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Abhijit BhaduriGuest Author

The Four Jobs of a Boss

By Abhijit Bhaduri

In my entire career I have had two terrific bosses. The others were mediocre and incompetent at best. Two of them were borderline … (Never mind. That’s for another day). It is quite a normal distribution. I have often wondered, why are the majority of us so bad at managing others?

I have often asked great people managers how they go about their daily routines. Being a manager is a bit like being a parent of a teenager. You have to set boundaries and that is just what the teens hate. Whether it is agreeing on the curfew hours or cleaning up the room or not to surf the web while preparing for an upcoming exam, being a parent is not easy. It is not easy being a teenager either. Every boundary is up for challenge. Every diktat invites a rebellion.

Great bosses make the world of work magical. A great manager is a talent magnet. People will follow such a manager to the other end of the world. They are tough on tasks and deadlines. Yet, they still manage to find time to discover the human being hiding under the garb of an employee. One such person explained to me that people managers have four tasks:

1. Be a “barrier buster”

The team members will often run into organizational bureaucracy. That could be in the form of a useless metric. It could be a rule that inconveniences. The role of the boss is to move ahead and clear the path. That could either mean clipping away the annoying barriers and if needed to use his or her clout to chop away the archaic rule that annoys and suffocates. Providing the data needed or the resources necessary is part of this role. The manager has to be a barrier buster so that the team members can focus on the work in a distraction-free environment.

2. Be a “bouncing board”

Often the team comes up with several alternative options, a good manager can help provide clarity. They can help in reframing the problem. The boss can lift the game by helping the team to defining the problem in new light by drawing upon new data sources or insights that the team does not have access to. Sometimes the boss can invigorate the team by simply drawing upon some relevant reading or relevant experience that can make life easier. Great bosses are well-read. How can you recognize someone who is obsolete? Watch for the phrase, “I don’t have any time to read. I am a practical person.” That is a sure sign of someone who is recycling old ideas

Read On….


abhijitAbhijit Bhaduri works as the Chief Learning Officer for the Wipro group. He lives in Bangalore, India. Prior to this he led HR teams at Microsoft, PepsiCo, Colgate and Tata Steel and worked in India, SE Asia and US. He is on the Advisory Board of the prestigious program for Chief Learning Officers that is run by the Univ of Pennsylvania. Visit http://www.abhijitbhaduri.com/   and follow me on Twitter @AbhijitBhaduri

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