How bosses behave badly

Posted on March 14, 2008



By Farida Jivamala Ibrahim


Please allow me to try to bring sense where a lot of nonsense is going on in our heads, our hearts and our mouths, and all vomited out into blogging space.  

I am not speaking from a know-it-all, arrogant  stance. Rather, I humbly ask for your attention.  

Take a step back from the current scenario which has so many of you  crying out for the blood of DAP, PKR and PAS, and regretting your voting them into power in 5 states, in fact 6, but that’s another  matter.  

Imagine we are the bosses of  5 ‘new’ companies  under the flagship of  ‘Barisan Rakyat’.  ‘Companies’ mean ownership, management, employees, finance, human resources, budget, expenditure, growth, development, profits and losses,  audits, property, assets, capital, allowances, cooperation, team work, accountability, integrity, responsibility, wisdom. I could go on and on.  

Running a state government or federal government covers essentially  the same fundamental aspects  but on a much, much larger scale.   

People, we chose our employees on 8th March  and gave them an open hand to decide how to set up the state company they were assigned to. Our Company rules and regulations were outlined in two  documents – ‘The People’s Voice’ and ‘The People’s Declaration’.   

Unlike companies, where the CEOS and directors are chosen by owners, the board  or by some other means, we the bosses gave permission by our votes for our employees to plan and execute the set-up of their company through negotiation, consensus and goodwill among themselves. We gave them that liberty.   

When new people join a company, don’t they need understanding and kindness to find their way around?  Won’t they make mistakes in a new environment, especially when they  never dreamt such power, leadership roles and responsibility would be thrust upon them?  

Most important of all, would they know the calibre, the stance, the motives and the reliability of the ones they are going to work with?  Concern about who will be manager and co-workers  is natural, what more if  you find that your colleague is someone you had worked with before who proved he could not be trusted.   

So, in a workplace, especially one starting from scratch, so many issues have to be dealt with. Most of all are the issues of integrity, trust and loyalty. Will everyone stay on board after coming in? Can each person say of the others, “I trust him/her  with my life?”  

It’s hard for our employees because they know the political culture of this nation has for so long been one of backstabbing, money politics, subversion, sabotage and a propensity to destroy that which is good and honourable and true.  Worse still, the business competitor is at the gate, trying to get in and entice.  

Who will fall? Who will resist? Who will be the best? And who will be the worst, in fact the enemy within? We really don’t know. The future is unknown. We are working in unknown territory.  

Bosses have the power to call to account and to sack without examining  where they themselves might have failed the employee. Are we falling into that mould as bosses?   

It grieves me to say ‘yes’.  We have failed our new employees.   

As bosses, we have behaved rather badly. We naively assumed that it would be all systems go from Day 1.  We  presumed that all our employees fully understood our rules and regulations. We didn’t realize that   bitter and resentful  ex-employees who won’t  acknowledge their own failures  want  to cause trouble  in the most vile and insidious of ways and not give our companies a grace period to get started.  

The enemy is messing up big time with some employees’ heads and the MSM has reached a new low with its lowdown reporting filled with lies and racial slants. There is that evil desire to destroy our companies and we, by our words and actions, are helping them.     

Let’s be fair as bosses. Let’s recognise that our employees come from all backgrounds, in all shapes and sizes, with different experiences, inclinations and carrying all sorts of emotional garbage ranging from disappointments to even resentment and rage.  

On paper (manifestos) , they all look good. At the interviews (ceramah), they passed the tests, avowing to abide by company rules, offering to give their best on the job, willing to learn and to listen to their bosses, etc. 

Among some of the seasoned applicants were first-timers to the job market. We the bosses overlooked lack of experience and put our trust in their promises, recognizing  that every veteran worker began as a first-timer. We were focused also  on grooming the young to take over in years to come.    

As much as we want them to excel as employees, we too must excel as bosses, knowing this is a partnership and each must do his or her part.  

Change begins with us, the bosses. We  must mature and not throw tantrums and overreact. We must be  the example of good governance, trustworthy leadership,  excellent teamwork, and make sure our rules and regulations are understood, received, accepted and internalised fully top-down.  

As bosses, we have the power to train. Let us train our employees well. As bosses we have the power to correct. Let us correct  but not belittle.As bosses, we have the power to praise. Let us  encourage and give hope.Let us nurture, not destroy.Let us make men out of mice and princes out of toads.Let us  turn the impossible into the possible.     

Our future, someone said,  is not determined by our past. It is determined by what we do today. He also said that it takes 21 days for new habits to be   formed. That’s March 29th  with March 9th as the starting point.  

Will we, the bosses, give our employees the grace period they need to solve issues, to work out their workstations, to embrace change?  And will we pledge to help them grow up to be the men and women of honour we believe they can be?           

Or are we bent on killing what we gave birth to?   Where will Barisan Rakyat go from here? Into the ashes of the past or into a future yet to come?     

It’s really up to us. All Of Us.

Posted in: Barisan Rakyat