On life…and learning

Never Work With A Powerless Boss…

with 11 comments

Indecisive Leader 2In my earlier blog on what I learnt from my Great Bosses, I wrote about a lot many things these leaders did in their daily lives, which helped me and other team-mates do better in our work and careers thereafter.

One quite important attribute I wish to add to the list – great bosses are those who are decisive in nature and do not try to please everyone. They carefully consider all the aspects and then reach a thoughtful decision. And it is not that they do so in an autocratic manner – they partner, communicate and collaborate extensively before a decision is arrived at. And once a decision is taken or a path is chosen, they do not waver, in a vain want of everyone’s alignment at every step of implementation. I understand that a supervisor who changes his or her mind often and shoves his team in myriad directions based on new feedback at the drop of a hat, and never seems convinced of the appropriate direction, will make his team uncertain about every decision and hence, would adversely impact their action-orientation and productivity. By asking them to begin, then review & restart, and change direction, such weak managers alienate their team-mates… and in the process, they often end up killing the zeal of many.

When I say that one should never work for a powerless boss, I absolutely do not refer to the word ‘power’ in the strict sense of the word. In fact, I strongly believe a powerful boss is one who is decisive and has the caliber and maturity to stand for a decision taken, without being irresolute – wavering between conflicting positions or courses of action – often trying to please everyone, including his own boss. A powerful boss will be respected amongst his seniors and peers for his ability to charter courses and guide his team, and will earn his team the same respect. A powerful boss will be mature enough not to avoid reasonable conflict when necessary during the execution phase; he would rather treat such conflict as positive and ensure everyone stays on course.

Working for a weak boss will only make you weaker by the day… you will keep running in circles to get your work done and please everyone; and I must say, during the same time, another decisive and powerful supervisor will take his team ahead…

This is what I think. I would be keen to know your observations and experiences. Are you working for a weak boss or a decisive one?

11 Responses

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  1. Superb and fantastic artical Sir..shat pratishat agreed.

    Shashikant Singh

    May 26, 2014 at 7:07 PM

  2. Very well said. It is also important to self assess constantly that we ourselves dont end up becoming ‘powerless’ professionals too. I can relate this piece very well to a blog where you’d mentioned how leaders are constantly watched by everyone and people get inspired from them all the time. Powerlessness as a behavior thus, is all the more dangerous and against natural principals of leadership.


    May 26, 2014 at 10:26 PM

  3. I used to work with a decisive boss. Nevertheless, I believe it is also important to have a powerful connect with your team. I’ve seen many powerful communicators but a very few, who connect powerfully, and that is a trait possessed by great leaders. I truly believe that once you connect, you can create amazing results.


    May 27, 2014 at 12:04 AM

  4. True Words Sir….

    And experiencing the same………


    June 17, 2014 at 12:11 AM

  5. Well Said sir….

    most of us are experiencing.


    September 23, 2014 at 10:17 PM

  6. There are 2 ways of viewing it.
    1) boss is powerless.
    2) boss’s boss is powerless.

    Both situations takes u nowhere..
    Running in circles for long is tough. Frustration creeps in, interest goes off, ultimately we become weak boss costing the carriers of people who works for u.

    But is there any options other than quitting?


    October 10, 2014 at 6:01 PM

    • Well, no point getting frustrated. Build your own credibility, own capability and reputation in your Eco-system and client-base. Become independent of your boss.
      That’s the alternative to quitting.


      October 10, 2014 at 6:06 PM

      • Thank u for the valuable piece of suggestion.
        Such scenario at times demands jumping hierarchy. And i feel apprehensive in emulating such act.
        Let me work more on my strenghts more so that i may become independent.


        October 11, 2014 at 8:31 PM

  7. Good to read; being capable individuals, we must introspect constantly on our decision making and how well we partnered with team. Between Pleasing Vs Productivity, productivity always wins.

    Krishna Kumar(KK)

    March 15, 2015 at 11:07 PM

  8. I keep on reading this article since long , all the time, it’s giving me an immense sense of retrospection. Thank you for this article.

    Krishna Kumar

    August 15, 2016 at 11:21 PM

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