There was a piece in today’s ToI editorial about different bosses. It spoke of the sweet boss, the malicious boss, the overbearing boss and the weak-kneed boss. The timing was sincerely uncanny! Why this piece on bosses today? For today is the birthday of one of my bosses, who falls within the ‘worst’ category. You must be surprised since worst bosses are stuff nightmares are made of, and one tends to forget such species as soon as possible! But remembering such a chap’s birthday????? I’ll tell you why… Well, as per the article, the worst bosses are those who are genuinely concerned for you as a sub-ordinate. Such bosses go all out to ensure that you are happy with the work you do and can deliver what you can. Then why worst? Well, that’s because such bosses cannot be gossiped about. Such bosses are not the butt of discrete complaints around the coffee machine. Such bosses are never the subject of discussions that begin with ‘Oh my worthless, useless, spineless boss’. Such bosses are those who you never address as ‘Sir’. Such bosses are called ‘Pa’.
I had the privilege of working under the aegis of one such human being, a manager par excel lance. In 3 years I never saw him lose his temper, in 8 years another colleague had never seen him lose his temper. He is the best in what he does, to the extent that those who report to him check, re-check, cross-check, double-check their opinions before facing him. Taking a point of view to his cabin and returning without 10 new perspectives and questions to ponder used to be a rarity. When the going would get tough however, the team would never realize what fire can be like. The unwavering faith that he’d have in the team, would never allow him to expose his protégés to hostility. Even when his protégés are far away and involved in projects not even remotely associated with him. The net effect? His protégés would push themselves to the limit and beyond, just to make him look good in front of his superiors. His protégés would look up to him as a mentor, as a friend long after they are off the payroll of the firm. He goes on to become the benchmark against which all future supervisors are compared and found wanting. Anyone and everyone who had any remote association with him would have nothing but a kind word to say about him.