Excuses of a “simple mortal”

President of Institute of Internal Auditors Armenia Ara Chalabyan provided his new article.

After the previous two articles (Is the Boss Always Right? and Cultural Stereotypes. Fears of the Boss), I would like to tackle maybe the most important question: Does everything depend on the boss? In fact, a bad employee is no better than a bad boss, and often spoils the environment. To become a good boss, it is no less important to perform well before becoming a boss, as well as afterwards. Even if a person does not have the ambition to become a manager, it is important to have healthy working relationships in the team. Let us discuss the excuses of "simple mortals", which hinder progress.

Excuse 1: I was not born a leader

I have heard this question many times, "Does one become or is born a leader or manager?” “I was not born to lead or manage, so let others lead”, this is a convenient excuse for not initiating, not engaging and doing nothing extra. Although it is not a must to be a manager to lead, in both cases these are the roles that can be successfully performed if they are really regarded as such rather than inflated social status. The organization and the society in general may have a serious progress in case everyone initiates and leads having even small success in different areas, instead of imagining himself/herself a manager who gives orders and complaining.

Excuse 2: You cannot succeed without nepotism

The world is not perfect and even worse - it is not fair. We often think that everything is done through personal connections in Armenia, while in rest of the world everything is fair. The fact that there are words like “nepotism” in English and «кумовство» in Russian proves that it is not a purely Armenian phenomenon. Nepotism can be overcome when corporate interests have a priority, be it in private or public sectors. Although nepotism is often working, there is an increasing number of environments where meritocracy works. Even in former cases, you may always find people known for their knowledge rather than connections. Thus, it is possible to have progress even in an unfair battle, being different from the common mediocrity.

Excuse 3: Everything comes from the boss 

Often, people blame managers for problems without noticing their own stake. Even though a good manager can initiate serious changes, expecting that everything depends on one person is a big fallacy. The key issue is the shift towards positive and constructive thinking. The progress will be possible in case we have both top-down as well as bottom-up positive shift in mindset.

Excuse 4: The boss sees everything 

It is a common approach not to speak about problems. Employees consider that it is not their problem, and that the manager knows everything, or even worse, he/she is the responsible one. Although the manager is aware of many things, he/she may not have enough time in information flow to consider everything. An employee may undertake a serious leadership initiative and relieve the manager’s life. Responsible and involved staff is always valued by a good manager even if they have different views on some issues.

Excuse 5: I work commensurate to my pay

Another excuse is explaining poor work by the amount of pay. No manager strives to promote such an employee, if he/she ever remembers about one. Such a mindset causes more problems as the overall atmosphere is spoiled. An employee who delivers more than expected benefits, rather than the one who expects more. 

At all times, the manager who grew from ordinary ranks was considered the good one, be it in a factory, in the army, or in the public administration. This means that managers are not born; one becomes a manager advancing through different stages of life, obtaining experience and understanding the role of the manager. Thus, one should do the job in a prudent and dedicated way so that his/her managers try to promote him/her. The key is the drive to initiate and lead, which is even more valuable when a person does not have the formal status of a manager.