Solved Ethics Papers

Q12. Dealing with a Difficult Boss in Government

Question
Pawan is working as an officer in the State Government for the last ten years. As a part of the routine transfer, he was posted to another department. He joined a new office along with five other colleagues. The head of the office was a senior officer conversant with the functioning of the office. As a part of general inquiry, Pawan gathered that his senior officer carries the reputation of being a difficult and insensitive person having his own disturbed family life. Initially, all seem to go well. However, after some time Pawan felt that the senior officer was belittling him and at times unreasonable. Whatever suggestions given or views expressed by Pawan in the meetings were summarily rejected and the senior officer would express displeasure in the presence of others. It became a pattern of the boss’s style of functioning to show him in bad light highlighting his shortcomings and humiliating him publicly. It became apparent that though there are no serious work-related problems/shortcomings, the senior officer was always on one pretext or the other and would scold and shout at him. The continuous harassment and public criticism of Pawan resulted in the loss of confidence, self-esteem and equanimity. Pawan realised that his relations with his senior officer are becoming more toxic and due to this, he perpetually tensed, anxious and stressed. His mind was occupied with negativity and caused him mental torture, anguish and agony. Eventually, it badly affected his personal and family life. He was no longer joyous, happy and contented even at home. Rather without any reason, he would lose his temper with his wife and other family members. The family environment was no longer pleasant and congenial. His wife who was always supportive of him also became a victim of his negativity and hostile behaviour. Due to harassment and humiliation suffering by him in the office, comfort and happiness virtually vanished from his life. Thus, it damaged his physical and mental health.
 
a) What are the options available with Pawan to cope up with the situation?
b) What approach Pawan should adopt for bringing, peace, tranquillity and a congenial environment in the office and home?
c) As an outsider, what are your suggestions for both boss and subordinate to overcome this situation and for improving the work performance, mental and emotional hygiene?
d) In the above scenario, what type of training would you suggest for officers at various levels in the government offices? (Answer in 250 words)
 
Answer
(a) A government officer has to deal with different types of bosses during his career. It is evident that Pawan is passing through a difficult time, and he must maintain his cool and make the most rational decision under these circumstances. The options available with Pawan are as follows, 
 
i.Learn to live with the situation and suffer the pain of the misbehaviour of the senior officer.
ii.Proceed on leave
iii.Resign from the job
iv.Make an official complaint against the senior officer to a higher officer.
v.Understand the mind of the senior officer and improve the quality of his work to meet and exceed his expectations.
 
(b) It is wrong to assume that only the senior officer is at fault. Sometimes, the boss reprimands the subordinate due to the poor quality of his work. Hence, Pawan must understand his superior’s mind, work harder and improve the quality of his work so that he can meet the expectation of his superior. He must also discuss and share his problems with his family and friends to reduce his emotional pain and get some constructive suggestions. 
 
(c) I will advise the boss and subordinate to understand each other. I will advise the boss to be patient with the staff. I will also advise the subordinates to work harder and focus on performing their jobs better. I will also advise the boss to emotionally connect with the subordinates by calling for family gatherings where all officials can interact informally and develop emotional bonding.
 
(d) I will suggest training on stress management, yoga, meditations, Art of Living etc., to reduce stress and create a pleasant atmosphere in the office. (278 words) 
 
Q12. Dealing with a Difficult Boss in Government
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