Posted in Human Resources Articles, Total Reads: 3348
, Published on 07 May 2013
“Dreams are just illustrations from the book that your soul has been writing for so long”
Every one has a dream in life. Chasing the dream calls for a high level of persistence. The journey to your dream and through your dream teaches you a lot of things. There are very few dreams in which one can enjoy both these journeys together. Mine was one such dream that I had nurtured from school days but never got an opportunity to live it till my college life- NATIONAL CADET CORPS!
The defence is one of the most human capital intensive sectors. It involves every function of the HR system-recruitment, training, performance management, rewards and recognitions. While the corporate is now moving towards Strategic Human Resource Management (SHRM), it can be observed that the defence has been a pioneer in this and every action they take is aligned with the vision of NCC of developing courageous youth for the country. NCC teaches a lot of management lessons through experience, provided one relishes the one of a kind experience it provides. It shapes and defines your mindset.
The tenure in NCC puts in front of you lots of challenges that you would have never faced before in life. For e.g. sailing, kayaking, firing, trekking etc. When you pass every task successfully, it builds up a lot of confidence in you and reveals to you a new dimension of yourself. However, there is a difference-most of the times, these pop in front of you like a surprise! I still remember my first sailing experience at the Chennai Port. All that we were asked previously was how many of us knew swimming. I never had any idea that the moment after raising my hand, I would be handed over a life jacket and made to sit in a sailing boat and handle it all by myself. Shifting sides so as not to capsize, handling the control, focusing on the mast-those twenty minutes, trust me, was like handling the Titanic to each one of us!!
The main point to be noted here is the attitude with which this has to be handled. Each one of us was sceptical about handling the challenge, but none of us let the natural fear affect our actions. Had there been a shiver and tension, chances are high that we lose our focus, letting the boat capsize. Once you enter the corporate world- be it being employed somewhere or your own venture, the challenges awaiting you increase with your career growth. The right approach to these challenges is highly important to keep moving up in the ladder. Handling the challenge with a calm and confident mind is what the need of the hour is.
LEADERSHIP BY PRACTICE:
NCC is a very great platform to showcase and develop your leadership skills. A leader in NCC is invariably a role model to everyone else. The way they talk, walk, dress, conduct themselves in the platoon, execute commands and take decisions are watched closely and are supposed to inspire others. A leader must never give a chance to deviate from the code of conduct, have self-control as well as control over the entire platoon and alertness to lead everyone. In this context I would like to share one incident about my senior whom I regard as my role model in NCC till date.
This happened in my first technical camp during my first year in NCC. It’s a hard and fast rule that one must never laugh while inside a platoon, however humorous the situation maybe. Once it so happened that a hilarious incident happened that even platoon leader started laughing and we, juniors joined. Though that rule-break could be excused if looked from a humanitarian perspective, she knew that such an excuse would lead to a lax in the standards. When all of us received punishment for the breach of conduct, the act of my senior taking off her beret and joining us in the punishment for losing her control was what every leader must learn and follow. Even four years after coming out of NCC, that day still remains etched in my memories. She was the senior I always looked upon more than my cadet captain. She was the one behind every credit I gained later. In short, the inspiration I drew from her made me a leader whom my juniors would look upon with pride and respect.
In an organisation, whether you are leading as a top management or your own team, remember one thing that you are always watched by your seniors and juniors equally. It is highly essential to practice what you preach. An example set by a leader, be it good or bad impacts the entire culture of the organization to a great extent.
SENIORS- YOUR BEST GUIDE:
Apart from leadership I would like to emphasise one more thought here. The same senior was the one under whom I never wanted to work due to her rigid leadership. I am pretty sure that many of us would have experienced the pressures our seniors would have imposed on us during the initial days of MBA life. The same can happen in the workplace too. Due to additional pressures that they impart, many of us tend to hate them. However, as it is said, ‘It is always tough to get into and out of a system’. The initial pressures are only aimed at preparing us for the worst conditions we might face during the course so as to avoid the struggles later. Hence, establish very good relationships with your seniors, be it at your workplace or institute, as you can never get anyone better to guide you.
TRAINING- KNOW THE GROUND REALITIES OF YOUR TEAM:
The NCC training camps are platforms where battalions from various cultures, background, strata of the society come together for training and compete against each other as well. It is a different experience of training your opponent rather than your own junior. It helps in broadening your mindset, think beyond your institute and fulfil the responsibility. The team which I was assigned for the training purpose was a team of girls who were from a remote village in TamilNadu. Now, this was an entirely different batch from what I had been handling for the past one year in my own college. One can never tell that they were college girls as they were highly undernourished due to poverty. They had very little English knowledge and almost nil in Hindi. Due to lack of proper training facilities, these cadets, unlike us had no regular training and were trained only in the camps. This meant that I had to completely change the training strategy, spend extra hours training them and make them at par with other cadets in the same time span of 9 days that all of us received.
However, their thirst for learning was amazing. We spent nights together, sitting in the corridor, making banners while they took turn and practised the drills one by one. Our bonding grew more than as a trainer-trainee. They shared the grim realities faced by those in poverty. For six days I hardly slept for more than an hour, still ensuring that they receive their rest as the whole training was new to them and should not affect their health.
THE TENTH DAY- we received the fruits for all the hard work we had put in the previous days. The lesson learnt was how important understanding your team is to execute the task successfully. Had I set high standards of rigidity for them too, they would have got scared and never learnt anything. This can be rightly called as ‘needs assessment’ in HR terminology. Until this is done properly, any training programme would fail.
As a testing time, I developed a spinal cord problem during my second year and was strictly advised to quit NCC. Though the gravity was high, I could not leave my dream mid-way, when only few more months were left to complete my tenure. Due to past credentials, the management let me take rest for a while and join again. After a few days of treatment, I was back again to the uniform life. It is usually necessary to maintain a certain level of attendance to write the C-certificate exam. Having been a top performer throughout, the management took care of everything.
Whether you are a HR or want to make yours an employee-friendly organization, remember this-‘People take up a job for higher pay, but leave it for lesser recognition’. Hence, it is necessary to understand the needs of the employees and support them as much as possible.
It is highly impossible to elucidate the plethora of learnings that NCC offers in 1500 words. With the satisfaction of having highlighted the main ones, I salute to all those who have been a part of it and for those who haven’t, encourage your future generation to experience it. JAI HIND!!
This article has been authored by Dharini P from Lal Bahadur Shastri Institute of Management.
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