Employee - Character & Conduct

Anbarivu thEttram avaavinmai innaankum

nangudaiyaan kattey theLivu –

Thirukkural 513

Select the person who possesses the four virtues viz. love, knowledge, skill  and avarice-free.


Introduction: There are several careers one may choose from or which are thrust upon. Certain qualities and abilities are needed to fair well in a particular role. But there are a few basic traits and attributes which form the foundation to any calling or career.

High moral standards, work ethics & character, in the workplace and elsewhere while dealing with others: The world is not an arena of conflict, a never ending fight between the weak and the powerful but is to be a harmonious and peaceful co-existence. Each class [Employer, Employee]  is assured of its living space – a life which is mutually beneficial.  Both the classes are equally  important and both are indispensable for the peaceful and prosperous living of the other.  None of the calling is inferior – it is true that the brain is the most important part controlling the activities of the whole body and if the brain is dead, a person is considered as dead.  But the heart is as much important to enliven the brain itself.  The brain could think only by the power provided by the heart – such is the factual inter-dependence of the employer and the employee. If something is lacking with the one, the other should respond sympathetically, tolerate, and even go to the extent of forgiving.


Mental & Physical Health: Every employer likes to select a healthy person.  State of mental health is much more important than physical health because it is said that most of the physical ailments are due to the mental ill-health.  Mental health is otherwise known as character and disposition.  The body requires daily exercise for physical well being; the mental exercise should be for every moment we are awake.  Every action of us needs to be guided by our good dispositions and character. 

 With regard to physical health, it is ensured by normal food in time, active work, and the required amount of rest and sleep.  Those who make their work enjoyable, and take care to fulfil their responsibility to their family and the society, rarely look for other entertainments to make them happy or to kill time. One who wants to be really happy need to say an emphatic ‘NO’ to Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic substances, intoxicants and tobacco.  The warnings printed on the packets really mean what it says – injurious to health and destroys the family.  If you want to have a happy family life, please stay away from these.  The following anecdote would show that one can completely avoid even social drink and to get through his business more successfully.

Bush doesn't drink alcohol: Indian PM Vajpayee - http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/921931/posts

The Times of India ^ | June 02 2003 | IANS Posted on 6/3/2003 3:41:02 AM by knighthawk

“LAUSANNE: US President George W Bush has not sipped liquor for the past 16 years. This interesting nugget was disclosed by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee at a press conference here Monday.

"How many of us know that Bush does not drink liquor?" he asked in a lighter vein, relating anecdotes about his three-nation European tour during which he interacted with several world leaders.

Vajpayee said when the toast was raised at a dinner table Saturday night in the Russian city of St Petersburg, he was surprised to see that the US president's glass was filled with water.

"Don't you drink?" an inquisitive Vajpayee asked Bush, who was seated next to him.

"In response, Bush told me that he gave up liquor 16 years ago."

Vajpayee went on to ask the US president what he was drinking. "Water," came the reply.

Attendance & Punctuality: Attendance is the ‘A’ word in any office or factory setting.  Marking the attendance is the first ever work one does while entering into an office or factory.  Attendance is to present yourself at the workplace saying ‘ready to work’.  The Information Technology has made it possible to verify at what time a person has entered for work.  In this regard, office hours [or shift] should mean ‘working hours’.  So, it is not enough you sign in the attendance in time, but you should be doing the work sincerely to the best of your ability in the entire ‘working hours.’  If you come late by  10 minutes, why not you make up the time by staying back even 15 minutes to complete your day’s work before leaving.

Assigning work among subordinates: If you are a supervisor / employer, assign work among the subordinates / employees in writing providing the minute possible details.  This would help the subordinates / employees to understand what is expected of them.  The immediate superior need to personally know the strengths and weakness of each employee and assign work accordingly.   So there need to be at least one supervisor for every 6 employees. Thirukkural says ithanai ivankan vidal ...

Character & Conduct: Conduct is the best proof of character.

One night a clergyman was walking to church when a thief pulled a gun on him and demanded his money or his life. When he reached in his pocket to hand over his wallet, the robber saw his clerical collar and said: “I see you are a priest. Never mind, you can go.” The clergyman, surprised by the robber’s unexpected act of piety, offered him a candy bar. The robber said, “No thank you. I don’t eat candy during Lent.”

The man had given up candy as a supposed sacrifice for Lent, but his lifestyle of stealing showed his real character! According to the writer of Proverbs, conduct is the best indicator of character. If someone says he is a godly person, his words can only be proven by consistent actions. – By Our Deeds - February 6, 2013 — by Marvin Williams – Daily Bread – Annual Edition 2013

                                        We demonstrate our love for our nation by what we do, not just by what we say.                                                 May our devotion to our country, be revealed in our actions today.

Caring about seeing the organisation succeed: Great organizations are made up of people who took their job seriously, and always work to be the best they can.

In-depth Knowledge of work assigned: Daily or at least during week-ends one must read materials related to his  job and to refresh and keep abreast with the latest development around the globe relevant in the area of work. This would equip a person whether employer or employee to hone his leadership qualities, management qualities, initiative and planning, capability, decision making ability, written and oral communication skills, and interpersonal relations.

In government service an employee’s  performance is appraised based on his knowledge of Rules, Codes, Manuals, Instructions and Procedures etc., attention to details, sense of Judgement , ability in noting & drafting, promptness in disposal of work, control & management of staff and relationship with colleagues and public.  A supervisory officer is expected to improve performance of the subordinates in their present job and to assess their potentialities and to prepare them for the jobs suitable to their personality.

Work-place challenges: 

“Fame comes to those who dare to take up challenges and brave the opportunities.                                             It's time once again to reach new heights.”

          Sometimes you go through testing times – unjustified heavy work load, bad-mouthed and tough task-master supervisor or boss, criticism from veterans, your good work goes unnoticed or unrecognized or unrewarded suitably.   Make this adversity as an opportunity.  You will know as to how far you can reach and you would dare to attempt still difficult ventures. These situations are the time when your real character or disposition would be revealed.  If you are a supervisor or boss, take care not to behave like that, else your competitor would see the strength of your employee before you do, and your main job will become searching for employees and you will be left with inexperienced hands to fend for yourself.  Good employers know to protect new employees by surrounding them with mentors willing to shield them from unnecessary barbs.  If you are an employee, though it is difficult but not impossible, try to do the work without any murmur putting in a bit more effort.  Challenges create capacity to hand it and improve one’s potential.  Yes, the servitude should not cross the limit to be branded as ‘forced labour’ which the government prohibits.  By the time the employee feels enough is enough and about to calls ‘quit’, either his merit would be known to the competitor of his boss or his own boss would elevate him.

False Accusations –Caution / Precautions to be taken: 

“Great Triumphs are born out of great troubles.” 

The work may be difficult or the boss may be a tough task master.  Try to do your best. Even  if the situation doesn't change, you would certainly see that you have improved a lot more than what you would have grown otherwise by that time.  Over a time, you would win over your boss or you would be picked up by another employer or you might become an employer yourself having learnt to do the job very well. 

Consider: If your boss treats you bad, the first thing you have to do is to determine that ‘If I were to rise up to his position, I won’t do like this to anybody under any circumstance or situation’. When you get elevated to his position, you would be the fittest person – sans his shortcomings. 

There is a certain amount of evil lingering around and so no righteous person is spared. A person – employer or employee should expect unprovoked hurt  if he tries to play a fair game --  does his work in a fair and righteous manner. The adversary may try to spoil your career or even to try to physically harm you.  You should always be ready to tackle such a situation  in a lawful manner.  First of all, you should understand that such troubles are a direct ticket to your elevation. In history, seldom a righteous person could be suppressed for long.  [Yes! except on rarest of rare occasion for the fulfilment of his opponent’s fall & destruction.]     The one who gives you trouble and makes a false report to the boss or your immediate superior, unwittingly makes you to be noticed by the boss.  You should know the escape route, the lawful recourse for any such problem and have it handy.

Oral response demanded in workplace: Before making a commitment to your boss, consider the ground realities. Then you will not disappoint him / or cause financial or goodwill loss. In his old age, Abraham  a rich man in his advanced age, while living in a foreign land said to his steward “Go to my homeland, to my relatives, and find a wife there for my son Isaac” and asked him to swear to abide by the conditions set forth.  But the steward was wise enough to consent only after his doubts and apprehensions were cleared.

Oral response is demanded mostly in a factory setting.  One may be asked to say whether a particular job could be completed within a specified time.  Though it might appear that the response should be immediate, it would be advisable to ponder over at least for a few moments to make sure whether it would be possible to complete the job with the available men, material and machines. 

Willingness to accept responsibilities: 

"Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings"

Any employer would place in high esteem an employee who accepts responsibilities.  Any boss or employer in office or factory setting may need a person who readily accepts responsibilities.  Such need arises when an employee leaves or incapacitated or due an emergent requirement.  The employer, who assigns new responsibilities when in exigencies, will also be happy to give higher position to you when a vacancy arises.

Goal setting and Attitude: In work related matters, what drives your goal setting?  What do you want to be? What dictates the choices you will make every day?  These internal questions may be worth answering first, before you set goals. What’s on the inside matters.

Attitude counts more than anything. How do you respond to an opportunity – whether you exploit the situation to satisfy your selfish goals and ambitions?  Giving what one needs is good. Forgiving a mistake is better. Forgiving and forgetting the mistake is the best attitude.

Conscientiousness: The quality of being in accord with the dictates of conscience. It is the trait of being painstaking and  being careful.

Commitment: Evaluate your commitment by asking these questions - "Whether I am able to discharge the duties of my calling satisfactorily? Whether I am intelligent, able, conscientious, hard-working and quick? Whether I am regular and punctual in my work?   Whether I am  able to effectively supervise the work of those under my charge and maintain discipline? Whether my relationship with my subordinates is satisfactory? Whether I am accessible, to hear and deal with complaints properly? And whether I am courteous in my behaviour?"

Submitting to Authority, rules and regulations / Implicit Obedience: – Don’t question the wisdom of your boss. 

An anecdote: 300 persons were selected to go to the war front against a huge army.  Unusually, they were asked to carry a trumpet on one hand and a torch hidden in earthen pot in the other hand.  The soldiers are to go in the dark night, shout a war cry, break the pot and blow the trumpet holding the burning torch openly. And the most important command is to stay unmoved – stand still on the same spot.  The enemy camp flabbergasted, fought within them and the war ended in victory.  Those who are placed on high in the ladder of the hierarchy, see more than those who are at the lower levels of the ladder.

We learn: If the boss is assigned with the task of planning the strategy, and you are to execute it, don’t demand him to justify the wisdom of his strategy.  You may or may not understand.  Moreover, it is not your cup of tea in the position you are placed.   There are a few exceptions. Can you think and identify such situations?

Exceptions: In factory setting, where normally oral orders are given, and you find they are bad or unimplementable, you can’t argue with the boss in open but be patient, go to his chamber and politely express your apprehension and present your point of view.  This can be done only where the execution of the instructions can be delayed.

Written law is more authentic to be obeyed compared to the oral instruction from a lower authority.  But in the field or in factory setting, oral orders are in vogue in many situations.    

When an illegal or wrong oral order is given in office setting, you have the responsibility to guide your boss.  But don’t verbally argue with him across the table.  Take time, confirm once again what you thought to be correct is factually so, think about the right solution and reduce it in writing and present it to the boss placing in the respective file.   He will not only get corrected but also will appreciate you. 

Working without supervision: – But your good work is noticed. 

In the above anecdote, the warriors were led to a pond and allowed to drink.  Only 300 persons out of 10,000 were selected, who were found drinking as a normal human being  i.e. those who cup water in their hands and drank. [Others knelt down and knelt down and drank with their mouths in the stream as animals do]

Dependability or trustworthy would also mean that once a job is entrusted, you don’t need a supervisor to oversee you and the boss can be at peace knowing that you would in time complete the work.  If there be any difficulty, the boss would be approached for solution so that the work could be completed on time.

Not expecting to become a supervisor in the first six months: There is a story that a variety of bamboo takes nearly five years to sprout its first shoot but very quickly it grows to a height of 100 feet. Assurance of promotion is seldom given on appointment.  You climb the ladder by your commitment, skills and resultant success of the organization you work for. 

Avoid self condemning words: One should control his tongue in order not to utter self-condemning words, no matter whether he is the employer or an employee.  

Essentials Qualities of a Team Player: Successful teams turn out better results when everyone on the team shares the same vision, work ethic, and commitment to one another. Most team members make the teamwork process easier, more enjoyable, and rewarding and a few make the team process harder than it has to be. Your role as team members and team leaders requires that you engage with difficult team members.

Disagreements, from time to time, are inevitable. Left unresolved, these disagreements and conflicts can waste enormous amounts of your time and productivity. Many people actively try to avoid disagreements to maintain a peaceful and cooperative environment. Yet, you can gain so much from people who have different opinions, if you can learn to view these situations as learning opportunities and deal with them in an agreeable and professional way. In fact, successfully resolving disagreements and issues with work associates or in your personal life ultimately results in greater mutual respect and a more positive relationship.

Many people seek to avoid difficult people because confronting the person or situation can be exhausting and emotionally draining. Yet, avoiding these people or situations can be worse. Unresolved conflicts and miscommunications waste enormous amounts of time and energy, can destroy morale. So try to work more effectively with difficult people and thereby gain their cooperation and change behaviour without creating resentment.