Article (September-2018)


Being a boss : The balancing act

Dr. Himani Sheth

Designation : -   Assistant Professor

Organization : -  L J Institute of Management Studies, Ahmedabad


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The definition of management : Management is the "Art of getting things done". And most of us have an ambition of getting things done. When asked, many of the young graduates say "I want x number of employees to work under me. Well, we all want to someday become a boss. And what seems to be so beautiful from the bottom and middle of the ladder is certainly not that beautiful as it seems. The position at the top is extremely tricky and dangerous at times. We all work hard to cross all the hurdles up the ladder and reach the ultimate destination. But the struggle here is not finished but the real struggle starts now. A well known author once said "Business is people" and dealing with people cannot be taught but it comes through your own personal and professional experiences and here comes the real controversial question.

The difference between a good boss and a bad boss : Someone says our boss keeps us happy, highly motivated and is a real caring person and so we rate him a good boss. But here the story does not end. What is the productivity that that boss is yielding from these happy employees, what is the value addition to the employees working with him? If there is a positive response to these questions then definitely the boss is a good boss. But then again who is a bad boss. Somebody, who is extremely strict, task master, not bothered about employee motivation and employee engagement? Happiness of the employees is not on the priority list. But somehow, he manages to get productivity from the employees and adding to their career graph. So can we consider him a bad boss? Well, from the company's perspective he may be a good boss but from employee's perspective he may be a bad boss. So the point here is, a boss has to perform a perfect balancing act and has to be a good boss both from the company's and employee's perspective. A happy employee is a productive employee and thus happiness of the employee has to go hand in hand with a number of other aspects.

Talking about the balancing act of a boss, 70% of the boss's time and efficiency is utilized in managing people, leading them in the right direction, solving their conflicts (within or outside the organization) and keeping them highly motivated to work and add value. And of all these above mentioned task, the most important and appreciated task is to differentiate between a performer and non performer and both these categories of performers have to be treated in a different way. It doesn't mean that there is no room for average or non performers. The boss has to take along all the employees together, whether he/she is a fast track performer, advance performer or a slow performer. He has to focus on various aspects like capacity building as well as capability enhancement. He has to get the work done from a slow performer without making him realize that he is a slow performer and appreciate the advance performer within the best possible limits. He has to study the strength and weakness of all his team members and understands the fact that a perfect team is a not a team full of all performer and efficient people, but a perfect team is a combination of people who can complement each other's strengths and weaknesses. Capitalizing the strength of each team member in their own capacity, keeping in mind their limitations, is the trait of a perfect boss. And it is very important to mention here that the task of managing people becomes even more challenging when they come from a diverse background with different age, gender, educational background, organizational tenure, work experience, religion, region, caste, nationality. Needless to say that keeping one employee happy at times leads to dissatisfaction to other employee who is again equally important as the first one. So then concluding here the ultimate thing is that being a boss requires a perfect people management and balancing skills that keeps the employees highly motivated to work hard and perform to deliver their best which in turn add to their personal, professional and ultimately the organization's growth.