This is the fourth in my series on Managing My Boss. This one is on how to manage a boss with the ‘Big Picture’ syndrome. Such a boss tends to always show a great vision – a big picture around which he keeps strategizing. Eventually, the team members lose their ability to think through the vision and how to achieve it, and become dependent on the boss to lead them.


The curtain opens. The star of the movie walks in. The audience watches spell-bound. The story is captivating, and the star shows the vision – that the audience may have never even dreamt of. After a few hours, the movie ends. The audience come out feeling charged, pumped up with new thoughts, knowing exactly what to do now.

Well, this happens a lot in our work-place. The movie is our work-life, the vision is our over-arching goals, the audience is you and the star is, of course (you guessed it right) – your boss.

These are the ‘big picture’ bosses. Selling a dream, a story which we all want to be part of. Nothing wrong with that – that’s what bosses are meant do. But sometimes there is a big gap between vision and visibility. The boss gets so excited about his vision, his goal; that he forgets that there are smart people working around him who can think this through. The team members eventually forget that they can and should think through the vision – how to make it visible, a reality. Instead, they get taken in by the ‘strategy guru’ and now become part of the ‘big picture’ syndrome. They continuously come back to the ‘guru’ for guidance rather than forging their own way ahead.

This continuous dependency goes on & on. Till both sides get frustrated. The boss gets frustrated that team doesn’t get the big picture and the team, in turn, feels that the boss never explained the challenges that come with turning the dream into reality.

Here’s what you can do to manage such a boss:

  • First things first, work out the steps in attaining the big goal; outline key milestones for the departments and your responsibilities
  • Collaborate with others in the team to understand their views and the realties that you need to work with
  • Once you are all convinced of the ‘why’, answer the ‘how’ in a step-by-step manner
  • Take accountability for what you can do; help others in what they need to do.

Write to us for more tips on handling the “big picture” syndrome before you feel frustrated.

At Able Ventures we provide insights to improve performance for professionals and organizations.

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