Remember Office Rule No. 1? The boss is always right. If the boss is wrong, refer to rule 1. It's just a smudge here and there, but the golden rule appears to be losing some of its sheen � finally.
In an increasingly employee-friendly world � and one where jobs chase workers, rather than the other way round � a bad boss is an HR manager's worst nightmare. More and more companies are adopting a zero-tolerance policy towards bullying supervisors, especially when he is the cause of their losing valuable employees.
"It is a bad time for leaders who are command-and-control fanatics. Bosses who are rude and insensitive to their subordinates are also in for a bad time," declares Rajeev Dubey, president, HR and corporate services, and member of the group management board at Mahindra & Mahindra.
Still, the boss from hell is very much in evidence in organisations across sectors. Remember the "Hari Sadu" commercials for job search portal, naukri.com?
The ads linked poor managerial skills to high attrition levels, based on confirming research by the company. "Very often, people don't leave companies, they leave bosses," declares Anita Belani, country head, Watson Wyatt.
Other studies also confirm that bosses are among the leading causes of employees quitting. A recent global study by human resource service provider Manpower, on why people leave companies, found that differences with the manager was among the top three reasons.
A white paper by the same company on managing talent in a transforming environment, which studied the outsourcing industry, also found that one of the chief reasons for attrition is the discouraging attitude of team leaders and managers.
"One of the five reasons people leave a company is bad chemistry with bosses," agrees Arvind N Agrawal, management board member and president, corporate development and human resources, RPG Enterprises.
What are companies doing to ensure this doesn't happen? As a first step to ensuring that an executive career is not blighted by a toxic boss, many organisations are broadbasing the appraisal process.
At the Tata Group and the Aditya Birla Group, for instance, appraisals are a 360-degree process where inputs from not only the immediate superior, but also peers and subordinates are taken into account.
Mahindra & Mahindra goes a step further: the company collects information even from outsiders, including industry peers and clients.
"By making the appraisal process multi-sourced and transparent, companies are trying to ensure that the process is more hygienic," says HR consultant Soumen Basu.
Perhaps more importantly, companies are trying to ensure that leaders have the right training in managerial skills before promoting them. Can good managers be made? RPG's Agrawal believe yes.
"While some skills are inherent, several aspects of leadership behaviour � such as communication skills and decision making � can be coached," he says.
The RPG group sends people selected for leadership roles to institutes like the Indian Institute of Management, Kellogg, Wharton and Harvard for short courses on honing managerial abilities. M&M and Godrej [Get Quote] also follow similar practices.
There are other techniques too. Job rotation seems to help keep supervisors in check. At the RPG group, employees are transferred every three years � to a different business, role or location.
"This ensures employees learn new things and remain dependent on other people. Someone who stays too long in the same field tends to become overconfident," says Agrawal.
At M&M, the mentoring process involves forming a shadow board. A team of potential leaders are invited to attend board meetings and bring their own ideas and criticism to the table.
This helps as the younger executives can watch the leaders in action and take tips from them. M&M also encourages employees to become functional leaders rather than take up managerial roles.
"Not everyone needs to don a manager's clothes. People can just grow in areas they are good at and still contribute to the company in a big way," says Dubey.
A good worker does not necessarily make a good boss. Training and working to build rapport between seniors and subordinates can help up to a point.
There's no easy solution, though. Companies are growing fast and as attrition levels rise, indiscriminate promotions are being made to retain employees. Of course, given business cycles, there's always the risk of having too many chiefs and not enough Indians. Belani points to the dotcom experience as a case in point.
"When the dotcom boom ended, we had over a 100 managers at Sun Microsystems, many of whom managed only two or three subordinates. To survive, we had to restructure the company and hence we demoted the leaders who had less than 11 people reporting to them."
From India, Delhi
RIGHT OR WRONG...i am the boss.... :D
Still, Change is being felt by all of us...we cannot negate this veiw...
The boss cannot act bossy all the time now. She will have to understand people and thier needs first in order to manage them..let alone...control them.
And why not? Employees are more than employees now....they understand and know the value they are adding to the organizations. They come from families and cultural backgrounds where equality and freedom of expression has been an inseperable part of their lives. Fairness and transparency are their personal values. So, how do you expect them to bow before a "Boss" even when she is quite an influencer.
Ultimately, bosses will have to change. And, for good.
From India, Lucknow
Your Right Seema,
Time has changed now and we all have to change accordingly and should try tomaintain a freindly and hassal free environment in the Workplaces.
Looking for more Views on the Above.
Thanks for responding.
From India, Delhi
Hi, I liked the post. It is really worthy and time has come to accept and adopt to change. DM
From India, Raipur
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