Someone asked me how to be a boss. I said, that’s easy – you need to solve problems as well as shouldering responsibilities for your subordinates. The team takes the credit, while the blame is on the boss. Such a boss can enjoy both happy life and respect from the subordinates.
However, a boss will be deserted by his subordinates if he is without capacities or proper leadership, but kisses up and kicks down, not mentioning taking all the credit and passing the buck.
To be a boss, one should be agreeable with an open mind. And one should remember not to give your subordinates a hard time, nor being petty or frame them. As we all know, tolerance is a great virtue, and a smile too. So, wearing a smile on the face is always better than putting a long one. Nowadays, subordinates don’t have to read their bosses’ facial expression and guess what they want. And how can a boss ignore how his people feel?
To be a boss, one should have strong shoulders: responsibilities of any wrongs committed by you and your subordinates rest on your shoulders. If one cannot hold accountable for results and shirk everything to his subordinates, how would it be possible for him to win over people?
To be a boss, one should understand that it’s lucky to have capable staff. And give credit to your subordinates for the right things they’ve done, instead of being a nit-picker, focusing not on right things but faults, however small or unimportant. To be a boss, remember that fairness always comes first. That means one should make no exception for every subordinate, and not to take anything personally. These altogether act as a magnet, attracting or repelling, you decide.
To be a boss, the worst kind is double-dealers who badmouth A to and then speak ill of B to. IMAGINE what if A and B have a little chat together someday? For the boss, this situation is like a pig looking into a mirror – looking bad in both ways.
The above passage was written more than a decade ago. It was originally for my boss, but now, I would like to present it to all HKSAR civil servants.
Some ask what it takes to be a good boss. My answer is simple. First, be capable, so you can solve the unsolvable to your team. Second, be responsible, so you can be accountable for your team. Credits go to the team, while bullets are meant for you. These will give you a team that will indulge you and never complains.
If you are nothing abovementioned, let’s say, you are incompetent, equipped with no leadership, kisses superior asses while beats subordinate ones, take all the credits but none of the responsibilities, sooner or later, you can kiss your team goodbye.
Being a good boss takes an open heart and open mind. Hold no grudge, place no trap, and give no hard time to your team deliberately. Remember to smile and forgive. Because, a smiling face is always better than a long one. The world is different now, where employees don’t have to please the boss, and bosses don’t get to boss around any more.
A good boss shoulders blames, for yourself, and for your team. If your shoulders are too slippery and unload every responsibility to your team, your team will drift away.
A good boss knows that capable staff are a bliss. Remember to acknowlege every achievement for their efforts. Do not hold on to their lapse while ignoring progress. Being fair is essential. Treat your employees equally. Keep personal preference and interest out of work. Keep things professional. Stand in others’ shoes from time to time. These keep chaos and factions at bay.
A good boss never badmouths anyone behind his back, because people talk within the team, and your words travel. Badmouthing anyone from your team makes your team your enemy.
I wrote these, intended for my boss, ten years ago. Now, I give it to all civil servants in Hong Kong.