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Continued from Previous……

The next management style seen in Pharma Managers is ‘The Selfish Big Brother’.

Of all the Big Brothers, the Selfish Big Brother is mostly a dangerous character. We have seen Big Brother Managers evolving from Benevolent to Know-All to Autocratic already. In the same line this is the culmination point.

The Selfish Big Brother

The Selfish Big Brother is a dangerous character; more dangerous than a simply selfish boss. A selfish boss will do anything to get the object of his desire. He will not differentiate between good and bad, wrong and right, halal and haram; he will push forward his agenda. However, he does it rather openly and people around know him quickly for what he is. Others can take necessary precautions to protect themselves.

The SBBs are not recognizable in the first glance due to the BB factor. Their outward behavior may be a mix of other Big Brother forms. It is only after closer examination and consistent behavior observation that you can spot and identify the SBB. Their power to damage is much higher because they attack unsuspecting people.

Some signs are given here.

  • Fake Humility – genuine humility is a great quality to have. It is relatively uncommon because we tend to become snobbish as soon as we get a position of authority. Our idea of authority is how much we order people around. For us, authority is not meant to lead with purpose and responsibility; it is power. Power corrupts most of the time. When a person in power is overtly humble, it is always fake. Humility does not have to show itself in words and gestures; it is built into actions. Humility means putting others first, empathizing with them and taking care. The SBBs make a big show as if they are gentle, humble and caring but it is only outward appearance. Their actions do not support their words as they behave harshly, deal unfairly and keep their own benefit first.
  • Claims of Selflessness – they say, “he said, and I believed; he overemphasized, and I got suspicious; he swore, and I knew he was lying”. It is the same case here. The SBBs will keep on making speeches about how selfless they are and how they always think about others, and how their welfare is the purpose of their life. These are empty slogans aimed at disguising the real intentions. The fact is that the SBBs are extremely selfish and will stop at nothing to advance their own agenda. It is really surprising how our people fall for false hopes, empty slogans and meaningless causes. This is most evident in politics and corporate working. It is even more surprising that we are ready to be stung from the same source again and again. This cannot be magnanimity for sure; whatever else it may be.
  • Piety Talks – the SBBs are also good at using pious speech to put wool in others’ eyes. It is particularly easy in Pakistan where piety gets high value even when it is fake. We give a lot of benefit of doubt to such people and keep defending them. The SBBs therefore have a good opportunity to use pious talk and phrases and feel-good stories and get away with these. The thumb-rule is that if anyone is doing anything excessively, it is dubious.
  • Alwaysfor-You – it is one thing to claim selflessness; it is another to keep claiming that I always think about you. “Your welfare is supreme to me; whatever I do is for your benefit; it is my duty to support you and make sure that you grow; I am your brother, not your boss” are the usual dialogues that SBBs would speak day in day out. Of course these are only words; without soul and spirit.

Problems of Big Brother Syndrome

We have briefly looked at the Big Brother Management Styles in Pharma. Of course, these are not just in Pharma, but in other industries also. These styles are most common among first line and middle managers because they are working with young, inexperienced people who easily fall for these things. Senior Managers cannot use these because their subordinates know these things very well already.

Big Brother Syndrome is common in first line and middle managers because it helps them to mask their unprofessional approach, lack of managerial knowledge and general ineptness. Problem is that the staff does not get the training, coaching and managing that it badly needs at the beginning of their career.

Big Brother Syndrome is hurting the managers, the managed, and the organizations. The solution to this problem is training of managers and coaching them to become professional managers. It is also essential to break this vicious cycle where Big Brothers are being cloned in every new generation of managers.


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