When we heard it being said that, beware of who you surround yourself with or spend most of your time with, we usually think of our peers or friends. This is because we can all attest to the power of peer influence/pressure and hence, the need to be mindful of who we let into our inner circle.
However, as we grow out of school and enter the corporate world, the place where we spend a majority of our adult lives is in the office with our colleagues and bosses. Back in school, when you gather as friends, conversations center around who is dating who, who is the most stressful lecturer, the latest TV show etc. Now, it’s the opportunity to vent out our frustrations about how incredibly stressful our bosses are, how demanding they can be most of the time, how they are barely satisfied with our efforts no matter how hard we try amongst others.
When we compare notes, one thing is clear: nowhere cool. Although some places do offer better remuneration, healthcare policies and other incentives, one thing that happens to thread through most people’s experiences, it’s the presence of at least one difficult boss. Sometimes, we get it; they push us to bring out the best in us and make us better than we think we are. Other times, they tire us out both mentally and emotionally. Though we dislike the parts of them which seem inconsiderate and too harsh sometimes, one thing we don’t realize is that they rub off on us.
After working with our bosses for some time, we become accustomed to their way of doing things. We have an idea of how they expect our deliverables to be presented and how to think through ideas. When we in turn are placed in other groups to work as a team, we subconsciously project the same expectations to the team as well. For those who know you personally, they can separate you as a buddy and as a team lead who needs to be firm to get things done. Other people who may be oblivious to your working background, would think you are too harsh or have too high a standard.
This realization came to me during a discussion with my family after a church Zoom meeting had ended. I asked myself, ‘Am I becoming like my boss? Do I think and behave like her sometimes when I’m in a position to lead others as well? Is that a good thing or bad thing?’
Take a moment and reflect on it. How much has your immediate boss influenced your thought process when it comes to work and even how you approach issues? Are you glad for it or it’s something you have to watch out for?
We may choose our jobs but not necessarily our bosses since we don’t know what we are going in for until we are in it. Sometimes, we become better for it; others, not too much. Either way, keep in mind, that bosses shape us as well.
© Josephine Amoako 2022