A friend of mind remembers one of his bosses very well. ‘Make the numbers’, was apparently his way to say good bye, thanks, see you later, thanks for coming and have a good trip back to your country base. And the worse part was that he thought that he was very clever, funny, and elevated.
My friend is long retired and, with age, he has gained a clear sense of detachment. His life has been full of challenges. Often hard times. Good times as well. Yet, he is quite content and would come across to you as the least bitter of human beings. He can look back at bad times and find good angles. But, to this day, he hates that boss.
Talk about ‘him’ and a sudden adrenaline rush is almost visible at skin level. From the way he refers to ‘him’, the following can be put in writing: robotic, macho, arrogant, un-human ( I suppose it doubles as robotic) and definitely not clever.
I am always surprised at my friend’s vivid memories, and how different and judgemental they are compared with the rest of his life. However, it’s not that difficult to imagine my friend’s boss. I’ve seen some versions of it. These people consider the organization they lead in this way:
1. A piece of machinery; leadership is a question of having all the bits and pieces in the right place, with some oil.
2. An input and output system. I’ll give you money, you give me results. I’ll pay for training, you do X better tomorrow.
3. An amoral entity where operational outcomes are the only thing that matters. The rest is commentary
4. Their personal playground
5. A container for their ego. Unfortunately the oversize nature of the ego finds the container very tight.
You would have thought that in this time and age, these robosses are gone. You would be wrong. Many have been promoted; other may have checkede out with a pile of stock options. The species still exist.
The worse of this kind, I have written somewhere else in a different context, are the ones who
1. Comply with the above 1-5 criteria
2. They think themselves as humane, charitable, of religious basis, righteous and caring.
As far as I know, my friend was pretty good at making the numbers. But he can’t help it. Having that boss created a permanent disability in his soul.