Growing Bad Bosses
“When a person comes into his chamber and finds the chairs all standing in the middle of the room, he is angry with his servant, and rather than see them …in disorder, takes the trouble himself to set them all in their places with their backs to the wall.”
“When the preservation of an individual is inconsistent with the safety of a multitude, nothing can be more just than that the many should be preferred to the one.” Adam Smith (1723-1790) The Theory of Moral Sentiments.
Vivek Bhargav felt hot tears of frustration sting his eyes. This was a deeply private moment in his life. Shutting the whole of existence, he faced his life alone. I hate being insulted and humiliated. I hate the way he talks down to me. I don’t want him to be abusive… How do I get out of this? And as always, it occurred to him that if he was not married, if he did not have kids, he would just go away.
Only a few days ago, over some other similar incident, he had told a colleague, Prithvi: ‘the things men have to bear to support family!’ Prithvi was surprised, “Why ‘men’? Don’t women too?” Vivek had agreed, but added, “Somehow, there is a difference…” The stress of the past few days was growing. He remained preoccupied, did not eat well and found it impossible to sleep on his left at night. This morning he had woken up with the most stunning headache, thanks to all the build-up last evening over the media schedule — made only worse by what transpired this morning, when CEO Atul Kashyap had called him. His boss, the divisional head Bharat Sinha, was present too. Kashyap then said, “Vivek, do you realise what your mess-up has cost the company? You know the media schedule has to be paid on time, yet you waited till the eleventh hour! Now they have cancelled three of those schedules!”
Vivek was embarrassed. He could see Sinha not speaking up the truth. Neither could Vivek place the situation on the table. It didn’t seem right. That was a very undesirable left-handed punch that Sinha had delivered. But he felt all this was a function of him stopping payment on a bill. Vivek had cottoned on to some strange dealings that some people in marketing were having with a ‘marketing research agency’ who, for some payment, were going to produce statistics that would make Kesslor look tops. His informer had called him and said, “Somebody there is paying to get dressed-up market information that makes Kesslor look better than it is. Go find out if your chaps are paying one Ajax. And if you do, God help you, man!”
Vivek, being the division’s commercial accountant, had pointed it out to Sinha and to his senior in HO. Thereafter, Sinha had been roughing him up on one pretext or another.
Last evening, he had gone to Sinha to get him to clear the media schedule. Sinha waved him off, “Later young man, we are in the midst of a serious discussion.” The seven people in the room were watching the one-day international on his TV. Vivek urged Sinha, “Bharat, the schedule; today is the last day, your campaign is breaking from next week. The team already took so long finalising. I promised Neptune that I will send it tonight.”And Sinha said, “I will call you.” Vivek waited for over an hour. He never made it to Neptune. The next day Neptune cancelled three segments of the schedule unable to accommodate. Kashyap was very annoyed. And adding insult was Sinha now, saying, “He is very disorganised, Atul! He is an accountant after all, what did you expect? I have been telling you, let this task be with us marketing chaps, these accountants are useless for all this. He has no ownership, no commitment! ”
Then, calling Vivek to his room, Sinha blasted him, blaming him for the cancelled schedules and then, “What a girl you are! You could not even get the buying agency to work for you! All you have is youth, but no intelligence! Why else would you hold up the Ajax payment? And now my research has been held up, thanks to you! Now don’t stand there and stare at me, please. Just go!”Vivek felt a slow disgust crawl over him. He could not believe Bharat’s attitude. How was he getting on despite all this? This man has brought this on deliberately just to cause me grief. Why don’t I simply walk out of that door and never turn back… Just then the phone rang. It was his three-year-old daughter. Vivek panicked. She was home today with a fever. “Fultoo also is very sad like you were yesterday, Pappy, and fever also. Will you bring medicine?” (Fultoo was her rag doll of no specific gender.) Vivek felt an agonising pain. Last night, his daughter had waited up till 11 p.m. to serve him dinner (“I will give Pappy khaana, okay?!”) but he went to bed without eating, stressed out after the media chaos; she climbed on to his bed and tried to prise open his eyes to check if he was asleep. He had told her he was not feeling good. “Sure beta,” he assured her now, “Now you sleep, make Fultoo sleep, too, OK? I will come home and make Fultoo all right.”
Vivek hated it when his moods impacted his kids. The torrential rains only made him feel gloomier. Walking to the dining room, he saw the rest of his group was already there. Hushed angry conversations were on, all heads together. An obnoxious rumour, which everyone had been in denial over, had just been confirmed. Kapil Avasthi had propositioned his subordinate Manas’ wife. And while everyone thought Kapil would be asked to leave Kesslor, this morning’s internal communication had said he was being transferred to Europe as the regional head for brand development. Some at Kesslor were disturbed by the turn of events, some laughed it off and made a poor joke about easy promotions. And some asked a serious question — is this the organisation’s way of making a social statement?
“I asked Rajdeep Dang, (the senior manager HR) to explain this,” said Ananya Deo, the management accountant. “He initially defended valiantly saying, ‘People do suffer aberrations periodically and our role as an organisation is to create an environment which is accepting and forgiving and then, enabling of rehabilitation… Therefore, sending him off to a new place will help him review his life.’”Acute anger gripped the seven. Fiery abuse simmered in the space between them. Ananya added, “I think they knew it all along, but wanted to move him out first.” Prithvi Joseph, a brand manager, was disgusted, “What did they do to drive home the point that Kresslor will not brook valueless behaviour? We have virtually rewarded him!”Ananya agreed, “And it seems to me that the organisation may be anxious over losing him, or telling him that after all the good work he turned in, they now disagree with his behaviour.” Just then Rajdeep walked in too and the group pounced on him. Rajdeep was at a loss for coherence, but he said, “He was drunk, try and understand… sometimes these things look easy to resolve…”
“Did the drink find its way into him?” asked Ananya. “Why are you making excuses for his behaviour? And what about Manas who has to live with this agony, being in the same organisation as the man who insulted him?” said Ananya. Rajdeep went white in the face, as he said, “Manas resigned an hour ago. That makes things really bad for us, I know.” They were shell-shocked to hear this. They hated Rajdeep for this, they hated HR; they hated the CEO even more. “What are we, cattle? Isn’t there something called sensitivity? How low is low?” Sitting in the silence they picked at their meal, angry and confused. How come Manas was paying the price for Kapil’s sins?
“You know,” began Riya Nath, “OK, hang on, let me go and get it,” she ended and flew out of the dining hall. Minutes later she returned with a printout. “Let me read this out, this explains life,” she said, and read out:
NEW YORK: How do people get ahead in the workplace? One way seems to be by making their subordinates miserable, according to a study released on Friday… . Participants said the local workplace tyrant was either never censured or was promoted for domineering ways.
“The fact that 64.2 per cent of the respondents indicated that either nothing at all or something positive happened to the bad leader is rather remarkable — remarkably disturbing,” wrote the study’s authors.The much needed relief descended on the group. Vivek grinned, the term ‘workplace tyrant’ fitted Bharat Sinha, he thought. “Bad bosses just get paid for being obnoxious”, he said. “Hey come on,” said Kartik Rajan, “Let’s not be cynical. Does one Kapil Avasthi change the worldview on bosses?” And like normal troubled people, they sought comfort in trading experiences and opinions.Prithvi: Kapil getting away signals many things. One, the higher up the hierarchy you are, the greater the chances of the old boys’ network bailing you out. Two, it is not the propositioning; that is terribly dull. It is the easy acceptance of such conduct from a senior manager, by the senior management. It is this subtle approval! It is like a private joke, which they have all shared and enjoyed. Vivek: It is an assertion that a boss’ sins are OK. That a boss can be mean, vicious, domineering and aggressive, and you, the victim, will be so unsure that you will take a long time to label that as aggression. How many people suffer this state, do you know? Worse, we don’t even feel confident complaining!
Ananya: Nail on the head, Vivek! I have experienced exactly this. It’s most demolishing a feeling.And she went on to recall her boss, the partner of the firm of auditors where she worked. “A client had violated a serious tenet of the Companies’ Act and I reported it to the partner in charge of the audit. Then, the following Sunday, he called me to his house with the audit files to meet the client. Now, this is what happened: I reach his house, files are taken from me by the servant, I am made to sit at the door, at the door, where a chair was placed next to the shoe cupboard, next to his chained dog which kept growling. No, I am serious!
What is going on is, he is putting me in my place. He does not call me to take part in the discussion — after 70 minutes, the servant tells me to go in. I go in and partner does not look at me, both are drinking. He gestures for me to take away the files (with a flick of his fingers) and says — ‘you can go’. The following week, my senior on the audit asked me to ‘remove’ the query from the file. I refused. Partner got annoyed and asked me to quit the firm. And then I got hopping mad. I told my senior he would have to sack me. The manager of the firm pleaded with me to go peacefully. Suddenly, I was seeing such rot that I didn’t want any more to do with them. I left. Two months later, the errant client appointed that firm as auditors for their flagship business. Big, big bucks. The errant partner was promoted. “Point I am making is the manager knew I was being victimised. My senior knew too. Did they do anything? That life is less likely to bully you because you are a girl is rubbish and this: the higher up you are, the more your bad stinks and the more the low-on-self-esteem hangers-on you will have who will save you! That was Kapil’s luck too!”
Vastav: Why didn’t you raise dust with your manager? That was a mistake!
Ananya: At 22? Be real. What happened to Manas? 33 years? His wife complained. We are seeing who won. OK, tell me, we have a 22-year-old market researcher working here. Tell me, how likely are we to believe her if she complains? She is a passing season, as far as we care. And a 22-year-old, what revenue is she bringing to the table? If anything, she is a cost! Let her go. That’s what is going on — We all want to protect and save the hi-revenue potential, more enduring managers who we see as pillars of Kesslor. And that is the trade off that happened this morning. And that is the trade off that happened at my firm, over me! End of the day it’s this: As the CEO, so the organisation. But integrity is not even an attribute anymore.
How many accountants got promoted for seeing their companies through frauds and covering up sins? What do you think happened at WorldCom, Andersen, Parmalat and Enron? We see the big picture of big balance sheets. But how many people were trampled and trod upon, do we know? Do they speak? Do we let them speak?
Vastav: Every organisation has a bunch of bad bosses. But nobody spells their names. What makes them invisible? Does nothing happen to bad bosses? Don’t organisations take notice of them? People don’t complain! Would you, Vivek?
Vivek: Depends on the kind of CEO I have. If he stands like a rock assuring me justice, I will. Finally, it’s his organisation and if the emperor likes lies, he will never find out that he is, in fact, naked! People who squeak often get ‘burnt’. Companies choose to notice only when their interests are at stake. When damage is visible in terms of deliveries / resignations, etc. That is why exit interviews are a total waste. It’s a huge sham.
I think there are two kinds of bad bosses: bad in attitude, bad in performance; bad in attitude, good in performance. The former variety gets eliminated by the system. The latter is the most lethal for life. Often, organisations tolerate this variety and choose to look the other way to gain revenue. Very few organisations have the guts to tick off a bad boss. Do you think Manas will be interviewed on his exit? Do you think Manas will talk? And if he did, do you think Kesslor’s HR will say, “Oh, that is not nice! Come, you will get justice…” This is an organisation for profits, and that does not include growth needs.
It needs strong HR and stronger leaders. But CEOs, like all leaders, do not want to lose their kingdom and crown fighting silly ethical wars. So, they look away. The difficult situation is when the BAD BOSS seems to be delivering in the short term while causing long-term damage to morale, motivation, work culture, AND… simultaneously engendering and encouraging short-term behaviours that say, ‘people are expendable’. Isn’t that what we saw now? Manas was expendable, Kapil was not.
Prithvi: I have another theory, Vivek. We are a very performance-driven country. As a result, as a management we ignore soft issues such as respect, compassion, politeness. We even believe that if a manager has these attributes, he will be a poor manager. So, what happens? He gets rewarded for delivering and he achieves this by making others die. Flip side is, if you complain you are labelled non-resilient, soft, whiner, not tough… and then you will not get the right moves.
Ananya: There is widespread belief that good performance comes by ‘pushing’ people and pressurising them. Pardon the use of such language please, but it is very fashionable people management jargon — called ‘kick butt’. Have you seen the sense of power and glory the person saying that, wears? All these behaviours, Prithvi…from body language, to verbal language, to those gestures and mannerisms and, now, some ridiculous accent too. We are completely overwhelmed by packaging. That’s how shallow we are. We behave as if we are on a reality show, constant theatrics! Maybe because results, though short term, come quicker with some knuckle whipping. and in an instant delivery SMS world nobody, not even the so-called sages in the board room, have patience.
Kartik: This Indian cultural bit about wanting approval of the masters is partly correct, but it is getting weak with the younger generation. Today, the young have no pretensions, nor do they worry about their past, because they know the future is in their hands. In fact, almost 90 per cent of people do not get away by fighting their boss, they pay for it. The system has created that sort of immunity for bosses. Being obnoxious is part of being a boss. So, you can be discriminated against, superseded, bypassed, ignored, fired, sidelined, humiliated, ‘put in place’ — a whole bunch of passive aggressive behaviours.
Ask anyone who quit a job — it will invariably be because there was a monster boss. People always eventually quit, or they go into a shell and bide their time till they get out. Uniquely, HR does not find out, or if it does, it remains tight-lipped. My theory is simple. The guy who is insecure will bully to stay on, for he fears losing his job. That’s the boss. The guy who is secure in his heart will quit. Rarely have I seen anyone becoming a hero resisting a bad boss or taking him on.
Riya: I have seen quite the opposite! Where the victim begins to sympathise with the bad boss. Recall Amit’s situation with Swamy? Amit always got called in for meetings at 6 p.m. Swamy had nothing to do in the evenings, as his family does not live here. Amit’s marriage got in deep trouble. And he just could not take on Swamy! Swamy knew this guy won’t protest. He did not value Amit’s personal life, expected him and some others to work to his convenience, whims and fancies… calling at all times, SMSing on weekends, giving assignments on Friday to be done by Monday. Ultimately the Stockholm syndrome prevailed, where Amit started justifying Swamy — “Bechara yaar, kitna kaam karta hai!”
Vivek: Funnily, my boss can rate me poorly and ruin my career. His own boss, despite his bad behaviour, will rate him star performer and promote him! That’s life.
Riya: Notice how bad boss will say absolutely sweet things about you, in front of his own boss; but in private, they can be disgusting. You can see the cunning in their eyes. In my opinion, usually bad bosses are a function of utter insecurity. They should be institutionalised!
Vastav: Why look far? Take Sinha …this man cannot deliver on his own. Totally useless chap, we still have him, why? Muscle power. He is a major hustler — uses abusive language, aggression, underhand play, really low chap. He is one person I am going to nail before I die, mark my words. He brings out the worst in me. Heck, I should know, I slaved under him for three years. Remember Zip, the new detergent from Europe? It was meant to be a test run, but oh, no! Sinha shoots his mouth off, ‘Of course, we can pose a competition for the leaders.’ Such a stupid statement from a marketing head. The guy did not deliver, and he blamed me for it. Rubbished me like mad before Kashyap, but Sinha is a maha-chaloo; he figured how to keep bosses pleased, while roughshodding his minions. My marriage nearly broke, thanks to him. I had severe acidity, ulcers, had a haemorrhage and do you know what he tells me? ‘All this is nonsense, girls fall sick, be a man and return in two days.’
Kartik: Why didn’t you discuss this with Kashyap? You should have. Seriously.
Arunav: Kashyap is weak. He does to us what London does to him. HQ does not care what he does to his chaps, as long as Kashyap does not throw the dirt upwards. See? They have told Kashyap, ‘boss, this is your karmabhoomi, how you do or what you do, we don’t want to know. But if we don’t get our topline, then you are out on your bottom.’ Simple. So, huge lies to cover up, is staple. If juniors are not on line with boss, then who knows what lies he tells, because the junior never travels, so does not know and does not care. It happens in sales in branches all the time. If branch does not deliver, branch manager will blame the sales guys. Ask me. Bad-bossing is a disease. It starts at the top and travels down.
Prithvi: Have you guys heard each other speak? All of us here have endured a bad boss either here or elsewhere. What is going on? I feel this is a sign of our times. What has become of our country? When are things going to change? Why is the system so wretched?
Vivek: We are the country, we are the ‘things’ and we are the ‘system’, Prithvi. If we keep it healthy we can depend on it. If India Shining Inc went public and issued shares, it will be sorely undersubscribed. As an icon, it looks good; exactly how we all have cute Ganesha idols all over the place because it looks good and ethnic. Periodically as occasion demands, we can claim religiosity, or superstition, or parental heritage or divine benevolence. But if someone were to ask us to own it, worship it, then we say: ‘I don’t like rituals!’So too here. The ‘system’ is an icon, there to see; but no stakes in it. We don’t believe in it, we don’t love it, we don’t want it to come in the way of our recklessness. So, we love to say, ‘what government? The country succeeds regardless!’ Each one feels it is the other guy’s job to sustain goodness. But finally, each one has to fight to keep the system pure. A bad boss has no business to last. He is bad for the system.
Prithvi: What are you saying, Vivek?
Vivek: I am saying, Bharat Sinha will have to go….
ANALYSIS 1: DONY KURIAKOSE
Somebody once said that in looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: Integrity, intelligence and energy. And if they don’t have the first, the other two will kill you.- Warren Buffett
Then one day, a hiring error becomes your boss, and suddenly you are Ben Hur on the boat.
Such situations remind me of Peter Sellers in The Party, playing a bumbling Indian actor trying to make it in Hollywood. In one scene, he stops a big time director from molesting a starlet. The director, incensed at being interrupted by a quisling, shouts “Who do you think you are?” Sellers looks at him quizzically and says “Back home in India, we do not think who we are, we know who we are”. His career was finished, but the ending? The starlet fell in love with him!
Vivek has a problem — he has respected a system that doesn’t exist. In uncovering shady dealings with Ajax, he has trampled over someone with vested interests who sees himself as more important than the organisation. Bharat is a bad boss who would rather trash a good subordinate than let the truth mar his objectives. That he succeeds in doing this, highlights the culture that prevails at Kesslor — only immediate results and the individuals who achieve them matter. All the other situations are expected outcomes of such a culture.
When you ignore the divide between black and white, grey becomes the corporate colour. So, we see an insecure CEO, paranoia for immediate results, which becomes the only judgement parameter, bending of the rules by bosses to create a mirage of achievement and finally, scant regard for growing the managers of tomorrow, to the extent of punishing good work to hide the bad.
What makes bad bosses? First, the system. Companies that insist on success at any cost make good people go bad, but then it’s not just one boss —everything will stink. Second, bad individuals who would be bad anywhere —try giving Satan an apple a day. And anyone who thinks HR doesn’t know, better realise that the grapevine is thicker than Jack’s beanstalk.
Organisations overlook negative traits for an individual performer. His behaviour gets tacitly accepted. Then he gets subordinates who get burned while he rides on his past. Companies therefore need to have a clear distinction between individual contributor and people management roles and specific assessment before deciding career paths. Third, change. Poor change management can create insecurity. Companies need to evaluate, assess and communicate when change happens. Otherwise, smart subordinates will be seen as threats and browbeaten into servility.
An organisation has several unstated responsibilities. The most important is creating respect — both within and thereby for, themselves. To achieve is commendable, but it is to achieve through excellence that is desirable —and sustainable. Effectiveness is rewarding, but effectiveness through efficiency is a winning proposition. As we distribute the overall goals of an organisation into parts and processes, it becomes the role of the manager to encourage each member of the team to achieve and, then, bring together individual efforts in a manner that the whole is more than the sum of the parts. This ultimately creates the culture of respect — for the system, the individuals and the organisation. If you are working in such a place, a bad boss is merely a passing storm. Stick to your job, communicate in writing, present with facts and don’t expect emotional satisfaction for the present. No matter how tough it seems, if it is just one individual in an otherwise great system, it is always better to survive him and if possible learn what NOT to be. Stay put — after all, a hero is often someone who was afraid to run away.
What about Vivek and Manas and all the others? Their problem is that they work for a rotten guy in a putrid system. Soon, if they survive, they will BE the system. Already, Manas has been tipped over the cliff. One of the finest HR professionals I have known once had a similar situation as the HR Manager of an MNC. Her boss the HR head (a personal favourite of the CEO) was a former sales manager moved into this role to fast-track him over others. A total disaster, he managed by shouting below and beaming above. His only priority was to keep the CEO happy. The HR manager decided to wait it out, but soon it was apparent that for all its organisational branding, HR was the company’s last priority. One day, after being asked to wait hours for a critical presentation, she went looking, to find the HR head busy — helping the CEO decide where to hang paintings in the cafeteria! She resigned the next day — and salvaged her career. Because, like Peter Sellers, she knew who she was and didn’t want the company to make her think otherwise.
Employees must share a symbiotic relationship with the organisation. As long as both you and the company need each other, you’re both ok. You need to focus on performing, simultaneously acquiring new skills that keep you contemporary. That way, if push comes to shove, you will have options. On the personal front, professionals need to put their careers in perspective. If you make your work your life, your life won’t work. Always retain the ability to take professional decisions on professional parameters. Else, there will be disasters on both sides.
Dear Kesslor, never forget — the world is full of the graves of indispensable people.
ANALYSIS 2: JASMEET KAUR
This snapshot of subordinates’ disgust at their seniors’ behaviour illuminates the struggle between values and reality at the personal, team, organisational and cultural levels simultaneously. Individuals and organisations develop some core values (honesty, loyalty, equality, etc.) and the attempt to live by these provides meaning to human existence. They also have some basic needs (safety, success, desire, etc.) which sometimes require actions that are contradictory to the core values. The process of facing this contradiction/conflict, coping with strong emotions which arise, making choices and finally finding a healthy balance exists at all levels of human behaviour.
Once an individual experiences and works through this dilemma at her level, she influences the system and likewise, as a system resolves this dilemma at the organisational level, it affects and influences the individual.There are three other dynamics operating in the current phenomenon of the bad bosses: the impact of fear on an individual; personal power and hierarchy power; and dealing with resistance.
Though Vivek felt shock and then anger at his boss’s dishonesty and not taking responsibility in front of the CEO, what really caused him stress was the fear under these feelings. He was frightened that he would not be able to assert himself, be penalised unfairly and on the other side, and was scared about losing his job and his family’s financial security.
While Ananya also spoke of her anger in an earlier job where her seniors compromised their values to bag bigger business, what really led her to leave was the fear of losing her own integrity. Such intense fear paralyses and overwhelms a person and brings on feelings of aloneness, hopelessness and helplessness. The actual interaction ends quite soon but the emotions and thoughts continue and have debilitating effects. This is evident in Vivek’s words “the victim will be so unsure that you will take….a long time to label that as aggression”. Fear brings on anticipation of ‘worse danger’ and all thoughts revolve around this — rational thought becomes impossible till these feelings subside. One even loses sight of the fact that the thoughts about a ‘worse’ future are really in the mind and have not happened or come true yet.
How can one cope? As the group kept on talking about the same theme, sub-consciously they were validating each other’s experience and venting their negative feelings. This venting process allowed release of the feelings and increased a sense of being supported (thereby reducing the aloneness). When fear reduces, rational thought becomes possible and one can recover the truth that we always have choices. Hope awakens and solutions then feel possible, as is evident in Vivek’s closing words “I am saying Bharat Sinha will have to go…”
The second dynamic, personal and hierarchy power, is about the sense of control people feel at different levels in the organisation. Everybody has personal power — controlling aspects of one’s work space. At the same time, a ‘hierarchy power’ is also given to people at senior levels due to their role in the organisation. At moments of conflict between a subordinate and a boss, there is higher awareness of the hierarchy power versus personal power for both parties. Because, even though at the conscious level today, organisations talk about being competency-driven, having flat structures, our collective unconscious is still hierarchical where more power rests with the ‘men at the top’. While both parties are feeling threatened in the conflict (the boss about losing benefits and the subordinate about losing her ideals or job in the scenarios presented here), they cope with it differently. The boss uses hierarchy power to dominate, which obscures the subordinate’s sense of her personal power. If the latter copes with her intense feelings, remembers she always has choices in any situation and finds inner courage to make a choice, she can regain her personal power and not surrender completely to the hierarchy power by quitting the organisation or becoming cynical/apathetic.
The third dynamic, that is, dealing with resistance, is linked to the primary conflict between values, needs and emotions discussed at the beginning of this commentary. When an executive faces the reality that everybody will not respect or follow the same values as him, she has to cope with the shock and confusion which follows. One’s formal education and training does not teach how to deal with the reality of organisations where many different beliefs and value systems exist.So, people entering work life have unspoken expectations (sometimes unrecognised by their own self too) that their values will be appreciated by all, and their bosses will be embodiments of the same values. When confronted with the reality of a boss not following the same value and meeting her opposition or hostility, one is called upon to use skills of dealing with resistance. Being prepared for opposition and speaking for one’s rights or values is a life skill one learns during growing up. If a person has learnt this skill during their childhood or college years (at home, at school or in the neighbourhood), she will recover from the pain faster, employ her skills and find a successful resolution.
Thus, it would help to reflect over one’s inner reactions and regain one’s personal authority when facing a clash with a boss or a system so that one does not over-generalise that ‘all bosses are bad’ nor surrender to cynicism or passive indifference.