“The Boss Man”

Posted by: admin  :  Category: Neuro Semantics, Personal Development

Last Sunday, the 16th of October 2011, the world celebrated “Bosses Day”. Did you? Did you give your “Boss” a gift; a bouquet of flowers, a box of chocolates or a greeting card?  I asked around, called some friends and put the same question to them and guess what, most of them did not know it was “Bosses Day”. More importantly, and not surprising, they were not interested in knowing nor had they any intention of celebrating it. In fact, it became an occasion for them to “bitch” to me about how horrible their bosses were! Due to this over whelming response, I decided to blog about Bosses or “The Boss Man” (Note, from here on, I’ll be referring to Bosses, both men and women, with the term “The Boss Man”).

 

If you are a “Boss” in some way, be it a business owner, a CEO, Managing Director,  Principle, President, Manager, etc, did you get recognized on “Bosses Day”? I really don’t know the answer to this question but I can guess that some will answer “yes”, some “no” while others may just say, “I don’t need to be recognized nor am I in a popularity contest, my job is to ensure what’s best for the company as I am answerable to someone higher up.”

 

“The secret of successful managing is to keep the five guys who hate you away from the four guys who haven’t made up their minds.”

- Casey Stengel

 

Having been “The Boss Man” myself during my working days as well as someone who worked under “The Boss Man”, I kind of understand the last comment cited above. In a way, running a department or leading a team has nothing to do with pleasing everybody, in fact that is guaranteed to lead one down a painful path! Yes, the organizations’ outcomes are a priority and it is the very reason a business, corporations or any organization exists: to fulfill its vision, mission and core values. Any yes, I do agree that being “The Boss Man” is not an easy job and precisely so, being “The Boss Man” is a position that may are called to but few are the chosen to be the ones who truly lead, inspire, nurture and bring out the best in the people they lead…and get recognized for doing so! Here in lies the irony of sound and empowering leadership, it is always recognized and celebrated, from folks like Gandhi to Steve Jobs! So, if you are a “Boss Man”, was your leadership celebrated on “Bosses Day”?   

 

Ask yourself this question, “Can you remember a “Boss” or someone you served under who truly inspired you?” What did they do to earn your respect and admiration? Can you describe the criteria that you admire? Do you model this criterion yourself? If yes, good, if not, then why not? All too often, we admire but fail to model what we admire. We know, gain knowledge and even have a thirst to gain more knowledge but fail to close the “knowing – doing gap” to produce the kind of behavior that embodies and incarnates this knowledge. For me, this lies at the heart of “The Boss Man” issues, the failure to apply leadership principles that most Bosses know but lack the self efficacy   to practice. 

  

In many of my training engagements, the following has been some of the major “Boss Man” issues that many staff has experienced. These issues have negatively impacted productivity, lowered staff moral, killed initiative and creativity, negatively impacting staff engagement at the work place. So here we go……

 

1. Being paranoia and lacking trust.

This, I believe, is the root cause of many other “Boss Man” issues, in fact, for me; it sets apart the good managers and leaders from the rotten ones! Relationships or relating is the very medium in which business takes shapes, breeds, grows and expands. Every core aspect of Business and Management; be it sales, marketing, customer service, human resources, etc. takes place within this context, and a fundamental component of productive and health relating or relationships is TRUST! In many working environments today, trust is the very element that is lacking or absent and Bosses can either breed trust or mistrust!

 Here’s what some Bosses do, they put out advertisements to recruit the talent they need, they hire them, get excited and then start underestimating the ability of the very people they hire! They draw upon their past “bad” experiences, get influenced by the pettiness of small minded “older staff” and/or make unreasonable comparisons with more experienced current or former staff that have left the company.

 

Then the inevitable happens; they develop a “negative expectation frame of mind” or perceptual filter through which they view the performance of their new staff. Once this happens, the slightest mistake becomes evidence for them to confirm their negative frame of mind. This leads them to further doubt the judgments, ideas, suggestions and intentions of staff and eventually results paranoia and micro management. Over time a culture of mistrust is developed, one that smothers talent, drive and moral; leaving its destructive footprints of frustration and anger on both new and experienced staff alike; a real self esteem killer at the work place!

 

“A boss creates fear, a leader confidence. A boss fixes blame, a leader corrects mistakes. A boss knows all, a leader asks questions. A boss makes work drudgery, a leader makes it interesting.”

-Russell H. Ewing quotes

 

2. Being egoistic, infallible and authoritarian.

We all know of Bosses who think that they are “god’s gift” to their staff, who never stops thinking that they are the “industrial referral standard” of perfection, good business management and entrepreneurship. Bosses who believe that their business ideas, calls and judgments are infallible and if there is ever a mistake or error, it’s someone else’s, the market or the competitors fault. If there’s success, it’s all because of them and they take all the credit and soak up the lime light. The Boss who starts every sentence with “I” and punctuates them with lost of “me’s” and “I knows” and who demands the impossible form staff who are given very little or no resources to do so.

 

“Accomplishing the impossible means only that the boss will add it to your regular duties.”

-Doug Larson

 

In most instances, they are authoritarian and have little regard for the opinions, suggestions and feelings of their staff. They schedule “critical” meetings a few days before major holidays and demand reports immediately after them, demand that staff stay back late every day to demonstrate that they are “working hard” for him and the company, sends emails and SMS at 12am and at other ungodly times- labeling them “urgent”, call staff up on their days off, ask for updates as well as for information at times of their convenience and demanding instant reply’s even on weekends and odd days!  They lead through intimidation, are cynical of the personal hardship of their staff and love giving feed back through insults and derogatory remarks. The cocky Boss who has a personal motto that says, “I make all my staff cry”, “It’s my way or the highway boys” or “All my staff are afraid of me!” 

 

“Companies used to be able to function with autocratic bosses. We don’t live in that world anymore.”

-Rosabeth Moss Kanter

 

What such the bosses don’t realize is that employees under such pressure end up losing interest in their work and will meet the deadlines just for the sake of it. Such employees would only do what is asked of them, never happily giving more or a hundred percent to their work. In time, they become “zombies” who leave their hearts and minds the minute clock in to work and pick them up the minute they leave, working only to earn their salary, while waiting for the next opportunity to come along.   

 

3. Being insecure, manipulative and deceptive.

Perhaps the worst kind of Boss is the insecure one: the Boss who is insecure about of his or her position, is easily intimidated, views intelligent staff as a threat to his or her security in the company, steals ideas and suggestions, gossips about one staff to another and manages by division and conflict, plays favorites, avoids transparency for the fear of being challenged, manipulatively using the weakness of others to his or her advantage while being cunningly deceptive by over promising and under delivering to keep staff motivated, especially on promotions, commissions and perks.

“Insecurity is one of the most common causes of managers behaving oddly… you’re never quite sure what to expect from them”

 -Shaun Belding, “Winning With the Boss From Hell.”

 

 

Did I mention their inability to accept responsibility for business outcomes and results, being ridiculously indecisive and petty and is “retired on the job” simply because they lack the task competency and character, becoming experts in delegating and “out sourcing” their work to others while throwing a “smoke screen” of authority and competency, a master of playing “hide and seek”; the boss who can talk a “good game” but simply cannot execute a good game plan!

 

While there are certainly no perfect Bosses, most are simply blind to their “blind spots”, and unaware of the negative impact they have on the people they lead. While some of us may choose to “mud sling” and “bitch” about our “Boss Man”, the reality of any situation is always two fold. As much as we are under leadership, we can also choose to “lead upward”, to influence upward. On the other side of the coin, we are always in some way in the position of “The Boss Man”, either at home, in a voluntary organization, in a club, a political, social or religious organization, etc. where our influence can either bring out the best or worse in others. Hence, the following can serve all of us well to identify our “blind spots” by simply applying the Mirror Principle, adapted and expanded on from John C. Maxwell’s, “Winning With People”.

 

This principle is really profoundly simple but effective. It involves taking a look in the mirror to learn some truths about ourselves by asking ourselves the following:

 

a) The first person I must know is myself; develop a higher degree of self awareness.

While most of us have the ability to size up, measure and figure other people out, we are pretty weak in figuring ourselves out, our leadership style and how we impact others under our leaderships; either empowering them or keeping them leashed by our insecurities or unmet childish needs! Hence the first step to develop greater self awareness, to “awaken to” the kind of “Boss Men” we are. What is one way we can do this?  

 

Find someone who we can be honest with, a family member, friend or colleague and ask that person to describe to us a habit or practice that negatively impacts others who are under our leadership or guidance. Then ask how does this trait(s) affect the group, the quality of relationships within the group and the effectiveness or productivity of the organization, team or family in realizing its vision, mission, higher meaning, values and outcomes?

 

Once you have acquired this insight, ask yourself, “What changes can I make within myself to cultivate new beliefs, values, capabilities, skills and behaviors to become a better human person and “Boss Man”?” Once you have done this, take action, immediately! Keep repeating this principle as often as possible, stay awake and keep developing a higher degree of self awareness.   

 

b) The first person I must get along with is myself; develop a healthy self image and practice self leadership.

This principle is best described by Sydney J. Harris, “If you’re not comfortable with yourself you can’t be comfortable with others.” Hence if we do not think much about ourselves, our worth, value nor do we believe in our integral goodness, we will definitely self sabotage our chances for success as well as sabotage the people we work with, lead and relate to.

 

A poor self image breeds insecure leadership and we already know the effects that this  can have and can manifest itself either as insecure, arrogant, authoritarian or egoistic model leadership (of a combination of these!). As they say, the most important relationship you’ll ever have will be with yourself and it will determine the nature of your external relationships, your unconscious and conscious model of leadership. 

 

So what is the solution? It is to learn to be your own best friend and how can you do this? By learning to befriend yourself, by learning to accept and appreciate your worth and dignity as a give by the fact you are a human person.

 

By learning to look for, identify, explore and expand your gifts, talents, skills and capabilities and embrace your potential to be more than you currently are.

 

By recognizing and celebrating your achievements and strengths as signs of your self efficacy and embracing your weakness as opportunities to learn and grow, embracing fallibility with a sense of self acceptance and forgiveness.

 

These are integral step in self leadership, steps that lead to effective leadership!

 

c) The first person to cause me problems is myself; practice self honesty!

To quote Jack Parr, “Looking back, my life seems like one big obstacle race, with me being the chief obstacle.” As John C. Maxwell so aptly puts it, “If we could kick the person responsible for most of our problems, we wouldn’t sit down for weeks.” Needless to say, one of the key issues faced by “Boss Men” is a lack of self honesty, the ability to stop and take a good look at oneself in the mirror and come to terms with ones short comings, faults and problems. To quit blaming, projecting and acting that like one is infallible with an ego that’s larger than the organization!

 

To be honest, in many a situation, I am my biggest problem; my close or narrow mindedness, my inability to listen to the opinions of others, my need to be always right at whatever expense, my need to manipulate things to go my way, my selfish attitude, my pride, unreasonable expectations, inflexibility, judgmental attitude or plain ignorance and the refusal to accept mistakes, correction and to learn from such experiences.

 

The much need tonic to this is self honesty, to create the space within for honest introspection and reflection and to acknowledge that on many instances, the problem starts with me, my outdated frames of mind, expectations and perceptions.

 

So ask yourself, “What are some of my hang ups? Can I genuinely accept, acknowledge and embrace them? In what areas do I need the greatest growth; develop higher levels of maturity and to equip myself with the necessary resources to remove some of my inner obstacles and develop new inner models of leaderships? What steps can I take to get my ego out of the way, to allow new and empowering attitudes and beliefs to develop in order for me to actualization new habits of leadership that unleashes potential in others and in me?

 

 

“A good boss makes his men realize they have more ability than they think they have so that they consistently do better work than they thought they could”

-Charles Erwin Wilson

 

d) The first person that I can make a difference with, influence and change is myself: practice self responsibility and self development.       

If you want to make a difference in the world, then you must take responsibility to influence and change yourself. The greatest number in the world is “ONE”, and that one is you! If we are going to inspire, lead and develop the talents of those we lead as well as be the catalyst of peak performance, we need to start with our very selves.

 

This calls for the practice of self responsibility to develop oneself, walk the talk, and embody the very vision, values and mission of the organization, group, team or family that we are leading. To embody the higher meanings that we are pointing to, closing the “knowing and doing gap” and to be committed to actualizing the highest and best in our actions; this is the catalyst for self actualizing leadership that unleashes the best in oneself and others. It’s about being authentic and congruent, a leadership from inside out!       

 

The opposite of this is to look at everyone to explain problems, set backs and poor performance; to manage and “lead” by blaming, scapegoat-ing and deflecting responsibility by offensive and defensive strategies and behaviors.

 

So, are you willing to exercise greater self responsibility to self develop? If so, what steps will you take to start to actualize the preceding principles of the Mirror Principle above? What will your plans and strategies be? What resources will you acquire and have access to realize this outcome? When will you start to make these changes? Will you put a time line on the execution of this plan and get someone to hold you accountable for its execution?    

 

“Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.”

-James 1: 23-24

 

 

Being “The Boss Man” is a position that may are called to but few are the chosen to be the ones who truly lead, inspire, nurture and bring out the best in the people they lead. This is a hard reality for all of us to accept. No matter how many books on leadership we may read, attend leadership workshops and seminars and learn the latest leadership strategies and paradigms, we’ll never quite become self actualizing leaders that bring out the best in others and ourselves if we fail to practice the Mirror Principle. The Mirror Principle starts with a single digit number; the number “ONE” and that one is you and it’s the very number which can make the biggest change in the world!

 

 

Happy “Boss Man” Day!

 

I hope that this short video by Colin Powell inspires you in becoming an exceptional “Boss Man.”

 

The Essence of Leadership

 

Stay committed to transcending, transforming and transferring value back to your world!

Catch new blogs fortnightly at let us know what you think below.

 

Conrad Rozario is the founder of Alchemy Resources, a cutting edge human potential and peak performance development company in Malaysia. He has more than 15 years experience in people development from the diverse fields of Sales, Marketing, Customer Engagement and Service, Business Management and Talent Development. He is a Certified & Licensed Neuro Semantics and Neuro-Linguistics Programming (NLP) Trainer from the International Society of Neuro – Semantics, USA, a Master Practitioner in Neuro Semantics and NLP (ISNS, USA) and a Language and Behavior Profiling for Coaching Practitioner. He holds a MBA from Gordon University, Illinois, USA.

404