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Essential Qualities of a Boss

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Who’s a Boss? – An Experience Sharing

“People do not leave companies, but they leave because of their bosses” goes a popular adage. How many of you nod your head for this statement in agreement?? If so, I expect you to rethink your stand on this after you read through my experiences.

I decided to share my experiences of working with a boss, who is my inspiration for my life – both on my personal and professional front. Some people argue with me saying there is no one as an ideal boss in this world. But I feel there are always exceptions and my boss is one. I just felt my sharing would be insightful not only to the current bosses of today’s corporate world but also the future bosses as well.  Here are some of the cues that I picked up:


Creating a vision for the department – Each and every organization has its own mission and vision. Understanding the culture of the company, aligning the goals of the department and strategizing the functional workflow are one of the key skills for the success of any department. As a head of the department, I think this is one of essential mantras to be adopted and followed. 

Setting clear goals and objectives - In my observation, the head of the department or the leader should be a matured enough to weigh the pros & cons of a situation before, taking a final call in any of the critical issues. If need be, the views of the team can also be taken.

The objectives set for a period should be realistic and achievable, and should be defined understanding the challenges and the practical problems to be faced. Not only that the resources constraints be it man power or other resources should be thoroughly studied, before setting the goals of the department.

Role clarity for the team members – It is not sufficient, if the department goals are clearly set and defined. Each of the team members’ strengths and weaknesses have to be studied carefully and the roles and responsibilities should be clearly defined. This practice can minimize unnecessary work place conflicts and can contribute a lot to team’s synergy.

Communication Model – If you are a practicing manager or you have subordinates reporting to you, assess your pattern of communication with them. Do you allow your subordinates to ask questions? Do you allow them to paraphrase once the discussion is over? Do you have clarity on your thoughts before you communicate? Do you provide them with an ambience where they can express their opinions and suggestions freely?? Always remember communication is a two way process and an effective communicator is one who obtains feedback from the receiving end to ensure the desired action could be achieved. In addition to it, listening is a key skill. As a superior, it is your duty to listen to the problems or the issues of the team members. Do not close a problem or do not assume things, how ever trivial it could be.

Conflict Manager – Conflict is an unavoidable syndrome in workplace. It is the duty of the manager or the head of the department to redirect the conflict into a constructive one, creating a win-win situation instead of spoiling the team morale. Based on my experience from my boss, he creates ample opportunities for the involved parties to have open communication and he is very neutral not taking sides. This practice helps the affected ones to learn from their mistakes and build trust and relationship among the team members. When the situation goes to the extreme, he comes into the picture, helping in working out a compromise formula.

Career Development of subordinates – When any manager takes interest in the well being of the team members, he wins their trust and builds the bonding. One of the key success skills of my boss that I feel is that he has been a personal and professional guide, mentor, and counselor or call it by any name to my entire team. He always had concern for people and used to keep giving inputs from time to time for the professional and personal development. The care that the boss shows for your well being develops the loyalty factor towards the company. 


Teams success / failure – It has been an inspiration for me to see my boss giving appreciation and credits instantly and giving recognition for the work and not taking it on him, before the other stakeholders. Even though he has been instrumental for the deliverables, he passes on the credit to the performer. Not only that, if it is failure, he sees it as a team’s failure and not as individuals. It underlies the essence of separating the people from the problem. Though it is said easily, you need a broad shoulder to practice it. This has been a truly motivational factor.

Giving and receiving feedback – We have this regular practice of giving feedback to our boss and as well receiving feedback from him. This periodical activity helps in better understanding of the team and understanding of the boss and this definitely contributes to the team’s productivity. But a key reminder is to have an open mind when you sit on a feedback session, be it boss or a subordinate without any expectations.

Encouraging new initiatives – My boss is a true professional who believes that the team growth or the team members growth, is contributing to his growth. So he is one, who always encourages new ideas, initiatives and supports in all endeavors. As a team member, this approach of my boss facilitates to think out of the box and always look out for the value addition done by us in each of the deliverables.

Management by Example – I would like to term the practices of my boss as ’Management by Example’. He is an example in each and every action of our department and it quickly enables the team to fall in line with him. This includes, even coming to office on time, maintaining punctuality for all the meetings, approachable to all the members, down to earth person despite the title he has, lending a helping hand when we need to meet up time pressures, very humane in nature, consistency in deliverables, etc etc, the list being too very long. 

To put it in a nutshell, though I have tried to keep myself as short as possible, my boss has truly been my inspiration for me for all my endeavors. My teams’ success rate on all our deliverables under his leadership and guidance is truly a validation for his management principles. Having been associated with him for over two years, I think this is the best tribute that I can pay him for what I am today, by sharing his best management practices to the management fraternity.

All said and done, I would urge all bosses to take good care of your team and that is the best motivating factor to enhance the team’s productivity. Create an enthusiastic and positive ambience, to tap the best talent of your team. The bosses can make or break the career of an individual, provided the individual also cooperates in the successful accomplishments of the department’s goals.

Contributed By:   Divya Kumar is a practicing HR professional in a media company [email protected]

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