination hall. When the last bell rang indicating the end of the exam hour, he started collecting the exam sheets from the students. One student continued writing in the exam hall even after the bell. When Mohan tried to take his sheet, he requested for another minute. Mohan began collecting sheets of other students and in a couple of minutes again tried to take the sheet of this student. He continued writing ignoring Mohan. This made Mohan instinctively react. Mohan not only snatched his sheet, but also crossed the last page written by him with a pen. After the duty, Mohan narrated this incident to his colleagues with pride, but later, he realized that neither the students nor other teachers liked his behavior.

Inherently, he had started to feel uncomfortable in this environment now. Being a teacher of some repute in this young age was getting over to Mohan’s head. He had decided to move on from this place. Not only this, he wanted to change over to some other profession. He decided to pursue management education and got an admission to a B-school. When he quit the job, he realized at his farewell that despite his somewhat overbearing attitude, lot of people liked and respected him.


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