The bad boss syndrome-Beat it, now #WriteProBlogger #WriteBravely

A good friend once told me – People change jobs not so much because of the company, pay or facilities but most often due to people.  This thought struck a chord with me as I reflected upon my corporate journey for the past 10 years.

I always looks back at my initial days as a CA Intern where I earned a meagre stipend of 2k per month which was then hiked to 4K and 6K in the 2nd and 3rd year of article ship. This is the kind of money I spend on a pair of shoes these days. But those days are the most memorable in my professional journey. While life was carefree as we were just interns and not employees, what made this stint special was the awesome set of people I worked with, most importantly my manager Prashanth. He was one of the coolest managers in my career- while he did have his favourites (I was one of them!), he played a fair game, made sure he gives an opportunity to all, appreciation and criticism were spelt out clearly for a job well done or messed up, He boosted my confidence and I was always eager to come out with better audit observations in the next assignment.

This is what a good boss does to you. I have been fortunate to  have worked with some awesome bosses in my current job and this is one of the primary reasons I love my job. People who are super smart, savvy, motivators, challengers, above all kind and human. Doesn’t that make all the difference? Someone you would want to go to and have a candid chat with about an upcoming project or your appraisal and not leave the room with a feeling of “I would rather not have had this conversation which was ambiguous and left me at the same point I was before talking”

I have met some people who have been working with the organisation for as long as 30 years- the oldest I know is a colleague who has worked here for 37 years. He joined as a fresh grad and is a grandfather now. These people work abroad. I know the situation is quite different in India, where people hop jobs every 2-3 years for a pay rise. But I wonder, what made people like that colleague stick on for so long? There is no dearth of opportunities, I know many of such people are extremely talented and live in the financial hubs like London, NY where finding another opportunity is not difficult.

I think its more to do with the work culture which then boils down to the people you work with – for I have learnt this the hard way. A big and glitzy company on the Forbes 500 list, the fat pay cheque, work life balance, good friends at work- you may have everything but a bad boss can ruin your happiness at work. I was in such a situation for a long time where I lived in an ultra glamorous world but I wasn’t content. There was this gnawing gap and feeling of utter helplessness within me. This stemmed from working with some people who lacked the basic values – micro managing everything right from the time you enter office to the very details of what your day is like, making life terrible if you are unable to answer some question confidently or there is a small mistake in your work, bickering over trivial things like vacations, coverage, using the year end appraisals to make a person feel like they are doing a thankless job.

Having dealt with some really bad bosses for a large part of my career and a set of super good ones who are like that cheesy layer of the pizza which everyone loves, has made me introspect and decide on how I want to treat my subordinates as a boss

  • The foremost rule that governs my behaviour is – treat someone the way you would want to be treated. As seniors we often have a unseen power and authority. We may say things which are rude and use our authority to undermine others , perhaps even get away with it but we seldom realise the intangible damage we are causing. The dent to the self confidence of a young girl or guy which will take a very long time to heal. As ambassadors of the company we work for, in a way we are marring the work culture as well. Disgruntled employees leaving the job and spreading negativity around, cost of hiring and training a new employee -the downside is really big.
  • Make a conscious attempt to be kind to people Don’t hesitate to say sorry. A few days ago I was furiously typing on my computer cursing the latency issue which was rendering my PC very slow. It was 10 pm, I was terribly hungry, the driver was waiting for me downstairs, it was pouring outside. All I wanted to do is to go home and have a nice meal and chat with my daughter. Instead here I was with2 tasks I needed to wrap-up. I get an IM from a contingent employee in London where he is asking me something and I foresee his questions are going to result in more work coming my way. I snap at him and ask him to rather use the official email channel  when he threatens me of escalation. After 1 minute, I curse myself for my rude, illogical behaviour. After all he was doing his job. I am the first one to tell sorry and he apologises for talking about escalations. The next minute he promises me a meal of butter chicken if I do visit London. I thought about this on my way back home, I could have easily ruined the relationship but I am glad I forged a bond.
  • As a boss, its always tricky as you don’t want to be overly friendly and let people take you for granted. You got to be firm where you have it but that doesn’t stop you from being kind. If you see a new employee, take a few minutes to say hello, ask them about how are they finding the workplace, see your colleagues struggling with an issue at work or a technical question, step in and hep them out. Came across some great presentation, share it with the team. I have often found that I could gain the respect of my team mates not as much by authority but the things I mentioned above which helped build my credibility.
  • Women are a minority at the workplace- the numbers keep dwindling as you move up the ladder. I am biased towards women- I would love to see more of them shatter the glass ceiling. At times its just about a casual talk in the ladies – inquiring about their pregnancy, child, their career and I was surprised to see quite a few confide in me about things that are not going well. Building that trust is vital and it often comes from informal conversations than official sessions.
  • Who doesn’t love appreciation ? While its easy to yell at people for a job messed up, how often do we take time to say a “thank you , super job” for something that was well executed. Expressing your thanks on an email by cc’ing the stakeholders who are key to that person is like an icing on the cake. What I love is the unadulterated joy on the face of the recipient when he/she comes by to thank me for the mail. Have you tried this?

I sometimes think of those dark days where I had this sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach that its Sunday evening and I need to go to work tomorrow and put up with an entire week of hopelessness. That feeling is something which has vanished from my life and I can see the huge difference this has made. Its not that I do not suffer from “Monday blues” at all, every working person does. But its more about a lazy feeling than the one filled with dread and despair as it once was. I always think- I would never want to be the reason someone goes through this horrid feeling of not wanting to go back to work on a Monday.This is what keeps me vigilant and conscious about my attitude in the workplace. Be kind, it costs nothing- this is the my mantra which I chant often.

What are your thoughts about behaviour at the workplace? Any good/bad memory to share of a boss, being a boss? Please leave in your comments, I would love to hear from you.

(Image courtesy- asset.enterpreneur.com)

I am participating in  The Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Blogging Challenge 

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42 thoughts on “The bad boss syndrome-Beat it, now #WriteProBlogger #WriteBravely

  1. You would be the best boss i know till date aks after reading this post! I had to face some dreadful (Sry but no other word sounds apt) people through my IT journey. I feel good that i do not have my interests placed in IT and quit my job to be a photographer, if not that who knows how many such ppl i would have faced!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had an equally hard time Keerthi for 7 years and the thought makes me shudder- whenever I get angry I am instantly reminded of my dreadful days and I don’t want anyone to feel the way I felt- atleast not because of me. Thx mate for stopping by- btw you are an awesome photographer- you must thank your boss for this

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Luckily I haven’t faced any boss woes! This post should be read by everyone-boss or no boss. Pray, no one has to go through the horrid boss experiences.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. With the kind of points you have mentioned, I bet you gonna be an amazing boss. Well, I completely agree that we stick with the organization not only for money but the environment and people that we work with. Fortunately, I have always been blessed with good and happy bosses in my corporate life.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. There is a reason why I call you a star blogger. I have been fortunate to always always have good bosses. On my first job, I was treated and called the child of the company… Pampered loved and had the best table and an extra cupboard.. And it was amazing.. I am sure you will be the best boss ever

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  5. There is a reason why I call you a star blogger. I have been fortunate to always always have good bosses. On my first job, I was treated and called the child of the company… Pampered loved . And it was amazing.. I am sure you will be the best boss ever

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Aww.. You are saying this coz you love me.. BTW all the best for your trip and I truly truly wish you immense success and happiness.. You are definitely a role model for your daughter

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve been mostly blessed with great bosses at work. It’s that one of colleague that has been an issue. But I did a great job of turning their behaviour towards me by not taking their words too seriously and also believe it or not by sending them reiki/healing and love. Their behaviour towards me changed 360 degrees and Lo! Behold life was good thereafter.

    Now I’m my own boss and I love it this way. I work for myself and chose what work I’d like to sign up for.
    Aks, your words did resonate. They even apply to the people who help run ones home. Kindness is Key!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I am lucky I don’t have a boss, but my daughter ruined her health with the stress that her boss caused her. “I would rather not have had this conversation which was ambiguous and left me at the same point I was before talking” These used to be her exact words every time she had a one on one with her boss. Now thankfully she has decided that corporate life is not for her and is filling her life with things she really enjoys doing.

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  8. Reading your post I went over all my previous jobs and more importantly job switches and 90% of them were due to either boss or people I worked with, it all makes sense. We spend so much time at workplace and I have experienced what a toxic work environment can do to a person first hand. It takes conscious efforts to build good working environment and I think many Indian companies (large or small) fail at it. But I had opportunity to work with some fabulous bosses, they were mentors more than bosses to me and I owe a great deal of my learnings to them.

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  9. Very true, Akshata. In fact, this applies to our life too. Some people bring out the best in us, and we bloom, and some people just create an atmosphere where the most gifted and happy soul can shrivel. Very well-expressed.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’ve worked for some outstanding managers during my career, and I agree -it makes all the difference. The Golden Rule will take you far in life – whether that’s in your family relationships, with your friends, or in the workplace. And when you help others succeed, they usually want to see you do well, too. A good manager (or a good parent, a good teacher) likes to see their mentees succeed – perhaps to exceed their own accomplishments. A bad one fears they’ll outshine him.

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  11. Ready hand, proven tips from the best boss. your post made me nostalgic about my job as a professor for 16 long years. Those were wonderful memories … Thanks to my HODs – DM Mam & KR Sir !!! Happy To join with you for #writetribeprobloggerchallenge !!!

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  12. I have had a mixed bag of bosses but generally and by large I have been lucky! Infact mostly lucky to get good encouraging bosses who were patient with my mistakes ans advanced my love for learning by being supportive. When I did get a few bad ones, they felt really bad as I had worked with some of the best!
    Loved your POV on how you would be as a Boss Aks!! More power to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Work environment is so important for us to give our best. Often it’s these external factors that hinder us rather than our abilities. You have aptly summed up what most of us feel about how our bosses should be. The part which really got me was -“Who doesn’t love appreciation ? While its easy to yell at people for a job messed up, how often do we take time to say a “thank you , super job” for something that was well executed” Awesome post

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I have had bad experiences with bosses who never helped you grow,, always criticized and ensured your good work will never reach higher management, so you don’t end up getting more credit. Guess it all teaches us how better we can be as bosses, not forgetting like you said that we are all human in the end.

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  15. I feel it’s not just about the boss, but the colleagues too, and I’ve been thankful to have some good people around me at work so far 🙂 That point about kindness holds in good stead in life too, not just work life!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. True it’s about everyone who is a part of the work environment but the boss I believe makes a big difference as he has authority which you often can’t undermine, nor can you choose to ignore

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  16. You have hit the nail on the head. And the culture of the place is often set up the big boss. Sometimes a line manager can shield you and sometimes not. The challenge is keeping a good team – enjoy the space while you have it. Great post, thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

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