How to nurture your boss?


People spend more time thinking about their boss than about any other business relationship. After all, the boss is the individual who can make or break a career. A boss can create an atmosphere that is friendly or paranoid, efficient or muddled.

It is ironic that with so much brainpower devoted to reading the boss’s mind and divining his or her moods, people still manage to get the relationship wrong. Instead of making their careers, their relationship with the boss ends up breaking them. If you want the relationship to make your career, follow this advice :


Be loyal – Bosses will forgive carelessness, stupidity, tardiness and the occasional temper tantrum. These can be corrected, but disloyalty is a true character flaw. You cannot – and will not – be trusted.

Keep the boss informed – The boss should be informed about what you are doing, where you are, whom you are talking to and why. If you must err, err on the side of overkill. Bombard the boss with bulletins, memos, and FIYs until he or she says, “Stop.” No one has ever lost a job because they told the boss too much.

Embrace change, even if you do not understand it. Any boss must, as part of his or her job, instigate change. It is not your job to resist.

Respect the boss’s time. If you need thirty minutes with him, don’t take sixty. Better yet, take twenty.

Don’t tread on his turf. At least, don’t do it without permission.

Follow up quickly. Bosses don’t pull out a stopwatch when they give a command. But their internal clock is ticking.

These principles will serve you well, whether your boss is a genius or someone who’s not too bright. Follow them and you will never fall behind your peers. You will always be regarded as someone who is attentive, responsive and true.

Research and study this well for this is the Tao of work place survival!



About Gintai_昇泰

I'm a Chinese Singaporean living in the Eastern part of Singapore. I tweet on current affairs & inspirational quotes. I blog on issues or events if they interest me. I write for pleasure. I also write mainly for my family and friends.
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23 Responses to How to nurture your boss?

  1. dotseng says:

    In a perfect world, when we are trustworthy, others can also be counted to take care of us. But the world has changed. And trust these days is not what it used to be. So the only person you can rely on is yourself. Be a master in yr trade, if you r a policeman, be like Sherlock Holmes. If you are a technician be like an engineer. If you are a suervisor be like a manager. If you are a manager be like the CEO. It is only when those in your workplace know that you are the sort of man who can get things done, that they will value you. They do not need to like you, but they have to respect you. As you have the power to make or break them. It is only when people approach work as war can they really develop the ruthlessness to take confidently. You see no one will give you anything if they do not consider you dangerous. They will treat you like that SMRT boss.

    Look at how they humiliated your previous boss Gintai. That is what loyalty gets you.Trust me if it was a serious man. The outcome would have been very very different, for one many in LTA will have to consider looking for a job in Africa. As for the minister, he will not get his way so easily as he too will realize we live in a world of consequences and implications. After all let us be perfectly honest, he needs his job more than it needs him. Where else can he command such a big salary while being completely “REMARK REMOVED BY ADMIN” No Gintai, loyalty and trust is only for family and your very close circle of friends. In work it is best to be ruthless, cunning and free from all illusions.

    Darkness 2012

  2. L says:

    this is generally true. however, i’ll like to add another point:

    Don’t apply these points blindly – be aware of the relationship between your boss and his/her boss… be aware of senior mgt dynamics and office politics but dont be involved…
    sometimes knowing who to “follow” is equally impt… if not, all your efforts will be wasted…

    for whatever reasons, the person who “stab” you may be your boss himself (maybe to save himself?)… in this day and age, loyalty is less valued… boss/corporations want employees who are loyal, but will bosses/corporations be loyal to employees during bad times? or they will they say in an instant: sorry we have to retrench you, bye bye??

  3. Please forgive me for putting it bluntly. What you’ve written is old school.

    It applies in situation when the superiors know their worth and take responsibilities for actions of all staff under him.

    It applies in situations when superiors lead by setting good examples.

    It applies in situation when your superior defends you when questioned by his superiors.

    This is old school and nevertheless, the WAY, as in Tao. But don’t forget, this is also a 2 way relationship between 2 entities – superior and subordinate. Both entities have to do their part. Only then, will the WAY (Tao) exist.

    • SG Girl says:

      I agree with you Ape. If the boss has integrity, leadership, dare to own responsibities when results were not good, give rewards and punishments (not caning but disciplinary actions) accordingly, I dare say most emloyees with the right working attitude would definitely work hard, be royal to the boss.

      However some may not want to follow or stay with the boss/company if the following situations arise:

      1) The boss instructs you to tell the advertising agent to issue the invoice an amount higher than what it should be so the boss could claim from the product principle a higher allowance. (note here, the boss will never tell the agent himself; he makes the staff to do it).

      2) The bosses sent a team of staff to their house over the weekend to decorate because it was their father’s birthday. The staff were not paid nor invited to stay to enjoy the food.

      3) Having a scheming and vicious boss is no easy life in the work place. When sales account territories were designated to each sales person; the boss began to act blurr when your colleague starts to contact the companies that were supposed to be your accounts.

      4) When the boss’ own washing machine and tv set broke down, she asked the staff to contact the technicians.

      5) The sales boss (with no sales experience at all) accusing the staff of pretending to make sales calls (because he saw the staff was not talking when in actual fact, the line on the other side was ringing). I thought only women who suspects their husbands of having affairs will behave this way — overly suspicious.

      6) How about the boss who did not fight to convert the temp staff to permanent staff when temp staff was performing well doing a two persons’ jobs working way past ten hours daily?

      Oh the list can go on. However there still many good bosses around and hope their staff will learn the good behaviors and pass them on…

      • OMG! This is really gross indecency. Earning a decent living is really not that simple. I’m really pissed off to hear such nonsense. Sigh …

      • Anonymous says:

        DR ANTON KATHREIN: “We are Mittelstand. Mittelstand is not depending on the size – how many people you have in the company… employees… how many turn over. It’s a mentality… it’s a philosophy. And I am still responsible for the company. It means if the company goes bankrupt I am personally bankrupt. It is a high motivation. The other motivation is, on the product is my name, the family name ‘Kathrein’. It’s also high motivation for the quality and to be reliable for the customers. Customers can trust my name. So for me the name is important. In Germany we say ‘der Ehrbare Kaufmann’ – that means we are trusting each other. If you give a handshake it’s a handshake, it’s a contract. Not lawyers with hundreds of papers”…….huh??? but it has propel Germany to incredible success

        • Here’s a case of having a strong and resilient culture in the company. It’s not about who’s the boss. It’s about a corporate identity that even the boss has to abide to.

        • Agreed! I love German technology. German cars are impressive. We also have German trains here ie Siemens. They are expensive but it’s quality that counts. Value for money. We all know that Germany economy is now the strongest in Europe. It’s quite remarkable.
          The other thing I respect about the Germans is their ability to face their past. Unlike the Japanese, the Germans are quite fortright about their past. I have some German frens so I understand a little about them. Thks for your comments.

  4. expensive profits says:

    Sounds like the asshole and other organs discourse about who was the most important organ in the body. Fact is the body needs everything and the asshole is to be respected as much as the brain and the rest. Witness the “Arab Springs” – society grinds to a halts when a segment gets pissed off enough – we need to avoid it to ensure everybody has the chance to make their own dreams come to past.

  5. Pls refer to my previous post. and also pls spend some time reading this article about Goggle Sg


    I do agree that loyalty is out of windows nowadays. It’s the bottom line that matters in today’s globalized fast paced business environment. Loyalty to the company, between boss and subordinates or even amongst staff is no longer an intangible asset. But then I can still vouch there are still few companies who promote and reward ‘loyalty!’

    When I innocently related an incident at Starbucks and blogged about it referring to their not so ideal coffee and service, I didn’t expect an onslaught of comments and emails or hate mails against me from serving staff and ex-staff! If it is not loyalty to their company, then you tell me what is it? Well, I can’t say for my company. I won’t go further to comment and compare my present company with Starbucks. I was quite shocked by a sudden army of loyal supporters coming forward to defend Starbucks including loyal die-hard customers speaking up for them. Even within my fellowship, someone spoke up strongly for Starbucks when I was merely a messenger relating a true incident! By just criticizing Starbucks, I had unknowingly stirred up a beehive! It taught me about brand and staff loyalty.

    Next, Google Sg occupies 2 floors in a Shenton Way building with only 8 staff initially. It’s now about 200 staff. Worldwide is nearly 20,000 staff. I’m not going into the details. You can read up yourself with the link provided.

    I just wish to add that on every Friday, all staff in the world could tele conference with their CEO and founder in US asking “no holds barred” questions. Anything on the table can be brought up! If one were to work for Goggle in that environment and yet not loyal to the company, I really don’t know what to say.

    On a national level, you know it’s generally acknowledged that our govt is run along a private corporation. Ministers getting market rate salary with a discount, state functions either privatized or outsourced etc. HDB flats sold by govt to citizens based on market prices with some subsidies thrown in of course etc Wages are depressed to keep the bottom line.

    If the govt is run just like a private entity, I say try to learn from Goggle and emulate them to get citizens’ loyalty and commitment!

    The reason why my little article garnered more 150,000 hits within 3 days as it went viral cuz it hits the correct spot. As citizens, we do not feel loyal or committed to this country. We are edged out by those policies until disillusionment and helplessness set in.

    I understand what you all are saying. I do agree with you that it shld be a 2 way traffic. What can you offer is also more important than loyalty. Old school or new school certain values still hold true by virtue of the fact that we are humans and different from machines or animals.

    Thank you all for your participation.

    PS: @Darkness2012 I hope you have overcome your problem at your plantation. Mother nature’s fury is so powerful that it takes more than human ingenuity to overcome.

    • L says:

      there is great saying in the HR industry which i quote: “People Don’t Leave Companies, They Leave Managers”…. if one day there is the change of google’s top mgt and the new CEO wants to change everything and remove all the current “perks” and say, lets behave like a banking institution.. i dun think the loyal employees will be loyal anymore.. anything can change in an instant.. this is basic human behaviour…

      i feel this is equally true for the nation… we must ask ourselves: for whom should the govt try to win the citizens loyalty and commitment for? for the country (corporation) or for the govt/ ruling party (manager)? there is a big difference here… i dont think the citizens that left Singapore or any of us still here feel any less loyal and committed to the country than in the 60s 70s 80s or even 90s… rather, we are now less loyal and committed to the work of the managers of the country… a very good evidence of this is you can often find many so-called singapore “quitters” speak with a tingle of regret (“what a waste!”) rather than hate when they talk abt sg… and they can tell you that they always feel “more patriotic” and fly the sg flag high through their responsible and cultured work ethic/behaviour when they are overseas…. what is the cause of this disconnect between their actions and how they feel??

      • Yes you are right. In those early yrs ie 70s to 90s, it was good. Flats were subsidised based on costs rather than market prices. It’s unheard of in those days for the same flat to “appreciate” by $68,000 within one and half yrs on extreme levels ($68K on lowest level vs highest level). I still remember a 5 room A model flat – the biggest 5 room in Yishun within walking distance to the MRT stn in the 1980s costing only $75,000! This is no typo error in case you wondering. My brother bought his Executive flat – the biggest HDB flat you can find at only $217,000 in 1994! There was no grant or so called ‘cash subsidy’ then. People buy according to their income levels. What’s the point of CPF grant or subsidy when prices shoot over the roof? You based the flats on market prices then you give grant and subsidy? Just to pacify you? Of course, to be realistic we don’t expect the prices to remain that way. But within 20 yrs the prices of flats increase by leaps and bounds has alienated lots of citizens esp those 1st time new citizen buyers. Obviously something is not right. We will see how they are going to reconcile with high HDB prices vs stagnant wages! Wages just can’t keep pace with high HDB and other basic costs of living. We are one of the expensive cities in the world to live. It’s a good place for those who rich but it’s living hell for the poor citizens.

    • ‘Old school or new school certain values still hold true by virtue of the fact that we are humans and different from machines or animals.’


      BTW, when I mentioned old school, I don’t mean it in a negative way

      • Roger. It’s alrite if don’t agree with me lah. It’s a democratic country. We are free to say what we think so long we don’t insult or defame others. Cheers.

  6. Expensive Price says:

    Gintai – Shudder at yr comments – A govt must never be run like a “private” company where profit is primary aim. A government is there to create trust and adjudicate fairly and transparently between it’s citizens.
    When this is achieved society booms and everybody becomes richer and enriched. Run it like a private company – pragmatism, greed and sense of entitlement will develop. Adam Smith c 1770 was spot on In his treatise in the Wealth of Nations – does this describe our “SMRT experience” to date??

    “A monopoly granted either to an individual or to a trading company has the same effect as a secret in trade or manufactures. The monopolists, by keeping the market constantly understocked, by never fully supplying the effectual demand, sell their commodities much above the natural price, and raise their emoluments, whether they consist in wages or profit, greatly above their natural rate.” Does this describe some of the issues we are all facing?

    Gahmen must behave like govt and not become an ugly profit merchant!

    • I said “It is generally acknowledged …” It is sad and we shld “shudder” if it is true. I hope I’m wrong. If this govt is not running this country like a corporate entity, then how come we have total reserves accumulated over the years to more than $500 billion even though we spent 5% to 6% of our GDP or about 25% of our annual national budget on Defence? Where did the money come from? Can’t be from the sky?
      Didn’t our stalls at our Hawker Centres frequented by almost all our people for its cheap cooked food were traded in the open market until a stall in Kovan HC changed hands to the tune of hundreds of thousands with only less than 30 yr lease? Do you think you will get cheap food from this stall? Didn’t the govt stop building HCs in all new towns until recently after the last GE, they suddenly decided to build 10 new HCs and ban the sale of stalls? Their mindset then was that HCs are a “consumption good!” Losing money doesn’t generate income or revenue. They finally realized that it’s one of the root causes of runaway inflation. This is an example.
      Read here for details
      I wish more such policy will be implemented. This is the best policy so far! At least they woke up to the plight of us wage earners.

      • Expensive Price says:

        Unfortunately cheap means somebody else has to pay the price – conventional wisdom says MRT is cheap relative to some cities eg London. Cheap hawker food means he has to make less profit margin, work longer or harder by selling more or combining alll the above – there is a cost to the hawker. Wonder if ever a Singaporean would be gracious enough to optimize value of his purchase from the hawker? Sadly since we are all selfish, we will try to pay as little as possible OR try to get as much as we can – hence the need for a govt to ensure “fairness” – figuratively paying the asshole as much as the brain – for if the asshole had a choice, who would want to be. Everybody wants to be paid more now, including yours truly

        • Anonymous says:

          That is why the govt comes into the picture. If the hawker stall costs half a million in the open market with only 30 yes lease, logic dictates that the food won’t be cheap. If its only $500 per mth the hawker will you cheap with some profits of course. Who would want to do a money losing business? That is the crux of the matter. Inflation or high costs all boil down to rent and transport costs. No business can escape these two factors. Everything hinges on these two. They contribute to inflation. But they keep say big wages will lead to inflation by increasing costs of business which pass on to consumers. They avoid mentioning high rental as seen in our HCs example.

  7. expensive profits says:

    Change is possible…

    Moss is the third FTSE 100 CEO to stand down in recent weeks as a shareholder rebellion over the gap between corporate performance and pay gathers pace. Last week, the chief executives of AstraZeneca PLC (AZN.LN) and Trinity Mirror PLC (TNI.LN) also quit after investors challenged their pay….read more – fox

    April 20 (Reuters) – Days after being rebuked by shareholders, Citigroup Inc Chief Executive Vikram Pandit and the bank’s directors have been sued for allegedly awarding outsized pay to top executives.The complaint filed Thursday in Manhattan federal court accuses directors of breaching their fiduciary duties by awarding more than $54 million of compensation in 2011 to the executives, including $15 million to Pandit, though the bank’s performance did not necessarily justify it.

    Guess the equivalent when dealing with a non responsive govt would be thru the ballot box – like what the Greeks and French recently with their austerity leaders.

    • Well said. We are given a choice every 5 yrs. The people will have to decide for themselves what they want for their future. There is still 4 more yrs to go for them to reflect. Thks for your comments.

  8. patriot says:

    Carry the balls of your boss and it will be smooth sailing
    for your career. However, if one has a female boss, then
    me does not know where or what You should carry.

    Anyone who knows how to carry(adulate) their superior
    is likely one of inferiority complex or got to be a sly and
    smart person.

    The smartest is likely to be the boss him/herself.


    • Sometimes when you carry or puji the wrong ball or balls, you will kena whacked! It got to be the correct angle, delicate handling and seemingly smooth – not in a roughshod crude manner where it becomes a nuisance. Hence, it’s an art that need to be perfected as you go along. My article offers some tips only. The Tao of survival comes in many forms and need constant adaptations and innovations to apply in difference scenarios. No one blueprint that fits all. Really langgar.

  9. Expensive Cost says:

    The antithesis of what Singaporeans think about their leaders – are we ready for a non hierarchical leader that are appearing in virtual communities – what is virtual today will be real tomorrow.

    Check out Joichi Ito – the MIT Medialab director who has no formal education – he is the new archetype practitioner-vocationist leader.

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