Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Workplace wisdom XVI..Pleasing the boss

 IDEALLY, the old saying ‘As you sow so shall you reap’ should be the dictum that governs promotions in offices that function with the framework of modern management principles.  The system of rewarding those who show drive and initiative in their work seems to be the most obvious incentive, a healthy way of encouraging employees.  But performance appraisal, which should decide promotions and special increments, is not always the criterion that dictates whether an employee would be rewarded.  It is also not necessarily considered for the ‘who deserves more’ questions that come up every year when it’s time to decide on grades and increments.  This is because the decision to reward employees is not always based on any set management principle guidelines.  To put it simply, whether or not you deserve an increment or a promotion is a matter finally decided by your boss, and it is possible, often enough, that the boss may have criteria other than ‘performance’ mind while taking a decision.
Winning over the boss by doing personal favors or pandering to his vanity often becomes the route for professional advancement.  The boss’ secret desires are unearthed and there is a scramble to satisfy them.  If for instance the boss is publicity crazy, an employee could get into his good books by cultivating key members of the press and arranging for periodical media coverage.  If the boss is anxious about his children’s progress in school or college, an employee with the right contacts could help the kids out by procuring notes, guides, even question papers.
All the boss who is looking for favors by his employees has to do is to be explicit about his requirements.  Rest assured there will be enough and more aspirants clambering over each other to please him.  What about the sycophants?  These people blindly propound the principle ‘What the boss says is right’.  By pampering the boss’ ego, they manage to divert his attention from their mediocre work performance and duly collect their rewards while the level headed employee earns the boss’ wrath with his sometimes honest – but –unwelcome report and suggestions.
The management professionals should be totally fair in their evaluation of a staff member’s performance, basing it solely on his or her professional contribution to the company.  How he or she has executed specific tasks, the consistency with which deadlines have been met, how well official commitments have been fulfilled.  Only if the evaluation is done in a strictly objective manner can managements be in a position do decide who actually deserves a promotion and who does not, in the best interest of the company.
One more point.  Subordinate employees often attempt to ingratiate themselves into the boss’s favor by excessive socializing entertaining them, calling them home, playing bridge or back gammon with them on Sundays while earnestly talking shop all the while to show how deeply they are committed to the company goals. Those in sensitive positions who will be required to evaluate such subordinates would do well to keep their distance with firm tact, so that they avoid the sense of obligation, the hesitation
 and award less while giving a deserved career-stagnating report to the subordinates who have become their ‘good friends’. It is vital that management maintain a correct sense of perspective when evaluating their employees.