Agony Aunt: I lead team of engineers but am not from similar background, hence I am questioned

Doubtful leader

I am a 30-year-old man and I lead a team of engineers in a project. I am not from a similar background and hence I am frequently questioned about my decisions on the project. It is difficult to explain everything to them, but I also don’t want them to think I am a bossy guy. What should I do about this conflict?

Ans: Identifying the point of conflict between you and your team members could be a start in order to determine what needs to be tackled first. Your proficiency with work might be instrumental in getting you this job and thus, your team members might need to be made aware of the same fact that though you aren’t from a similar background, your work needs to be used as a benchmark. Having weekly meet-ups with the team members where you get to know their views and creating an inclusive environment is essential.

The holiday hurdle

Being a 59-year-old businessman I have had very few vacations. The last time I went on vacation was eight years back. The staff I hire now seems to want vacation every year. It is difficult for me to understand this need of theirs, so I don’t approve holidays. Because of that, my staff quits every few months. I am stressed because it is impacting the business but even if I approve so many leaves, it will not be good. What should I do?

Ans: The pattern to work in a particular way sets in and thus any change that has to be brought about for the betterment becomes a point of concern. You may have learnt to function in a certain way over the years and don’t find it odd at all, however, the newer lot that you are hiring may not adhere to the same thought process as yours. Reaching a mid ground by deciding the leave policy of the company which is mandatory for all the employees as well as applicable to you could be a start to dissipate the situation.

Agony Aunt: I lead team of engineers but am not from similar background, hence I am questioned

The struggle of being a boss’s son

I am in the closet business. I have worked for my dad since four years and I need to start working on my own as everybody at the company thinks of me as just the boss’s son. I feel that even if I do amazing work, it will not be rightfully appreciated. So, I am not motivated to work. What should I do?

Ans: The perception that you have built about yourself and the way you could possibly be treated by others is quite influenced by how you essentially see yourself to begin with. Bringing about a change in that perspective is important. Allowing your work to determine your caliber is essential as that is something which is visible and easier for people to relate to. You could opt for starting the work on your own. However, if you are going to get more experience and exposure at the current workplace, thinking about expanding in the current workspace seems more beneficial. Thus, viewing yourself as an asset for the company rather than simply as the boss’ son and letting it reflect in your work can help in motivation to work harder.

In two minds

I love working with children. I have been teaching kindergarten children for three years. I now want to study further and get a PhD in literature, but I am too comfortable in my current job. I am beginning to think if I even need a PhD. What should I do?

Ans: Firstly, your need to study further requires an evaluation as to how sure are you of putting in at least 4-5 years into PhD course. Secondly, evaluate the pros and cons of getting a PhD at this stage in your career would be of any benefit or not. Your willingness to give up the current job is also important to understand so that it helps making a decision. The comfort you mentioned with respect to teaching in the kindergarten could be a hindering factor, thus working towards finding a possibility that comfort can be created in different situations is necessary; whether it is found in doing your PhD or something else entirely.

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