Series on Emotional Intelligence: Building relationships

Building relationships and managing them is a driving factor for achieving success. Knowing the needs of your colleagues and your subordinates is what makes you a great leader and inspires people to follow you.


There were about 70 scientists working on a very hectic project in the town of Thumba, Kerala. All of them were really frustrated due to the pressure of work and the demands of their boss but everyone was loyal to him and did not think of quitting the job.

One day, one of the scientists came to his boss and told him – “Sir, I have promised my children that I will take them to the exhibition going on in our township. So I want to leave the office at 5:30 pm.” His boss replied “OK, You’re permitted to leave the office early today”.

The Scientist started working. He continued his work after lunch. As usual, he got involved to such an extent that he only looked at his watch when he felt he was close to completion. The time was 8.30 PM. He suddenly remembered the promise he had given his children. He looked for his boss, He was not there. Deep within himself, he was feeling guilty for having disappointed his children.

He reached home. The children were not there. His wife was sitting in the hall alone and reading magazines. The situation was explosive; any talk would boomerang on him. His wife asked him “Would you like to have coffee or shall I serve dinner straight away?” The man replied “If you would like to have coffee I will have it as well, but where are the children?”

The wife replied “You don’t know? Your manager came here at 5.15 PM and took the children to the exhibition”. What had really happened was…. the boss, who granted him permission, was observing him working seriously at 5.00 PM. He thought to himself, this person will not leave the work but if he has promised his children they should enjoy the visit to the exhibition. So he took the lead in taking them to the exhibition.

The boss did not have to do it. But once it is done, loyalty is established. That is why all the scientists at Thumba continued to work under their boss even though the stress was tremendous. By the way, can you hazard a guess as to who the boss was????????

He was none other than Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam.