No banana bosses please!

April 29, 2014

    “Managing people is not rocket science; it is even more complex.”                                                                                                                    – Virender Kapoor


The English Oxford dictionary defines the expression ‘To boss’ as “To tell someone what to do in an arrogant or annoying way.” Over a period of time, this rather pejorative definition has held its ground. It may not be true in every case as we do find good, bad and some ugly bosses across organizations whether it is Media, Corporate, Politics or bureaucracy.

Leaders and Bosses

At the heart of leadership role lie direction, vision, mission and motivating the entire lot to meet organizational goals. Role of a boss is more hands on, which involves people management at individual level, inter personal relationship and is about “Atmospherics”. This has a direct impact on a subordinate’s performance as well his happiness. Bosses therefore need to work more in the Emotional Intelligence domain rather than depending on their IQ alone. Long and short of it is that as individuals we need to deal more with bosses than leader’s everyday-though very often the same guy wears these two different hats.

A good boss!

How important is a boss for you?

A good boss is not only a hygiene factor for an organization but can mean a lot for every individual working with him, several studies conducted in this regard conclude that employees rate having a good boss higher than Perks and remuneration. A majority of the people dread dealing with their bosses; in some cases the high stress levels could even trigger a heart attack.

Though the work culture is defined by the top management, the custodians of the culture are those, people in the organizational hierarchy who are the ‘people in-charge’ or bosses. If your immediate supervisor is nasty, then the work place is no good for you and an excellent organization may appear to be claustrophobic to work for.

Organizations must focus on grooming bosses

There is a lot of effort in every organization to enhance leadership skills of senior executives but very little is done to groom bosses. “People don’t quit Jobs, they quite bosses” and yet we don’t seem to take this seriously. A good boss becomes an “anti attrition glue”, which helps in keeping people together and even retaining them. You witness mass exodus when a good boss exits-often taking his entire team along- almost lock, stock and barrel. On the flipside, if a boss is an ass people start looking for avenues elsewhere. Organizations spend millions on retention strategies, offering free bees, ESOPs, great cafeterias, pay hikes, bonuses and recreational facilities but don’t focus on boss management. I can bet you will never like to work under an asshole even if you have all the comforts in the world right in your office.

This is an organizational ‘blind spot’ which needs to be corrected, on priority. Companies now therefore must focus on making good supervisors across the organization.

A myth called a perfect boss

Human Personality is so complex that one can never find a perfect fellow. And this is true for bosses also. A boss may have several good qualities and will certainly have some bad ones. A wonderful boss, needs to balance out his behavior such that good outweighs the bad.

The other side of the tunnel

If you look at it from the perspective of your boss, then there is a lot you can do to have a wonderful relation with him. Remember “Talee do haath sey Bajtee Hai.” Don’t expect your boss to be God- ever forgiving and always accommodating. You can look at it as glass half full or half empty but the third way is that “glass is half full and rest of it is full of air.” You must keep in mind that your boss also has a boss and he needs to get the Job done which he is paid for. This simple realization can iron out a lot of problems at work place. Remember it is a two way street.

                             “Only plugs and sockets are compatible, humans need to coexist.”

Majority of the employees have very realistic expectations from their bosses. Most people want to work with “Just a decent guy.” Therefore to be a good enough boss you do not require god like skills. But to be a great boss-one needs a lot more under the belt.

Why bosses don’t change their behavior?

There are three simple reasons as to why bosses don’t attempt to change their behavior. The first one is that no one has ever told him that his behavior needs a correction-He is an ass hole but he is not aware of it. For him ignorance is bliss. The second type is more serious- He knows he is a pain in the ass, but does not know how to make amends. The third categories are the hard core nuts. They know what they are-but refuse to change. Only a personal Jolt in life could possible work for them-Shock Therapy.

  “A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.”
                                                                                              -Winston Churchill

Don’t be a Banana Boss!

Don’t be a banana boss!

Banana republic is a political science term for a socially and politically unstable country, whose economy largely depends on one product-such as bananas. The Plutocracy which rules and exploits the people, comprises politician’s business men and military. They exploit the citizens because of their power.

Similarly bosses who misuse their position in the hierarchy and refuse to look after the concerns of their subordinates end up exploiting the organisation itself. With such banana bosses an organization is sure to sink.


“When the top-level guys look down, they see only shit; when the bottom- level guys look up, they see only Assholes”
– A typical organisation scenario

About the author- Virender Kapoor
“One of the most versatile and innovative authors whose name figures with the greats like Thomas Friedman and Dale Carnegie.” That’s Virender Kapoor for you, verbatim from his site.
His latest book “A wonderful boss” published by Bloomsbury will be available in book stores in the month of April 2014.



  • Dilipraj Dongre August 14, 2014 at 9:05 PM

    The good or wonderful bosses are all about right leadership!

    Leaders are responsible for morale,communication and career path. It’s the decisions, the motivation, the atmosphere, the ethos, the support, the training, the vision, and the direction set by the leadership that they will follow.If a boss doesn’t take the time to know his employee and foster growth, people will feel unappreciated. And the unappreciated people do more damage to company’s work culture.

    The major reason people quit their jobs is a bad boss or immediate supervisor. In the end, turnover is mostly a manager issue,” If employees don’t get along with their managers, don’t like them or don’t respect them; they will leave a company despite a good salary or benefits.Why do cruel bosses survive and thrive? The finding is the bad bosses pick on people who they easily exhibit the terms of power and authority.

    Whereas good bosses are people you keep in touch with even after you leave a position or organization. And the bad bosses are people you keep track of so you can avoid them in future.

    • IndiaBookStore August 18, 2014 at 9:28 AM

      Well said, Dilipraj…

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