My boss turned to me and said, “If you work hard, put all your hours in, strive for excellence, and go the extra mile; then I’ll get another one next year!”
Having a bad boss day
BUSINESS MATTERS BEYOND THE BOTTOM LINE - Francis J. Kong (The Philippine Star) - February 23, 2020 - 12:00am

One guy says: “My boss arrived at work in a brand new Lamborghini. I said, “Wow! That’s an amazing car.”

My boss turned to me and said, “If you work hard, put all your hours in, strive for excellence, and go the extra mile; then I’ll get another one next year!”

Not a very good boss, is he? I have done leadership training focusing on employee engagement. And if you ask the question as to the number one factor that affects employee engagement, satisfaction, and commitment at work, they usually point to one universal answer to the question – “Who or what kind is your immediate supervisor?”

Similarly, survey after survey has consistently shown that the top two reasons why people leave their organizations are because:

1. They cannot get along with their bosses.

2. The feeling that they are not appreciated.

Attracting good people is a challenge today. Acquiring them is costly; and retaining them is another challenge every professional and able HR person think about each waking day of his or her life. Another way to look at this is that the better the leader, the more engaged the staff.

In my two-day Level Up Leadership seminar-workshop, I never fail to ask the participants how many among them either:

1. Quit their organizations because they could not stand their former bosses? Or...

2. Request for a transfer to another department because they want to be as far away from their toxic managers.

In a regular class of about a hundred participants, you would be blown away to see that at least 40 percent of the people would have their hands raised. To balance things out, I would ask a follow-up question as to how many among them have stayed long in their organizations because they work with a leader who inspires them to become better both in their work skills and in their personal life? The hands that raises may not be many, but they sure are consistent. People stay because of their bosses.

There is a correlation between levels of employee engagement and the measure of the overall effectiveness of the managers evidenced by one of the leading banking institutions in the country. Tasked to do training with them on employee engagement, it is evident that the good people stayed because their direct bosses have the leadership skills to handle them. Sure, there would be bosses with their bad-hair days even with bosses without much of hair with them, but people understand. They do not leave, and they would also provide discretionary efforts to help their bosses do better business.

I did a project for a BPO company on their social media leadership initiative, and I was blown away. The moment I entered the workplace I thought I was in a children’s party with kids playing all over the place. It was their break time. Casual clothes, hoodies, boots, and some with designer brand paraphernalia these 20 to 20-something kids behaved like your typical kids attending their friend’s birthday party. They were genuinely happy. But when break time is over, and these young people get back to work, they were so brilliant, capable, articulate, and that sight never left my mind. I interviewed their bosses. They are leaders from different departments. These may be people in their late 30s, some in their middle 40s, and they sure look and act differently from the typical Generation X executives I encounter in other industries. These leaders are also having fun. They talk to their colleagues and direct reports like a friend communicating with another. They were firm, yet they were tender. They were tough, yet they were gentle and respectful. But the most apparent sight I see that surfaced both in our interviews plus the off-camera moments I witnessed is that these leaders care. No wonder their business is growing like crazy. The company culture is one that is built on fun and respect. And proof that it is working is that a seasoned veteran executive from another company told me that she desires to work with this BPO company as she has heard of its exceptional reputation spreading in the industry.

It is very evident that the satisfaction, engagement and commitment levels of people reporting to bad bosses create a toxic workplace environment that would make it unable to attract good talents. On the reverse side, the capable, competent, and caring leaders attract the best of the best because they have the leadership skills to handle talents and they grow the business faster and better.

Here’s the gist of it — leadership skills matter. The good leaders are working with the happiest, most engaged, and committed employees, and together they grow the business.

It is never fun working under a “bad boss” who do not have adequate leadership skills. Bad bosses are bad for business and are bad for people’s health too – including their own.

(Francis Kong runs his two-day Level Up Leadership 2020 workshop-seminar this March 11-12 at Makati Diamond Residences (near Greenbelt 1). For further inquiries or reservations contact April at +63928-559-1798 or register online at

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