Reality Check: The Big Bad World of Office Politics
Bill Gates famously said, "If you think your teacher
is tough, wait until you get a boss. He doesn't have tenure."
As you emerge fresh out of college
, ready to sink your teeth into the juicy job you have just landed, your eyes twinkle with dreams of a glorious future, a great boss, and a zipping career. Touch base with reality. You meet a cranky boss, gossiping employees, and a career on tenterhooks; at the mercy of your berating boss.
Welcome to the real world. However much you prepare yourself for the corporate world, you will learn the ropes only when you have lived within the system. Your boss is the first point of contact with the corporate world. If you have a great boss, you can smooth sail through the rest of your work
life. However, if you have a bad boss, well, you can hope to learn from life's challenges
Do You Have a Good Boss or a Bad Boss?
A good employer is not the one who passes free donuts and coffee in the morning. If your boss is a good leader
, he or she will help you harness your potential, and maximize your productivity without making you bend over backwards. Good bosses can identify talent, nurture subordinates, pass on valuable career advice, and guide the team
towards organizational goals
. If your boss encourages you to explore new areas, and creates a learning environment, you are in the hands of a good boss.
On Boss' Day
share this tongue-in-cheek quotation by motivational speaker Byron Pulsifer: "If it wasn't for bad bosses, I wouldn't know what a good one was like." Indeed, how would you know how good is good until you have seen the worst? So, on a lighter vein, a bad boss makes you appreciate
the worth of a good one.
Celebrate Good Bosses on Boss' Day
America and Canada have set aside 16 October (or the nearest working day) on their calendars to celebrate Boss' Day. Employees think of innovative ways to express their gratitude
to their bosses. Some say it with cards and flowers; others like to throw lavish parties.
The first ever Boss' Day was observed in 1958. That year, Patricia Bays Haroski, a secretary at the State Farm Insurance Company in Deerfield, Illinois, registered "National Boss' Day." Four years later, Illinois Governor Otto Kerner realized the importance of this occasion. National Boss' Day became official in 1962. Today, the concept of Boss' Day has spread to other countries too.
Demerits to Observing Boss' Day
Sure, Boss' Day can be just another excuse for fawning employees to win favors from their manager who controls their promotions and salary incentives. Often, celebrations can reach comical proportions, where employees fall over each other, trying to outdo their gestures. But an astute boss rarely falls for such sycophantic advances. Instead of smiling down on the toadies, good bosses reward the best workers on their team.
Dennis A. Peer highlighted one way to separate the good bosses from the bad when he said, "One measure of leadership is the caliber of people who choose to follow you." The boss is just a reflection of his team. The stronger the boss, the more resilient the team. With these Boss' Day quotes
, you can understand the role of bosses in the workplace.
Is This Just Another Hallmark Holiday?
The retail industry has shown a burgeoning commercial interest in Boss' Day. Retail giants have swooped in to cash in on card and gift sales. Merchandize such as mugs proclaiming "No. 1 Boss" to cards announcing "Happy Boss' Day" generate tremendous revenues, as buyers throng to woo their bosses.
You don't need to burn a hole in your pocket to impress your boss. Drop a "Thank You"
note on their desk, share a meal, or simply wish your boss with a "Happy Boss' Day" card.
Your Boss May Need the Motivation
It is not easy being the boss. You may hate your boss' decisions, but at times, your boss has to swallow the bitter pill and play the hard taskmaster. Even the best bosses need recognition. Bosses feel reassured when their employees respond to them positively.
Dale Carnegie, the best-selling author of How to Win Friends and Influence People
said, "There is only one way... to get anybody to do anything. And that is by making the other person want to do it." This quote about bosses reveals your boss' well-kept secret. A bad manager may simply dump a project in your inbox; a good manager persuades you that the project will be good for your career.
Appreciate Your Boss' Leadership Qualities
Compliment your boss on her leadership
skills. As Warren Bennis said, "Managers are people who do things right, while leaders are people who do the right thing."
Emulate Your Success-Oriented Boss
Is your boss good at his job or is he just plain lucky? You might think it is the latter, but if you see a pattern of successes
, you will realize that your boss' methodology actually works. Learn from his insights, and understand the way he thinks. You can gain valuable insight with his mentorship. A positive outlook, a never-say-die attitude
, and a constant drive for greater accomplishment
pave the road to success.
Are You Stuck With a Boss From Hell?
Short of getting transferred or switching jobs, there is precious little you can do about a good-for-nothing boss. You can only hope that his superiors will see the light and strip him of his managerial powers.
If you have a disorganized or unreasonable manager, you will have to work around his flaws. So, tune out the negative thoughts and refresh your mind with positive thinking
. A good sense of humor
will bail you out of misery. On bad days when Murphy's Law
rules, entertain yourself with this hilarious Homer Simpson quote
, "Kill my boss? Do I dare live out the American dream?"
Look at the Bright Side
Fortunately, most bosses have their plus points too. That disorganized superior may be a creative
genius. That conniving manager could be a whiz with numbers. That lazy boss may never breathe down your neck.
Assess your boss' talent and efficiency by studying his work relationships. Good bosses earn respect from their colleagues and team members. Cary Grant said, "Probably no greater honor can come to any man than the respect of his colleagues." This quote about respect
provides great insight
into workplace equations.
How to Manage Your Boss
Bosses are of different breeds and they come in all sizes and shapes. The best way to manage your boss is to let her know that you are by her side. Be the problem-solver, not the whining child. You will win her confidence
by sorting out her problems along with your own.
Make Boss' Day a special occasion to strengthen boss-employee relationship. Raise a glass in honor of your favorite boss. Remember the words of J. Paul Getty who said, "The employer generally gets the employees he deserves."