Thursday, August 30, 2012

Whats behind Manmohan Singh's legendary silence ? Does his handwriting give any clues ?

Just to give a perspective of what this post is all about, If you Google Search "Manmohan Singh Silence", you will get about 6,780,000 results as number of pages. He is aleady in his second term as a PM and a lot has been written about on why he does not express himself publically as much as a Prime Minister (PM) of the world's largest democracy should do. I make a mention to democracy here because with it comes the "Freedom to speech" as one of the fundamental rights and that is what the country does not see PM do too much of.
While there are a jokes galore on the stance that Manmohan Singh takes when it comes to expressing himself, just to set things straight, this post is not about that. Rather this post is more about an honest peek into his personality (via his signature) and search for objective answers around this.

Manmohan Singh's Signature Sample

A Note about Manmohan Singh's Handwriting/Signature Sample:
This Signature sample has been taken from a note that appeared in the Times of India newspaper dated back on 2006. I had preserved the cutting then. Incidently, he was during his first term as a Prime Minister then.

What this Signature sample tells about Manmohan Singh's silence ?
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has very visible signs of Introversion (characterized by leftwide slant in signature) in his personality. People who are Introvert are visibly reserved and shy by their basic nature. Such people do not come out of their shell very easily. They may occasionally come out of the shell and then go back at the next available opportunity. Such a person show the feelings usually at the times of great anger, extreme passion, or tremendous stress. He is never an impulsive person.

In his Signature sample, there are a couple of areas that represent trait intensification portions. These portions are
- Small handwriting
- High pressure

When I say trait intensification portions, i mean that presence of these portions in the handwriting usually intensifies other aspects of the personality.

When we talk about the small letter size, it primarily relates to concentration, the smaller the handwriting more profound is the ability of a person to focus on the tasks. The influence of every trait, whether negative or positive, will be increased in strength if there is concentration in writing. If we relate this fact to the first fact about his reserved demeanor, we can easily see why Manmohan Singh behaves the way he does when it comes to sharing his thoughts and breaking his silence. And if we consider the fact that high pressure in his handwriting also has a similar intensification effect, we are actually talking about putting two strong magnifying glasses on top of his reserved nature, just doubly magnifying this aspect of his personality.  It makes it even more difficult for him to come out of his shell.

[Note: In any digital or printed signature, it is quite hard to judge the pressure applied while writing something but this is where experience matters. With my experience of looking at myraid of handwriting samples, i can safely conclude that this sample would fall in the category of high pressure.]

Couple of more insights here, his signature also reveals that Manmohan Singh tends to be a sort of perfectionist. The people who have the perfection streak in their personalities usually tend to be doubly sure before venturing into any task. This desire to be perfect can likely interfere with his ability to share and say things. Being in a public life and that too of a PM, its just not possible to be always perfect in your oratory. The desire to be perfect here likely discourages him to be open when speaking. Adding to this fact is the fact that he has a desire to be Open and honest (as shown by "a", "o" formations) in his communication can further play a role in him choosing to be silent. Afterall, there are very less honest things to share when in coalition politics.

One more fact to take into consideration is that the current text under analysis is his signature and Signatures reflect the public personality of an individual. The above description thus is the way he has chosen to be in the public life. (For his private life mannerisms, i will really need to look at his handwriting samples, which i don’t have yet)

One last thing- When i say silence in this write-up, it does not include the situations when the subject does not deliberately share something out of intention. It's just an attempt to share an aspect keeping his inner personality into mind.

A final note:
As an overall note, I would like to mention that the purpose of this post is not to debate whether silence is good or bad for PM. Like (then Home Minister) P. Chidambaram once said about this aspect of PM’s personality- “This is the style of the man”, its truly upto an individual to remain the way he wants to remain while doing his or her duty as required. One peep at the > Wikipedia
would reveal a mammoth list of achievements that the PM has an individual. He is probably the most educated PM that world has ever seen and has achieved a lot more in life besides just education. That is something which requires due respect to be given. I could end this saying that- Manmohan Singh (by nature) is more of a doer than a sayer. It can be good, it can be bad and this is something that could be debated forever.
I hope the above write-up helped you understand what goes behind-the-scenes of that legendary silence. If it did or even if it didn’t, please share your feedback.

Full source of his signature:

Image source:

Friday, August 3, 2012

Managing Software Personnel by the Stroke of the pen

Over a period of last few years, I have found out an interesting co-relation or rather a very powerful way in which the science of Graphology helps in the day-to-day life as a Software professional. I am hereby posting an un-edited version of my article that recently got published in the print and the web version of “TheSmartTechie” magazine a while back. Would appreciate a feedback!

“Factual Approach to decision making”- This principle is an integral part of Quality Management System offered by ISO 9001: 2000, any TQM recognition award such as Malcom Baldrige National Quality Award or a Quality initiative like Six Sigma.
It can be concluded from the above principle that effective organizations involve decision making based on analysis of data and information. In above context, the “Factual approach to decision making” principle mostly deals with decisions about products, processes, sales, profits etc. as there are proven statistical techniques that aid decision making in these areas.
An area that is often neglected while considering data driven decision making is the one involving human related decisions.
Every Leader, Manager or Supervisor in Software arena has a responsibility of human resources in addition to the successful launch of product and processes. Further, in Software field, every leadership, Managerial position requires an individual to possess certain capabilities of a Human Resource Manager because people in these positions are involved in important human related decisions such as Selection of right candidate for the job, Ideal team formation, Ideal resource and work Allocation etc. It is often noticed that such decisions are made out of gut feel and intuition without effectively considering the personality traits an individual possesses. This can lead to wrong human related decisions being taken and that eventually affects goals of team, productivity, Return of Investment from a particular team. Thus, there’s always a need of more realistic approach to decision making in human related areas.
Graphology is one such tool that accurately reveals one’s personality traits. Graphology is a scientific method of identifying, evaluating, and understanding a person's personality via the strokes and patterns revealed by a person’s handwriting. Handwriting is a visual representation of one’s thought process. Consider the following situations-

Case study 1- Hiring the right candidate:
As a Manager of the Software group, you intend to hire Engineers with diverse Technical skill sets. As a general Interview process that is followed in most of the organizations, the Technical skills gets evaluated by series of Interviews by experts and practical tests would give fairly accurate insights into candidate’s technical competencies. Every job requires an applicant to posses certain soft skills that ultimately plays an important part in success or failure of an individual in the profession. E.g. a Software Developer, in addition to strong technical skills, would require soft skills such as Analytical, problem solving skills, creative in approach etc. On the other hand, a Software tester might require skills such as Good attention to details, persistence, Organizational ability etc. Importantly for the organization hiring an individual, adequate time should be spent evaluating these skills in the candidate along with the technical skills. The usual way this is done in most of the organization is at the tail-end of the Interview process when an experienced manager or an HR manager asks the questions. The whole method of evaluating the soft skills of an individual sometimes turns out to be more a subjective exercise. How can Graphology help here? With the help of Graphology, one can get to know a lot of personality traits about an individual even without meeting him/her once just by having a look at the handwriting. It would definitely be unfair here to make hiring decisions simply on the basis of candidate’s handwriting but this powerful medium can be used to ask right questions to candidate in the Interview thereby helping to bring out the necessary personality information and making more informed decisions E.g. by means of handwriting one can easily know about the Thinking Patterns of a person. A Software Developer may require Comprehensive Thinking ability for most part of his job whereas a Software Tester involved in manual testing would do well with Cumulative thinking ability. Having this knowledge before-hand, the Interviewer can ask right questions to judge the Thinking patterns in an individual.

Case study 2- Relaying the right feedback:
Feedback sessions or a One-on-One meeting between Employee and Manager is one of the most important conversations that eventually defines the success or failure of Employee-Manager relationship. Of the many traits that Graphology helps one know is an individual’s Sensitiveness to Criticism. The people who are sensitive to criticism do not always take feedback in right way as they become quite defensive during such sessions. Knowing this information in advance through Graphology can help a Manager handle feedback sessions more effectively.
Conveying an employee what he needs to improve upon should obviously be based on the facts but the role of Manager does not end there. It is equally important for the Manager to help the employee improve upon a certain aspect under discussion. Having accurate understanding of employee’s personality traits helps the Manager drive the necessary improvements in an objective and effective manner. This is where Graphology can be of immense help.
Likewise there are innumerable number of situations where knowing the personality traits of a person accurately before-hand can add enormous value. Graphology is indeed a useful tool that helps achieve exactly the same. I am sure by this time you might already have a lot of questions about credibility and working of the science of Graphology. Let me try to address some of these-
How does Graphology work?
Handwriting is instantaneous photograph of your mind. Your nervous system acts as a wire from brain to hand. Your muscles are coordinated in a more or less writing movement. It begins with a thought in your brain, which is transmitted to central nervous system and then to your hand and fingers, the latter of which are only the vehicles that put in writing.
Handwriting is driven by brain and since hands are the natural vehicles to write something, it is called as “Handwriting”.

Does Graphology accurately reveal one’s personality characteristics?
Graphology does not work on intuition or guess work- it is a science. The accuracy of this science in revealing the personality traits depends upon the skill of the practitioner. In my experience, I have found this to be as accurate as 95%. It’s not my claim but the admittance of the people whose handwriting got analyzed.

What kinds of personality traits can be revealed using Graphology?
In general more than hundred individual personality traits can be revealed accurately using Graphology. It becomes much more when one considers precisely the impact one trait has on others.
Handwriting Analysis provides glimpses into subconscious mind, emotional responsiveness, intellect, energy, and traits such as Thinking patterns, Self esteem, ambitions, concentration, attention to details, Ego strength, Diplomacy, Enthusiasm, Fear of success, Fear of failure, Self consciousness and many more.

Is there anything one cannot tell using Handwriting?
Handwriting cannot reveal one age, gender, nationality, religion, whether writer is left-handed or right-handed and Future of an individual.
Graphology has a great potential to become a powerful tool in Managers’ toolbox. It definitely helps in better understanding of people and minimizes, to a large extent, the intuitive approach in dealing with human resources. It’s not something that is too difficult to learn as more than anything else it involves desire, passion and interest.
Welcome to the wonderful world of Graphology!

The views in this article are my personal thoughts on the subject and it does not depict these being a practice in my current or previous organization.