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Literature Discussion -


The Politics of Managing the Boss


S.M. Zakir Hussain (Bangladesh)


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Close Your Eyes and Open your Mind


Managing the Boss is like managing one’s wife: one must give more than what one wants to get, but ironically, the wife afterwards thinks she has gotten less than she gave.

“Then why the hell do I ever need to manage him?” you might be asking the author.

Well, it is because he wants to be managed.

“But it’s he who’s the Boss, and it’s his job to manage me, isn’t it?”

Yes, that’s true in a sense. From the managerial point of view, he manages you. But from a political point of view, he likes himself to be managed by you. That is politics.

“Oh, come on! But why politics in this connection?”

Because politics, like religion, is the oldest companion of man. Wherever there are human relationships based upon a common goal, politics is there. It is inevitable.

“But I thought the function of the manager is to avoid politics, and not to create it.”

That is why politics is needed. Political problems require political solutions. Politics is already there in the organization. It is a by-product of organization, of teamwork, of mutual relationships. You must wind a coil to unwind it, mustn’t you?

So, my dear reader, this might be a warm conversation between you and me. But be careful! Please do not have such a conversation with you Boss! The best tactic is the ability to conceal tactics.

But be careful again! If your Boss comes to know that you are tactless, he will probably apply the worst tactic on you. So never be foolish by trying to look foolish.

And never also be foolish by trying to look smart.

Pretending to be anything is really being the opposite.

And most of the time textbooks tend to make us pretend. Textbooks are needed to analyze politics, and not to do it. Still most of us need to learn them mainly because we have learned to need them. As a matter of fact, textbooks and research papers can equip you with techniques to manage activities, but not the situation or the relationships. If you start researching on how to behave and why while behaving, you will happen not to behave at all. No behavior is organizational. All kinds of behavior are just social. So, it is best to regard any kind of behavior as social. And all social behavior is psychological - tending to follow its natural socio-political pattern.

Still, the management of the Boss’s behavior is more than psychology. Thinking about behavior systematically is psychology, but managing it in the real life is politics. All goal-oriented relationships are essentially political. Because this book aims to make you competent enough to do politics rather than just talk it away, it will show you how not to read any book, including this, at all. That requires you to close the eyes and open the mind. So go on! Have a nice reading!