How To Become The Boss Of Your Dreams

It is well-known that — for all the talk about engagement and its importance — employees around the world are as disaffected as ever, with serious ramifications in terms of poor performance and high staff turnover. It is also well recognized that the biggest factor in this is not the actual work or the pay. It is the boss.

This is something of a conundrum to Ann L. McGill, the Sears Roebuck Professor of General Management, Marketing and Behavioral Science at the Chicago Booth business school. In an essay adapted from the address she gave at the school’s graduation ceremony in June, she writes: “People fantasize quite a bit about being a boss.

And invariably their fantasies have them being a GOOD boss: visionary and motivating, beloved and respected.” The problem is that this fantasy is just that: “a fantasy about as likely as a flying car.” But why? Or as McGill writes: “Why do people want to do well, so much so that they are fantasizing about it, yet fail so badly when they get the chance to lead? And how can you fix it? How can you avoid being that boss?”

[Read more]