Wednesday, 8 April 2020

Boss—The Ace Of Spades

Updated: August 9, 2014 11:02 am

There are hundreds if not thousands of books on leaders and leadership, but there are very few on bosses or about being a boss. In fact, we need to deal more with bosses than leaders every day. A leader will always be wearing two hats at a time, one of a leader and the other of a boss as the two roles are quite different. Yet these two roles may have some common traits that could functionally overlap. Very often people attach a negative connotation to the word ‘boss’. In fact, the Oxford dictionary defines it as ‘to tell someone what to do in an arrogant or annoying way. Though the definition itself is derogatory, the author wants to dispel this notion through the book A Wonderful Boss: Great People To Work With.

A leader has a much larger role to play which affects the performance and progress of the entire organisation. At the core of leadership lies vision, mission, direction, wisdom, sacrifice and also a moralistic stance. In contrast, the role of a boss is more hands-on and largely revolves around and is focused towards people management and interpersonal relations with the employees of the organisation. Putting it in another way, a boss is in your immediate vicinity and with whom you deal on a daily basis, whereas a leader may be visible only from a distance. During the Gilded age, in the late 19th century, in the United States, bossism was a system of political control centring around a single powerful figure—the boss. The central figure had tremendous clout and influence in terms of political control, which means boss was to do more with control and nothing to do with leadership. In the modern era, bossism is about atmospherics, which has a direct impact on a subordinate’s performance as well his personal life and happiness.

It is often said that people don’t quit jobs, they quit bosses. Most of us have crossed paths with bosses of all kinds—good, bad and ugly. We had to live with some, tolerate others and also loved some. The definition of a good or a great person is highly subjective and hence prone to error, a human error. Therefore, while defining such a character, the fact that human perception would play an important role must be kept in mind. The author of this book Virender Kapoor is an Indian who wears many hats. An educationist of repute, a former director of a prestigious management institute under the Symbiosis umbrella, founder director, president and chief mentor of MILE—managing Institute for Leadership and Excellence, Pune has poured in all of his forty years of work experience in this book.

If boss or leaders are two hats for the same level and can bring in some nice factors into their behaviour and make people comfortable, build trust and connect with their hearts, organisations could greatly benefit. This book is as essential for young managers, who can develop their own effective style of dealing with their teammates, and is equally useful and applicable to the top brass who are holding fort as bosses. You could be in any profession—corporate, public sector, bureaucracy, media—this book is for you and your boss.

By Nilabh Krishna

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