On life…and learning

Story Of A Boss Who Cares…

with 7 comments

Caring LeadershipIn the leadership series of my blog, there is a strange trend that I have noted over the period of years. Every time I have written about poor bosses/managers/leaders, the readership of my blog swells. A clear signal that there indeed is a leadership deficit all of us face across levels, industries and geographies!

However, the world also has some brilliant managers; who give us hope that we shall continue to come across good leaders in our careers. Hence, it becomes imperative for me to write and share about good leaders, as and when I come across them. So, this one is to share a simple, yet superb story of one such great manager…

Here is how it was experienced by someone I know…

So, this person worked with a renowned management consulting firm. Got a good offer and wanted to move out after serving an appropriate notice-period. However, it wasn’t as easy. He was an integral part of the senior team involved in a crucial client project, which had just begun. The project was ambitious and relationship with client delicate; and required all attention, commitment and experience that this team could bring to table. So, an early exit was simply out of question – and the conversation with senior leadership wasn’t encouraging at all. “No early release”, he was told clearly…

To make an early exit an even more complicated issue, there was a pressing personal reason too. This person and his wife were expecting a baby, and the doctor had allowed only a small window for safe-travel for a vacation. And those of you who have gone through parenthood would appreciate that if this couple weren’t able to avail this vacation, they would not have found time or energy for at least next couple of years to break away, with a baby and allied changes coming in their lives.

Well – three intertwined issues needed resolution – timely and smooth handover and exit, in time to encash that miniscule window of travel, and be back in time to joining the new role!

It was here when the Boss took over. She heard the issue empathetically, took pains to understand the issues at hand and showed genuine appreciation of the same. Fully aware that the outgoing person was a key member of the crucial project they were in and that replacement wasn’t easy, she assured the best possible cooperation to her subordinate. Well, don’t all bosses promise the same, you’d ask, and yet end up delivering only lip-service? No, not this one. She meant it for real. In order to help, she mobilized her network, organized support, looked for possible replacements, spoke with the client & made them understand, and above all, also convinced her own boss! She took a bold risk, indeed. All so that her subordinate and his wife do not end up missing out on that crucial break!

When I came across this story, I was overwhelmed! And I was also pleased to note that while we all keep cribbing about bosses from hell and what not, with such managers existing, there is hope for leadership, indeed there is. In my view, she could do it because she cared, authentically. Authenticity and Genuine Care for One’s Team – twin bedrocks of true leadership. And it did remind me of what Henry Gruland said,

“Being the leader is more than just wanting to lead. Leaders have empathy for others and a keen ability to find the best in the people… not the worse… by truly caring for others.”

I am sure this story would inspire some of us, and will help us be better leaders… I know for sure that this subordinate was truly inspired!

Now it is your turn. Do you have a story, an experience of a great boss? Do share…


Image-credit: alameleadership.com

7 Responses

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  1. Hi Rishi
    I think loose talks on bosses/managers/leaders has become a common practice that cab be observed during breaks. What it leads to is negativity within the subordinate and even positive intentions of the boss is perceived in a negative manner.
    I think small initiatives that create a personal touch like wishing an employee on his birthday, work & marriage anniversary etc. go a long way in building better relationships. Structured and planned one on ones go a long way in strengthening the bond. I’ve experienced this working with you and can vouch for the same..


    February 7, 2014 at 10:24 AM

  2. Hi Sir,
    I agree with Umang. We are deeply touched in such events when someone shields or support us in our concerns and pains and not just for the sake of doing it, but have values to do so.

    Nice blog

    Nitin Singh

    February 17, 2014 at 5:55 PM

    • Well said, Nitin. Fake leadership will only get fake followers.


      February 17, 2014 at 6:27 PM

  3. I am lucky enough to have 2 such boses in my short 7 yr carrier.
    And if our first boss is of such nature, we develop the sameway I believe…

    The demands of faster world probably is erasing such leaders from the board of management….


    October 10, 2014 at 6:28 PM

  4. sir, it was really great to read your blog, as it gives lots of learning’s and ignites the leadership qualities in me…

    Thank you

    Murukesh K
    SM, Respiratory, Trivandrum

    Murukesh K

    October 17, 2014 at 11:36 PM

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