A Love Letter to My Horrible Bosses

First of all, thank you.  I won’t list your names.  But I was thinking about each of you this morning and wanted to say thanks.  You all taught me a lot.  I’m sure you didn’t know you were a horrible boss.  Most bosses think they’re doing a bang up job.  Maybe you read a few books and were trying to get all Jack Welch on me.  It really doesn’t matter.  I’m my own boss now.  And if I ever have employees I’ll think about you all and how grateful I am to have learned from some truly godawful leaders.  Strike that.  You all never really lead.  Browbeat, maybe.  But I admire your collective tenacity.  You all refused to give up being absolutely gross to work with.  It’s not a total loss.  Here’s what I learned from you:

1.  Be sincerely nice.

2.  If you’re having a crappy day then do the rest of us a favor and stay home.  

3.  Don’t mess around with a person’s money.  Pay them.

4.  Please don’t be a passive-aggressive lunatic.  Pick one.  It’s easier on everyone.

5.  Don’t make promises that you can’t fulfill.  It’s boring and predictable.

6.  “It’s just business” makes no sense to people.  It’s a rationalization to be cold.  

7.  Give people a path.  Aspiration is a basic part of having a job.

8.  Keeping employees in silos is a great way to create gossip and miscommunication.

9.  Don’t act like you discovered the next big thing when it’s trending on Twitter.

10. Create something.  Marketing other people’s ideas as your own only lasts so long.

I know there will come a time that I have a few folks on my team.  And when that time comes I’m going to think of you all–the worst bosses I’ve ever worked for.  And I’ll smile and be so thankful that I worked for people who were the gold standard of disasters.  And I’ll say a quiet “thank you” for the opportunity to learn what not to do.  You’re all fantastic teachers.   

2 responses

  1. Excellent article… those Horrible Bosses have taught great lessons. #4 and #7 are the best!


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