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Out of Our Minds
Thursday, April 06, 2006 3:05 PM
Good Bosses
Kevin Salwen on Values

A friend and I were talking yesterday about a fave topic of mine: the worst boss you've ever had.  She told about a screamer, an abusive man who now -- years and companies later -- is trying to reconnect with her. I think most people have a great horror story or two -- here's a link to mine, by the way.  These people make for outstanding negative role models, helping each of us develop our skills to the positive side.
All this got me thinking about great people I've worked for through the years. They challenged me. Encouraged me. Let me make mistakes, then learn from them. Were willing to experiment. The debate could be open and honest.
How about you? What defined a great manager/leader/boss in your life?

1 comment

Whitney - 4/7/2006 11:57:25 AM
In 20 years of working, I've had one truly great manager -- Jeff. I'd also add the word "mentor" to describe him. Jeff came along at a major transition point in my career, where I was learning a new profession and a new industry. Having moved along a varied career path of his own, Jeff was damn smart, witty, talented, perceptive, creative, resourceful, and eternally cool. In mentoring me on the job, he (inadvertently) mentored me in life, allowing me to develop traits and a perspective on life that made me a better person to be around. Although he was management and I was staff, our relationship always felt genuinely and completely collaborative -- something my next four managers at the same company failed to achieve. Jeff taught me techniques for overcoming my perfectionism and oft-overly ambitious goal setting, nearly always had the perfect anecdote on hand to use as a teaching tool, led instead of supervised, was actually interested in what I did, and gave his employees the space, trust, respect, and appreciation we needed in order to do the work he needed us to do. He wasn't interested in or built for command-and-control leadership or micro-management. He saw to it that we were compensated well although, truthfully, his respect and trust were worth more to me than the fat bonus checks. He also believed in me more than I typically believed in myself, and through the years of working on-and-off for him as a direct employee and as a contractor, I found some self-confidence. With the managers I've had since, the professional relationship was not nearly so smooth. Each one broke down because --they either tried to micro-manage me or completely ignored me (they weren't at all interested in managing my core function), or --respect, trust, or appreciation was not coming from their end of the relationship Without respect, trust, or appreciation, no boss is ever going to have a good working relationship with his/her staff -- but seemingly few managers I've encountered in the last five years seem to understand this.


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