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Who’s the boss?

Posted by Vivian Wong on October 14, 2008

For this year’s National Boss day, I’d like to pay tribute to my prior and current bosses for leading by example (both good and bad ones). The dualities of our weird and wonderful world means there is something we can learn from every single situation – the good vs bad, light vs dark, yin vs yang – just to name a few. Each contains some of the other.      

I’d also like to give thanks to all those who have worked with me over the years – for being my teachers and for allowing me to practice my management and leadership skills. I’ve learned a lot and had a lot of fun along the way, hopefully it hasn’t been too painful for you!

Take care of your men, fight them, and honour them as you would yourself.  Harley Fricker

I once had a “boss” (the pointy haired kind as in Dilbert cartoons)  who would try to “motivate” us to work harder (even though we were already working 60 hours a week). His favorite line?  “Heads down, bums up”. Employee appreciation is clearly not his strength.

People ask the difference between a leader and a boss. . . . The leader works in the open, and the boss is covert. The leader leads, and the boss drives.  Theodore Roosevelt

I personally believe the key to being an effective leader is to have strong communication skills as well as having compassion to those around you. What I wasn’t really prepared for when I first became a manager was how to recover from uncomfortable situations. For example, I had an employee who missed a few meetings several weeks in a row for medical appointments. I was getting increasingly worried about his health since he was also working late nights. During our third one-on-one meeting, I asked if he was OK and if the medical appointments were going well. The employee was pleased that I was genuinely concerned and replied:”Thank you – I’ve never had a manager who cares so much!” I smiled and he continued: “I have hemorrhoid but don’t worry, it’s not cancer.” Needless to say, I was red-faced and told him I am glad he’s ok.

The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves.  Ray KrocFounder of McDonald’s

The most effective bosses are those who have the following traits:

  • Strong Communcation: Open, honest and timely communication is key
  • Inspiring: empower others without getting in the way
  • Appreciative: Give credit when credits due. Say thank you. Acknowledge when a job is done well.
  • Compassionate: Be empathetic to all those you work with
  • Trust: trust your employees while giving them the support they need
  • Challenge and develop employees – understand what motivates them, see their strengths and potential, teach, coach and mentor them to bring out their best potential
  • Lead by example – walk the talk!

I am lucky enough to work for a manager who’s not only a strong communicator, but she also empowers, trusts and challenges me to be a stronger leader. (Thank you Boss!)

“Jingshen” is the Mandarin word for spirit and vivacity. It is an important word for those who would lead, because above all things, spirit and vivacity set effective organizations apart from those that will decline and die.  James L. Hayes 

May you be blessed with lots of “Jingshen” while leading your men and women… Happy National Boss Day!


3 Responses to “Who’s the boss?”

  1. Meg Bear said

    Vivian, thank you for always setting an example for the rest of us. You are my own personal example of Jingshen

  2. […] well as those we’d like to forget.  Kudos to Vivian for making the cut this round with her post, Who’s the Boss! […]

  3. […] Meg Bear on January 26, 2009 Here at TalentedApps we have had a few discussions about bosses (both good and bad) but we after reading the WSJ article on How to manage your boss I thought it might be a […]

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