Saturday, January 07, 2012

Yes Boss ???

There are some styles of management or rather mis-management which never did make sense to me.. and in all probability never will. I have, perhaps, not been long enough in the corporate circle to get the subtle nuances, but still what i lack in longevity, i make up in quantity. In a span of 5 yrs of "working" for a living, i have worked for over 8 bosses...  From each, i learned  what they thought about human psychology.

Type 1: Blind-eye
Avoidance, if not ignorance, is bliss.

I have to digress for an anecdote here. In earlier times, when powdered rice or wheat flour was a rarity, the women of the household would buy the grain, wash it, separate the stones, spread it on a mat, dry it and then lug it along to the 'mill' to get it powdered. The tricky part here is drying. You have to keep a regular watch out for the feathered fiends who swoop down for their beak-ful of the good stuff. My grand-mom would do the buy-inspect-wash-spread part and then entrust my grand-dad to keep an eye out for the pigeons. Grandpa would get his favourite armchair out, put it under the shade of the tree and proceed to watch the grain.

After a while he would get comfortable with his chair, the shade and the breeze .. it becomes a rather tiresome job to lift his upper body up and say "shoooo....shoooo" to the birds which gather around. He rids himself of the guilt by closing his eyes whenever the birds come down. What he doesn't see...doesn't happen. What he doesn't not his responsibility. What he doesn't see...cannot be blamed on him.What a comforting thought.

Most of my managers were like my grandpa in this responsibility aspect. They somehow think that if you ignore it, it will fade away. You speak to them, and he remains nonchalant on your concerns/ideas. You write, he doesn't reply. You propose meetings, he doesn't accept or refuse the meeting requests. You lay ambush to pounce on him and you see him walking the longer route to avoid running into you. 

They hate confrontation..are skeptical of new ideas.. and delay decision making. Nature would do its job and heal stuff, right??

Type 2: Pass the Baton
Over-delegation is the key to happiness!

Delegation of tasks, it is said, gives the person a sense of ownership of the task which in turn makes him more responsible and concerned about the outcome. Good idea.. But one manager i knew over-did this part. Well.... he did nothing but delegate. Which was still ok, if one could still ask him for guidance, or atleast a vague idea of what is expected. 

One good thing about these guys are...most of them will flatter you really well.. will give raving appreciation infront of your peers. But 'the catch' - none of this will get to the boss's boss. The delegater will be the black box that tasks go into and come out as solved - atleast that's what the big boss sees.

Word of advice. Get out !! you might get the challenges..but never the credit.

Type 3 : Micro Management
Nothing is right, until I do it.

This one is also a rather common style of management. Boss thinks he knows best. Hence, he has to do it. If he doesnt do it..he has to tell you how exactly to do it. And then, look over your shoulder to see if you are doing it the way he wants you to. Also a periodic review to know where you are and if you are putting your toes out of the line. He checks and then double-checks if you have dotted your 'i's and scored your 't's. And still is not happy coz he would have done it much better, ya know!!

 One manager i worked with was so obsessed with the indentation & colors in a powerpoint slides, that she was least bothered about the content. It did not impress her that i came up with out of box ideas to address a task more efficiently coz i had not used the same font size for headings everywhere !  The silver lining in the cloud if you are working for such managers, is that you would eventually become a perfectionist yourself or at-least develop an eye for detail.

Type 4: The buddy
The fairy god-mother/father type.

Woe to those who have this type of bosses - only coz you will be so spoilt under this guy that you will never find peace once the reporting structure changes. Why ? coz here is a guy who gives you the visibility, responsibility & credit. He would also shoulder some part of the blame from the bigger guys if things dont work out & will have your back during those firing sessions. He would give you a piece of his mind too - but not in front of his superiors or your peers, but in private. His criticisms would always be non-personal. His appreciations as well. He may be around for a round of beer on a friday night and would do team lunches paid out of his pocket just for the heck of it.

who wouldnt want such a person to work under ?? But then again, once you have such a great role model to look upto and emulate..what happens once you are out of this magical world ? Things become even more unbearable. Your tolerance for crass & insensitivity reaches a new law. 

Welcome to corporate life !

1 comment:

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