Recently I joined a discussion on a LinkedIn business group about bad bosses. Some of the feelings expressed about bad bosses were angry and a few people mentioned that “you don’t leave a company, you leave a bad boss.
” But one woman had the courage to say that she had a bad boss who was threatened by her and did not give her credit for her work, and she was eventually asked to leave the company. She said, in retrospect, that this was one of the best things that happened to her. How very true. Many successful business leaders have written books about how being fired was one of the best things that ever happened to them. I’ve had a few bad bosses along the way. What I’ve learned from them has been significant – like how not to manage, how to market myself, and the reminder that integrity and communication are essential to a successful career and life.
Let me know … what lessons have you learned from bad bosses in your life? And, do you want to join with me in creating a “Thank Your Bad Boss” day? Please post your comments and I’ll do my best to reply to you personally.
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I think we should celebrate a “Thank Your Bad Boss” Day, because with out someone having a bad boss, we would never have the good boss who learned how to properly manage and treat his/her employees with respect. I used to have a COO who would always be very respectful because she would say, “Someday, you could be my boss and I want to be treated with respect.” That’s a great boss!
In addition, as you say, we are reminded that “integrity and communication are essential to a successful career and life.” What a great way to live and work!
Nicholas, how true … we learn from both the good and the bad in our lives.
[…] Lindenberger says we should be celebrating bad bosses. “I’ve had a few bad bosses along the way. What I’ve learned from them has been […]
Thanks for including this in the HR Carnival!
– Judy Lindenberger
I sense that for many of us, perspective on ‘bad bosses’ can be a long time coming. Perhaps this is so because when we are ‘burnt’ our emotions remain singed for years. Then, wonderment dawns. Insight! We see the situation dispassionately. Not only do we view ourselves with surprising clarity, we see the ‘bad boss’ with perspective as well. We may even see what it is in us that evoked his envy, or his cruelty.
That said, given the condition of our world, I can’t honestly say that I would celebrate bad behavior in anyone, especially a boss. But I thoroughly agree, Judy: we have much to learn from adversity. Personally, I learned from one ‘bad boss’ the critical importance of working for someone who is emotionally stable, rather than being prone to envy and pathological competitiveness. From another I learned the importance [especially to me] of working for someone with integrity.
Martha, what a wonderful perspective and insight. Yes, I think it can take years (it did for me) to appreciate the lessons you can learn from “bad bosses.” And yes, when we do work for someone with integrity, what a difference it makes, not only in our feeling of safety, but also in our productivity.