Bossitive Attitude! How About Your Boss?

by Challa S.S.J.Ram Phani - Date: 2007-02-04 - Word Count: 2067 Share This!

Boss - the four letter word which inspires, motivates, demotivates, frightens, depresses the employees worldwide. Very few will have positive feedback about their boss. Most of the neutral say that 'boss is always right' ! These kind of passive people are not willing to take risk by talking negative about boss as they fear victimisation by the 'gossip-mongers' in the work place. Why people spread only negative things about boss? Why there is so much literature available on 'managing boss' ! Is there no positive thing to spread about boss? Are you aware that you are creating an aura behind an ordinary person with your 'negative talking' about boss and making him a 'personality' ! Many of the bosses don't know on what kind of image they are having among their employees? Once I asked my boss 'Do you know what people are thinking about you'? My boss simply told me 'I am not bothered'! As I have accepted him my mentor, I loved to pester him and asked to explain further. He simply said 'I have to satisfy my boss by getting the things done through my core team. Though I will just ratify the decisions taken by my core team, very few decisions are directly taken by me. As I am leading the organisation, people attribute all decisions to me and their emotions towards me are always fluctuating due to their levels of imagination. A manager may get disturbed with his image among the employees; but a Leader should never get disturbed with his image in the organisation. An employee is always interested in his pay and perks. But a leader who is running the organisation works in the interest of every employee associated with the organization'.

Boss vs. Employee

Then what is the remedy to avoid this kind of imagination about Boss? One should not imagine things when they are working in organisations, as organisations always run on some laid down policies and procedures. Employees should follow them diligently without fail to enhance their performance quotient and to have an impressive appraisal. One has to face facts after joining an organisation. Bosses always insist on general discipline for which employees feel that they are being controlled unreasonably. When you are paid to perform, you are expected to perform without fail. One should not bring our cricketers 'losing attitude' to the workplace and finally making it a national attitude. Everyone in the team should have the will to win and to contribute to the team as a whole to reach the common goal. Bosses always want to take their team along with them on a winning path. If the team loses ultimately 'boss' loses whether in the workplace or in the game of cricket.

Boss and communication

Generally, in any organisation there would not be any communication from top to bottom. During my more than two decades of experience in various industries, I heard many of my bosses saying 'you have to pay the price' …….. of course - it is for the poor performance or no performance at all. But this kind of language from the bosses annoy the employees and over a period of time, employees don't care about the communication of the boss, and finally they will make the boss feel that they are disobeying him. 'Communication is the key to success' is not just theory or just a sentence to chant again and again, to enjoy the effect of the same. It is literally true whether you are a leader, manager, peer, subordinate or a boss. Bosses should communicate well to manage their team effectively and also to get the things done in time.

Employees' alertness - Boss's success

Employees must be alert to the needs of the boss in the workplace and they must develop their 'listening skills' to facilitate their boss effectively in a professional manner. A team without good listening skills is a waste of time to work with. Your listening skills are directly related to your performance levels and range of reciprocation to the instructions of your boss. Listening carefully to what boss says will always give you edge over others. You must be assertive while communicating with your boss at the professional level, if you wish to become a courageous follower in a phased manner. You cannot become 'courageous follower' overnight and fall prey to the negative forces at the workplace.

Emotional intelligence leads to peak performance

Sam Pitroda -- Chairman, National Knowledge Commission, India, and Chairman, WorldTel, based in Chicago, USA, is having altogether another story to tell about employees of India. Once Sam said that 'Indian employees take everything personal; if you tell them your work is not up to the mark, they feel that they are not up to the mark. I had terrible problems with this kind of attitude of Indian employees in the workplaces'. This is one more thing one has to understand when you are working in an organization. One should not take bosses' words personally and must strive to perform in a better manner to give their best. This may sound as preaching, but if you are interested in building your career, irrespective of the behaviour of your bosses, you must perform or get ready to perish. Even our BCCI is following the HRM policies by dropping non-performers from the team and taking performers again back into the team without much hesitation. Let us wait and watch whether this change will instill 'killer instinct' and 'winning attitude' in our cricket team!

How bosses behave with their team?

One day I told my boss that our Personnel Manager is not having good image among the employees. Whoever I met, everybody is scolding our Personnel Manager. My boss retorted - 'Naturally! He is directly dealing with the employees. In fact, we have to give him promotion, that he is getting more scoldings, because he is managing people well and with the discipline required to help them build their productive attitude.' Finally, our Personnel Manager got promotion to my utter amazement. Then what is the learning : Manage your team to delight your boss !

Employees' expectations

Employees always expect empowerment, encouragement, excitement from their job. Employees don't like anybody telling them to come in time. Employees do not like preachers in the workplace. Their ego mantra is 'papa…. Don't preach' ! That's why most of the employees do not attend training programs in the workplace and surprisingly some bosses also resist training their employees, saying that training hours are man hours wasted on unproductive task. I wonder why IT companies like Infosys, Satyam and placement consultants like Mafoi have started their own leadership training centers. Most of the employees feel that they know everything as far as organisational discipline and requirements are concerned. But very few follow them diligently without getting noticed by the HR policing.

Extract more work with less pay - Bosses Mantra for Success

Bosses always want to push their employees to extract more work from them for less pay. In this process, Bosses want to impress their bosses that they are getting the things done in a result oriented manner and meeting deadlines effectively. This kind of imbalance in professional and personal relations create flutter and compel us to judge Boss immediately at personal level. This will start a gang of opinionated people who always spread opinions not just about their bosses, but all of their colleagues, peers and subordinates.

Do not impress - Express with your performance

Another mantra for success in the workplace which would help to enhance your performance quotient is 'do not perform to impress your boss - for that matter do not work to impress anybody. Always work to satisfy yourself and at the end of the day pat your back that you have given the full day's work and did justice to your pay'.

Bosses are not super human Once I asked our General Manager 'Sir ! What is our Boss doing!' Pat came the reply - 'He has just created a problem and is struggling to solve it to get the credit of being a problem solver!' Bosses are just human beings like us. They are not super human to find solutions for all organisational problems and they are not ready made remedies for our promotion, pay and perks. You have to promote yourself with your performance. Bosses cannot promote you. They may change your designation with one signature but you have to enhance your performance.

Organisations are permanent …….. not Boss ! When it comes to supporting boss or organisation, I will support organisations which are to stay here to serve the ever growing needs of the Society. Organisations are the reflections of the Society. As legendary IT Czar of India Mr.Narayana Murthy, Chief Mentor, Infosys, rightly put it - 'Always fall in love with your work; never fall in love with your organisations; because you do not know when the organisation stops loving you'!

How to become a courageous follower? One must be a courageous follower not just by following the instructions of boss, but to correct the boss whenever there is a need to make him right. One must be tactful in his communication while correcting the boss, following the principles of a courageous follower as propounded by Ira Chaleff ( in his award winning book 'The Courageous Follower - Standing up to and for our Leaders'. I had the privilege of attending Ira Chaleff's workshop during his promotional tour to India. Some of the participants responded to his workshop saying that 'if we become courageous followers in our workplace; we will lose our jobs'! He smiled gently and said 'one must be tactful while talking to the boss; and more tactful while correcting him'! But as we are all aware, the ego levels of Indian bosses is legendary and they don't want their subordinates to become courageous followers and correct them. In my experience, many of my bosses allowed me to speak out with whatever courage I have, though with a bit of straightforwardness. Of course, you have to take risks with your career and it may lag behind compared to others who always follow your boss with a family pack of 'Amul butter'! Even then, you will have the soul satisfying experience for being one of the courageous followers and a class of your own! Meditation on Followership I conclude this with 'Meditation on Followership', and let us take an oath to change the world called our workplace. For me, becoming a courageous follower, like becoming a good human being, is both a daily and a life-long task. Visualising a desired state helps to realize it. I share this meditation as one visualisation of the state I aspire to. You may want to refer it from time to time.

• I am a steward of this group and share responsibility for its success.
• I am responsible for adhering to the highest values I can envision.
• I am responsible for my successes and failures and for continuing to learn from them.
• I am responsible for the attractive and unattractive parts of who I am.
• I can empathise with others who are also imperfect.
• As an adult, I can relate on a peer basis to other adults who are the group's formal leaders.
• I can support leaders and counsel them, and receive support and counsel from them.
• Our common purpose is our best guide.
• I have the power to help leaders use their power wisely and effectively.
• If leaders abuse power, I can help them change their behaviour.
• If I abuse power, I can learn from others and change my behaviour.
• If abusive leaders do not change their behaviour, I can and will withdraw my support.
• By staying true to my values, I can serve others well and fulfill my potential.
• Thousands of courageous acts by followers can, one by one, improve the world.
• Courage always exists in the present. What can I do today?

(Excerpted from 'The Courageous Follower - Standing upto and for our Leaders' by Ira Chaleff)

Action speaks louder than words

Apply these principles of courageous behaviour in the workplace to enhance your image as a performer and become a brand loyal follower of your boss.

Do not convince - Be convinced

As Zig Ziglar rightly put it - 'Life is too short to spend your precious time trying to convince a person who wants to live in gloom and doom otherwise. Give lifting that person your best shot, but don't hang around long enough for his or her bad attitude to pull you down. Instead, surround yourself with optimistic people.'

Finally, in a democratic country, you will get what you deserve !

Related Tags: attitude, boss

The Author is a Career Management Consultant and Corporate Trainer based in Hyderabad, India. You may reach him at

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