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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Be Thankful for Bad Bosses

As you develop your leadership style, you will do well to watch other leaders around you.  From those excellent leaders take those traits that you admire.  If you admire their coolness under pressure, file that away for some time when you are involved in a pressure situation.  If they are the best rounder that you have ever met, become like them.  Invariably though, we mere humans have faults.  We all do!  As you develop your own leadership style you have the opportunity to note those faults in the leaders around you and to simply say to yourself, "when I am in a leader role, I'm not going to do that"

When you sit back and think about mentors that you have had, don't leave out the bad ones.  I actually learn quicker from my mistakes than from my successes and I have noticed that I can learn effectively from the mistakes of others.  The worst boss that I ever had is a man that I must be thankful for.  To the extent that I know how important it is to make a connection with people, I have to be thankful for how it made be feel that he never made a connection to any of his employees except the ones in his family.  I saw how favoritism existed in the workplace and that gave me a strong sense of how importance equality and fairness were to my own values.  We were in a regulated business and I watched as he cheated on inspections.  His lack of integrity spoke volumes.  As a boss, I don't think he taught me one single thing TO DO, but he taught me hundreds of things NOT TO DO. 

When you are involved in the depths of struggles with overbearing or psycho bosses, you can do one thing.  Take mental notes of what not to do when, and if, you are in a leadership position. 

Beware of the Psycho Boss

A 2011 study reports that bosses are 4 times more likely to show psychopathic tendencies when tested than the general population.  This has been interpreted to be indicative of their lack of empathy and remorse for their actions making them well suited for their rise to the top.  This is not to say that there are not quality, well balanced people in leadership positions.  As you take a look at political, religious, organizational, law enforcement leaders you will see examples that you may not want to emulate in your own personal leadership style. 

You know what you like in a leader.  I've blogged about what I think is important, but you and I probably don't agree upon everything.  Decide what you like about the leaders around you and begin to do what they do.  Meet with the ones you really admire and see if a mentoring relationship would be acceptable to the both of you. 

I wish I were there with you, but as I list some random leader traits, who do you think of?  Which of these traits do you want for yourself and for your team members to experience from you as a leader?

  • Honest
  • Competent
  • Will step on others to get to the top
  • Inspiring
  • Condescending
  • Just
  • Dependable
  • Partial
  • Responsible
  • Aggressive
  • Compassionate
Adapted from

Your career as a leader will last for your entire worklife.  Whether you are a leader by title (positional authority) for you are an informal leader, the traits you develop will be seen by others and emulated.  Yet another reason to consider what character traits you exhibit. 

Check out this webpage for a review of Leadership Styles

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