HBR: "If Your Boss Could Do Your Job, You’Re More Likely To Be Happy At Work" - Agree? Disagree?

Do you want / prefer / value your boss to know how to do your job? In other words, how important is your boss' technical skills in your area vs their ability to organize, communication, charm, etc.?

A recent HBR article covers this - "If Your Boss Could Do Your Job, You’re More Likely to Be Happy at Work"

Vote below and comment inside about how this relates to the physical security industry and your experiences.

As one who has worked for a couple larger video companies, I have to say there is nothing worse than working for someone who cannot do your job and or has never been successful at doing anything similar.

On the flipside, I work for someone now that I have the utmost respect for not just because he can do my job he regularly volunteers to help when I have opportunities in 2 places at the same time!

I've worked for people who could do my job and I've worked for people who couldn't. In my experience, it doesn't matter all that much. People skills and organizational skills count for much more.

Never, ever, ever work for someone who can't do your job but thinks he can. That's the worst.

One of the best bosses I've ever had was an admin/sales wiz but had no clue how to hang a TV. It's all relative. Totally agree on the thinks he can statement, but I'll go further and say that's terrible no matter what role.

Servicing is one of the hardest things to predict. Walking into a job it could take 5 minutes to plug something back in or 2 hours to re cable something to find out it was something else and then add another hour to that.

Having a boss that understands these issues is good.

I want my boss to be far superior at things I'm not, and I want to be far superior at things they are not. The goal is not happy warmness with a boss buddy. It's a mutual understanding that work would not progress if either party wasn't there.

I've had it both ways. The upside to your boss knowing your job too is that he knows when you get it right and you can get into more detailed discussions. But from my experience, if he's doing that, then he may have too much fun falling back on his comfort zone, at the expense of doing his own job. I think the ideal case is that there is a good shared working knowledge going up and down the chain of command, but that the person doing any particular job knows it best and can, therefore, free up others to focus on their jobs.

I have that issue. When faced with the choice of doing billing or going to help a stuck tech I'll almost always jump at the chance to go help. I've actually had to force myself only to intervene on jobs when there is an emergency, otherwise I find myself distracted.

I dont think so. The less he knows the more he values me as an employee

I being the boss, see that the more you know and the more competant you are the more valuable you are to me. An Assett, Not just another employee

Your value as an exceptional , above the norm employee is directly related to How you perform or out perform the rest.

My old saying is ( if anyone can do it and do it better than I will pay the least and get the most for my dollar.

Your Education, Knowledge, Performance, and Attitude is how I valuate your position.


It really depends on the type of person your boss is.

If they know how to do what you do, they may try to micromanage HOW you actually do the work without considering it will produce the same end result (assuming it does).

That's a crappy way to work and puts the employee in a no-win situation.

I'd rather be the SME where my boss looks to me for guidance and allows me to make the best decision I feel for the customer and the company (in that order).

Just my opinion.

As the owner , business leader , manager etc I have a level of expectation and goals for the whole picture.

The overall direction is determined by where, what, why we do what we do. You have to have a purpose and that purpose is the direction you set.

I have a tier set of goals and expectation s for each type of employee.

labor, apprentice, 1,2,4,6,8 year levels . If i can let go and trust you will complete the task with in the expected level , then I will do so. if not then the reigns are on.

Trust is earned , Not Given

Remember mine and your reputations are on the line.

I have worked for so many co's with expectations beyond belief. and willing to fire at will . or let go with no hold backs.

Pt. being that everyone has a value and that not always in the field you are working.

Key is to find that niche that you fit into and do it well. or change often until you do.

When the other s are at the door to replace you in a heartbeat. You have to protect your investment. Your employees who understand the Team approach and have a stake in the game.

Commitment,Trust,Reliability when no one is watching

Not necessarily knowing how to do my job, but at least understand/respect it...

In my career, I mostly worked as a product manager, testing and homologating new products (mainly cameras and DVRs) to the companies I worked for.

Once I had a very dumb boss (that was also the company's owner...) and it was awful, being impossible to explain to him why I was approving or rejecting a new product, as he simply didn't understand what I was talking about.

In Wall Street, Michael Douglas said he would never hire someone who isn't better than him and who doesn't defy him.

I think he is right: You should hire someone who is better than you for that specific task, but you must know at least the basis of that task to be able to discuss it with your employee.

Of course it's true, it's parkinson's law. :)

If your boss isn't very good at their job, and they can't do your job either, then I agree.

I've been lucky and have had competent bosses with strengths in leadership and people growth. I don't expect my boss to do my job, as long as they understand and support my efforts.

Does anyone else feel like if you suck at your job, you will probably get promoted to a management position? In this industry, having real life job experience is key. I have a boss now, that was hired because he had an MBA and the company thought he would be good at reports. Turns out, reports are one of the thing he sucks most at! That and pretending to know what he's doing.