DEVELOPING MORAL FIBRE
Most corporates have complained that the candidates they interviewed did not have the soft skills such as communication or emotional intelligence that would fit in their corporate structure. - By Ahmed Kamal Khusro
his is exam time for students who are appearing for their board examinations. Every time there is some glitch in the papers for students. Sometimes students get the wrong paper or they are given the wrong centre. This adds to their worries. They are already under pressure of studying for exams. Running around with hall tickets that do not have their correct names or photos or running from one centre to another, piles up the pressure on them. Now we must make this point clear that the benchmark
41 EASTERN CRESCENT | APRIL 2014
for toppers who are desirous of admission to courses of their choice has risen and sometimes even with 96 per cent marks they are not able to make it. There is a race for securing higher marks, and this is the Holy Grail for most of them. There is no research study, as far as I know, of students who are toppers as to how they fare, after some years, in their professional careers. Many a time we learn of late bloomers who may not have performed well in their board exams but they went to become distinguished in their chosen fields.
STAIRWAYS One such known person who made it later in life was Albert Einstein, Nobel laureate, who worked as a government servant in the patents office in Germany. It was only later that he framed his general theory of relativity and special theory of relativity which established his position as the foremost scientist of his age, purely by the grace of Allah. There are several other instances of professionals such as Khorana, the geneticist, who made his mark some decades ago, in America. These big names did not do well in their board exams but they developed their ability later, and those toppers who were their batch mates remained unknown in their professional lives. This is not to decry the race for securing high marks in exams. Parents, teachers and others who are close to the students carry the load of expectations for their wards. They do not realize that a high cut-off percentage does not always bring in the trove of goodies for the students. What is required is developing their mental skills and grooming them to enter higher education with the requisite skills that will spell success in their professional careers. Most corporates have complained that the candidates they interviewed did not have the either the academic skills or the soft skills such as communication or emotional intelligence that would fit in their corporate structure. It may be that they are good in theory, but problem solving, strategizing
and linking up their academic ability with the goals of the organization were missing in most of the cases. One aspect of their professional standing is the ability they bring to the table. It means their ability to contribute meaningfully to the growth of the organization they are working for. This can be termed as the ability to match both short-term goals and long-term goals. Here we must make it clear that â€œThe end does not always justify the means.â€? To match ends and means meaningfully requires moral caliber, sadly missing in a great proportion of the professionals, working for the corporate or public sector. This is because they do not have the moral intelligence to distinguish between ends and means. They may have high goals, for themselves, the organization or for the cultural or social groups they belong to. However, the means are equally important. Using underhand means to achieve high ends, however noble, do not qualify them to be men of character and moral fibre. Good ends must be justified by good means. For example if their company is facing tough competition in the market, they must not use unsavoury means to undercut and silence their opponents. In a democratic system, equal opportunities should be available to all to compete in the marketplace. If a soap manufacturing company of a
Corporate houses must groom them not only on their professional skills but also encourage them to encourage the qualities of honesty, moral decency, cooperation, and regard for others, despite cultural and religious differences.
42 EASTERN CRESCENT | APRIL 2014
STAIRWAYS leading brand buys up all the raw materials at higher prices, gives unethical incentives to its distributors to drive the newcomers out of the market, it cannot be justified. If they form cartels to jack up prices or use monopolistic schemes to corner the largest share of the market, it is wrong. They may win in the short term, but the future may not be very bright for such companies and those who work for them. Corporate houses must incentivize those employees who are with them for the long haul. They must groom them not only on their professional skills but also encourage them to encourage the qualities of honesty, moral decency, cooperation, and regard for others, despite cultural and religious differences. It so happens sometimes that a person may have good skills and have hands-on experience for the job, but he does not interpersonal skills. He may be jealous of others in the workplace over personal matters—and this may interfere with his work and in his cooperation with others. If the manager’s job is to mentor the younger employees, it is also his duty to improve the moral character of those working under him, for bad traits harm the company and the employees themselves in the end. I am an office bearer of the society where I live. We have a few workers, such as sweeper, gardener, and plumber and so on. On the insistence of some of them, their salary was raised. Nevertheless, it struck me much later that the salary was not raised uniformly for all. One person was left out. So
I insisted on the other members of the managing committee that when the time for the second raise came up, that those left out must be paid and kept on the same level, otherwise it would go against the principle of justice. In a company a boss may favour a few over others, owing to various reasons, but when it comes to payment, the raising of salaries must be on a par for all the employees. It must not happen, as in some companies, that the MD’s secretary gets a higher salary than the departmental head below him, just because he is close to the boss. This is among common human failings against which we must be on guard. We like and favour someone for personal reasons, but when it comes to salary, words of advice or encouragement, all must be treated on an equal level. This is because some words of praise act as a spur to the employees to give their best to the organization. Some managers are very quick in apportioning blame but very miserly with regard to words of encouragement and praise. Another common failing is to expect others to cooperate with you with love and respect. However, they themselves do not accord the same respect to others. So one important rule is not to expect from others what you do not show in dealings with others. Behaving decently with others despite personal, religious or cultural differences—is a great challenge. Nevertheless, we must rise to the occasion and do not show any bias in our dealings or allow our judgment to be clouded by prejudice, just because of some past bickering or happenings. This brings me to next important point: do not be judgmental of others on two or three instances, because really we are not aware of the personal compulsions that make even good persons behave angrily or injudiciously. Only Almighty Allah has the full record of a person’s character from the birth until the time of his death and we must remember the French saying that “To know all is to forgive all.”
Behaving decently with others despite personal, religious or cultural differences - is a great challenge. 43 EASTERN CRESCENT | APRIL 2014
To be forgiving of others is the mark of persons of character, and we must try, even modestly, to be so for as the poet has said: To err is human To forgive divine.