Sunday, November 23, 2003

Dealing with depression and difficult people 
Randeep Wadehra

Managing Difficult People
by Karen Mannering. UBSPD, New Delhi.
Pages 127. Rs 125.

Managing Difficult PeopleHuman factor has always been a crucial input in organisational functions, especially commercial ones. No matter how technologically advanced a society becomes, human beings – with all their failings and foibles – remain sine qua non for its gainful existence. Therefore, whether it is a workplace, a household or any other public or private setup, it is imperative to be able to get along with others. And, getting along with others is not always easy. As the author points out in this book, more often than not one encounters difficult people who invariably need careful and skilled handling.

As a team leader it is important for one to understand difficult people. In order to deal with such people it is worthwhile to know the reasons underlying their behaviour. The explanation could well be in the form of personal or circumstantial factors. One reason may be the “shrinking” of the world, bringing different cultures in close contact, leading to cultural clash and troublesome behaviour among those who can’t adapt to the changing socio-cultural environment. Mannering enumerates the factors accentuating exasperating behaviuor as cultural, geographical, personality and situational differences. She then goes on to provide case studies, tips on how to prepare oneself to meet difficult people, handle unpleasant situations at work, and deal with difficult customers, colleagues, staff, bosses and teams. This book provides information in a comprehensible manner on how to succeed in managing people.

Make Your Mission Statement Work
by Marianne Talbot. UBSPD. Pages 126. Rs 125.

Make Your Mission Statement WorkAn organisation is like a living entity. It has, or ought to have, a distinct character with its own value system that enables it to carve a niche in the socio-economic space. Like any organism, its health depends upon the inputs it receives. And these inputs can range from the quality of labour to managerial skills and work culture to corporate philosophy. Moreover, like any aspiring individual, it is expedient for it to have certain ideals to live up to and goals to achieve – in other words, a clear-cut mission statement working as a beacon on the path to progress and prosperity.

What is a mission statement? Talbot defines it as “an explicit statement of values of an organisation” that generates, “the principles in accordance with which the organisation acts” and “the standards against which it is willing to be judged”. Fidelity to the mission statement enables an organisation to strengthen its reputation. In order to make the mission statement effective it is essential that everyone in the organisation is enabled to endeavour towards the achievement of the same goals while adhering to a commonly held belief-system. This facilitates the boosting of organisational morale, enhances its reputation, giving it a distinct identity.

In order to make an establishment’s mission statement pertinent, Talbot has profiled six steps in this book. Step one helps elucidate the organisation’s objective(s); step two enables evaluation of its performance; step three requires everyone to work towards achieving the mission statement’s purpose; step four facilitates development and implementation of strategies to ensure the achievement of stated objectives; step five relates to installing systems that ensure the desired results; and step six pertains to motivating the organisation’s members. Worth a read.

Overcoming Depression
by Dean Juniper. UBSPD. Pages 126. Rs 125.

Overcoming DepressionAs the world progresses towards a post-modern globalised milieu one notices that people are feeling increasingly insecure. This is not surprising. Institutions like joint families and village-centric communities that fostered certain values have become either insignificant or extinct. The emotional and material security that one used to enjoy in a close-knit though “under-developed” society is fast disappearing with no alternative in sight. With the rat race for economic survival intensifying and governments determined to play a minimalist role in the socio-economic context, allowing market forces to rule the roost, the cup of woe overflows for the hapless individual. Consequently, cases of depression are on the rise.

How does one describe “depression”? The in-vogue term is “blues” – a state of melancholy when low spirits cause one to take a bleak view of life and everything related to it. There could be mood swings too. For some it could be just a passing phase, while for others it could become a serious mental infirmity. Says Juniper, “(depression is) the largest and commonest emotional ailment amongst a range which also includes anxiety and compulsion”.

The author itemises the causes of depression and suggests the ways and means of evaluating it. In order to overcome depression, six steps have been indicated, viz., understanding depression’s pros and cons and generating self-belief; preparing and planning a programme to overcome depression; starting out on the programme; persevering with the schedule despite all odds; self-appraisal; and self-motivation.

Successive chapters like The Betterment Programme, The Action Sites etc deal with various methods to get rid of depression. It also provides case studies to illustrate various relevant aspects.

This book gives one an idea of the nature and extent of this lifestyle related ailment. However, consult your psychologist before you decide upon the course of therapy for your condition.