Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Anatomy of a Boss…
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It was, nonetheless, an era when men were evidently men. Recently, I watched an episode where a haplessly green eighteen-year-old joined Mr. Favor’s outfit. Ordered to rein in some misbehaving cattle, the youngster was no match for the bovine ensemble’s frenzied antics. Rowdy desperately wanted to intervene on the boy’s behalf, but Mr. Favor, who had assigned him another vital task, refused to allow it. When the poor kid was trampled to death, Rowdy was disgusted with his remarkably callous boss, who had told him point-blank that “men are replaceable; cattle aren’t.” By the end of the episode, though, Rowdy somehow understood where Mr. Favor was coming from in their cow-eat-cow world.
Favor’s cool hard line, which was probably closer to the reality of the times and job, wouldn’t wash today on the small screen. He was, after all, the show’s leading man, authority figure, and hero. But then when you get right down to it, I suspect there are more than a few boss figures who believe men (and women) are replaceable. In fact, I more than suspect this…. Head ‘em up; move ‘em out!
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A couple of people at work are calling me “boss”.
I find this humorous because I do very little “boss-ing”. It’s more about setting the objective and letting them loose.
One fellow said to me: “I don’t have to get permission to do this …”. I gave him my pat: “Does it violate any ‘standing orders’? If not, then let’s get it done and beg forgiveness if we need to. You can always blame me.”
After a recent bad storm, the first thing I did, dropping back to my old AT&T training, was check that all our people were safe and didn’t need anything. Then, once that was done, I started to figure out what had to get done and not done with the resources we had available.
Others were more worried about “the work”; rather than “the people”.
Guess they never heard the old Wall Street adage that: “Your intellectual capital walks out the door every night!”
Most Wall Streeters worried about it coming back the next morning. Like AT&T!
That’s why I tell any fat old white guy turkeys, or anyone who will listen, that you have to be “the captain of your own ship”, the CEO of “You, Inc.”, or just understand what YOUR objectives are. If they happen to overlap with your employer’s, great. If not, first things first.
I’ve told more than one “employee”, who was putting the employer first, that their job is to FIRST find your next job. Good performance at your current job is an important component of doing that. BUT, it’s not the FIRST priority. Third at best!
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