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Chanakya - Do you have 'two' many bosses ?....

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Chanakya - Do you have 'two' many bosses ?.... - December 14th, 2006

Name of paper: MUMBAI MIRROR (Times of India)
Date: Monday, 11th Dec, 06 (page 22)

DO YOU HAVE ‘TWO’ MANY BOSSES?
- Radhakrishnan Pillai
(This weekly column will explore the relevance and application of Principles and Strategies of Chanakya as discussed in his 3rd Century BC treatise, Kautilya’s Arthashastra, in Today’s Corporate World)

This has happened, or will happen, to most of us. The problem of having two bosses is especially acute in those organisations where roles and organisational structures are not clearly defined, giving rise to a conflicting situation.

But what can we do when there are two seniors giving contradictory opinions and instructions?

Chanakya had a solution for employees facing such a situation –


“They shall obey the orders of one who proposes what is beneficial to all” (3.10.39)


So when faced with such a situation, the subordinate will have to sit down and think coolly. He will have to judge the situation and the attitude of the two bosses, and then decide on his own which order will be beneficial to all.

Now how does one practice and make sound judgment in the above case, Here are a few tips:
  • BE A GOOD LEARNER
The first and foremost quality of a good subordinate is the ability to learn from all possible people and then apply the same. Be open-minded. Learn from all. Every person has got at least one good quality which you can benefit in your life. The more you can learn from your seniors, the better for you in your career. Make daily notes of what you have learnt and keep a file. Record your learning – it will help you in the long run and also give that valuable experience with which you can decide which boss is good.
  • KEEP COOL
The best strategy for dealing in conflicting situations is to remain cool and not rush to conclusions. Think logically and realistically. If necessary, take down a sheet of paper and write down the issue or problem that you are facing. With a cool mind, think through it and then derive your own conclusion. If you still find it difficult, talk to a friend – you will find this very helpful, even for tackling stress.
  • LEARN TO SAY ‘NO’
A boss will never like a subordinate who says, ‘No’. At the same time a boss also does not like a subordinate who always says ‘Yes’. Then there’s the ‘Yes boss!’ employee – he is a danger to the employer too. Initially, it may look like such a person is impressing the boss. But he will be probably providing him the wrong information. So, when dealing with you boss, learn to say ‘No’, but only when required. Never be rash – convey your inability to do a task in a soft and peaceful manner.

Just remember that, in the end, it is all about how you manage your bosses. A lady was once asked, “It must have been very difficult for you to report to two bosses..” Pat came the reply “No way - I always get two gifts on my birthday!!”
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Nikhil Gadodia
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