Tribute to a boss

PHOTO: Tribute to a boss

MALAYSIA - Bosses are human, too.

When I first entered the corporate world, I had no idea what to expect of a boss. The image of a boss who is unapproachable, patronising and distant was painted by almost everyone I knew. It took me quite a while to accept the total opposite.

I remember when I first saw my CEO, he initiated the conversation by extending his hand and said "Hi! I am Ken and I am boss!"

His handshake was firm and strong. He spoke with confidence and charisma. He reminded me so much of the "king of all kings" in the Hong Kong movies I've seen, walking into a room and making heads turned.

As time went by, I began to know him better and what he values most: people. To him, his employees are like his family. He clearly makes known that everyone plays an important role.

"Don't work for me. Work with me." Those words still ring in my ears today. He does his best to pull everyone together to build the company as a team and make everyone feel a sense of the ownership of the company. It's not an easy task. The saying "Work is like a marriage" has some truth to it. There has to be elements of respect, trust, commitment and reasonable expectations. When it doesn't work out, people quit.

No matter how disappointed he is sometimes, he is always optimistic. "It's OK to leave and see the world. But you are always welcomed to come back." That's what he says.

He has taught me the importance of family, too. His fatherly demeanour immediately springs out whenever he talks about his daughters. The sweet memories of him bathing his little babies and how he powdered them are still fresh in his mind. He is indeed a proud father of two beautiful daughters.

He is also a boss who says, "If you need my help in any way, please let me know," and he means it. He is willing to listen and never short of wise advice and opinions. He never, ever cuts short a conversation with a "listen!", even when he disagrees. One session with him can easily take up to an hour. One wonders how he has so much to talk about!

Generally, people think that bosses are cold and unapproachable, and conveniently equate them to an emotionless robot. It's so easy to make a sweeping judgement of all bosses. However, if we take the time to stand in their shoes, we might probably understand why.

I remember once I followed him for a meeting. It was a long day. It never crossed my mind that bosses do get tired! Only when I saw him dozing off in the car did it strike me that, yes, he is human after all!

He has his share of mood swings. However, I have hardly seen him losing his temper. It is never his style to vent his anger and frustration on any of us. He is also one who is never afraid to admit his mistakes. That is definitely not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength, courage and responsibility.

This year will be my 12th year working with him in the company. When I first entered, I was just a fresh, young graduate. He has seen me through the important stages of my life; my wedding and my two pregnancies. He never failed to take time to share his personal experiences with me at every stage. He took time out of his busy schedule to attend my wedding and my babies' full moon parties. His presence meant a lot to me.

He used to be so proud of his black, shining hair but now, I can see strands of white hair on his crowning glory.

I may not be working in the company forever, but personally, I feel so blessed that I have worked with one of the best bosses in the world. I have learned priceless lessons from him.

Perhaps, if we all look beyond an ordinary employee's horizon, we might see the beauty of our bosses. Perhaps we need to remind ourselves that bosses are human, too, with similar emotions and a family, too.

I have indeed seen the beauty of my boss. This month, he is going to turn 50. So here's wishing him a very happy birthday! May you always be blessed with good health!