Bing Blog

Which boss is best in a crisis?

Mexican Jumping Bean

At this point, any optimism or upbeat thinking would be in the category of whistling past the graveyard, one where all the corpses have awakened and are bearing down on passers-by.

Looking at the events of the past few days, the question emerges: What kind of senior manager would you like to see in the corner office in the event of complete, life-destroying liquefaction? We've had a chance to see a number of styles on view: Paulson, Bernanke, the Congressmen attempting to satisfy Wall Street and Main Street concurrently, Obama, McCain, Bush... not to mention the host of gray-suited Commissars lining up from a variety of hobbled financial institutions to get a good pull at the bailout teat.

So... which kind of manager do you believe is best suited to confront such challenging seas and steer the corporate state back to some relatively safe port? Let's choose:

Would you like a boss who gets very excited and angry, screams at people, and indulges in dramatic displays of bad temper? Or would you like a boss who is calm, thoughtful and spends a lot of time listening?

Would you like a boss who, when things grow dark, is full of threats and imprecations, scaring employees with vague prognostications of doom? Or a guy who puts his head down, studies the situation, and tries to see all the angles until he or she is convinced of what's best for the greatest number of people possible?

Would you like a boss who hops all over the place like a Mexican jumping bean, hiding at times, then emerging with rage at people, cancelling appointments, rescheduling long-standing commitments, always trying to be all places at once? Or someone who seems to reside in the center of a hurricane, a safe place where people can go to give opinion, get counsel, and eventually direct orders? Whose strategic and moral center does not shift with the demands of the moment, even when they are, at least for the moment, insurmountable?

Would you like a boss whose ultimate solution seems to gravitate always toward the dynamic expression of his personal ego? Who picks odd moments to rush in like the cavalry, superceding line operators who have been working hard to attend to the details, who view their own exercise of Self as an important element of success? Or the guy who not only leads, but has respect for the management structure he seeks to guide?

Do you prefer a boss who surrounds himself with sycophants and attendants who defer all power and glory to their master? Or one who prefers to operate as the center of a nexus of smart people, all dedicated not so much to his person but to the strategic goals of the organization?

How about a boss who works each crisis for the greatest possible strategic advantage against the competition? Who employs a ton of PR tricks to manage the situation? Who seems often to make decisions based on how they will position him in the press and the public eye? Is that the kind of boss you like to work for? Some people do. Guys like that have actually run the world for several millennia, in fact.

I've worked for all kinds of bosses. And like I said: we've had a good look at the current crop in both the public and the private sector. An old senior officer of mine once said, and I think it's generally true, that you can't choose your boss. But let's just say that in certain very important cases, you could. Which kind of boss would you choose?

11 Comments Add Comment

Sadly I'm afraid that the same old tricks will fool the same old crowd, as has been the case in the past. Perhaps the country has changed (no pun intended) enough this time around to see past these ruses but only time will tell.

I suppose that depends on the crisis!

I always prefer a boss who stay out of the way, but is available when I need something (a decision usually). And that covers almost any situation I can think of.

Bad showmanship makes me review a certain document to ensure that it is up-to-date.

"People join companies and leave their bosses" - Unknown.

What is going on right now is going to create the future leaders in business and depending on the type of person, managers with different management styles will cause individuals to excel or regress.

Personally I prefer to have a well composed leader who has the ability to help me grow. I look forward to the challenges ahead and hope that the PEOPLE surrounding me will help create a much stronger company so we can excel when the recession ends.

It seems we have picked a leader (Bush the last 8 years) who is a model for the leader who manipulates, and rides whatever pr he thinks will work. I have been an Independent voting for Obama this next 4 years - McCain changes daily and is a terrible liar.

Why don't we choose a boss who is qualified to be a boss, as opposed to the guy who thinks he deserves to be in the penthouse after "working" for the company for two years?

I guess socialists will never get over their obsessions with feeling entitled.

Very well written! Sadly enough there are too many out there with an overblown ego.

So, now we have a "very important case." I think I can extrapolate this to voting for the next president. I would have preferred to see Mr. McCain in charge. However, by inference, your description of the type of person I wouldn't want to work for fits him too well.

On the other hand, Mr. Obama, appears to think too much and has a general direction that I do not like.

What to do? What to do? Perhaps this is the first time in my life I pass a vote on this particular office.

Hey Bing, I'll be your VP. We'll be a complete and centered ticket. You'll be the inside-the-economics guy who will win all the fiscal conservatives, and i'll be the bleeding heart liberal. We'll of course follow your vision, but i'll dupe all the liberal hippy douchebags into voting for you. Together we'll unite America under the umbrella of our own self interests, whatever they may be.

Laying it on a little thick Bing! I wonder who you're voting for....

It doesn't really matter who the boss is when he has Karl Rove.

The boss who gets it done right, with empathy for the casualties, and disdain for the inept will be the David who slays Goliath!!

In times of crisis, stopping to count casualties, may very make the counter a casualty, too!!!