The best worst boss ever

When I first started as a software engineer (over 20 years ago) I had a very wise person tell me I would learn something valuable from every boss I ever had.  I really took that to heart and tried to make note of those things as my career progressed.

One thing became apparent after a few years: I learned the most from the worst bosses I had.  Why, you ask?  Because I learned what I never wanted to be – and that kept me focused on doing what’s right – all the time.

So today I start a blog about some of the things I’ve learned from the best worst bosses ever.  Let’s start with my current boss.

Mid-thirties, ex-college-soccer player, and his technical skills range from moderate SQL to moderate report writing.  However, as one of six partners in his business he is considered the expert in business intelligence (really?)  I would bore you with all my qualifications, but that’s not what this story is about.  What I will tell you is that I have 20 years of very deep technology skills – far beyond moderate report writing and moderate SQL.

So what I’ve learned from this man is:

1.)  Never be threatened by employees you know are more knowledgeable than yourself.  Embrace that talent and use it to the betterment of your company and your own position.

2.) Listen.  Especially when you are “on top of the world” and making all kinds of money.  Listen.  Stop talking.  As long as you talk you are not absorbing and that means you are getting less knowledgeable every day.

3.)  Constructive feedback is specific and unemotional.  If you get angry when you point out someone else’s mistakes you just scare them into immobility.

4.)  Every day take time to say, “Hello” to those who work for you.  It demonstrates humility and respect.

5.)  Find something positive to say at least once a week – and be specific.  It takes very little to encourage an employee on a daily basis.

6.)  Encourage creativity.  Don’t be afraid of creative and bright employees.  In the long run they will make you look better.

7.)  What makes your employees happy?  Do you have a clue?  Why do they work for you?  How far are they from strangling you in your sleep?

8.)  Learn to love yourself so you can be kind to your employees.  If you don’t love yourself you’ll take it out on your employees and your company and career suffers.

I could go on, but it’s time to spend quality time with the children.  Tomorrow we’ll talk a little more about what makes a boss the best worst boss.




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