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Skills they don't teach at B-schools
Akshaya Gaur
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February 12, 2008

In the competitive cut and thrust of the business world, achievement and success become the mantras of the many who march out of business schools.

Armed with their vast knowledge, impressive degrees and even more impressive r�sum�s, they set out to conquer the world.

B-schools prepare their students to attain professional success and they more than adequately provide all the skill sets that are necessary.

However, more often than not, the emotional skill training that is required to complement these is often forgotten. Inherent personal skills that we all have are not only not accentuated, but often downplayed to the extent that they are made completely worthless.

Skills that we instinctively possess in our domestic life -- teamwork, people management, communication and emotional honesty -- are lost and companies spend millions training employees to do what they knew inherently.

Not many people need to be trained to operate as a team when they are part of a family unit, but when they go to work they seem to lose that ability to trust and complement each others' skills. I love my daughters and do not hesitate to praise or reprimand them, depending on whether they are doing the right things or driving  me nuts -- and I do it as and when required and in an appropriate manner.

At work, however, I, as a fresh B-school grad would wait for the prescribed periodic appraisal sessions and then, with trepidation, would mumble out the message if it was negative.

Of course, if it was good feedback, I would do it with pleasure. What I really needed to have done was give feedback as I do with my daughters now! I wish B-school had taught me to use the natural management style I already had.

Most of us tend to leave a large part of our self at home when we step out to work. We are too scared to take our natural and our emotive selves to work, lest we are taken advantage of. We are defensive lest someone attack our vulnerabilities and screen our thoughts in layers of armour lest we are hurt. The resultant emotional dishonesty and, hence, lack of trust make for completely ineffective teams.

Remember to bring your self to work and use your inherent natural management skills and strengths -- the ones they don't teach you at B-school.

Akshaya Gaur graduated from IIM, in 1980

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