Is Your Boss Difficult?

Most people get stuck on the ladder of career advancement just because they lack the skills of effectively managing their boss. For those experiencing retardation in their career despite having the skills required to succeed, they need to review their relationship with their boss. If they know it is not cordial, then they need to urgently do something about it. And I have provided solution in this text interrogatively entitled "Is Your Boss Difficult?"

It is authored by Richard Dare Ajiboye, a human resource practitioner who holds a Higher National Diploma (HND) from the Federal Polytechnic, Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State; Post-graduate Diploma from the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Lagos, Lagos State and Master of Business Administration from Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Edo State, all in Nigeria.

Ajiboye is an associate member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria. A motivational speaker, the author is Assistant General Secretary, Corporate Affairs of the Bible Society of Nigeria.

Note that the background information about the book is embedded in chapter one.

Structurally, this text is segmented into ten chapters. As already said, the introduction constitutes the chapter one of the text. In this chapter, the author, through a random survey carried out in mid-2006 in some Nigerian companies, offers aggregation of views of subordinates about whom a boss is, based on the relationship existing between them and their bosses.

According to one of the respondents, "A boss is a person of authority in a workplace or situation. He or she is accountable for action taken in a department or an organization. My relationship with my previous and present bosses has been cordial, and this has helped in shaping my corporate life. "

Another respondent said, "Typically, my current boss is an autocrat. He throws paper at me when I do the wrong thing, shouts, abuses and walks me out of his office. He likes to give queries even when he is expected to dialogue with me … The only option to get out of his pressure would be to seek transfer or change my job. "

According to Ajiboye, it is quite obvious that if more people were allowed to express their views, they would still revolve around positive or negative comments about whom a boss is and the relationships that exist between them and their bosses.

The author adds that the obvious is that individuals have described their relationships with their bosses and whom a boss is from their personal backgrounds. Ajiboye asks if any of the negative respondents' view describes the relationship with your current boss, stressing that if it is the case, all hope is not lost.

The author says it is easy to manage subordinates by virtue of the power and authority a leader has. Ajiboye educates that the boss has the carrot he dangles for good performance and the stick he uses when the subordinates breach the organizational or work standards.

He explains that most people are good at managing their subordinates even though there are problems at times in doing this because of human complexities. Managing the boss is usually more problematic because the influence in this case can only be persuasive and non-directive, asserts Ajiboye.

He adds that the boss reserves the right to or not to concede to subordinates' persuasion. Ajiboye advises that if you are conscious of the simple fact that the success of your boss is yours in a way, you will do everything possible to succeed.

Chapter two is based on the subject matter of types of bosses. According to the author here, as human beings are different in personality, so also are bosses different from one another. He explains that there are no two people with exactly the same personality traits. Such differences, no matter how slight, would make a great difference in relationship, perception, decision-making and problem-solving approaches, adds Ajiboye.

In his words, "You may make a serious mistake comparing your boss with others or any of your former bosses. He is a unique and different person altogether. The earlier you realise this and treat him accordingly, the better of the secret will ever succeeding in any relationship, work environment inclusive, is the ability to understand and appreciate differences between people. "

The different types of bosses identified by Ajiboye are the achievement-oriented / autocratic boss; people-oriented boss; laissez-faire boss and situational boss. This author says an achievement-oriented / autocratic boss is the one driven by result and does not care how results are achieved especially that he has dictatorial inclination.

As regards a people-oriented boss, Ajiboye educates that this type of boss though interested in getting results, is mainly concerned about staff welfare and is democratic in nature and conscious of collective commitment or team work.

According to the author, a laissez-faire boss is lackadaisical in his style of getting things done and often sees his subordinates as technocrats who should know what to do at any given time. As for a situational boss, Ajiboye educates that this is a complete person in leading subordinates. The author stresses that a situational boss is a combination of the three types of bosses earlier mentioned and leads according to situation, person and time.

In chapters three to six, Ajiboye analytically X-rays concepts such as functions of an executive; how to understand your boss; managing relationship with your boss and competences required to manage your boss.

Chapter seven is entitled "Tips on managing yourself." According to the author here, it is quite obvious that managing your boss successfully starts with how well you are able to manage yourself. The author adds that it will be absolutely difficult for a person who lacks the right qualities to manage him- or herself to manage another person properly.

He says most leadership problems that have been experienced are not unconnected with the fact that people who are not mature enough to manage themselves are for one wrong reason or another made to manage others.

Ajiboye stresses that to be a good manager, you need to be able to plan your days and activities; be calm under pressure; develop yourself; maintain good health and minimise your expectations from people.

In chapters eight to ten, he discusses the tips of managing your boss; why your boss could be hard and conclusion on how to achieve effective relationship with people.

Stylistically, this text is on the high rung of the ladder. For instance, the language of the text is standard and embroidered with good word order and accurate diction. The concepts, too, reflect a high level of primary and secondary forms of research as well as logical presentation.

To reinforce readers' understanding and consistently remind them of the thematic direction of the text, Ajiboye employs a technique of paraphrasing to achieve conceptual restatement. What's more, the interrogative mode of the title creates suspense, easily arouses and sustains readers' interest while the outside front cover design reinforces the title.

However, a few errors of punctuation and interpretation are noticed in the text, eg, "Executive Director Human Resources, Cadbury Nigeria Plc" (page 28), instead of "Executive Director, Human Resources, Cadbury Nigeria Plc"; "He is the AGS – Corporate Affairs of the BSN" (page 28), instead of "He is the Assistant General Secretary, Corporate Affairs of the Bible Society of Nigeria", etc.

Generally, this text is a specimen of a high level of intellectual interface, reflecting perfect combination of human resource management and motivational forms of discourse. It is a must-read for all subordinates, managers, chief executives, entrepreneurs and organizations that cherish corporate success and harmony.

Credit To Goke Ilesanmi