Let’s make a boss list, but think about it first. No, not a list of the bosses from hell, that’s too easy. Instead, give the names of the best bosses you’ve ever had. I suspect you can name those bosses easily. As I explore the world of work and bosses, I find that most people can fill in the name of a best boss more quickly than the worst boss. The best boss is dear to our hearts and influenced our careers.
So who are the three best bosses you will ever have? We all know them.
The boss that held you to a higher standard. This is the boss that said, “It’s not good enough”. Even though you may have cursed that boss at the time, you knew he or she was right. This is the boss that you were willing to burn the midnight oil for to make a great thing happen. This is the boss that said typos and being late is unacceptable. This is the boss that always told you the truth. This is the boss that made you think rather than copy. This is the boss that made you do extraordinary things and exceed your own expectations. This is the boss that you may not have liked at the time and still may not like but that boss didn’t care. This is the boss that got you promoted. This is the boss that made you better.
The boss that gave you a chance. This is the boss that threw you into the deep end of the pool because this boss knew you could swim before you knew it. This is the boss that encouraged you to stretch and to take on that project in addition to your regular job. This is the boss that took the time to coach you as you struggled and didn’t give up. This is the boss that gave you more credit than you deserved for the work. This is the boss that took the time to write a detailed evaluation of your performance that helped your career. This is the boss that made you realize you can do a lot more than you thought.
The boss that taught you how to be a boss. We can learn a lot from the boss who never plays favorites or knows how to handle stress. This is the boss who never takes too much credit and never plays with the truth. This is the boss who cheers for others and, no matter how long he or she has been in the same job, is not bitter. This is the boss who never tells off color jokes and never sends emails that are offensive. This is the boss who acts age appropriate and does not desperately try to be cool and hip and young. This is the boss that might be the topic of conversation at lunch, in a good way as compared to others. This is the boss that we enjoy learning from and takes the time to teach. This is the boss that never leaves notes on our chairs at night. This is the boss that we want to be some day.
Besides these three, other bosses will come in and out of our careers. Although they do their best, most are not very memorable. The bosses that fall into these three categories stick with us for our entire career.
Who was your best boss? And what kind of boss are you?