Monday, January 23, 2006

What's the role of a boss?

Strangely, organizations don't ask this question: "What's a boss's role, in terms of his subordinates?"

Does a boss have duties/responsibilies towards his/her subordinates? I mean things like communicating clearly, passing on information, setting clear expectations, motivating and so on. In short, bosses have to add value - if they don't, why have them? Just like employees have objectives, managers should have objectives for each subordinate - ie, how are they going to add value for their subordinates?

Currently, managers aren't explicitly expected to add value, so by default, they do the job of policing. They become policemen or dictators. HR is of little or no use. As Sally Bibb's wonderful book points out, "It is a commonly held fallacy that if you have a problem with your boss you can go to HR and they can help. Most focus on policy and policing, and the majority haven’t got the courage to stand up to badly behaved bosses. "

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