YEARS AGO I READ the book Shogun, by James Clavell, about the Japanese
samurai (professional warriors). A samurai gave total allegiance
to his liege lord and would die for him without question. The
whole system was filled with honor and loyalty and was very beautiful
in that respect.
While reading the book, I started treating
my boss like my liege lord. What a difference it made! My attitude
toward my boss changed and my bosss attitude toward
me changed dramatically. The working relationship became
smoother, more friendly and more efficient. I did everything
my boss asked me to do, to the best of my ability and without
question. Of course, if my boss asked me to jump off a bridge,
I wouldnt have, but usually bosses dont ask employees
to do anything but their jobs.
Ive often seen a different kind of
attitude in the workplace, however, and Im sure youve
seen it too. It can be stated as Im not going to
kiss anyones ass! This attitude is characterized
by arguing with the boss when asked to do something or trying
to get away with not doing it very well. These people, even more
than the rest of us, dont like being told what to do, and
actively resist it, which forces the boss to bear down to maintain
control, turning the working relationship into an unnecessarily
antagonistic contest of wills.
Ive worked with people who got along
great with everyone except the boss. And Ive worked
in places where I had a great boss, but my coworkers had a supreme
jerk for a boss and it was the same person. My
samurai attitude had changed my boss for me.
In a way, your attitude toward a person
creates that person. Interact with someone with a chip
on your shoulder and the person will usually respond defensively.
Approach someone with friendliness and cooperation and the person
is likely to respond in kind. We play a part in creating the
way someone treats us.
Do you want to stand out? Treat your boss
like a liege lord and do what she or he asks you to do
cheerfully, without question, and to the best of your ability
and you will stand out. In your bosss mind, you
will contrast sharply with the people who dont want to
be told what to do. And itll be more enjoyable for you
to be at work.
Create a boss you enjoy working with. In
actual behavior, the difference isnt much. You wont
be any more tired or worn out by it. But you and your organization
will be better off when you adopt a samurai attitude.
Treat your boss like a liege