I’ve had some good bosses along the way. I’ve had some who were not so talented. But, I have to admit, I never had a really bad boss.
Two of the things I’ve tried to learn from the dozens of managers and leaders I’ve worked for or with over the years have been, (1) Behaviors that seemed to work well and produce good results, and (2) Behaviors that did not work so well...those that I would put on my “avoid” list.
I had my first boss when I was about 11 years old. He owned a frozen custard stand near our home, and I got a job cleaning up the parking lot twice each day for the handsome salary of $1 per day. He was a very intense, type A-squared sort of a guy, perhaps the reason he unfortunately died at a relatively young age.
After several months of getting up early before school to clean up from the previous night’s crowd and rushing home after school to do the afternoon clean up, I got tired of the grind. I decided to resign and when I went to my boss I said I was quitting because I couldn’t do the job any more.
Hank quickly corrected me saying, “You CAN do the job, you just don’t WANT to do the job, isn’t that right?” I sheepishly admitted he was right, and I probably had a flush of embarrassment. But to this day I can say that yes, he was indeed right.
He gave me a good lesson. Maybe a bit abrupt, but that was his way, and actually a trait I’ve come to appreciate more with time. He was forcing me to accept responsibility for my decision instead of pretending some outside forces were the culprit.
Taking responsibility. Still good advice for leader and follower.