Bad Bosses.

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That title is a clickbait.

This has been a choir for most to talk shit about their bad bosses. This time around, I do not give the credit to a convulsion of unworthy pack of shitty people.

I would like to focus on the great bosses that I have been ever so grateful and fortunate to encounter. Circumventing the saying that in 99% of what you’ve done right, everyone will see the 1% that you’ve done wrong, I will focus on that precious 99% that was right. THE BEST BOSSES.

My first boss gave me so much wisdom and knowledge that got my career started right. Firstly, she said that “Everything rises and falls on leadership” (John C. Maxwell) and even gave me one of Maxwell’s books. I took that very simply – that being a leader is a huge responsibility. It is based not on power but wisdom to drive an objective. But indeed, there’s more to it than this.

I was green. I started my career at 21 years old. As an artist riding the corporate world, I have no inclinations as to what may come. I was gullible, naive, impressionable. Given a blank canvass, my boss took a chance and painted me with complex brushes of values, ethics and empowerment. She never let me compromise on what I can be. She let me shine. She let me be me.

That is a leader, a great boss. They elevate and make most out of their people. They grow and they let everyone grow with them. They never compromise their team’s expense to gain their own. Even at their worst, all they do is to show their true character of resilience, honesty, strength and humility.

She told me to learn from her mistakes but do not copy them. Take all the good things about her and learn from the bad things about her and make it better. I still take that up to this day, 18 years down the road and going.

Having said 18 years, I always look back to this #bestbossever. She just attended my wedding a week ago. We have been friends from the day she interviewed me for a job. It is such an extra. Her impact will always stay with me and I am proud to say that because of her, I try everyday to be a good leader. I won’t stop here. The bad bosses can shove it up their arse but they are not worth anything but pity. The best bosses always win.

Leaders: Do You Even Deserve To Have A Team?

In the past, I have built a great team, in my own standards- despite a mixed bag of personalities. It is not ideal as I have not hired most of them myself. You find a lot of them completely opposite of what you want to surround yourselves with, or the talents that you’d like to hone within.

But that is the point of leadership: to be constantly challenged, confront it, and turn it around to work for you. It is just the way it is. Without this, do you really even deserve to have a team?

There will always be people working for you that are difficult, self-destructive, “emo”, whiner, gossip-monger, etcetera. It will never be perfect but it is not really all that bad. You lead, because that is part of your job. I always believe that you will always learn something from anybody in this world and this is no different. Avoiding the situation and passing the issue to others won’t do the job. You’re pushing the chance to fix your team and you lose your credibility as well.  Why not take this as a challenge? Why not get your hands dirty, get to the root of the personality and find ways to turn them around, focusing on their strengths (despite the bad attitude), empowering that portion and transform the aura of that person to meld to the mold? Too much of a job? Well then, goodbye respect!

It is presumptuous to think that you get to a high position in a company and you expect to do less of working and do more of bossing. There are so many of this around, it is a virus. Don’t be one. It is quite… what is the word… caustic.

No matter how you think you could entrust your employees to other people, you just need to trust the good. After all, we’re all adults and we all have to take our individual responsibilities. You just hope that they’d carry on no matter what with a smile on their face. It could happen, for sure. But dynamics is a tricky playmate.

Unfortunately, it is not a good ending within this story. Things crumble down for some. People do things differently and destroys utopia of ambitions. Not everyone could be a great manager. They destroy things by avoiding the situation and letting it burden the rest. It is a domino effect. You still hope for the best. You find silver linings. But having the knowledge that a situation crumbled your team down is disheartening.

It is hard not to care for something that you invested your passion in, something that you’ve built, only to learn that it is just a sandcastle.

The point is, you are given a team, face them. Stop fidgeting around saying how much you dislike them and do your job. Whoever leaves will carry your name forever – it depends how good or bad is reflective of what you’ve done for your team in the end.

Working Environment: Shapeshifter, Shadow and Mirror

Environment is a big influence within one’s self, memories and decisions. It creates a world that a person moves within.

A mentor told me today over Marmite on toast and hot chocolate ‘power’ lunch that “the grass is not really greener on the other side,” in terms of finding the ‘perfect’ working environment and/or job. That is indeed the reality. But what does mollify when nothing is perfect in the real world? There are some factors that meet what ‘green grass’ may mean.

Happiness. This leads to contentment, eagerness, motivation and most importantly, sanity. This feeling keeps you waking up in the morning and get to work and make things happen for yourself and your team. This propels your working environment to produce the demands of your position. This even results to loyalty and a reflection of gratefulness at work.

Respect. A mannerly work ambiance among colleagues results to this simple yet challenging principle in the workplace. This is a huge discussion on its own in which I would discuss over a few blogposts in the future. This principle is not bureaucratic but earnest guise of values and ethics. This also leads to trust that is another motivating factor. True enough, they are earned, not given. This exposes how an organization operates.

Great Leadership and Governance. I have learned at the start of my career in an American energy company from my admirable ex-boss that “everything rises and falls on leadership,” as a quote from Dr. John C. Maxwell. I live with it every single day and for more than a decade now, this keeps on proving without failure. Not everyone could lead successfully. Some are born to be, some sensibly grow and learn, some perhaps fail miserably, while others are blindly delusional. Being one is a behemothic undertaking that an individual could have and this is of an extreme importance in a working environment, reflecting how the company performs as a whole. This is the oxygen that determines the health of your organization. Domino effect.

Nothing is perfect. Reality is that you may not be compatible with everybody around you in the workplace. Not everything goes your way all the time. Some things may fail. Mistakes could happen. Something breaks. Something needs to be rebuilt. Do you sleep at night, not having to take your work home until it haunts you in your nightmares? Do you have to force yourself to go to work everyday out of fear and resentment? Is this what you really signed up for? Is this what you want?

Frustration, fear and resentment are the poison that suffocate a workplace. They kill productivity like cancer. They stop creativity. They cut through the heart and soul of everyone’s morale.

This is not even the danger. It is in its causatum.

Humans are great in adapting into their surroundings. It’s always been a proof of all civilizations. Immersion in a particular surrounding is a captive human nature. And working environment is just a particular place of practice for this.

If you go to a [insert adjective like ‘fun’ or ‘toxic’] office everyday, it could determine how you adapt over time. It evolves on how this will reflect on your being, inside and out. It will determine your principles and attitude towards life in general. It absorbs through your conscious (choice) and subconscious (feelings). Exposure and spending most of your time working vs time at home makes all of us susceptible to influence. The memory of experience is the residue that would reflect within your shadow afterwards.

This post is just a simple orientation. The biggest thing that you’d need to ask yourself now is: “Is this place worth my psyche?” Think about it.

_______

“Everything rises and falls on leadership, but knowing how to lead is only half the battle. Understanding leadership and actually leading are two different activities.”

Dr. John C. Maxwell

“To retain top talent in today’s competitive job market, employers need to do more than loosen their purse strings. They must create a work environment that reflects their employees’ life-stage needs and values. As the demand for experienced knowledge-workers intensifies, employers need to understand what motivates — and inspires the loyalty of — today’s high-performing employees. In most cases, it’s not the corneroffice or a large paycheck, but rather, the opportunity to work for a company that fosters strong workplace relationships and inspires a sense of balance and/or purpose.”

Maria R. Morris