Your Boss … Your Buddy … Where to Mark the Boundary?

We all know that these days one need very good "networking" to get a good break … or jump in their career. As they say, "what you know is not important but what you know is very important". At times it so happens that the person you knows … in the industry turns become your boss in any of the future assignment.

Now, the question here is …

1. How close you should go … to your boss or in contradiction, how close should you, as a boss … goes to your subordinate?

2. What are the intentions of that person to hire you as his sub-ordinate?

3. What goes into your mind, when you accept the offer … from an organization where your friend is your boss?

4. What should you share and what you should not?

These and many more are the questions … that we come across in your career … when we get our buddy as our boss. We will be discussing some of the points … in this write-up … along with few examples.

Let me remind you … if your boss is too close to you … he will not be able to get the things done, because in India, most of the people are not self-disciplined and at most of the time .. .discipline need to be enforced. On the contrary, he is strict … you will call him as "Hitler" or something. In one of my pervious assignment … once we were discussing about "Departmental Picnic" and our boss rejected our suggestion … by giving the following reason, "Why should I take you to picnic? Tomorrow, I will take you for picnic … we will enjoy together … dance together and then the very next day when we will come to office … I need to get the things done. I will shout at you … maybe get angry … or upset. Then, you people will say that I have double standards. "

As a boss, one should be close enough to his team

1. To give them comfort

2. To be democratic enough to listen to your ideas

3. To let you speak

4. Appreciate your work and motivate you to take new challenges

What else, … do you expect anything more from your boss? Eating together occasionally; at times … sharing some personal experiences etc etc.

Now, the important question … why your friend (Relative, Acquaintance) wants you to work for him? I can recollect three reasons …

1. He wants to use you as a source of information. He might feel that having you in department will be an edge for him … in making his own position stronger in the organization.

2. He must be expecting high-loyalty from you.

3. His position in the organization is not very strong and he wants to play politics in the organization, by keeping you in the middle of the things.

Why do you like to join your friend ((Relative, Acquaintance) … and agreements to work under him? Here also I can recollect two reasons …

1. Having your friend as your boss … will give you an amount of opportunity to grow. You might think that he will give you all-important assignments.

2. He will send you for all assignments; seminars etc

3. If your friend is your boss … he might tolerate your indiscipline, give you enough of time and space. At times, if you do not work also, he will not say anything and things like that.

Let me know, if any of the above mentioned point in invalid or you think is not properly justified.

As a sub-ordinate at times, we consider the appreciation, acceptance, and favoritism from our boss as closeness. I think, we should not do that and that is where your self-discipline and professional attitude comes into picture. You should be mature enough to not let any appreciation or accolade or celebration to get into your head and at the same time your should not let any negativism or rejection or insult to dome your motivation.

As a boss, I might be interested in knowing who's who of your family, but nothing more than that. Now read this conversation between Rajshekhar, the boss and Kavita her subordinate;

Rajshekhar: Kavita, this time we are having a long weekend, so what are your plans?

Kavita: Nothing great Raj, will be just going to visit my relatives.

RS: Hmmm. Ok. I understand that your have been married for three years now, so what is your plans for marriage? Is everything OK?

K: (With some shyness) … yeah. Things are OK but as you know that my Husband is in US for some on-site assignment … for last 10 moths for so.

RS: Hmmm. Very difficult, is not it? How do you manage without him?

(And talks go on)

Do you expect this type of closeness with your boss? This was a conversation between a male and female … even if this conversation would have happened between two males or two females … I think, none of us like to get that close to our boss. Any exceptions?

I think that is where a clear demarcation between personal and professional life comes into picture. That is where; you need to mark the boundary. A boss looks good … when he is boss. Anything closer then that alerts the alarm.

If you got a job … because or your friend is in position of authority, do your job … and that's it. If your boss appreciate you; favors you, over other; gives you more challenges … accept it and do not try to read between the lines. He is not grooming you as his replacement while he does he is planning to give to 100% increment in your next appraisal.

That's is all, I want to say on this subject.
Your opinion, your views and your feedback will be highly appreciated.


Sanjeev Sharma

(Chandigarh – India)

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