Breaking the myth

Written by Anirudh Vohra | Updated: Sep 28 2014, 07:56am hrs
A Wonderful Boss: Great People to Work With

Virender Kapoor

Bloomsbury

R350

Pp 356

FROM HUNTERS to farmers and now office-goers, humans over the centuries have evolved not just physically and mentally, but also in terms of their vocations. But one thing remains common: we have always had a problem with authority. Come to think of it, how many people actually say I love my boss or My boss is awesome The answer is, very few. This is because we somehow manage to find a way to hate anybody who is in authority. On top of that, stress is attributed as the cause for many health problems we face today. And the main reason for stress is our workplace. That is why you have so many people writing books about office issues. Be it adjusting to a changing work atmosphere or how to be a great leader, there are a plethora of books about everything related to the modern workplace.

Author Virender Kapoors A Wonderful Boss: Great People to Work With is a book by the bosses and for the bosses. A collection of stories, instances, lessons and tips from 15 people who are bosses themselves, it attempts to break the myths surrounding the often misunderstood figure. There is also a quiz to test your Boss Quotient (BQ). The contributors include Huzaifa Khorakiwala, trustee and CEO, Wockhardt Foundation; Amit Malik, director, human resources, Aviva Life Insurance; and N Vittal, chairman, Vittal Innovation, among others.

Kapoor says people very often attach a negative connotation to the word boss. Interestingly, the Oxford dictionary defines a boss as someone whose job is to tell someone what to do in an arrogant or annoying way. But as a believer in the law of averages and quoting from his own experience of around 40 years, the author says there are more good guys in the organisational corridors of power than bad ones. However, there is great room for improvement for the good guys too, Kapoor says, as a leader has a much larger role to play in an organisation, which affects its performance and progress.

Kapoor says people dont quit jobs, they quit bosses. The definition of a good boss is highly subjective and hence prone to error. Therefore, the book says, while defining such a character, the fact that human perception can play an important role must be kept in mind. Stanford professor Bob Sutton in his 2010 book, Good Boss, Bad Boss, wrote, People in power tend to become self-centered and oblivious to what their followers need, do and say. He offers a simple way for managers to find out how their employees view them$20 to any employee willing to tell them he/she has been a jerk. With his book, Kapoor wants readers to unlearn the myth that no matter how good a boss is, we still manage to find a reason to hate him/her.

Overall, A Wonderful Boss makes for a good reada book for you and your boss.