(Introduction: “Bachche” is a Hindi word which is equivalent to the English word “child”)
Manager A to Supervisor P, his team-member, on the phone: Bachche, what are you doing?
Supervisor P: Nothing much sir. Clearing up my emails.
Manager A: Can you come over to my workstation please, bachche?
Supervisor P: Of course. Be there right away.
Manager B, who was with Manager A when he spoke to the Supervisor, to Manager A: What are you doing? That’s no way to talk to a person, even if he is your team-member. Show him some professional respect at least.
Manager A: What do you mean? Of course I showed him respect. Did I not say “can you come over….please?”
Manager B: Not that. I mean you called him “bachche”. Isn’t it derogatory, calling him a child? After all, this is a professional relationship. And he is a qualified professional in a different role. Him reporting to you does not mean you should not show him professional courtesy.
Manager A: Don’t worry mate, you don’t understand. He likes it. It is like a term of endearment. He knows I am his senior, more qualified, more capable, hence he is happy to have me call him “bachche”. I think you should try it with your team-members. They will like it.
Thirty minutes later
The phone on Manager A’s workstation rings. Manager B is still with him as they were working on an issue together. Their common boss, the Senior Manager, is calling.
Manager A signals to Manager B to keep quiet by placing a finger on his lips, presses the speakerphone button and says: Yes sir?
Senior Manager to Manager A: Bachche, what are you doing?
Manager A: Just finishing the project discussion with Manager B.
Senior Manager: OK. As soon as you finish, can you please come over bachche?
Manager A, a little ruffled: Sure. Be over in ten minutes.
After disconnecting the phone, Manager A says to Manager B in an agitated voice: What does he think of himself? Is this any way to talk to a professional and a colleague? Just because he is senior to me and more qualified does not mean he can treat me this way. He needs to learn how to conduct himself professionally.
Manager B: But what did he say? I heard him on the speakerphone. I don’t think he said anything offensive.
Manager: Didn’t you hear him call me “bachche”?