THE NEW GLOBAL WE.

Good Boss, Bad Boss

Posted in New by Harsha on April 3, 2008

If you’re a regular reader, you already know I don’t believe all people are intrinsically bad. Of course, some are born that way (dictators) and some become that way (tyrants) but most people, in my opinion, cannot be classified either this way or that way. Everyone has a bit of bad and good in them.

CNN has a great article written by Martha Beck of Oprah.com. Here is a snapshot of the good boss/bad boss qualities; I agree with all except one:

Bad-boss self-concept: As a leader, I’ll be a higher-up.
Good-boss self-concept: As a leader, I’ll have to go lower down.

Bad-boss target setting: Now that I’m the boss, I give orders to others.
Good-boss target setting: Now that I’m the boss, I bring order to what others do.

Bad-boss position on feedback: Now everyone must tell me when I’m right.
Good-boss position on feedback: Now everyone must tell me when I’m wrong.

Bad-boss protection strategy: As a boss, I’ll be protected from taking blame.
Good-boss protection strategy: As a boss, I’ll protect others by taking blame.

Bad-boss problem solving: Being the boss means I can avoid problems.
Good-boss problem solving: Being the boss means I must seek out problems.

I think people can get carried away with the point highlighted in red; even good people can get lynched from time to time for various reasons. I think moderation will be important because it depends on the situation when you hear a resounding NO. I also think that you MUST acknowledge someone (including your boss) when they are right. I’d do that more often than saying no.

Lao-tzu said it best, hundreds of years ago – “If you want to govern the people, you must place yourself below them”. The boss who starts wiggling his/her finger at the underlings is no longer objective. The article said it best – “Good-boss target setting: Now that I’m the boss, I bring order to what others do”. That is such a cool, zen-like idea because no matter what position you are in, you need to make someone else’s day go by smoothly. I don’t care if you’re in sales, operations or HR or in a workshop cutting wood. Pick any occupation.

Bringing order to others’ chaos is a beautiful and philosophical way of looking at what you do, even if you hate it.

Update: just noticed a great blog that also commented.

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2 Responses

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  1. Craig Price said, on April 3, 2008 at 3:27 pm

    Thanks for linking to me! I certainly appreciate it. Great comments and definately like the message of balance.

    I agree you need to tell people when they are right, but when it comes to talking to their bosses, few people ever tell their boss they are wrong. Collegues and subordinates, sure but not the boss. I call it “Yes Man Syndrome”. A yes man takes a bad idea (the bosses)and helps turn in into a major mistake.

    A good boss and manager should always listen to dissenting views. They don’t have to change their minds or even follow the dissenting advice, but they should be open to it so they can see problems from all angles.

  2. Harsha said, on April 3, 2008 at 3:30 pm

    Craig,

    You’re welcome and thanks for the comment. While the “yes man syndrome” is an important pitfall to avoid, sometimes it is hard to make someone you report to, see the reality.

    You have a great blog; thank you for sharing.

    Harsha


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