Why having a more competent junior is a good thing for the boss

Sometimes, in an organisation, there are no people on the bench who can take up the role of a leader. As a result, the boss or the manager is stuck with the role and cannot move up ahead.

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Many a time there is a situation where the subordinate or the junior working under the boss is more competent and talented than the boss, which can create a line of conflict in the organisation. The leader may get insecure with the progress of the employee and may present obstacles in the growth of the individual. This is a situation no employee surely wants to be in.

We posed this question to many of the HR heads and experts in the industry and most of them have responded rather positively.

Ganesh Chandan

“In our organisation, when we are hiring for a leadership role, we look at the person’s ability to identify and nurture good talent for the future.”

For any company, it is very important to identify, nurture and provide a good platform to its talent to grow in the organisation. The most vital role is that of the leader or the boss under whom the subordinate is working. Instead of suppressing the junior or subordinate, the leader should nurture him and work in collaboration with the subordinate as it helps both of them to learn from each other and grow together in the organisation. “In our organisation, when we are hiring for a leadership role, we look at the person’s ability to identify and nurture good talent for the future,” says Ganesh Chandan, CHRO, Tata Projects.

Manoj Kumar Sharma, SVP & CHRO, Aarti Industries says, “ It is a good thing for the growth of the organisation. In my personal experience, I have created nine HR heads in my own leadership so there is no point for a boss to worry that the subordinate will surpass him and take his place.”

It is also a perfect opportunity for even the boss to grow because sometimes in an organisation there are no people on the bench who can take up the role of a leader and the boss or the manager remains stuck with the role unable to move up ahead.

Manoj Kumar Sharma

“ It is a good thing for the growth of the organisation. In my personal experience, I have created nine HR heads in my own leadership so there is no point for a boss to worry that the subordinate will surpass him and take his place.”

“I think this is a great thing for the boss because it presents an opportunity for succession. It gives the the boss the opportunity to nurture the talent and mentor him so that he can take his place in the organisation, and the boss moves further up in his role to take care of other responsibilities,” says Rahul Ghatak, CHRO, BIC – Cello (Writing) Group of Companies.

In such situations, where the boss is feeling insecure, it becomes very important for the organisation, skip-level managers and HR to step in and take control of the situation. They need to counsel the boss or the manager about their responsibility to nurture the talent available in their hands, and assure them that there is no need to get insecure.

Rahul Ghatak

“I think this is a great thing for the boss because it presents an opportunity for succession. It gives the the boss the opportunity to nurture the talent and mentor him so that he can take his place in the organisation, and the boss moves further up in his role to take care of other responsibilities.”

“There are analytical tools and machinery in place, which can identify such behaviour on the part of the manager, such as skip-level meetings and focus group discussions where the organisation can intervene and solve the situation by mentoring and guiding the boss,” opines Sharma.

In most of the cases, where the boss tries to suppress the talent and undermine his juniors, there is a great possibility that the organisation may lose a potential talent. In this situation, the organisation should also take good care of the talent and should create transparency in the performance evaluation of the employee. The employee should be made clear that his future and growth is not only in the hands of the boss but the organisation is also looking at the performance chart.

 

Subhro Bhaduri

“If the leader is not skilled and competent enough, then the organisation should look for a good and better leader than him, who is fit for the role.”

According to Ghatak, in professional organisations, there is a concept called ‘calibration’, where the performance of the employee is calibrated and reviewed by skip-level managers and other line of leaders. This gives the concerned employee the satisfaction that his growth in the organisation does not merely depend on his manager’s review of his performance. The organisation is also taking a look at his performance and will take care of his growth in the organisation.

Another question that arises is, ‘What is the boss doing in that role if he is not competent enough to do the job?’ In this context, Subhro Bhaduri, CHRO, Aditya Birla Capital, says, “ If the leader is not skilled and competent enough, then the organisation should look for a good and better leader than him, who is fit for the role.”

Having a better subordinate than a boss is a great thing for the boss to grow and for the organisation to grow as well.

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