Who's The Boss?
Throughout my working life, I’ve experienced a variety of bosses, and I paid attention. Some of them made me cringe each time they entered the room with their "respect me, I’m your boss’ attitude," which often meant they hadn’t a clue how to treat people, and those who I greatly admired for their skills in leadership and appreciation of their staff. Whichever, due to my
gobbiness ambitious nature, I
usually ended up in the boss’s office 😲 And I’m glad. I learned so much, which helped me to
become the type of leader I wanted to be in my teaching career – obviously the
good kind 😊
Now, as an author, I recall the traits of those people who passed through my life to create my characters, as well adding a flavour of my own eccentricities, of course. Do you do the same when developing characters?
Here is a snippet from my book Ultimate Principle, introducing DCI Lane Rivers’ boss. Their relationship is loosely based on the type of relationship I had with one of my bosses many years ago. Enjoy.
Superintendent Adrian Nelson was a formidable man, and anyone who dared enter his office had to be prepared for anything. Lane took a deep breath before knocking on his door and tugged at the hem of her jacket to eradicate any unwanted folds. He was meticulous about dress and always donned a perfectly laundered suit, silk tie and highly polished shoes, looking and acting more like a politician than the head of the CID department.
‘Come in,’ he called in his deep, raspy voice.
Lane entered with her shoulders back and head held high and firm. She faltered at the mellow smile with which he greeted her, setting off alarm signals. He was sitting behind his desk, which was too small for him, and didn’t rise from his chair as she entered; another bad sign. He usually paid her that courtesy. Even though his reputation within the police services was next to none, working his way up the ranks through sheer hard graft, his “no messing” approach had caused many an inferior officer unnecessary distress. He was ruthless. Lane’s spine tingled.
‘Take a seat,’ he instructed calmly.
‘Thank you, sir.’
Lane sat and watched in anticipation as Nelson ran his large hands through his silver hair. He then edged forward, placed his forearms neatly in front of him, and linked his short fingers. Lane couldn’t help but notice the black, onyx cuff links glistening at his chubby wrists. Without a doubt they were a gift from his wife, who had impeccable taste. The man peered over the top of his frameless glasses, indicative for Lane to begin her brief.
Lane explained the initial factual findings in as much detail available. Nelson relaxed back in his chair, light relief washing over his face as the notion of terrorism was dismissed. She informed him of Howie’s confirmation of the identity of the victim and the evidence suggesting this was a targeted murder. He stood and stepped to the window, adjusting his suit jacket as he did so.
‘Hmm. You seem to have the investigation side of things under control, for now.’ He removed his glasses and chewed on one of the ends. Lane’s stomach churned. Something bad was coming. It was like seeing her father again, just before he told her the news of her mother’s Alzheimer’s. The same stance and removal of the glasses, as if to filter out the vision of the person receiving the news.
Lane’s body primed itself for impact, her core muscles tightened. Nelson’s broad shoulders appeared tense, almost bulging through the seams of his jacket. This was going to be one of his notorious unreasonable assaults. However, she was not prepared for what spewed out his wide mouth.
He turned to Lane. His eyes narrowed, causing a deep crease across his forehead – one of his Jekyll and Hyde moments. Not for the faint-hearted.
‘A word of warning, Rivers, control your sister-in-law.’ His voice rose as he continued. ‘She causes me and my department a lot of unnecessary criticism. The commissioner interrupted my breakfast this morning. Given her past role in the counter-terrorist unit she’s bound to be more intrigued than ever. The last thing I need is for her to be too involved in my department, breathing down my neck. She’s fully aware of Dr Shakespeare’s scaremongering. She won’t tolerate it. And to be clear, neither will I! And, how the hell did a despicable floozy of a reporter assess my crime scene before you got there? This looks bad on me and makes you look incredibly incompetent. I have worked far too hard to be at the brunt of criticism. Our response time should have been better. I hold you responsible!’
Lane knew better than to try to explain the situation out loud and remained as composed as possible, even though her insides were screaming out in anger. I wasn’t officially on duty! I made it there in eight minutes from hearing the blast and I’d just come from a funeral, you pig-headed idiot! Oh, and I’d done a twelve-hour shift! Breathe. And, the CSIs had pulled an all-nighter to get the information necessary; the night staff had worked their butts off chasing every possible lead and angle. What more do you want? He interrupted her private rant.
‘A press conference will be held at 13:00. You will be responsible for making the statement at this point, and it had better put the commissioner’s mind at rest, get the ball buster off my back.’
‘Yes, sir,’ Lane replied, a hint of disdain seeping into her words.
The superintendent returned to his spot, staring out the window. Her cue to leave. She shoved herself out of the chair. ‘And, Rivers, make sure you clear this damn mess up quick!’
‘Of course, sir.’
Lane closed the door behind her, firmly enough not to be construed as slamming but enough to ensure the almighty Lord Nelson knew he’d pissed her off.