So You Want to Be the Boss? Think Again…

This morning I was quickly reading through my inbox and this headline caught my eye. “Big Chair, White Hair” by Christopher Smith of High Calling.

I liked this article so much I thought it worth sharing here…because Smith does such an excellent job capturing the reasons why some work conflicts exist and how a subtle shift in attitude (by employees and subordinates) would make a world of difference around the office (and lighten their boss’s load.)

See if you don’t agree

I once attended a historic downtown church presided over by a distinguished older pastor. One Sunday, a young red-haired volunteer from the children’s ministry came up front to make a couple of announcements.

Before she finished, the pastor asked her to wait while he added something. He stepped forward to the pulpit microphone as she stepped back. Looking around on the platform, she saw the ornate central chair that was usually reserved for him and sat down in it with a satisfied smile.

Hearing laughter, the pastor turned around. “Young lady,” he said. “If you had the responsibilities that come with that chair, they would turn your hair as white as mine.”

Suddenly we all saw a lot more in the chair than we’d ever recognized before.

This experience gave me a new appreciation for the responsibilities that come with the perks and privileges that people in important positions enjoy. It’s easy for us to resent these things if we don’t realize all they represent. Why should the boss have such a big private office when the rest of us are in cubicles? Why does the boss breeze in late when we have to punch a time clock? Why is it “Yes, Ms. Jones,” and “Thank you, sir,” while we get called by our first names? Not to mention the limousines to the airport, the corporate box seats at sporting events, or the dinners with clients that most of us never enjoy.

Rather than interpreting these perks as unequal or unfair treatment, they may better be viewed as reminders of the responsibilities held by those in leadership—responsibilities that determine the future of our organizations, and ultimately our own livelihoods. Seeing things from this perspective might help us respect our leaders and cooperate with them better. Distinctions in titles, accommodations, and privileges may actually be essential for the stability and morale of an organization.

I wonder how often employees grumble when their boss is given the honor due him?

I also wonder how often employees would be willing to take on that same responsibility that their bosses do?

Sitting in the white chair may have its perks…but it also comes with a price.

Be glad your boss is willing to pay it.


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