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Why Should We Help Men Find Better Work-Life Balance?

Updated: Aug 13, 2023

In conversation with Mr. Sanjay Jha, CHRO Mahindra First Choice Wheels (Mahindra Group), on work-life balance for men and how it has changed over the years.

The transition from school to college to work-life is something we all grow up looking for. We want to grow faster, earn, get independent and thrive finally. What is beyond our knowledge is that every point of growth comes with its own set of roles and responsibilities and that development is never singular; it is a total of our past experiences and learnings. A balanced approach to growth and development determines whether it will last long or not.

Meet Mr. Sanjay Jha, an evolved coach and a CHRO with a difference who has helped people find their true calling in life. In our tête-à-tête with Mr. Sanjay Jha, CHRO Mahindra First Choice Wheels (Mahindra Group), we discuss work-life balance for men and how it has evolved or changed over the years. Read the edited excerpts.

Why have men not been able to maintain a work-life balance? What can they do to achieve it?

Let's delve into the underlying causes of the work-life imbalance experienced by men. Men often feel driven to acquire greater authority, power, and control, which translates into a strong focus on earning money to support their families. This drive can lead to an unhealthy workaholic mindset, where men relentlessly pursue financial success and career growth. To achieve a better work-life balance, men should recognize that their worth isn't solely tied to material success. Embracing a broader perspective, valuing knowledge, appreciating diversity, and prioritizing holistic well-being can lead to greater contentment and tranquility.

How do organizations come into the picture when men are unable to maintain their work-life balance?

Management needs to appreciate the fact that men due to their deep-rooted belief systems and identity problems are going through a conflict at their psychological level. And, no amount of rewards, recognition, and promotion can help men to become happy or get the meaning of life. So, it is important that organizations should appreciate that every human being is a great possibility, and has humongous potential. Men are aware that they are stuck somewhere and that’s the reason they are going through the rut and the strenuous experience in their life. So, coaching is a great technique that way. I am a certified coach who can help men become aware of where they are stuck and help them to reach the core and thereby find out the bigger truth and happiness in their life.

When somebody comes to you with challenges, which we call “Insight” in medical terms, to seek coaching, how do you help that person? And what exactly happens in the coaching?

Coaching is a remarkably effective approach that distinguishes itself from other forms of assistance like counseling or psychotherapy. Rather than providing direct solutions, it empowers individuals to take charge of their progress. It involves skilful questioning, encouraging the person to express their experiences and thoughts. Through this process, individuals gain awareness, discerning whether their challenges are superficial or rooted in deeper truths. By posing insightful questions and creating a compassionate environment, the coach guides the person to embrace vulnerability, leading to the realization that the core issues lie elsewhere. This prompts a focus on acquiring practical skills, examining ingrained values and beliefs formed in early life. Deliberate efforts are made to redefine oneself and chart a path from the present state to an envisioned future.

What are the common problems that men approach you with?

Typically, individuals tend to express their grievances by drawing parallels, often comparing their situations to others who may have received smaller salary raises or fewer promotions. In my observation, this tendency to compare and compete seems to affect men more significantly. While women do raise concerns, their approach is generally less forceful than that of men. Men tend to voice a greater number of complaints and engage in more extensive grumbling, which presents a notable challenge.

How do you address these issues that come to you?

Balancing an organization's limited resources with the need to avoid outrightly dismissing individuals, whether male or female, is complex. Every person, regardless of gender, holds immense potential akin to untapped gold mines, they unknowingly measure themselves against others, thus impeding their progress. I begin by inviting them to relax, encouraging them to share their experiences, inquire if they envision their growth within a year or in a more comprehensive, holistic manner. The aim is to identify what brings them lasting happiness and purpose. For employing coaching techniques, I guide them to a state of inner calmness, establishing a partnership rather than a boss-employee dynamic. Thus, creating a safe space for vulnerability, enabling them to explore their true selves, uncover latent potentials, and determine actionable steps for personal enhancement. This process facilitates continuous growth and a well-rounded sense of fulfillment.

Tell us something about yourself apart from being a CHRO. What have been the real struggles that you faced as a man?

I once held onto the psychological belief that I was solely responsible for earning money and supporting my family, including educating my children. This mindset led me to exert excessive pressure on myself, resulting in stress. However, some influential individuals entered my life and prompted a shift in my awareness. This encouraged me to explore areas that genuinely brought me joy and allowed me to excel. My life's journey has been akin to a winding river. I commenced my career as a metallurgical engineer engaged in rigorous operations, overseeing iron production. Subsequently, I transitioned to roles involving Total Quality Management (TQM), Human Resources (HR), and Business Development. Reflecting on my past, it seems that life unfolded before me, and I have embraced each experience with humility. I adopted the perspective that whatever came my way was a gift from a higher power—lessons to be learned and embraced, ultimately contributing to my growth.

In this era where we are talking about diversity and inclusion, women empowerment and feminism, do you feel as a man, you have been at a disadvantage?

I hold the perspective that individual talents are distinct and valuable, regardless of gender. My conviction in this belief is strengthened by the successful education and accomplishments of my two daughters. I do not discriminate between males and females, recognizing that everyone possesses unique abilities. Even among men, each person has distinct gifts and capabilities. This mindset has shielded me from being influenced by feminism and similar ideologies. Although societal shifts occur naturally, I have remained unaffected by these aforementioned notions.

Article by: Manjusha Jha

Edited by: Puneet Kapani

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