In his thought-provoking book, "Why Your Boss Is Programmed to Be a Dictator," Chetan Dhruve delves into a question that has stumped many a frustrated worker: "Why do bosses behave the way they do?" Far too often, we have predictably witnessed the transformation of otherwise good-natured people into calculating, controlling, and sometimes coercive miscreants intent on dominating the people around them. According to Dhruve, the answer is an inconvenient truth that is rarely talked about: If you aren't elected, then you're a dictator.
Dhruve makes a convincing argument that, contrary to popular belief, bosses are not leaders. True leaders are always chosen by their followers and are rarely selected by other bosses. He cites the example of Ghandi who changed a nation, not because he was thrust upon his people, but because so many Indians voluntarily accepted him as their leader. Unfortunately, too companies and agencies are essentially illiterate when it comes to understanding true leadership because they still believe that boss-subordinate relationship is the cornerstone of effective organizations.
When the boss-subordinate relationship determines day-to-day interactions, organizations become hierarchical systems where the power to control inevitably promotes the politics of fear and those who are controlled learn quickly to keep their mouths shut when they see things differently from their assigned superiors. Unfortunately, these systems can produce dire and sometimes fatal consequences. Dhruve references the worst disaster in aviation history, the crash of two jumbo jets on Tenerfie Island in March 1977, when a flight engineer concerned about the possible presence of another jet on the runway was brusquely rebuffed by his captain. He also delves into the two fatal NASA calamities where the boss-subordinate system allowed the bosses to silence the voices of those knowledge workers who know that those two shuttle craft were in serious jeopardy.
As we progress further into the 21st century, Dhruve warns that hierarchical organizations must be transformed into peer-to-peer communities where the politics of freedom supplants the politics of fear. in these communities, leaders and followers are mutually accountable to each other, which means not only do the leaders rate the performance of the followers, but the followers also rate the leaders. This transformation is necessary because hierarchical organizations will never be able to keep pace the speed of accelerating change spawned by today's networked technology. If you're a boss or you work for a boss, you need to read this book.
Author, "Leadership in a Wiki World: Leveraging Collective Knowledge to Make the Leap to Extraordinary Performance"