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Be an Asset to the Boss, Not a Threat

This  article explores the relevance and application of Principles and Strategies discussed in the 3rd Century BC treatise, Kautilya’s Arthashastra, in Today’s Corporate World.

When graduates fresh out of the 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 to them.

Unfortunately, more often than not, excitement is the root cause of the new manages making their bosses uncomfortable and even leaking out vial 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)

Take care that 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:

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

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 him, make it short and to the point.

Instead of going to you boss every now and then, make a note of all the small issues. You can go to him 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 his time will be very productive - you can have good discussions and he 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. 

Contributed by  - Radhakrishnan Pillai

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