Dear Colleagues!  This is Pharma Veterans Blog Post #224. Pharma Veterans shares the wealth of knowledge and wisdom of Veterans for the benefit of Pharma Community. Pharma Veterans Blog is published by Asrar Qureshi on WordPress, the top blog site. If you wish to share your stories, ideas and thoughts, please email to for publishing your contributions here.

Pakistan is not a unique country in the sense that we are among the most obstinate and hard-headed people in sticking to our own ways. It is not just about social things; it is about everything. We are not entirely alone in this particular area. Most unenlightened societies refuse to ‘unlearn’ the age-old practices. This thought is further strengthened by the oligarchy who rules them and exploits them. Since thousands of years, people of sub-continent, Africa and Asia have been brutally exploited by local and foreign looters who came is the guise of invaders in the yesteryears. Presently they come as elected governments or military dictators, as the case may be. The effort to keep the masses uninformed, illiterate, uneducated (even when they receive some education), traditional, divided, irrational, illogical, disrespectful, and unmerciful is massive, consistent and inexorable. We become what we receive. Despite the cries and claims to the contrary, nothing much has changed. It is because the central characters of exploiting elites are ably supported by feudal, civil and religious nobility.

Education is least effective in changing our thinking, our outlook and our attitude. People having received education in very good institutions and having obtained very high degrees are at par with illiterate folks. This phenomenon can be seen at its worst in the educational institutions, universities, colleges etc. where there is abundance of degrees and dearth of refinement.

Our society is deeply rooted as patriarchal, feudal, class-based, ‘biradari-based’, and divisions-based. Our social fabric is divided in so many different ways that it is difficult even for a medium sized crowd to stand united for some cause. WE MOSTLY STAND UNITED AGAINST EACH OTHER.

The biggest fall outs are: one, we cannot treat others as equals. We shall find some reason, any reason to create unevenness; two, we shall find some reason to disrespect others.

The government official shall not respect the public, the police shall not respect anyone, the elected representatives shall not respect their voters, the employers shall not respect the employees, the boss shall not respect the staff, the hospitals shall not respect the patients, and the doctors shall not respect the Pharma salespersons. The practice of ‘not respecting and rather actively disrespecting’ is all-prevalent and omnipresent.

In management practices, we obviously bring the same behaviors. Let us see some common management styles in Pharma industry. These are not the same which are taught in business schools, management courses and training consultant. The reason is simple. Curricula of business schools and material of management/training consultants is based on researches done in the west. Their societal norms are absolutely different from ours. What works for them, does not always work for us. Period.


  • The Benevolent Big Brother – this management style is most commonly adopted by first line and middle managers. Being relatively new in the role of management, the BBBs are overwhelmed by the feeling of gratitude to Allah and management for promotion. There is also the feeling of being ‘The Chosen One’. They believe they have to take it upon themselves to support and guide their juniors. They feel their juniors are at their mercy and it is their divine call of duty to carry them and make them something.
    • The usual management behavior is noble, gentle, teaching/over-teaching, protecting/ over-protecting, handling with care, and doing part or most of their work on their behalf. While these behaviors are nice looking in action, they are damaging in many ways. For short periods of time, the team members may find it convenient though.
    • First of all, the junior colleagues who wish to work independently find themselves suffocated by over-protection. They will react in either of the two ways; leave on the first available opportunity or downgrade their desire to work. The loss is both for the BBB boss and the team member.
    • Secondly, the learning actually gets stalled; the claims to teach are offset by the tendency of the boss to do things himself so that the junior is not ‘bothered’ much.
    • Thirdly, the juniors are left with doing unimportant parts; the important ones taken up the BBB boss. One-year learning is actually one-month learning multiplied by 12.
    • The BBBs get offended easily. They believe they are doing the most pious work in the most selfless way. When they see that due gratitude is not coming from the team members, they feel hurt and unhappy. As per their thinking, the team members should be paying homage and gratitude three times a day. Not only that the team does not follow the prescribed dose regimen, they openly disagree with it. This is too much to bear for them.
    • The team performs to less than their potential because the team potential is not exploited adequately. The available energy is not put to use, and the sum total of team talent is reduced by the individual talent of the BBB boss.

The list can go on. I would highly recommend observing this, understanding this, and correcting this. If you are a BBB yourself, stop and review, amend and correct. If you stay as the BBB boss, you will damage your own career, your teams’ careers, and the aspirations of both of you.


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: