Article (March-2019)


Boss is always right - Does it work today?

Dr. Ramzan Sama

Designation : -   Asst. Professor

Organization : -  L J Institute of Management Studies, Ahmedabad


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I am sure that most of us have heard the old phrase that "Boss is always right". Popular movie "Yes Boss" starring Shahrukh Khan and Juhi Chawla was a super hit as it was based on the same. Particularly, in the Indian context, we give more emphasis on hierarchy in the organization. In most of the Indian organization, bossism culture still prevails. Moreover, Indian organizations' culture is more rigid and closed as compared to foreign firms in terms of acceptance of disagreement between bosses and employees. Since our childhood, we are taught that we have to respect our seniors and not counter question them hence it is now in our culture and DNA. Additionally, we are habituated to accept the ideas and decisions of the boss without giving much thought to it. Thus, out of respect also, we avoid disagreement with boss, which is very dangerous for organizations in today's rapidly changing world. Same is the case with the bosses. They consider themselves superior and knowledgeable than their subordinates. Due to this, they are closed minded in inviting and accepting new ideas. Sometimes out of arrogance bosses don't like the differing viewpoints of subordinates which may lead to wrong decision making. Remember "Hari Sadu", a character from the popular ad of a job search portal, The ad portrayed a rude boss which led to a high attrition rate. In most of the cases, people don't leave companies, they leave bosses. It is also well researched that the bosses are among the top three reasons for quitting a job.

The business environment is changing rapidly due to globalization and hence the golden office rule no. 1 that "Boss is always right" doesn't hold true in today's dynamic world. Moreover, companies are more concerned about their valuable employees. Thus, bosses who are rude and insensitive towards their subordinates are not acceptable in today's organization. To combat cut-throat competition; organizations should make a lot of innovations across all the functions. It is only possible if there are open culture and boundary less hierarchical structure in the organization. Thus, if bosses are liberal and allow employees to put forth differing viewpoints about the decision, then only effective decision making and innovations can take place in any organization. For that, bosses should create an environment of idea sharing and should facilitate employees to speak out their difference of opinions. Moreover, the employee should freely express their opinions to the boss. They should not be a 'Yes Man'. Employees should have the confidence to convey different viewpoints to the boss. Hence, employees are equally responsible for making a friendly environment in the organizations.

Here, a definite answer is that the Boss is not always right and we should come out of the "Yes Boss" philosophy. More importantly, a very clear-cut signal here is that human resource is the most important asset of all organizations, thus organizations should take care of all the aspects which keep them motivated to stay with and contribute in the success story of the organizations. So, healthy discussions with the bosses create a friendly environment in the organization which may motivate employees to willingly stay back after office hours for professional work. It is also very well established that good ideas come in when we are in our comfort zone. Freedom to work and permission to differ from the boss' viewpoint is one of the factors which enhance job satisfaction of the employee and it'd definitely raise the self - esteem of the employee. This might further bring down the attritions rate and also contribute to the retention strategies of the organizations.

There is a thin line between respecting your boss and following them blindly. In a hierarchy, you are expected to respect your seniors but that should not stop you from contributing to the innovative ideas. If you have a new concept, don't hesitate in putting it across to your boss in a respectable yet unique fashion. New ideas are always appreciated in the current workplace environment, even if they are not accepted. In today's day and age, the "Yes Boss" philosophy doesn't work anymore. Hence to retain good quality of employees, the bosses also need to be supportive and considerate of innovation.