A leader and a boss—is there a lot of difference between the two? Often the two terms are not used interchangeably, especially at the workplace, because the latter one tends to draw negative connotations.

In the preface to his book A Wonderful Boss—Great People To Work With, Virender Kapoor, founder-director of MILE-Management Institute for Leadership and Excellence, Pune, says a leader always has a larger role to play, which affects the progress of an entire organization, while a boss is more hands-on and focused on people management and interpersonal relationships. Kapoor goes on to examine what makes a good boss and draws on the experiences of many stalwarts in the industry and their views on the qualities in a good boss.

In a chapter titled “Good Boss Bad Boss—Where the Buck Doesn’t Stop", Kapoor lists the rules that fourth-century BC scholar Chanakya had for kings and says all bosses must imbibe them. Edited excerpts:

If not God, be a King—A Blue Blooded Boss

A Wonderful Boss—Great People To Work With: By Virender Kapoor, Bloomsbury India, 355 pages, Rs350
A Wonderful Boss—Great People To Work With: By Virender Kapoor, Bloomsbury India, 355 pages, Rs350

Now I am talking of the ultimate in bossism.

I feel every boss worth his salt must attempt to achieve this. Chanakya, who was a mentor to emperor Chandragupta Maurya, defines the qualities of a good king very well. According to Chanakya, a king must possess certain traits and qualities for him to be effective. To be an affective boss, these qualities, if imbibed, can go a long way.

u A king must have self-control and must demonstrate this all the time. In the modern management parlance this is an important trait within the Emotional Intelligence Continuum.

u He must cultivate intellect by association with elders and the noble. This would be akin to getting coached by mentors and coaches.

u A king must be disciplined and must demonstrate self-discipline. He goes to say that a king, therefore, keeps away from another’s wife, practices non-violence (ahimsa) and avoids day dreaming, capriciousness and falsehood.

u An emperor must always keep his promise. This is extremely important for a king’s credibility.

u A royal attitude is full of gratitude. Kings seldom keep any debt and tend to repay and reward with grace.

u Royals think big, they do things king size.

u Kings are neither dilatory nor do they procrastinate. If there is a problem, they act immediately to solve it.

u Great kings are amenable to guidance. They listen to the wise as well as ordinary people, and that is how they are remembered by their subjects and the nobility.

u A king or a queen is always valorous, especially during a crisis.

u They are dignified, sophisticated and display a sense of royalty in their behaviour.

u Kings are large hearted and show mercy appropriately when the occasion demands. They rise above the ordinary in certain trying circumstances and are willing to pardon.

u A good king is always just in giving reward and punishment. According to Chanakya, a king acts according to Dharma which directs him to be just, compassionate, and impartial in all his dealings.

u Kings and queens are good with words. They choose the right words for the occasion, appropriately.

u Royalty has a charm; with their confidence, apt behaviour and poise they command respect.

u Successful kings do not fall prey to back biting.

u They resist greed and control their anger.

u Kings are decisive and seldom fickle minded.

Excerpted with permission from Bloomsbury India.

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