To the brash 20-something-me this was as cheesy as anything could get. Making one’s boss successful is the kind of thing that would earn you the choicest epithets – apple-polisher, bootlicker to the more unparliamentary set of adjectives that would make anyone cringe.
Understandably so. He is the boss for a reason. He knows it all. Or should at least know it all. So why go the extra mile to make him successful. After all, I am busting my behind for him already. Ain’t I?
It is entirely possible to spend a lifetime of working, minding your own business, doing the tasks assigned to you and not having to think of such esoteric ideals as making one’s boss successful. After all, I am doing what I am paid to do. Whether it is the mundane execution of a boring routine, or the active creation of a product, service or selling your wares to meet your target. Focusing on the day-to-day and not pausing to think how what I do fits into the company’s mission or my group’s success is the demystification we will attempt here.
It took me a while to see the merit in the whole argument. And not just the rookie-me. Even the VP-me has a lesson to learn here. The higher up the food chain the more the corporate imperative to make your boss succeed. Choosing to ignore will be a choice only for a very short time. Denial is certainly an option here.
There are any number of means and methods on the ‘how’ to make your boss successful. My point though is ‘why’. If you knew the why, the how is only a matter of detail. Anyone with a job can easily figure that one out. Can’t you?
Here are four reasons why –
- Consider your boss to be your translator. Any decent boss, is also the quintessential lexicographer. The guy who translates the vision/mission statements of the company to the rest of us. Thankfully most companies have their vision statements written in English. Even so, if you happen to be nine layers below the CEO, those statements could barely mean anything. ‘To do x with y in z place’ could very well be Latin for ‘Its a bright and sunny day’. If the company hired you, they certainly trusted you with your ability to read English. But that is not to say, you could translate an otherwise lofty sounding vision statement and convert that into actionable work items that can be executed on a day to day basis. If you are already doing this, then this is clearly not for you.
- Trusting your boss to act in the interests of the organization. To your boss’ credit here is the typical dilemma that most of them have to go through. It is one of having a directive that he/she cannot completely share with everyone in the group.The larger the company, the more competitive the industry, this is a classic scenario that all bosses have to face time and time again. Orders from above warrant a certain outcome and often times the details are not shareable. If you are a leader or are in the process of becoming one, this scenario or the potential for one should be a no brainer to you. Times like these call for implicit faith in the boss’s directive and doing what it takes to make him/her successful. Second guessing your boss’ motives and directives is always an option. On the contrary, trusting and complying, certainly has its benefits.
- Your boss’ success is your success and vice versa. Let’s face it. You succeed or fail as a group. When was the last time, your boss succeeded while the rest of your group failed? Yes, there are always exceptions to any rule. A stray case here and a stray case there, does not count for anything. A natural extension of this universal theorem is that, your boss is looking out for the group’s interest. And if you consider yourself part of the group, then bingo!!! Making your boss succeed only increases the chances of you doing your part for your group to succeed. At a much simpler level, your boss has a vested interest in seeing you succeed. Your success means, the group’s success and that eventually means his/her success.
- Its good for you. Plain and simple. Think about it. We like people who are like us. We like people who help us and respond positively and favorably to us. We like people……you get the drift. Your boss is no exception. He/she is as human as anyone can get. And that means being subjected to the same emotional turmoil that the rest of us go through. You be nice. And he/she will certainly be nicer. Plus, a happy group performs better, delivers better, not to mention earns better.
With so many benefits, implicit and otherwise, subtle and bold, intangible and concrete, the argument for making your boss succeed should not have to be a matter of argument.
Consider this the ‘Why’. The ‘how’ is easy. If you really need a kickstart to the ‘how’, how about simply walking up to your boss and popping the question ‘Boss, what can I do to make you successful?’