Why my boss will never win ‘Best Boss’.

There are a number of competitions out there that recognize strong leadership in the workplace. I know – I spent a few seconds scrolling through them on Google. The most famous one, the ‘best boss/worst boss’ contest, stresses how your boss is a great motivator, communicator, and leader, and how they make the office more productive and satisfying.  That’s great, as far as it goes.  But it doesn’t go very far.

I did have one interesting related post I hit upon here, having to do with creativity.   The writer in question has done this activity with  variety of types and classes of employees, which I think is something important.  1) In the workplace, people regularly separate and group themselves.  2) Inter-group association, knowledge, and cooperation is not encouraged.

Take my office, for example.  There are two lunch groups – the admin assistants, and the other office workers.  It’s not because anyone looks down on us admins – many just feel more comfortable with their own group, where they can talk casually about daily tasks.   The same thing is true across the office – individuals in one department, such as real estate, don’t know about the daily or even major actions of those in private equity.  How do we create a sense of office unity despite this?  Better yet, how do we enliven progress recognition and achievement if we don’t know what anyone outside of our own small group is doing?

My own current boss is trying to make things more overlapping and to have different groups dabble in each-othe’s work.  Of course this is great as an ideal, though we haven’t worked out what the overlap is going to look like, or who will be responsible for what.  But most importantly for a growing organization, it moves people to start to be aware of the total work environment, hopefully breaking down some of those barriers between work groups.  It will not make him a more productive or a better leader over the short term especially.  Just because of his position people are sometimes afraid to approach him, and striking up major office innovations is not going to change that.  But over the long term, I think it will do something real and good for us as a company.


1 Comment

  1. ebrown said,

    February 7, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    Thank you for the kind link. I am a big believer in breaking down cultural silos. Certainly, there are silos of practice and technical skills, but as you so rightly said, cross pollination has huge benefits. Encouraging employees and providing opportunities for them to see the big picture is of benefit to everyone.

    Thanks again and keep up the blogging! I’ll be checking back.


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