Am I a good boss or a bad boss? It’s a question that always haunts me whenever someone leaves my company. Quite recently this question came back to haunt me when one of my employees What-sapped me a resignation after I had spent some time berating the person on Whats App on work ethics.
The incident disturbed me. Was I a good boss or a bad boss? I knew that the resignation was a direct result of the strong verbal WhatsApp lashing I had given the person. I also knew that as the person’s manager I had been right to pull the employee up in a strong manner. It wasn’t the first instance of the employee displaying poor work ethics and I knew I had to take hard measures and I had been willing to let the person go.
The result was that I lost an employee. The person was a junior employee, but someone I had identified as having a strong potential for future growth. During the week that followed I was constantly in doubt – Was I too harsh? Could I have dealt with the matter of the person’s work ethics differently? Would the person have changed on the work ethics if I had approached the subject differently? These were questions that kept popping in my mind
Had I been a good boss or a bad boss?
The truth is I have a temper. I tend to be pushy with people working with me. I have a high demanding working style and I tend to expect more from people around me than most managers do. I work very hard and I expect my team to work equally hard.
Unrealistic I know. Everyone’s working style is not the same. But the truth is – I dont equate hard work with performance. Even donkey’s work very hard. I truly believe that in the end what matters is achievement of your work goals. Exceed them and you’re a star performer. Achieve them and you’re an asset. Under-achieve and you’re a loser in any organization you work in.
And where I see an employee with an obvious potential to really grow, taking his or work casually- it really gets my goat. And I lose my temper and become extra pushy. And that was the case with this particular employee who finally decided to resign,
So am I good boss or a bad boss? The truth is I am not sure.
I have been managing people now for over 25 years and truth be told I enjoy working with people. I am fiercely loyal to my team members and more often than not stood shoulder to shoulder with them on difficult projects, working as late into the night as they did. I have stood up for them with several difficult super bosses , often putting my feet down whenever I felt that my team was right.
I deplore office politics and have a strict ‘no bitching’ policy. And I have always publicly recognized outstanding contributions that many of the people who have worked with me. I strongly believe in the adage that one can grow only when people below you grow and that has in the past helped me grow some fantastic people to fantastic lengths that has helped me grow myself professionally. Many of the people who have worked under me in the past have today grown beyond me and are leading organizations and businesses of their own. I take pride in the fact that I have played a part, albeit a small one in their growth.
But the truth remains that I can be difficult boss. I demand and expect great work. And I often exhort my employees in this. I am very ambitious and have a high success achieving criteria and i often tend to project ambitions onto my employees.
Bad thing to do I know. Not everyone is ambitious or as desirous of achieving success. I tend to forget this. But what do you do with someone who has talent and potential to achieve something? Do you let the person be ? or do you nudge and push the person in the direction that will enable him or her to discover his potential that he or she has?
I tend to push. Does that make me a bad boss?
While I push people as a boss I have always believed in giving both authority and responsibility to those working under me. They have the freedom to set their own pace , style of functioning as long as they are focused on the end result. I dont micro-manage them and I dont berate them for mistakes. In fact I encourage them to make mistakes as early on as possible.
So am I good boss?
I am not proud of the fact that I have a short temper which I often lose. I try and curb it as much as possible but unfortunately it’s part of my larger personality and I know if often makes those who do not know me closely enough fear me. Truth be told- I am blunt and straightforward. If I dont like something- I tell it ..and I tell it in rather strong words.
But at the same breadth, I dont hold anything against any of my team members. And most people who have worked with me for any duration of time understand this implicitly.
I also coach and mentor several people , especially junior employees. I enjoy passing on my knowledge and experience to younger folks and those who find time to join in on the sessions benefit
So does that make me a good boss?
I have a short temper. I push my employees and I set high standards for each of them and my expectations are extremely high. On the same breadth I mentor and coach . I dont allow office politics to flourish and I dont play favorites. I give freedom and I dont micro-manage. And I more often than not encourage people working with me and give them all the credit because I know that they deserved it.
So Good Boss or Bad Boss? I think there is no right answer. I guess as managers and leaders we must each keep questioning our working style, continue to make adjustments that we feel are necessary for a healthy positive go-getter working environment and hope that we dont make too many mistakes that rob us of good employees.