Suraj Sunder: A Vibrant Entrepreneur Questions Sir/Madam Culture
Suraj Sunder, Managing Director at Digital Gorkha (http://www.digitalgorkha.com) is a firm believer of No Sir No Madam ideology. Digital Gorkha helps in providing a powerful and cost-effective solution for implementing visitor security policies. It also closes potential security gaps and improves productivity at lobby entrances.
Suraj is a graduate from the renowned St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai. He ventured upon different things before finally embarking on Digital Gorkha. Suraj felt the need to make security systems smart and efficient. This is when the idea for Digital Gorkha was conceptualized.
Practice of No Sir No Madam drive has been inculcated at Digital Gorkha since inception. He vocalizes — designation should not command salutation. In my company there are no employees, just team members. Sir/Madam culture creates a barrier within the team members, Suraj speaks.
“I ensure equality at my company. I believe communication flows better in a flat-level organization. Team members feel free to convey and discuss things with me.” He conveys that it is a herd mentality to refer someone senior to us as ‘Sir/Madam’.
The expectation of being addressed with a salutation has made people egoistic over the period of time. He shares his experience, “I remember being in a business meeting with a senior investor. During the meeting, a person addressed him by his first-name. The investor got furious and berated the individual for referring him by his first- name. Furthermore, he even tried to show his superiority by imposing his designation and his importance.”
Suraj includes, “I mediated and asked the investor, ‘is being addressed as ‘Sir’ so critical to you? Is your designation more important than your name? If you like being cited as ‘Sir’, why do you not change your name to Sir? Silence, was his answer.” I do not think there is any justification for such a forced respect, he submits.
It is disheartening to see someone utilize their designation to exploit a person who is subordinate to them. However, Suraj counsels in transit. First-name practice should not be mishandled. He advocates — It is important to educate everyone on No Sir No Madam concept. One should not take the person for granted because they have given you the liberty of not using any salutation and vice-versa. It is vital to show mutual respect and acknowledges the concerned person for his meekness.
The most noticeably influenced people by Sir/Madam culture are the ones doing blue-collar jobs. Society tends to look down on them and discriminate based on work they do. He articulates, “One of my friends used to treat his driver in a very inhumane way. The driver went on a leave and decided not to join his duty until treated well. The driver conveyed the same to his union as well. Learning about my friend’s behavior, no driver agreed to work with him.”
His friend who cannot drive got scared and asked me for advice. Suraj briefed him to be polite and request his driver to come back. The driver actually returned and my friend never underestimated his importance in the future.
Without house help, our lives would be dreadful. However, these people are not given the regards they merit. It is pivotal that we give them the respect they deserve and acknowledge them. They are human beings too, just not privileged than the rest.
Removing communication hindrance and creating social parity can only be completed from the grass roots. No Sir No Madam notion needs to be inculcated in the house itself. Parents need to educate their kids by setting examples themselves. Suraj emphasizes the remodeling to be brought about in schools. This might take time. However, gradually we must restructure our education system.
He completes by suggesting — practice what you preach and respect everyone irrespective of their work. “Remember, character is determined by the way we treat people who can do nothing for you.”