When Bosses talk of being open to getting challenged or criticism, what they really mean!

It is a common chore for most bosses to make holy statements of intents to the people they work with. How much they really mean?

The pitch of holy statements goes higher, when people move to higher positions or are new in their positions! Higher the number of people in team, higher is the amplitude of such pitch and bigger is the gap between lip and living by such statements! It is not uncommon that Bosses give sermons to employees that they are open to accept criticism or getting challenged.

So, what do most Bosses actually mean when they express their solidarity with such sacred values?

Everyone has eternal desire to be seen as honest and holy!

Let us not single out bosses; everyone at heart nurses a desire that he or she must be seen as honest and holy. Yes, degree of such desire may be higher in the positions of power or prominence. Here is why everybody craves for it:

  1. To avoid getting questioned or criticized.
  2. Insuring against getting in trouble.
  3. To preserve or promote self-image.
  4. To get good impact on business and personal performance.
  5. Be seen as progressive and sensitive to people.

It is above desire that prompts most people, including bosses to make principled and pious statements.

How gap between intention and implementation drives behavior of bosses

If you observe carefully, the intents of most people get developed easily, if things appeal to them. Merely by having intents or ideas of intents, many people tend to feel good or great if the job is done; but they seldom realize that real game begins in implementation.

Real problem all over the world is missing focus on implementing good intentions! Paradox is that bad ones get easily and quickly implemented!!

Here below is what has been noticed in behavior of such bosses in real life:

  • When there is a gap between intentions and statements, bosses tend to put extra emphasis on implementation of those; but not take any follow-up action.
  • They would quote examples, which reinforce importance of good values, more frequently compared to those, who are serious to implement.
  • Their body language is not be effective or impressive!
  • More than 90% of such bosses would be seen to implement positive things; but they actually do it under social stress and stigmas, peer pressure or fear of compliances! Those efforts are not self-driven and hence do not create desired impact!!
    Whenever they get relieved of above pressure or stress, wrong side of their personality shows up in their behavior.
  • When bosses or supervisors get challenged by their sub-ordinates or face criticism, their response varies depending upon their traits:
    • 51% would hear and give an impression to employees that they are willing to get challenged or being constructively criticized.
      They may put up a brave face, little defense or offense at the most. But at heart, they would react and not accept! They would not show it on the spot. Their reaction would surface later in a variety of forms. They may become prejudiced or vindictive against the concerned employee/s. They may express their displeasure with concerned employee by terming him/her as disrespectful or aggressive. It is very common in corporate life that such bosses or supervisors resort to reprisal at the time of employee/s’ appraisals!
    • 44% hear but defend their views and actions, regardless whether concerns or criticism of employee/s are credible or legitimate! They may show their displeasure and be coercive until the employee/s retreat.
      There is a small population of bosses, who could accuse the employee/s of being recalcitrant or repress his/her views.
    • More than 4% would listen and accept; but not take any further action.
    • Less than 1% are the ones, who would not only listen and accept, but initiate necessary steps to bring changes, with a view to improve.
  • So, 95% of bosses or supervisors do not mean what they state and in addition, more than 4% of them have fractured ownership on what they express!

Closing the gap between Lip and Living-by creates astonishing results

“Walk the Talk” is a very common phrase in corporate life. In practice, it is indeed a phrase and hardly a pursuit! Let us modify the phrase to “Walk the Thoughts and Talks”. In other words, keep no gap in what we think, speak and do!

Our corporate, as also common life would be astonishingly awesome and beneficial, if we close the gap among 3 things – thinking, speaking and doing. A true differentiator between leader and boss, performer and non, a doer or non-doer is that the former has no gap between the 3 things! It is just this differentiator that makes bosses a long term liability and leaders a long term asset for the company!


4 responses to “When Bosses talk of being open to getting challenged or criticism, what they really mean!”

  1. Chetan Avatar

    There are some facts of life that people hesitate to accept or talk about. The chosen topic is one of the them . Its very true that sometimes even very good intentions and Manager is still not able to drive. I feel if you are truly honest inside yourself it will show in your deeds , it might take some time to realize but your attitude will surface sooner or later.

    I was lucky to work with a Manager who falls within the 1% range , and believe me only being with right person can change the way you look at life.

    1. Murli Avatar

      Many thanks for your illustrious comments!

      What you have stated is very apt and that reflects your immense learning!! You are fortunate to have worked with a manager, who falls in 1% category and what you are mirrors that.

  2. Rudra Avatar

    Thanks to this post that I’ve now started looking and treating various bosses from a different (much better) perspective… 🙂

    Hope this post goes to all those bosses around and does wonders… 😀


    1. Murli Avatar

      I highly appreciate your response and the trigger you have got from this post! Excellent!!

      I believe it is more useful to employees, who would graduate to the level of supervisor/boss in future. They can take a leaf out of this post and follow a better route to get there and enjoy.

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