Seven ways to avoid being a wishy-washy boss

Every employee is threatened by the effect of 'Peter Principle' in one or the other stage of his/her career.


Being a boss is tough, and being an ideal boss even more so. You are frustrated because every time you try to strike a chord with your employees, it snaps. Energy, time and potential are resources that are depreciating fast.

You dream of becoming a boss like Harvey Spectre from Suites— an American legal television drama series—but fear ending up more like Louis Litt!

You were promoted to your current position by virtue of your sound technical knowledge, flawless work habits and meticulous ways. In your present managerial position, you are compensating for both the boss and the subordinates. The foundation of your skill-sets is shaking and you find yourself incompetent to develop a character essential for the new role.

Does it sound like a classic example of Peter Principle?

The Peter Principle is a concept in business management developed by Laurence J. Peter (published in 1969), which observes that people in an organisational hierarchy tend to rise, through promotions, until they reach their level of incompetence.

In other words, they reach a point where they stop being promoted. So, given enough time and enough promotion levels, every position in a firm will be occupied by someone who cannot perform the job.

Everybody is threatened by this Principle in one or the other stage of their careers. As a boss, you must look for early signs of ineffectiveness and take appropriate action before it is too late.

The most perfect mirrors in the world will not tell you that you are a wishy-washy boss. Here is how you can stop being one.


There are two powerful means of self-realisation— mental powers and vital force. Train your mind to awaken to its true potential, by uniting mind and breath. This exercise will enable you to develop the emotional intelligence and insight required to handle the managerial post. This will get you ready to embrace the techniques that follow.


Modelling is one of the most important, yet simple leadership tools you can use. It’s a tool that keeps working even when you are not around because your employees see how your life is working, and the kind of results you create by the way you live. Remember, your employees cannot hear what you say until they see what you do.

Meaningful discipline

Being a boss means that you can spend your time exercising meaningful discipline instead of meaningless discipline. Meaningless discipline means that control keeps coming at the subordinates, not through them. Meaningful discipline defines the limits and behaviours you have deemed acceptable for them and can trust their own internal commitments and controls.


Compassion is an essential component of being a desirable boss. Being compassionate means valuing everyone and appreciating their contribution in the grand scheme of things at work. Compassion means walking in your subordinate’s shoes, being considerate of their point of view, whether or not you agree with it. Compassion comes with listening closely and with understanding. Do not let your insecurities take the better of you and lead you to believe that your subordinates are a competition to you.

Integrity and responsibility

The test of integrity is crushing circumstances or events in which you find yourself out of control. Acting in short of integrity and responsibility, you will find yourself becoming a victim of almost all circumstances by giving away your powers, by always blaming someone or something else. When you accept personal responsibility for actions, integrity will naturally flow outward. This will enable you to make intelligent decisions and live with self-esteem, fairness and dignity.


Is your life out of balance? It would be if you are unhappy most times and operate out of back side of energy cycle. Your life should be a healthy mix of stillness and action, work and family, thinking and doing. If you have the discipline to stay balanced you will be refreshing, energetic, creative, focused and passionate at work. Balance teaches to let go now and then, which is an essential skill for a boss to have.


“Talking and eloquence are not the same: to speak, and to speak well, are two things. A fool may talk, but a wise man speaks.” – Ben Johnson
Good communication opens up so many doors, they develop into great friendships and relationships. It is crucial in the present business world, where you must be able to express ideas and motivate other people. An individualistic worker who is promoted to a managerial position will find it very difficult to communicate effectively with his subordinates. Communication spiked with humour will help you win your subordinates’ hearts.

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