Early in my career, I had many bad bosses. In reflection, I was blessed.
They were masters in the art of demotivation, communication blunders, and misguided decision-making.
It felt like every day was a never-ending episode of “What Not to Do as a Leader.”
Those experiences were rough for me.
Frustration and anger became my companions until I realized that could be a terrific opportunity for me to shape my identity and decide who I wanted to be both as an individual and future leader.
Not just that.
These lessons became the foundations of my advisory practice around performance and leadership.
In hindsight, here are a few key lessons I learned and why encountering such leadership misfires can be a catalyst for your growth:
CLARITY: Bad bosses showcased the importance of clear expectations and directions. Their ambiguity left me feeling lost and unproductive. I vowed never to subject my team to that confusion, instead striving for crystal-clear communication.
EMPATHY: Their lack of empathy wounded morale and shredded trust. I realized the significance of understanding and supporting my team’s needs, both personally and professionally. Empathy became my superpower, nurturing an environment where people feel valued.
ACCOUNTABILITY: Blame games and finger-pointing were their favorite pastimes. Witnessing this inspired me to foster a culture of accountability, where mistakes are embraced as learning opportunities, and everyone takes ownership of their actions.
GROWTH MINDSET: Bad bosses were the epitome of stagnation. They resisted change and clung to outdated practices. I promised myself to be a leader who embraces innovation, encourages continuous learning, and creates an environment that breeds growth.
INSPIRATION: Their leadership deficiencies sucked the motivation out of the room. I vowed to inspire and uplift my team, celebrating achievements, and encouraging them to reach their full potential.
See bad bosses as:
- a classroom for growth
- an opportunity to shape who you DON’T want to become as a leader
Leadership isn’t just about the title; it’s about the impact we have on others.
Be a leader who focuses on impact.