Oasis of Learning

Co-Creating More Purpose and Joy

A Leadership Lesson

The year was 2002 and I used to work in a BPO as a process associate. We used to get subsidised coupons for coffee at Barista at the office canteen. One day, there was an hour for my shift to get over so I thought of taking my last break and sip a cup of hot chocolate at my work station. As I reached my work station I don’t know what happened; my hand sipped and I ended up spilling coffee all over. My key board was all covered in hot chocolate. I got scared and thought that my boss would come and yell at me. I immediately called up IT for a replacement key board and then informed my boss about it. He didn’t say anything to me. The next day he came to our bay and told everyone to take a huddle break. He announced that he was running a ‘Best Bay’ contest and after a month the cleanest and most decorated bay would get a prize. He appointed me as the bay manager and gave me 200 rupees. He told me, “Atul, I trust you with this responsibility and I know you won’t let me down”. The next day I got some posters and balloons and decorated the bay. I also put some ‘keep your workstation clean’ handouts at each team members display board. After a month the results were announced and our bay won the prize. He came over to me and patted my back. He handed over a coffee mug to me and said, “For you to drink hot chocolate. Now, I can trust you that you won’t spill” with a smile on his face.

This leadership behaviour of my boss stayed stamped in my mind. I learnt that if we give people opportunities to contribute then generally people do well. I also learnt that in case I make mistakes then I can correct them.

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