Dyad of boss and bossed

Seth Godin have been talking about the concept of enrollment and deepening it for years. Which is why some of his thoughts are really worth looking into, dissecting and pondering over. His influence is really at the level of marketing so to speak- he gives you the incentives that appeals to being human to act in alignment with the ideas he discovers.

Anyways, I want to talk about the concept of the dyad of bosses and bossed which he mentioned really briefly in that brilliant blog post.

Sometimes, this evolves into a mutually beneficial entanglement between the boss and the bossed. The enrollment turns into a desire to please, a figurehead-focused loyalty and dedication that often ends poorly because there’s nothing beyond the dyad. Without external signposts, solipsism and dittoheads result.

Seth Godin

The idea of external signposts point is interesting because most of such pairings he mentioned continues to operate and do not “end” per se as the boss tends to have certain requirements to continue perpetuating. Either because bosses needs to please their bosses and the top is looking at the stock market (which serves as an external signpost) or that they are indeed looking at some external signals.

The “dyad” tends to result more perhaps in a situation where organisations have less resource limitations (eg. Huge MNCs, public organisations, well-resourced donor-funded organisations). Those are situations when the bosses can truly relish so much in being pleased that she/he allows that mutual entanglement to take place.

The issue is how far removed those external signposts are for each one in the organisation. If only the boss cares, then clearly, solipsism and dittoheads will still result. Some people do prefer to be in those context either due to cultural conditioning or just plainly inertia.

But once you are aware of that, the question is whether you want to see that change.