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Do you have a Giraffe boss?

Source | LinkedIn | Janani Prakaash, Executive Manager – Talent Business Advisor (HR)

Romeo was fresh from his B school when he joined the renowned retail MNC. He was all excited and felt how cool it would be to work at the corporate office of this giant retail organization. After the first couple of days of induction, his boss Shri assigned him to build content for the sales folks of the apparels section. Romeo used all the power point skills he had mastered, to build the first draft. When he confidently presented it to his boss after one week, Shri turned it down completely!! Shri just asked him one question “Did you visit the stores?” and the answer was no. There were details just around the varieties of apparels, sizes, costs and nothing more.

Shri asked Romeo to work on the content through the day and asked him to spend two hours over and above in the chain of stores during the evening. Romeo was frustrated as his days were longer while the other trainees who joined along with him were enjoying their evenings. Every time he went for a review, his boss was quite tough on him and asked him a question for which he definitely did not have an answer. Shri was known for being difficult to work with for his high standards of delivery as well as for the high retention in his team. People in his team liked him a lot and never voluntarily left for other opportunities. Shri had special learning curriculums designed for his team, the news hour section as well as a fun hour every week. Romeo wondered how his team was putting up with Shri’s strict schedule. Despite of being very senior, Shri always ensured that he had the management trainees in his team report directly to him for the first six months so they have direct access to him as well as they get mentored by him for the first few months. While not discussing work, Shri was extremely easy to interact with, expressed care and one would never feel that he was the boss of the team. Romeo started developing a love hate relationship with Shri as he was very strict as well as was friendly and caring.

Over the next few weeks Romeo gained a deeper understanding of a number of aspects which he would have otherwise never got about the retail industry. He understood a lot about the store designs, foot falls, customer mindsets, sales people’s behaviors and a lot more. Few months later when he presented the final version with recommendations to impact sales to the leadership, he got a huge round of applause and there in the corner, he saw the glittering eyes of his boss Shri. That evening he thanked Shri because he realized that he would not have learnt so much and the outcome would not even have reached anywhere close to where he ended with without all the drill. Shri said “I consider it as a duty to ensure my team members dirty their hands, develop thorough understanding of the subject and get prepared to handle a rough weather anytime during the sail. That’s the reason for being tough”.

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