An IIT Roorkee Licentiate Deepanshu Saini identifies the misapprehension of “Sir/Madam” ethic
Deepanshu Saini, CEO and the Product Head at Contree (https://www.letscontree.com/), dynamically underpins the ‘No Sir No Madam’ crusade. He specializes in product management, android/web app development and UX/UI designing. Apart from this, he has undying love for Hindi-Urdu poetry, travelling, philosophy, and public speaking.
At Contree, being a firm follower of first-name culture, he made No Sir No Madam, a compulsory rule. Everyone at Contree address each other by first name.
Deepanshu says, “Many times, employees do not under perform willingly. However, communication is the key. If there are problems in the communication channel, then everything goes down.” Eliminating Sir/Madam culture promotes open and friendly relations within a workplace. Consequently, there is better coordination and team work within team members. This in turn benefits the organization. Thus, he believes that start-ups are more actively adopting this candid culture.
Whereas, some traditional bosses still want others to follow Sir/Madam routine. He speaks of a situation where there are two people with similar qualifications from the same batch. Somehow, one of them happens to be the boss. Thus, the junior is expected to abide by the Sir/Madam nomenclature, even if both were batch mates in college.
He shares his experience at IIT-Roorkee where Sir/Madam culture prevails. However, some of the other IITs do not follow this trend to such a large extent. Deepanshu strongly advocates that seniors should stop expecting Sir/Madam from freshers at colleges and universities. They should rather promote first-name culture. As this would help juniors build up their relational abilities and contacts that would help them in the long run.
Deepanshu enunciates that government officials take pride being addressed as Sir/Madam. He observed, “These conservative people respond immediately when addressed as Sir/Madam. Though, they tend to ignore you, if you call them by their first name.” Thus, he supports this initiative to provide equal mutual respect and reduce communication barriers in the government places.
He proclaims that the No Sir No Madam cause can also help to provide social balance within the society. At present, in India, it is a general perception that domestic helpers, guards, and drivers are inferior. Therefore, Sir/Madam chanting propagates inferior-superior mentality. Nevertheless, Deepanshu gabs that they are just different entities, and they should be equally respected for what they do.
Furthermore, Deepanshu terms Sir/Madam as a verbal form of VIP culture that exists in India. Henceforth, he agrees that abandoning this form of VIP culture can benefit each one in this country. He clarifies that No Sir No Madam does not mean bypassing the hierarchy. This is a misconception. Hierarchy is better for workflow. However, Sir/Madam is a hindrance to the workplace communication flow.
Lastly, he suggests No Sir No Madam cause should reach out to masses, including students and younger generation. He speaks about a recent activity at IIT-Roorkee. Someone suggested making the first-name culture compulsory in the official student body facebook group and got good traction for the idea. This is a significant step towards removing the odd-ism from the grass-roots.
Overall, as Jalaluddin Rumi once said, “Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” It is time for us to act wisely and quit droning Sir/Madam.