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Be an asset to the boss, not a threat

When graduates from various B-schools join any organisation, there is a lot of enthusiasm and drive to prove themselves in the corporate world. They are eager to put into practice what they have learnt.

However, there is a lot, lot more to learn in addition to what one may have already gleaned from books. Real success, after all, will come only after they have proved themselves in the organisations they join.

For this to happen, the first step is to learn from your immediate seniors and bosses. Most important of all—try to be an asset to your senior rather than being a threat. Be a part of their solution, rather than being a problem for them.

Unfortunately, more often than not, excitement is the root cause of the new managers making their bosses uncomfortable and even leaking out vital information not meant to be shared with others.

Kautilya says, “Just as a serpent, lying in hiding, emits poison at the place from which it expects danger, so this king, having become apprehensive of harm (from you), will ere long emit the poison of anger at you.” (1.14.8)

Make sure you and your boss are always working in the same way rather than in conflicting ones. Only then will you be able to grow in your corporate career.

Here are some tips for being an ideal subordinate:

You can cover all the issues in one go. That way, your and even their time will be productive—you can have good discussions and they can take effective decisions.


Watch the mood

Bosses are always under pressure. Always try to reduce their pressure instead of adding to it. You may always want their time, but they may not have that much spare time (even if he wants to) when you really need to talk to them. Hence, whenever you want to tell them something—watch their mood. Don’t just rush into their cabin and start talking. Wait for them to give full attention to you. Then come up with your issues.

Keep it short

A subordinate went with a recommendation of 25 pages. The boss said, “Summarise the whole thing in one page. In case you cannot do it—that means you have not thought enough”. Think through the issue from all angles. And when you do present it to your boss, make it short and to the point.

Make notes

Instead of going to your boss every now and then, make a note of all the small issues. You can go to them either at the start or at the end of the day. You can cover all the issues in one go. That way, your and even their time will be productive—you can have good discussions and they can take effective decisions.

Finally, let’s be very clear on one thing. All this is not meant to please the boss, but to become a good subordinate who, in a short period of time, can understand the wavelength of the former’s thinking—an important aspect to grow in one’s career.

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