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Inside the Economist's Mind

What it takes to be a good boss.

I spoke to a young manager the other day who works for one of India’s largest business houses which had its origins in the energy sector – a Company which frequently manages the environment to win HR awards from respected Business Media publications for supposedly being the best Employer Brand in India. On the other hand employees in this conglomerate find it a poor place to build their career in and an impersonal hierarchical culture. This young manager and I spoke about how how he can learn leadership skills even if he is presently in such a company and how managers in their formative years should conduct themselves as future leaders and not to become a bad Role model of a boss yourself.

A bad boss does make life difficult –ranging from exasperation to a possibly secret desire to kill the boss. Years back when I was in my first company and staying in a bachelors pad with other young managers, I had a boss who unfortunately stayed about a km away. (Never live in a house that’s close to your boss’s house. Might as well join another company). This boss would take particular delight on a week end if he saw a bachelor’s party going on, to walk in to the bachelors pad and want a meeting at the same time with me on some work issue which could have easily waited till Monday. (I suspect he also was freeloading on the spirits…). So what should one do when something silly like this happens? That could be a million dollar question.

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