In the last two posts, we looked at six different types of lousy bosses (poor boundaries, inexperienced, insecure, volatile, demeaning, and (over) driven).
We gave some ideas of how to deal with lousy bosses, up to and including finding a new job.
So, you may be wondering, how is a lousy boss a gift? Well you, my readers, are so smart you probably already know where I’m going with this.
You know how we may learn more from our failures than our successes? Well, I hate to break it to you, but we can learn as many lessons from our lousy bosses as our good ones. Now, I don’t believe we should glorify lousy bosses any more than we should glorify failure (nor should we demonize either). Quite honestly, there is probably enough to learn from the great bosses and leaders to keep us learning for a lifetime. And, if we were to spend as much time analyzing our successes as we do our failures, we would hopefully keep pretty busy.
But alas, just as we will fail, we will have lousy bosses. Fortunately, we can learn from those lousy bosses. Not only “I’ll never do that when I’m the boss”, but also determining other positive lessons from that boss.
- Bosses create an emotional climate with their attitudes and behaviors.
- The higher up you are, the more people read into everything you say and do. Stuff gets amplified as it moves downstream.
- A word of encouragement can literally make someone’s week. Conversely, a harsh word can ruin it.
- Hire the right people then trust them to do their job.
- Don’t ever intentionally embarrass people in front of their boss, their peers, or their direct reports.
- Get both sides of the story before you take action.
- Tell the truth; then you don’t have to remember what you said.
- Don’t get stuck in the paralysis of analysis. Pull the trigger.
- Don’t do anything you wouldn’t want published on the front page of the paper.
- Don’t ever ask your people to do something you are unwilling to do yourself.
- Respect other people’s time, especially those under you.
- Follow-through on your commitments, even when it is inconvenient or expensive.
- Don’t be ambitious to get promoted. Instead, focus on serving and doing a great job.
- Be responsive to everyone at every level. You never know who may be your next boss.
- Do not complain about your boss to anyone who is not part of the solution. If you can’t keep from complaining, then have the integrity to quit.
Notice that these are not just surface lessons, such as don’t yell at your employees, they are deep and thoughtful responses to his lousy boss. I would love to take the time to unpack each of these individually, however, I have committed to keeping posts shorter and that would take another 1000 words or more. If there is interest, I can revisit these lessons in a future post.
If you are currently with a lousy boss, I encourage you to see how these can apply in your situation.For now, as Michael states; “The bottom line is this: You can learn from anyone. If you don’t work for a great leader, don’t despair. Some of the lessons that impact you the most will come from the leaders who impressed you the least.”
[reminder]Can you relate?[/reminder]
Next time we’ll see how a Human Leader handles this.