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Boss 4 : What if your Boss cant make a Decision ?

Posted by sureshkrishna on March 5, 2010

I see that many Leadership development and MBA programs talk about the “Leadership Skills” and “How to be a Good Manager”… and others. Interestingly, no one is interested in “How you should not be as a bad leader/boss/manager”.  This is my attempt to write on my own experiences and those of my friends and colleagues. Decision Making seems to be one of the inherent quality of a Boss (this Boss could be a leader or manager). Never the less people are often surprised and confused thinking why their Boss can’t make a “Decision”. You would think that it is the time to make THE Decision irrespective of a GOOD or BAD decision. A Decision is needed for many people in Personal and Professional life because of some obvious reasons…

  • A Decision gives you the Direction of Action. Without which one would be wandering in space without knowing what should be done.
  • A Decision helps you to Focus. If not, one is doing some part of many things and may feel that there is no sense of fulfilment.
  • A Decision helps you to Eliminate other Options and Pick One. One can reach destination only by choosing a Single Path and not by choosing more than one Path.
  • A Decision removes the Feeling of Unknown (and confusion).
  • In the end, a Bad Decision can be reworked but you can not do anything about No Decision.

There could be many bad decisions taken by bosses but at least that gives a sense of direction to the team that works for him. And now, there will be so many instances that you think your boss is not able to take a decision and you are paying a heavy price for that. You are driven in to more and more uncertainty and confusion when your Boss postpones or procrastinate a decision. Following are some of the issues that may and could cause your Boss’s inability to take a decision.

Obligation

At times your Boss is given that position not because he is worth that position but there is no one to fill that position. So, this Boss always feels obligated to his Boss (Super-Boss). He can not even approve a purchase order worth $25 as he is not sure if his Boss will approve the same. In this case your Boss knows that he is not worth that position and so does the Super Boss. The Boss is very paranoid about each and everything that you do. He may even think that you are his competitor.

If you get 1 million dollars in Lottery. You may not feel bad to pay 40% tax to state. It’s Free money any way.

Super Boss’s Pet

This Boss is given the position because Super Boss thinks he needs some one “Who knows him” and “Does not question him” in whatever he does. In this case even if your Boss knows what is the “Right” decision, he will not make it unless it comes from Super Boss.

You lick mine and i lick yours.

Contentment

Some Bosses feel that they achieved a great thing in life by becoming “Boss”. Once people become content, their urge to do “Good” work and “move ahead in the ladder” dies. This is not to forget that the manager may be definitely capable and intellectual…its just that at this point of life he feels content and they don’t have the drive.

Contentment curtails growth.

Fear of Failure

Some don’t want to make a decision unless it comes from his Boss. These people like to take the credit if some thing is a Success else they feel nice to pass the Failure back to the Boss. They want to say that, “I did this because you asked me to do”. Where as they themselves would want to postpone the point of decision as long as possible.

Biggest failure is not to make a decision and not to fail.

Of course, you may have seen many more reasons or subsets of above. This kind of Boss seems to be very painful as working with him will not give you any sort of contentment or growth. Sometimes the only way to get out of the situation is to come out of the team or company. Though, i have seen very few who took the charge and jumped the hierarchy to become his boss’s peer.

A Boss is a Boss. If you can’t change him, learn to handle him.

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Posted in management, Technology | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Boss 3 : Bad BOSS can make you quit!

Posted by sureshkrishna on February 22, 2010

I resisted to write such an article for a long time (almost 3 years). I thought it is best written now. In the previous article about “How to be a good BOSS” few desirable characteristics are mentioned. What is not mentioned in that article is “How to be a BAD BOSS”. While i do want to write about the BAD BOSS, for this article i want to restrict the scope to few experiences that made one of my friend to quit his organization.

My friend (i call him “GoodFriend” in this article) joined this corporate in Mid of 2008 in Bay Area. He is a great quality assurance engineer with eight years of experience in Financial and Medical domains. GoodFriend joined this organization as this corporate “seems” to have good work culture. The hiring manager is same as his BOSS in the work too. So, at least the expectations of the candidate and the skill sets are known to the BOSS.

This BOSS seems to have a very bad mouth when it comes to employees and he had 4 tem-members for him self including my GoodFriend. The BOSS is an authoritative machine and wants to know each and everything that team-members do. Following are some of the questions that BOSS asks all the team members…

  • You look so relaxed, don’t you have work ?
  • BOSS sees the GoodFriend in cafeteria and starts asking about the work, results and deadlines.
  • If the GoodFriend turns up to office later than 9.00am, he asks “Why were you late and why did you not call me”.
  • If the GoodFriend needs a leave (even if it for 1 or 2 days), he needs to approach the BOSS at least 2 weeks earlier. Else, the BOSS is very angry and rebuke in front of the team.
  • It’s been almost 2 years this GoodFriend has joined but till now he could work from home only 17 days. He is afraid that the BOSS would ask the details of each and every hour at home.

While the above are only some of the other non-technical stuff. Following are the sarcastic and insulting comments that this BOSS does. Some times GoodFriend feels that the BOSS nay be feeling that he is in a race with him (Boss).

  • How many tests did you execute today and how much time each of them took ? And what did you do during the execution time.
  • “Hay… GoodFriend, just listen to me. Don’t use your brain.”
  • During the meetings, if the GoodFriend suggests some process or technical aspects, the BOSS would say, “Just follow what i say”.
  • You are a good Quality Engineer but you should also learn Java and C# coding. You should be flexible. When the GoodFriend says that he has no interest in programming. He is labelled as “Rigid” , “non-cooperative” and “Non-obedient” employee.

Once the GoodFriend has gone thorough all this humiliation and workplace sarcasm, he finally decided to QUIT the job and joined another small company that he worked previously. He could not take this any more and everyone else in his department seems to believe the BOSS than him. Anyway, he joined his previous company and feels GREAT about the move. He says, he feels so relieved, relaxed and works with high enthusiasm.

Lessons Learnt :

The BOSS is the window to any Organization. If that window is bad, your doors to the Organization are almost shut.

You can not give your best, if you are not satisfied with Work and Morale at work place.

Your BOSS’s attitude can ruin your years of expertise and may make you feel devastated.

Posted in communication, management, Technology | Tagged: , , , , | 77 Comments »

Boss 2 : Does your Boss see you as his competitor ?

Posted by sureshkrishna on November 27, 2009

The title may sound strange, but it’s true in many cases. If you have considerable experience and worked with many bosses, you may have encountered this situation at least once. There are very few bosses who possess real Leadership skills. By this, i really mean that your Boss knows his boundaries, makes sure you know your boundaries, stands as an exemplary character and knows how to push your career in the right direction. Many Bosses i see are raising from the Juniors levels in the respective industry. That means they are struggling to juggle their core expertise and the desire to exhibit management skills and get recognized as a “Manager”.

While everyone agrees that healthy competition within and outside the organization is good for everyone, there are mixed feelings as to whether your Boss should see you as his competitor. Some of the managers are very paranoid about their own position or sometime they don’t understand the value of growth.

Growth Satisfaction : This is the most dangerous reason that would make the team frustrated about the work and the company. This sort of Boss thinks that he achieved a lot in his life and basically he is content with his position. He sees everyone working under him also as achievers. If one shows enthusiasm to do little extra, Boss thinks that it’s not necessary to do any thing other than their responsibility. He tries to shun the growth of the team-member by not letting this Ideas and communication some out of this team-member directly.

Boss does not even understand the fact  that the team-member needs recognition and wants to grow up in the ladder. The mere satisfaction of Boss could make him ignorant of others enthusiasm to grow.  Unless the situation is too bad, very few people would like to work with this kind of Boss. Or in the extreme case, the entire team is content with what they do.

Paranoid : Some situations, circumstances and timely decisions make this guy as Boss. May not be a perfect fit for the job but will do. This Boss never imagined he would get this position and he would like to keep it whatever happens. He starts suspecting his team, even if they go to a Coffee shop. Every suggestion that comes from the team undergoes a high scrutiny.

In most cases, these kind of Bosses may not possess great decision powers. So, working for them is like working for “Free”. No promotion, No reward, No bonus and No appreciation. Even if the team-member is capable, his Boss does not think so. Every effort that team-member makes to grow in and out of team becomes useless with the lack of the support by Boss. After all, everyone wants to respect his/her Boss and not By-pass. Even if one by passes his Boss, this can not continue for a long time as the Super-Boss wants to hear it from the Boss too.

Athlete : This is the name given by me and it is not a Management term. Your Boss is like an Athlete. He is highly skilled, fast paced and does not care about the others. He wants to be the first one to do anything. If the team-member wants to join him in the race, he will allow him to join the race as long as team-member is behind the Boss. This Boss is interested in only his growth and does not care whats happening to his team.

This kind of Boss is moving ahead is a fast pace. So, team-member will hopefully get a manager who understands them in future.

Guru : This kind of Boss is the one anyone would remember for their life time. This Boss teaches you, inspires you and recognizes the talent in you. He acts as a channel for your talent and you will be known to everyone inside and outside the team. He does not consider you as his competition, rather he thinks this as an opportunity for BOTH of you to grow. he works on a simple principle, “If YOU grow, I grow”.

In the end, it is not about, Good, Bad, Ugly. But, it is about how you take the situation and turn it into opportunity. Consciously knowing the nature of you Boss makes you better prepared for the situations. I am sure many of you would have had various experiences. Would like to hear your experiences too.

Posted in management | Tagged: , , | 4 Comments »