Opinion and Analysis
Good or bad, bosses shape your work ethics
Posted Monday, March 21 2011 at 00:00
This is my 100th published opinion piece as well as the second anniversary of publishing opinion pieces in the Business Daily.
It is time for me to uncork the pink champagne and celebrate coming this far by convincing my editors that my opinion pieces are worth publishing.
I think they are still trying to uncover my street credentials that were buried in 20 pages of CV material, by which time I should be on article number 200, as I’ve covered my tracks infinitely well.
As a second anniversary present, I was officially baptised the Nit Picker (which I suspect has something to do with my arguments about the editor’s chopping — sorry, editing—my material rather than my actual observing and writing skills, if any.)
Anniversaries make even the hardest of us quite maudlin, and I have to say that this writing journey was borne out of my working experience over the past 12 years.
Human beings are a product of their upbringing first and gene pool second.
Consequently, the employed worker is a product of his or her past and present bosses first and work experience second.
As a former employee, both my good and bad bosses distinctly moulded my attitude and work ethic respectively.
My good bosses brought out the best in me, challenging me to take on tasks that I never thought I could accomplish and to scale career heights that I would normally have shied away from.
They also taught me how to be a good leader, to listen to my team members and to lead with velvet gloved fists.
My bad bosses brought out the survivor in me: they taught me how to fight for my rights and those of my team members — with nothing to show at the end but a bloodied nose, a bruised ego and a tortured soul.
They taught me how to shadow box: ducking and weaving as I dodged unseen enemies that were there but not quite there, how to smile from the front as I drove a knife in the back of my subordinates and most importantly, how to kiss the backsides of those above me while balancing precariously on the heads of those beneath me.
These were inimitable lessons, and ones that taught me both how to lead and how never to lead.
A key How-To-Lead lesson came from one of my really good bosses who was handing over the reins of a highly successful team to me.
As we went through the outstanding issues, he gave me what became an extremely valuable piece of advice on how to lead a team of former colleagues.