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WHAT KINDS OF STORIES ARE PEOPLE GIVING ABOUT YOU AS A BOSS

In every organization employees tell stories about their bosses and about fellow employees. It is not unusual when the boss is not around for people to begin to whisper and sometimes aloud how they feel about the boss. Sometimes these whispers are even taken home and wives and children speak openly about the boss as a devil or a saint to their neighbours, family and even school friends.

Such stories while they can have a malicious intent and may even be born from a disgruntled worker of even a lateral colleague, if repeated enough times can become “truth”. It can be very damaging even beyond the walls of the organization and could prove to be embarrassing to close family members who also become the focus by association of such comments.

In TT there are numerous such stories which abound about some of our most successful businessmen and women. Some of these even became the subject of calypso (immortalized by Chalkdust) as did the marketing strategies of Ram Kirpalani. (God bless his soul. He was an extremely generous man. This was the man who brought out buy one get one free.) But not all stories created are as complimentary as the ones associated with Ram Kirpalani.

It is the stories that speak of the behaviour of you as a boss which irritate and demoralize others (which any sensitive boss would not want to ignore) which must be of concern since it can derail your professional career and affect your character and image. The problem is that too many bosses choose to dismiss negative stories rather than ask deeper questions as to whether there is some basis for the story. This is human nature. the first reaction of human beings is generally to reject and deny negative comments which are unsupportive of their views. In a country prone to gossip, it is even dismissed as gossip. We have seen however where gossip becomes a public’s truth much to the detriment of people.

Bosses must be acutely aware of what stories are circulating about them and examine the reason for it. It could be all malicious but malicious or not it must not be ignored.

The solution to this problem is as a boss always to seek to create good stories about yourself even when you have to take strong action against an employee or strong decisions which every one may not agree with. The challenge is how do you communicate and do so to manage the responses that will inevitably emanate from the decisions and choices you make as a boss.

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