The three year old kid gave me a balloon and said blow. He wanted me to blow into it and while allowing the air out, to let go of the balloon. He enjoyed the random flight trajectory of the balloon. After two flights he asked me to blow again. This time he said more and the more I blew air into it he kept saying more. He became the leader and me a follower. I knew it was going to burst, did not know when. Finally it burst, he was angry with me for the burst and walked away, crying. I let him be my boss.
I got a call the other day, from someone, very upset with his boss. He wanted to know how to deal with a situation where his boss wants him to do something a particular way and he another way.
This is a scenario which happens in everybody’s life. The parent wants it one way and the child wants it differently.Parents wants their son to be a doctor when he wants to be a journalist and so is the case with all the relations like siblings, cousins and friends. The authoritarian puts his foot down and orders. You have a choice, to be bossed or not to.
As a reply to the caller I told him,” I do not know your boss whether he is a duffer or a smart guy. Without being judgemental, let me suggest a few options”.
- If the difference between you guys is technical like the choice of technology or development platform or such, talk to him. In case he is the type who says you do the listening and I do the talking then go his way. Go the boss’s way. He may be smarter than you think, count on his experience. However be ready for the consequence. It may succeed or fail, so could your method.
- Else, mail him a comparison of advantages and disadvantages of his suggestion and your idea. Mark a copy to his boss or some other expert of your group asking for their views. This may still be annoy the boss
- Build a culture in your organisation to get peers or experts to meet and discuss over a presentation of your action plans before the start of a project.
He called me later to tell that the mail option worked and the boss won because he was better. They have decided to implement option 3 for future projects. Give the boss a break, they can be right sometimes.
There is nothing like the ‘ best’ way. There are just good ways, each in turn may be a better one on some days. Flight may be better way to get to your destination, there may be an occasion where a bus is a better option. There are lot of factors, perfect mental, emotional, physical, physiological balance, influencing a good performance, if one of them is missing on a particular day it will affect the outcome. A Michael Jordan in basket ball or Sachin Tendulkar in cricket may be excellent, not best. They had their ups and downs.
I had a situation, once as the head of department, when a letter sent by an employee to an embassy came for verification. It was a certificate issued for a friend, about his conduct, experience, to the embassy on company’s letterhead signed by the employee and he was on contract. I got lots of instructions from the top like call the police, check his file verify his signature, get into a conversation with him, secretly record it, this is fraud and many more. I appreciated and thanked them all for their suggestions and came to my room and called the guy in. I told him, a letter sent by him to a foreign embassy has come for verification, he can write on it that he has issued the letter and sign it and I shall attest it. He quietly took out his pen and wrote and I attested it and send it to HR. I was advised to get him terminated from the contracting company. His employer and I just asked him for his resignation letter and let him go.
There was nothing wrong in the content of the letter. His offense was using the company letterhead and he had no authority to issue that letter. It was an immature act, he could have asked me to do it. I don’t think his friend could migrate.
Sometimes, quietly doing what the boss did not want can avoid the bursting of the balloon which happened to me when I allowed my 3 year old grandson to be my boss.