Who is your favourite boss?
21 Sep , 2016
Now how long did you take to come up with a name? If this is your first job, read no further. Oh! you come up with a name in no time? Did I hear you say that this is a question for which we all have answers instantaneously? I believe we are always ready to talk about our pet boss even before anybody has asked us. Then what’s the big deal about, you might ask, isn’t it as similar as asking about your favourite colour/dish/city/movie/best friend?
Yes, it is. ‘Favourite boss’ is as instinctive/emotional a choice as the other personal favourites. But today, I ask you if can you choose your favourite boss without your emotional biases? Tough one?
In a long career where we make so many rational choices and are objective about many things, why should our “favourite boss” choice be a top of the mind instinct? Isn’t it an obvious one one might argue, but why should it be, I ask?
- S/he is still your reference for your next job
- You can still call them to praise them and bitch about your current boss (your agony aunt?)
- Your best raise/promotion/ happened under them (sounds like you did not deserve it)
- You always felt engaged/recognised, they were very affable and never gave you a hard time
- Knew your family members and even your dog’s name
- Always bought you gifts
- Your first boss? Just like your first love is always special?
Now let’s also recall why we haven’t liked the others
- S/he fired you
- Promoted others when you actually deserved it, you were not their favourite!
- Was disrespectful and constantly humiliated you in front of others
- Did not ‘back’ you when you were going through tough times
- Compromised on values and in your opinion always violated the organisation spirit
- Followed the divide and rule culture, so you ended up fighting with your colleagues
- Was a megalomaniac who was only interested in self and always talked about his/her greatness
- Was very tough in reviews and was never happy with what was achieved
- Micro-manager who never trusted or delegated
- Never praised ‘you’ or thanked in your presence or absence
- Was not as charismatic as your favourite boss
- Kept her/his interest restricted to work and never related to you at a personal level (you are that emotional types?)
- Put so much pressure on you that you had to quit
- Did not attend your farewell
- And the famous ” never led from the front”
Now this list can get even longer if I add your reasons to mine, the listed ‘hate’ reasons are almost 3 times the ‘love’ list. Yeah, we can say the mind remembers the bad experiences better than the good ones.
When I asked myself this question about who is my ‘favourite boss’ 5 years ago, the answer came quick and I was unambiguous. But today I struggle to pick that name faster as my own experiences as a supervisor also colours my past clarity on who should be my favourite. In a long career as a manager / supervisor, I have been tough on many of my team mates, shut down few businesses, have asked few of my colleagues to move on, may have been biased on some of my decisions, said things which I could have avoided and most importantly been thankless many times. I have my own rationalization that some of those were influenced by the organisation I worked for, I was young and hence brash, few were contextual and many of them due to my boss