The corporate world is a cruel place and surviving it can be a tall order. Organization coach and consultant Vijay Nair, in The Boss is Not your Friend, provides a ready reckoner for all the irritants at the workplace, and how to deal with them. In a candid, hands-on guide, he tells us about the workers to avoid and why not to be friends with the boss. Edited excerpts from the book:
The young and the restless
This one has no intention of staying within your ambit. She wants to fly the coop as soon as she can. She is not afraid of you. For that matter she has never been afraid of anyone, including parents, teachers and threats of expulsion. She has always been in a system where others depended on her more than she depended on others. So you always have to be on your guard. Lest she turn you into a dependant too. She is full of zest and youth. You make concessions for her because she reminds you of your early years of organizational life.
The Boss is Not your Friend: By Vijay Nair, Hachette India, 210 pages, Rs 295.
Keep in mind that she is not an extension of you. You should not allow her to evoke nostalgia or, for that matter, anything else. She is a ruthless creature and is only concerned about her own ambitions and career. Be tough with it. Get a DVD of the Hollywood film An Officer and a Gentleman and learn how to beat her. However, make sure you are not reduced to a position when you are saluting someone you trained in the first place.
The bold and the beautiful
She is charm personified. She smiles a lot, talks a lot. She dresses well and chooses her words with care. Anyone who comes within her orbit is enchanted and enthralled. What you need to answer is, do you also want to be swept away by her and regret your naïvetè later?
Handsome is as handsome does. Don’t let her beauty overpower you. Make sure you are not reduced to a helpless beast. One way to get the better of her is to drool over the Internet sites that feature the most beautiful women in the world every morning before you leave for work. Let her pale in comparison.
The sly and the slimy
This one is sly and has shifty eyes to prove it. He is looking for greener pastures all the time and he finds your job very lucrative indeed, and will stop at nothing to grab it.
At the first opportunity you get, confront this one as brutally as you can. Pick the most hurtful words and fling them at him. If this does not work, accuse him of something really serious like financial misappropriation or sexual harassment. Do your best to get him to tender his resignation.
The foolish and the tiresome
This one is unfortunate to get everything wrong. You are tired of him, but no matter what you say, how much you shout and yell at him, he refuses to budge. You are overcome by violent emotions as soon as you set eyes on him.
Ensure he is transferred and reports to a peer you dislike. You may need the HR manager for this. But that’s okay. The HR manager should occasionally earn his salary. If this doesn’t work, send him to a terror-infested area on official work. You have to get rid of him before his reputation rubs off on you.
The bright and the articulate
This one is a real threat. When you go on leave and come back to discover your boss is glowing with pleasure at how well things have been managed in your absence. You don’t know whether you want to be pleased about that, or whether it means you can’t take leave any more.
Be on guard with her all the time. If would be best to convince her that you are her friend and it is in her best interest to make a career elsewhere. If you have good contacts in other organizations, use them to lure her.
The flighty and the careless
This one has the attention span of a three-year-old. She starts five different things and forces you to finish four of them. You are fooled by her enthusiasm to give her responsibilities and end up taking the rap from your boss for not being able to manage your team. When she finally delivers, it is full of so many silly mistakes that you are forced to do everything again.
Micromanage her. If she has made careless mistakes in a document she has delivered sit with her like a private tutor and supervise her work until she gets it right. Shout at her when she gets distracted. If she looks sleepy ask her to go wash her face every 10 minutes.
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