Home > Uncategorized > My boss is useless..He said.

My boss is useless..He said.



Couple of weeks ago I got talking to a colleague and he said ‘My boss is useless.’

That was quite a dramatic statement, so I asked him, as he expected of course, for the reason to make that claim.

He said, and I don’t think I will ever forget it, ‘I need my boss to solve problems, I cannot solve. If he cannot, then I don’t need him as my boss.’

Having vented his frustration he went off his way.

But that brief interaction stayed in my mind and got me thinking about what I, myself, wanted in a boss. I did this by looking at bosses I’d worked with over the years.

I think the most important point is that there is NO perfect boss. That doesn’t exist. Good bosses are those whose good traits overwhelm the negative ones. Quite simple, really.

In no particular order the attributes I have enjoyed, and not, from my bosses are.

TRUST: While, I did say, in no particular order I have thrived most when I have been trusted by my bosses. Not just to be given a task and be left alone, which is easy, but when someone complains about you. Especially then. It is easy to trust when things are going well. Not so, when they do not. My very first boss at Ogilvy was a shining example of that Trust. Over the years I have had a fair mix of bosses. I have realised I did well when I was trusted.

COLLABORATION: I don’t always want a boss who has all the answers. Often I need a boss who will show me how to get to the answer. Bosses, who know it all, and show it have often left me cold. But bosses who know it and will sit with you and work it so that I can solve the next problem by myself get my hat tip. Also bosses who did not know the answer, but said ‘Come, let’s find this together’, get 2 thumbs up. I have learnt so much from that process.

DO THE DIRTY: Sometimes as a junior you need a boss to Do The Dirty and take on the system of vested interests that come in the way of change, or just getting the job done. Some bosses will skulk and some will give it a good fight. The latter breed a sense of driving change in their teams and desire to make things better. I have learnt from them that no battle is not worth not fighting. Not for bloodshed, but to test the frontier and see if we can indeed make the change.

IN THE TRENCHES: Another attribute I have enjoyed in my bosses is the willingness to roll up sleeves and join forces with the teams on ground when needed. It is always easy to wish a team well for an all nighter and show up in the morning and critique. It is much harder to be with the team, as a senior, and work with them in pulling it together. I’ve worked with some clients who would do the same. We’ve done some late nights and had the client right there to demonstrate his team spiritedness. Bosses/clients who do this get that little extra respect from their teams.

INTEGRITY: This is probably as important as the TRUST, I mentioned right up front. Integrity is a big word that shows up in little things. Actually, it is its absence that is easy to spot than its presence. Using company resources for personal activity, stealing credit from where it’s really due, playing politics are the most common signs of someone who doesn’t have it. I, like everyone else, have had the pleasure of working with people with and without it. Fortunately more of the former.

Then there are the usual ones of coaching, mentoring, problem solving etc but the above form my Top 5.

I am sure you have your own preferences. I’d look forward to hearing them.



Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , , ,
  1. June 2, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    Really like the attributes that you have listed down here. One term that sums it up for me is “Attitude”. Does the boss has an attitude that is to push to do what is right rather than what is easy?

    I have always hated bosses who always go for the low hanging fruit.

  2. June 2, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    I could really relate with your inference.

  3. June 3, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    Another great post Harish! Keep posting!

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