How to click with your Boss!

Bosses are all around; even at home! Very often, one may tend to think why I should care or what I can do about the boss. Especially, in so called modern societies or cultures or generation, it is common to think why I shall bother, it is his/her (boss’) job to be nice and treat me properly. I should mind my own business. Firstly, you are in same business, your boss is. Secondly, it is nothing but your over or under confidence speaking. When it starts to hurt you, you would blame everyone else except self. It may not then even occur to you that rather than boss’ behavior impacting you, you could have influenced his/her behavior!

So, it is not a bad idea, to find a good way to click with your boss. How? You might have received or read several advices how to do this. Let me share with you some straight forward steps to click.

Lot of published material talks to 3 to 13 types of bosses! Let me classify them as:

  1. Aggressive
  2. Action oriented
  3. Pragmatic
  4. Work-to-rule
  5. Dogmatic
  6. Action dis-oriented
  7. Submissive

In real life, I do not think that a given boss would exactly fit in one category. He or she would always show one dominant trait out of 7 above and rest of his or her characteristics would overlap with one or more of other traits.

Before we proceed further, let me share my general counsel:

  • Accept your boss without resistance or reservation, as he or she is.
  • Avoid comparing your boss with anyone else.
  • Abstain from criticizing your boss to any one, not even in your bed room.
  • Aim of this post is not to give you any handle of one up-man ship on your boss; but to create understanding on how to align for a smooth ride.
  • Analyze in which category, dominant trait of your boss falls and which one is 2nd most prominent trait for him/her.

Universal Formula for all kinds of Bosses

There are certain things that you should do; as these would work with all bosses or rather all kinds of people, regardless which category or class they come from:

  1. Greet your boss, when you meet him (without gender bias, I would now be using word – him) 1st time in the day, by looking into his eyes and with smile and subsequently give a smile at each encounter.
    Key is that you do this with your inner feelings to wish him indeed good. I have seen in many western countries and even elsewhere, people do this; but mechanically with no feelings attached. That won’t work! And do this whether you are at trouble with him or not!!
  2. Ask him on his face what makes him happy and what his expectations are.
  3. Whether planned or unplanned meeting with him, try and find out the purpose and prepare your points before hand. Never miss to carry pen and paper; but never carry prior notions or bias.
  4. Never defend or justify your doings or points; instead explain facts as they are and seek his support or suggest solutions.
  5. If in doubt, raise a question to him and if you have no answer to give, seek time to come back.
  6. If he pats your back, never forget to tell him that credit goes to his backing, and never bite at anybody’s back.
  7. Blame or criticize no one; instead just state what others have or could have done.

If you can imbibe these 7 habits in your character, 90% of your job is done!

Now, you can proceed to research, which category your boss belongs to and what simple things that you can do to deal with him.

 

Dealing with Aggressive, Action oriented, Work-to-rule and Dogmatic bosses

 

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18 Comments
  • Sushil Jain
    Sep 8,2012 at 4:50 pm

    Well, I respect your opinion…

    • Sep 9,2012 at 12:16 pm

      Thanks and I appreciate your interest.

  • Sushil Jain
    Sep 6,2012 at 8:57 pm

    Murli, While what you have written makes sense…..there is another way of looking at the whole thing….. based on the wisdom of life…. which says “What we see outside is what is going within us”, outside events act like a mirror and just a reflection of what we are feeling inside…. so if we have to change the outside, we need to change our self. It is as simple as that…..

    Unless, we know our Self well, what thoughts we have, what we actually want, how we can change the relationship with the boss or any other person. So, first thing we need to understand and change is our thoughts, from negative to positive thoughts, to happy thoughts, and be peaceful,….do our job well and then see what happens to the outside picture…. A peaceful person can do best of job, lives in present, creative and who would not like such a person…. Experiment, experience, and live a joyful life…. boss may be inspired too…

    • Sep 8,2012 at 12:33 pm

      Many thanks for sharing your thoughts!

      Let us look at the ground realities. Most perceive that they have wisdom of life or they do not need more than what they possess. As long as this perception prevails, it will not even occur to people that they are missing something. Likewise, most do not believe that they do not know self enough. Otherwise, they would be driven automatically to know more! This is substantiated by the fact that despite all what is around, sources of knowledge, teaching and preaching, we have problems. In this instance, I have witnessed umpteenth no. of people have problems with bosses or are unable to click with them. They cannot comprehend what to do more!

      This post is aimed at bringing a paradigm shift on how to Click! Being peaceful and happy is essential; but that by itself would not guarantee that you become capable of managing bosses. One has to learn the tricks of trade!!

  • Ravi Athalye
    Mar 10,2012 at 11:37 pm

    Dear Murli,
    I think human behavior still retains some habits of the ancient cave man. Once we are in a safe zone with complete authority it is easy to subjugate a cornered animal.

    Human responses change when behavior has consequences and they are guaranteed. A good organization will not make exceptions. Granted some people with their unique skills can get away by being monsters. (History has known Hitler)

    I am waiting for you to invoke and describe situations when one must stand ones ground and not let a boss get away with being inhumanly wrong.

    By the way I speak from experiencing both ends. Being a boss and a employee.

    Regards,

    Ravi

    • Mar 11,2012 at 1:54 pm

      3 posts clearly suggest how to manage a boss or for that reason, anyone with that kind of trait and not succumbing to his/her wrongs or whims! I hope this would correct your perception.

  • Ravi Athalye
    Mar 10,2012 at 7:03 pm

    Dear Murli,
    I wait for your blogs to be reviewed and commented by international communities. It will be interesting to see opinions and case studies. Your experience with human psychology is invaluable and will help in promoting life balances.

    I have my experience in India that I so passionately disagreed with. I have over 28 years reviewed it in context with bosses in USA (MNCs). At no time did I experience anybody with the management style that allows a boss to have total control over your professional and mental well being.

    Curiously at the time I had the Indian experience I recently came across Senior Managers who were practicing the US based management elsewhere in the organization.

    Come to think of it a change in department could do the trick of changing a boss without having to quit.

    Again please continue providing your well tried experiences that lead to harmony, success and growth with a smile.

    Regards,

    Ravi

    • Mar 10,2012 at 8:29 pm

      Thanks! I respect your ideas. Let us keep looking at the things in larger perspective. Good and bad co-exist every where, including in USA and this rule of nature can not be defied. Key is always to manage the bad one.

  • Ravindra
    Mar 10,2012 at 4:54 pm

    I think with slight tweek these habits can be applied to make any relationship much more vibrant.

    We need good systems as well as good people to make an organization successful. Lack of either one is guarantee of failure.

    • Mar 10,2012 at 8:23 pm

      Many thanks for your inputs! To add, good systems can only be created and/or managed well by people, who are good. Most important is always execution of ideas, which are on the table.

  • Kaushik
    Mar 10,2012 at 8:16 am

    Dear Mr Lohia,

    I think the points made here are very practical and based on long experience of any employee and also supplemented by observation from myriad other workers who all have a boss. I particularly liked the idea of being frank enough to ask the boss as to what pleases him so that you could work towards that goal, off course if that’s realistic.

    • Mar 10,2012 at 12:59 pm

      Highly appreciate your feedback! Once we follow 7 habits, mentioned in the main post, lots of other things would start to change for better!!

  • Ravi Athalye
    Mar 10,2012 at 12:05 am

    Dear Murli,
    Job contents that have no metrics are vulnerable to fancies of an individual. A Six Sigma Organnization has well defined job descriptions and metrics to quantify progress.

    With well charted out processes clearly defined responsibilities and authorities, transparency of actions and decision and accountability for performance and behavior an organization can then set forth to embark on spending energies and human resources on Corporate Vision and Goals. Share holder value comes from a well thought out structure.

    Your suggestions appear to cater to an organization that is working with antiquated methods and non transparent processes. In such an organization one has to bow down to the `Village Chief’ and be afraid of the Witch Doctor.

    I am reminded of Rabindranath Tagore:

    Where the head is held high,
    And Knowledge is free
    Where the clear stream of reason
    Has not lost its way
    In the dreary dessert sands of dead Habit

    A Six Sigma approach is an extension of this thought.

    No organization can have totally perfect systems of checks and balances. But atleast some of your suggestion must expose the organization weakness that allows individuals to be autocratic.

    Regards,

    Ravi

    • Mar 10,2012 at 1:20 pm

      Thanks for your ideas. However, if you realistically look around, organizations with all processes and systems in place – Six Sigma, job contents, metrics, defined responsibilities and what not, do not by themselves ensure right behavior of bosses and sub-ordinates! These only provide a framework for activities; but does not modulate human responses to a given situation. Many of these organizations still struggle with people management, employees’ relationships.

      Right ideas and attitude are precursor to every system and method to succeed!

  • Ravi Athalye
    Mar 8,2012 at 10:44 pm

    Dear Murli,
    There are some behavioral norms that have no rational and exist because they emerged from the social set up and beliefs which through time have lost their reason to exist but continue out of a social reflex.

    Example the traditional role of a devoted Hindu wife who must play second fiddle to the whims of the family hierarchy. Bolywood , womens lib and awareness of womens right has done a lot to dispel the `sati savitri’ role.

    In the same manner Boss is always right belief has emerged from an era when jobs were scarce, mobility between jobs was minimal and therefore allowing a boss to be right even when he is wrong was a necessary part of protecting the family from the trauma of loss of job.

    Your suggestion of behavior towards the boss does not acknowledge the right of a person to stand up for ones beliefs and to some degree self respect.

    Excuse me if I am laying it out without mincing words.

    Accept your boss without reservation feels analogous to a corporate version of ‘Sati Savitri’ beliefs of bygone period. Leaders are not born or made with this behavior.

    A lot of your suggestions probably work out in the Indian corporate world.

    There are many counter points and views that come to my mind best discussed across the table.

    I am sure your recipe to approach a boss is a path of least resistance which in general may have the least risk and makes for a happy life.

    Ravi

    • Mar 9,2012 at 4:17 pm

      Many thanks for your comments.

      If you have a boss, you have 2 options – live with or leave him. If you don’t like or cannot align to what he is, you can always choose to leave to search another till you get boss of your choice. All over world, people do not leave immediately; but live with him till a point. Such saga has continued; but, question is how you can manage better.

      You have 3 options to live with your boss:
      1. Live in conflicts, continuous or sporadic
      2. Live in dormancy
      3. Live in dignity and cordially

      1st option would only create heat and burns; but satisfy your ego. 2nd would bring you uneventful life and growth. 3rd option is what this post is focusing. Why can’t we be smart? Only when you communicate, then you can challenge your boss and work for a change, at least for his behavior towards you! He would not give you a damn, unless you have a minimum relationship and understanding. Acceptance of boss without reservation and resistance is just accepting the fact what he is . What he should be, how he should function etc are all our wishes; these by themselves would not change him. No where we are talking about “boss is right” or “you be a Sati Savitri”. It is all about definite actions to click with boss, whereby you can then work for a change you like!!

      My experience with countries – West to East, these do apply. I would welcome, if you wish to discuss further across table.

  • Ajay Nichit
    Mar 8,2012 at 3:31 pm

    Very true ,Nice & Practical..I beleive if we impement this universal formula we can not only be able to click any boss in this world but also it will change the whole Perspective looking at your boss..suddenly you will find your boss is best boss in this World..
    Thanks for this nice article

    • Mar 8,2012 at 6:08 pm

      Many thanks and very apt observations!Yes, changing the whole perspective about the boss is largely in our hands and the rest follows automatically. One day when you take the position of your boss, then see how life becomes very different and flavored!!

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