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Dealing with a Boss testing your patience..

By G. Balasubramanian

“My Boss is testing my patience,” – that was the first sentence Divya spoke when she called me up today morning. I just smiled as I listened. “Sir, You said my planets are good and I will certainly be better off this year. But I am disappointed. My boss is testing my patience. This year also he has given me the same common increase in salary as for others - five to seven percent increase” Her voice was drowned in anger.

“Did you ask him why?” I quipped. “Yes. He said that it is a policy decision and all of us are getting the same basic increase; then what is the point in toiling in this office like a donkey?” Her words were aggressive. “You don’t know how much demanding work I have done without a second thought. Every time he appreciated me. But when it comes to give a rise, he is silent and indifferent. I have decided to put in my papers tomorrow.”

Divya is just one among those people who claim that the boss is testing the patience. And many of them don’t listen what the boss has to say in loud voice “You will do the same thing if you were in my chair.”

Rajesh was having a serious dialogue with his boss. “Boss, these numbers are just impossible. The market is stale and dry. The product is already outdated. All that we could do is to sustain the last year’s numbers and try to make marginal improvements.” And the boss responded “Rajesh, if you can’t show any improvement, do you think whether the company will be happy to retain you?” “Boss. you are driving me mad. You are driving me to the end of the wall. I don’t know where I will break my head.” Rajesh walked out of the room of the Senior Marketing manager and lamented to his colleague Dhruv “The boss is testing my patience”.

Abhinav, who has worked in a few organizations and moved repeatedly from one organization to the other, posted his reaction on the Instagram “Bro, don’t be upset. Ninety percent of the bosses don’t listen. They have their end game. And they put you on the race and test your patience. All that you could do, is to run like a race horse and fall down in fatigue.”

“They don’t understand my plight’ argues a boss. “I have set targets, performance goals, and the management demanding a thirty percent growth, when the markets are static and there is no mobility. They don’t want to invest on re-engineering the old products. And for any investment they make on the new products, they expect a three hundred percent profit. And don’t you think my patience is also tested?”

Explained a HR expert “It is not the boss testing the patience. But it is a game of relay race with competitors. More than survival, it is demonstration of growth to the investors sitting at the gate looking for their returns, and they are testing the patience of the CEO.”

There are several reasons behind this ‘Test the patience play” in professional set ups. A friend who investigates the leadership and market psychology attributes the following reasons:

1. The boss wants to prove that he could really scale up the performance, but others are not cooperating.

2. The boss wants to show ‘milking the cow’ works only under pressure and hence applies all known strategies to get the milk bottled.

3. The boss suffocates in his performance and hence ventilates his anger on people demanding ‘exceed the limit’ performance.

4. The boss, not knowing the ground realities, superimposes some good performing verticals over non-performing verticals.

Vinay laughed at his boss, when he was handed over a near one-third of additional work to what he was handling.” Boss, you know well I am already stretched out with so much work. I realize the importance of the experiment of young’s modulus only now.”

The boss raised his eyebrows “Young’s modulus?”

“Yes, Sir. In my degree course in Physics, I studied the concept of young’s modulus dealing with ‘elastic limit’. My elastic limit is now on test and the stress is high”

“Hey, think differently. You are also a young man. Therefore, you can stretch a little beyond the elastic limit.”

Vineeta was totally upset with her principal Ranjitha. “Madam. It is already half past six. My children and family would be waiting. I need to go home and cook food for the night also.”

“Sorry. You finish the work and then go. Am I not sitting in the office everyday up to half past seven?” she countered. “You are now my principal also made me sit till late hours. You should learn from us who have gone through tough times. Then only you will become tough when you grow”. There are several bosses who love retaining their employees for long without work, just to show to the company ‘we have enough on the table.’

Testing the patience of the subordinates happens in several modes. Though it elevates the pride, the ego and the happiness of the boss, eventually they turn out to be sadists.

Sometimes, the bosses also find a strong reason to provoke the patience of their subordinates and may be, for the right reasons.

Imagine when Shyam was having a chat with his boss and asked him “Boss, tell me how soon I would be able to be seated in your chair?” The boss didn’t give a reply but did not fail to give him ‘sendoff’ by the end of the month.

Raju’s case was different. When he was employed as a manager for a shop, the boss told him on the opening day “We are opening the shop tomorrow on an auspicious day and at an auspicious time, that is nine o’clock in the morning”. Raju quickly asked hitting the boss’s sentiment at the bottom of its belly “And boss, when do you close the shop?”

Vibha, who just assumed the role of a CEO of an organization, was questioned on how she felt being the “Boss” of the company. She smiled and replied, “I just love the quote of Robert Frost who said, “By working faithfully eight hours a day you may eventually get to be a boss and work twelve hours a day.”