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Handle with care

india Updated: Mar 04, 2011 11:10 IST
Yadhav Mehra
Yadhav Mehra
Hindustan Times
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We would like to but we can't do it — maintain a strict dividing line between home and office. Many of us fool ourselves that we leave office behind once we head for home. But the truth is that most of us carry the baggage home and brood, plot and plan endlessly to get ourselves a better deal and get the better of colleagues and sometimes, our bosses.

Let's be realistic, the boss is not going to change for you. You don't want to change for the boss. There is, as all philosophers will tell you, a middle path. You must learn to calibrate the situation to your advantage. In my workshops, I have dwelt at length on this aspect.

So who is a boss?

Someone who has more power than you. Someone who has the ability to make you do what you may not want to do. Bosses can be well-intentioned and ill-intentioned. They could be more or less intelligent than you.

The well-intentioned boss is concerned not only with his own wellbeing but that of others in the team as well as that of the organisation. The ill- intentioned boss invests most of his energies in scoring personal agendas. The most difficult of them all are the intelligent — ill-intentioned bosses. I like to call them the Shakuni variety. Not only will they use and abuse you but will also harm your self-respect and self-esteem. Shakunis are best handled by a sensible alignment to their goals and well-timed negotiations. All that they want from you is ‘buck up or suck up'. If you are stuck with them, then make the most by learning from their sharp intellect.

The best bosses are the Krishna bosses, well-intentioned and more intelligent than you. One should never be scared of confronting these bosses during conflict situations provided you have done your homework well. With such bosses meritocracy wins, principles win and ego is never an issue.

Duryodhana bosses who are ill-intentioned and not so competent are best handled if you trade your competence with their power. That way they realise how balance of power must be maintained for a symbiotic relationship. They will not trouble you as long as you keep showing to them how indispensable you are to them. The Yudhisthira bosses, well-intentioned but not shrewd, give you ample space to experiment and grow. Use that opportunity to sharpen your initiative and take risks.One of the standard pastimes in my workshops is boss bashing. This is counterproductive in the workplace. Rather than directing one's psychological energy towards backbiting, it may be a better idea to develop skills for handling the boss in balanced way.

Yadhav Mehra is a motivational trainer. The views expressed by the author are personal.