Where I worked, a few years ago, an ex-boss shaped my perceptions of what bosses should be. A boss should be demanding, detached, uncaring, cold, officious, and not tolerate being talked back to. Working for him was a nightmare as I had to walk the fine line between being honest, communicative and upfront, versus being subservient, servile and a “yes –woman”.
Friends and family know that I can never be a “yes-woman”. I govern my life holding on tightly to the precepts of integrity and honesty. In my case, it’s brutal honesty.
Reshaping Perceptions Of Myself As A Boss
Needless to say, I did not stay long with that company, and went on to join bigger and better organizations which understood the importance of employee engagement and genuine respect for people.
The best outcome from my experience with that previous boss was that I learnt never to be like him as a manager of a team. Instead, I learnt to nurture, respect and guide my team with the genuine intent of shaping them to become great managers themselves in the future.
However, my expectations of my own bosses as my career progressed took a little longer to evolve. As my mind had already been framed from the past, with the notion that bosses are the “hire and fire at whim” type who would prefer “yes-men” to a brazen broad like me, I often maintained a respectful distance, kept my head down and just focused on my work, rather than proactively engaging them in a social setting.
Reshaping My Perceptions Of My Bosses
The best learning curve for me, was not managing change. I can deal with changes. Changes in roles, changes in portfolio, changes in scope, project changes, changes in bosses and change in jobs. Changes happen all the time throughout my career so I am very good at managing and adapting to them.
The best learning curve for me was learning to manage my own perceptions about colleagues, bosses and even friends. It usually takes a long time to win my trust, and takes even longer to earn my respect.
I got lucky post working for that previous company. Over these few years, I was fortunate enough to have worked for a few bosses who were fantastic managers. They guided me with patience, listened with openness and nurtured me as a fellow team member with the genuine intent to goad me towards a bigger goal of achieving success in all my projects. I must admit that I was wrong about what bosses generally are. These bosses were not the “hire and fire at whim” types who preferred “yes-men”. They were genuinely appreciative of good work, and treated staff with respect. In the face of challenging deadlines, they patiently guided and nurtured the team in the right direction. They encouraged open and honest communication and respected opinions even when they didn’t agree with them.
Needless to say, my bosses have earned my respect. I am thankful for the great relationship we’ve got, and the open discussions that we share.
More importantly, I learnt to understand this very important precept of "giving people a fair chance". All my life I was quick to judge and label people - colleagues, bosses, and friends alike. The lesson I learnt is simple. Besides being mentors and friends, bosses ultimately just want to be another “fellow member of the project team” who can work closely with us to achieve a common goal.
About the writer:
The writer of this blog post is a 43 year old mother of one, who spreads her time between her day job as a marketeer at a financial institution, her hobby as a certified professional tarot reader and numerologist, and her family which includes a 19 year old son. She's married to a Scot who has been affectionately called "The Crazy AngMo" and prays that he does not find out that the term when translated, has labeled him as a "Ginger Head".