Archive for August, 2005

Dependability, Honesty and Trustworthy

August 9, 2005

These are the important elements of a healthy Boss-Manager relationship. All partners in the relationship should strive to build these as the ultimate goal.

Personal Experience in a Boss-Manager Relationship
The key to a successful Boss-Manager relationship is easily said than done. This is true especially in Chinese family owned organization. Managing up without politics is probably the difficult part of the game. In an organization where nepotism is a fact of life managing up becomes even more difficult. This subset of the problem is not studied in the HBR article.

It is not difficult to image that if nepotism exists in an organization the Manager is automatically labeled to be member of a “gang” led by the Boss (or the Boss’s Boss) that he/she is serving. Having a good relationship or his/her attempt to build a good relationship with the Boss will be seen as mere survival act or described as dirty politics. These Managers will be seen by the competing team/gang or peers of the organization as incapable Managers and a target to discredit attack or destroy etc. You may be lucky if your Boss is of a type with strong character self-confidence and competent at work. What if he/she is an accidental manager who arrived at where he/she is purely by relationship and luck?

There are people who are inherently inert when dealing with subordinates. They are either not good at expressing their feelings or deliberately isolate themselves to demonstrate their superiority. If you unfortunately come across someone like that as your new boss you may face a stone wall in your attempt to understand him/her. Your only chance may only be social events after work where you may be able get more contacts and understand him/her more. It will then be an ethical issue as to whether one should give up their own social life in order to “penetrate” into his/her boss’s social life in an attempt to understand more. Your act of managing upward will easily be labeled as political maneuvering or apple polishing (in Chinese shoe shining). That may also involve sacrifices such as participating in happy hour drinks, “mahong”, golfing, karaoke, expensive club activities and other things that one may think ethically difficult.


August 8, 2005

This is the shot I want. I have a faded b/w photo of me very similar to this.

New bicycle

August 8, 2005

It was a hot day yesterday, shirt taken off.

Do you hate your boss?

August 8, 2005

A lot of Manager may not use the word “hate” to describe their feeling on their Boss. In fact some may actually hate their Boss and explain this feeling as personality clashes or “people chemistry”. In this case this type of Manager will see their Boss as institutional enemy and will fight the Boss for the sake of fighting. This could be disastrous for one’s career. Psychologists call this pattern of reactions counterdependent behaviour. Due to the subordinate’s hostility the Boss will lose trust, a fundamental element of a healthy Boss-Manager relationship.

At the other extreme are Managers who suppress their anger and behave in a compliant fashion (similar to parent-child relationship) although they know bad decisions are being made by their Boss. These are “Yes” men/women in an organization. Both counterdependent and overdependent are extremes that should be aware of and avoided.

Work Style and Expectations
Daily encounters generate conflicts and sometime hostility if partners are working under pressure and their work styles are not compatible. After knowing your Boss the participants, normally it is you the subordinate, has to make adjustment to your work style to suit.

The subordinate has to manage expectations of his Boss as well. It is very wrong to passively assume that you can read your Boss’s mind as to his expectation of you. Some Bosses may like to spell out explicitly of what they want but some don’t and leave you guessing. The possible misunderstanding of expectation may cause great problems to the individual involved or affect bottom line. After all the burden falls on the Manager due the hierarchical advantage of the Boss. It is also wrong to rely too much on management systems such as planning report, appraisal, memo and communication tools unless you are sure your Boss is a good reader and these systems have worked perfectly in the past.