Respect for subordinates’ time — a rarity

A few days ago, on the festival day of Ganesh Chaturthi, I went to an aunt’s place to lunch. (OK, ‘aunt’ in the Indian sense — it’s a simplified way to describe my cousin’s parents-in-law, with whom we’re good friends.)
As we were leaving, she asked us, “So, when do we see you again? Oh, at Diwali, I guess — at Sheela’s place [Sheela is another ‘aunt’]. But that is so tiring — it’s far off, and that party is always at night. Uncle finds it strenuous to drive all the way there and back.”

I was surprised at the comment. This couple lives in a sprawling house (about 6000 square feet); they have been running a successful industry for about 20 years now — and, of course, they have a chauffeur. So I immediately asked her, “Why, isn’t your driver…?”

I will never forget her response. She said, “Yes, we do have a driver. But we don’t want to ruin his Diwali — isn’t he human too? Just because we pay him a salary and overtime, it doesn’t mean we treat him like a slave — he too has a family and a life. In fact, we typically do not call him any Sunday either — Uncle and I manage.”
I told her how much I appreciated her attitude. She said, “In fact, in the last twenty years, we have had very little attrition at our factory. We treat our workers and managers the same way. People should enjoy their life in order to give their best at work.”
I wonder how many bosses (esp. proprietors of their own businesses) behave the same way. I guess most bosses have a problem understanding that the best work is produced by people with passion, not those who are being forced to dish out something.

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