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How hard can being a boss really be?

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While driving  around in my Senior Advocate duties for my congregation, I heard a couple of radio comedians talking about “not having a boss” and what that meant for a creative person. Then they talked about program directors always second guessing the on air personality. Most of us however, can’t really get away with not having a boss but wouldn’t we all be more creative were the so-called bosses more human?

Writing for Inc.com, Geoffrey James recently discussed this very thing. In this article, 8 Signs of an Extraordinary Boss, James makes simple but essential points about managing others. For example, these five were personally closest to home:

  • A company is a community, not a machine.
  • Management is service, not control.
  • My employees are my peers, not my children.
  • Motivation comes from vision, not from fear
  • Work should be fun, not mere toil

Now if you are a boss or if you are wondering why the misery of working for one, you will want to read the article. He is getting at something that would make a huge difference for companies. Simply put, it sounds just like the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  As the paragraphs above hint, you can’t be the traditional task master and expect for things to work most efficiently.

When I begin writing these posts a couple of years ago, I had quite a bit of this information handy on this topic but about 99% was from the downside. I am sad to say that over the last year I have collected more negative anecdotes than a good month of Dilbert cartoons.

What if each supervisor or manager decided, starting this coming Monday, to simply treat each person with whom they come in contact like a valuable, competent, colleague instead of an underling? I wager that it would take very few days of the work week to change the whole aggravating culture that is so common in the workplace.

James contrasts what he calls the “average boss” vs the “extraordinary boss” Where do you appear in that scenario?

Oh yeah, and isn’t really time to banish the word “boss”? That would be start.

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Slaughterhouse Five & “So it goes”

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Kindle can be inspiring, as the ad says,  especially for those of us who always have our devices near by.

For example, if it hadn’t been for a recent Amazon Store search, I might not be rereading Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five  and would not remember too much about Billy Pilgrim and Tralfamadore.

So what, one might ask? After conceding that Vonnegut was one of greatest writers of all time, the answer is that I tend to forget that war has been glorified ad infinitum. This novel portrays, how ever obliquely, the cruel firebombing of Dresden at the end of World War Two  and each time I pick it up, Vonnegut startles me with a moving existentialism. The absurdity of war could not be clearer.

However, to this very day, the government of the United States, in spite all wisdom to the contrary, perpetuates the malignant theory that war  has any other actual purpose than the slaughter of human beings.

Thus, I recommend  Vonnegut’s haunting little phrase when a death or deaths happen, “So it goes”, be written on our hearts. Maybe that way we would not forget that, even if none of us escape it, our government should not be the perpetrator of death.

War, huh, yeah. What is it good for. Absolutely nothing

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