Boss' day is a day of appreciation for bosses. It is usually observed in the United States on 16 October. The rationale behind this is for the employees to recognise and appreciate the hard-work of their bosses in overseeing the workplace. And it brings forth an opportunity to boost the bond between employers and employees.
While the observance of the day is largely confined to the US, this year The Business Standard, in an attempt to mark the day in Bangladesh, asked some Bangladeshi professionals about the best bosses they have had in their professional career.
In response, the interviewees shared what they have learned from their best bosses and what they think are the qualities that make a good boss, which still, they say, work as guidelines in their own careers.
Here is what they have to say. The conversations are abridged and edited for clarity.
Managing Director, Berger Paints
My predecessor in Berger Paint, former Managing Director Mashi Ul Karim, was one of my best bosses. And I place Regional director K R Das too on the same pedestal. I am fortunate to work with them both.
From Anwarul Kabir, I learned how to go into details. He basically lived in the details. He never used the "shortcut" formula or took a detour in his work. Whatever you gave him, for example, a report, he used to read line by line.
Sometimes, going through everything - being the chief of any company - is a painstaking task. And when something goes wrong or does not work out perfectly, you have to go into further details about the problems and seek solutions.
So, from him, I learned how to be a detail-oriented person, which still works as a guideline for me.
From KR Das, I actually learned how to delegate tasks to people/colleagues effectively. A boss must know who is best for what and delegate accordingly. And they must also monitor everything.
When you run a team, you have to deal with people. So, hiring the right kind of people, the right team is very important.
Moreover, you have to create a culture where everybody (or at least most) resonate with the common purpose of the organisation. Creating this purpose should be the job of the main boss of a company.
On a personal note, I learned from both of them that one must remain relevant to the world, be it supply chain, marketing, consumer behaviour or technology. Last but not least, that common philosophy of working hard has no alternative.
Chief Executive Officer, Riseup Labs
I did my internship in RL Dynamic Engineering, Malaysia, back in 2008. Since that was my first job in any company, I was thrilled to learn new things. I was also nervous about meeting new people in a corporate place. Eventually, I met many dynamic and friendly professionals there, but my manager was the best boss I have ever met.
One of the most important things I learned from my manager is the importance of having confidence and belief to be more successful in life. Sometimes we don't know how far we can go because we do not have enough faith in ourselves.
She used to tell me every day that "to start something is very easy, but to continue doing that successfully for a long time, you need a lot of confidence and belief." When you've got these, you will automatically start working hard and find a way to succeed and reach the finish line of any goal.
She was not like other typical bosses. She was very friendly, and she loved to spend time with the group she was responsible for, which really helped her to bring the best out of that group.
Another lesson that I learned from her is the importance of having discipline in both work and life. She used to tell me if you do not have discipline, you will lose focus within a short time and go off track from your target.
All of these lessons from my boss during my internship period proved to be really helpful in my career.
Creative Director, Magnifier Creatives
Before completing my undergraduation in Media Studies, I got my first official boss at my first job in Janala Bangladesh, a creative agency. The job provided a wonderful environment with a bit of flexibility.
The chairman and the managing director of the agency were my bosses, though I used to mainly report to the chairman. Although 'chairman' sounds like a position of very high level, he was really friendly to me.
The chief virtue of my boss was his attention to details. And I also try to follow the same principles in my work. This actually helped me a lot in my future ventures. I have started four startups and although they are small projects, they are all unique and it takes much attention and effort.
Running a business needs a diverse set of skills. I learned product development, people management, market analysis, product launch and learned to multitask. So, I must credit my first boss for teaching me a lot of things. Other than the administrative experience, I got a creative environment where I could explore.
I particularly remember that my boss and I used to discuss things for hours after hours. We discussed new ideas, equipment. These conversations kept me alive and hungry for better things in my life and learning new things. He also suggested to me to carefully watch what top professionals in the developed countries are doing. He advised me to study their projects and adopt them in our local context.
Ashikur Rahman Habibe Rabbi
General Manager Media and Communications, Robi Axiata Limited
In this respect, I want to talk about two of my bosses. One of them is my current boss at Robi Shahed Alam, Chief Regulatory and Corporate Officer.
I learned humbleness and politeness from him. He never directly told me about these virtues, but he showed this in his everyday behaviour.
He is in the top management of a multinational company, but he uses "apni" to address everyone, even office assistants. For example, when delegating tasks to subordinates, he asks, "are you available now" or "can you do that?"
He is that polite and that humble. Moreover, if someone fails to do a job or has not done it, he just does it himself rather than getting angry or rebuking them.
Another quality I have seen in him is that he works really hard. Usually, bosses delegate tasks but do not get involved personally, but he does not do the same. That is why I do not call him a boss but a true leader.
In every problem, he spearheads the team from the front. A boss just manages his employees, whereas a leader inspires the team to think, innovate and strive for perfection. He does not just give us guidance and let us wander around. Rather he stays in the front row and works with us.
He also gave me a few suggestions which I follow: first of all, you have to study a lot. Secondly, do not ever think that you cannot do the work, never think that you cannot do any work. As a human being, you can do anything and everything.
I also want to mention my former boss, Matiul Islam Nowsha, Chief Corporate and People Officer. Once he said that business is essentially solving problems faced by human beings in their everyday life. I still follow that when solving problems at work.