Know leader is no leader….a HR message

Are we simply trying to know things around us or we are also rigorously trying to understand them as well? Is there any difference between the two? Nature offers a wonderful example to us to understand the above.

All animals in general, whether it is predator or prey animal like lion, tiger, cheetah or hyena or zebra, deer or buffalo, all these animals use their nose the most to know the danger or prey. The moment the prey animal sniffs the presence of predator and vice versa, they waste no time to move to a safe place or strategize to hunt. Smelling the danger is much faster than seeing them and that is why most of the mammals have very powerful faculty of olfaction.

The inner management message must be understood clearly by the corporate people. When one engage seriously in just knowing and all their subsequent actions will be nothing but reactions and as a result of the above, understanding would slowly disappear.

The prey animals cannot waste their time and effort in understanding whether it is tiger or lion, adult animal or sub adult, they come as pride or single etc.   Predator means danger to their life and hence they cannot take any chance therefore they stop with just knowing about the predator presence.

This is true for predatory animals also. When they sniff a prey, whether it is calf or an adult animal, whether it is deer or zebra, there is no scope for such analysis. They have to be smart, swift and silent in hunting them and only then they have their meal, whether you call it, breakfast or lunch or dinner.

In corporate life also, most people just stop with knowing than understanding. They know and feel proud with what they know. For them knowing and understanding are one and the same. The bosses interestingly know many things naturally due to their role, exposure and responsibility. But most people think that knowing means knowledge and therefore their bosses are very knowledgeable.   The debate is not about whether the bosses are knowledgeable or not.

If people just stop with knowing, they must know the truth that they remain as what they are despite knowing. Because knowing and knowledge always occupy a static space as knowledge gives birth only to reactions and not actions. Actions come only from understanding. Understanding come from knowing and from understanding, improvement, interpretation, reasoning etc., comes.

Most of the animals are as intelligent as man but still they remain as animal largely because they stop with just knowing things around them than understanding.   Therefore their life is dominantly filled with reactions than actions.

The message to be understood by corporate people is that whether they also stop with just knowing or they go to an extent of understanding things also. If we look at the life of people in corporate as whether they are reaction centric or action centric, we can easily map their leadership style. Many people do not explore the opportunities elsewhere and love to remain in the same organization as frog in the same well.

If one has understood things around them, automatically they look for options and opportunities and never get engaged in an array of reactions to deal adversities and limitations. People who engaged in sycophancy, camouflage, predator-ism and create lot of quarrels in corporate are doing so only due to the above fact.

The point is that never get lost or get confused with people who just know many things but look for people who have also understood many things. Understanding will make one to become ‘human’ otherwise one has to remain as reaction centric. Introspect, are you the former or the later.

Dr S Ranganathan, ClinRise Derma Pvt., Ltd., Chennai

Desire, Dream and Destination – Social Entrepreneur Forum

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