27 important lessons I learned from bad bosses


1. Everyone on the team matters. No one deserves to be treated poorly.

2. Bosses create an emotional climate with their attitudes and behaviors.

3. The higher up you are, the more people “read into” everything you say and do. Stuff gets amplified as it moves downstream.

4. A word of encouragement can literally make someone’s week. Conversely, a harsh word can ruin it.

5. Hire the right people then trust them to do their job.

6. Don’t ever intentionally embarrass people in front of their boss, their peers, or their direct reports.

7. Don’t attack people personally. Instead, focus on their performance.

8. Get both sides of the story before you take action.

9. Tell the truth; then you don’t have to remember what you said.

10. Give people room to fail and don’t rub their noses in it when they do.

11. Be quick to forgive and give the benefit of the doubt.

12. Measure twice, cut once.

13. Don’t ever ask your people to do something you are unwilling to do yourself.

14. Respect other people’s time, especially those under you.

15. Don’t believe all the nice things people say about you.

16. Follow-through on your commitments, even when it is inconvenient or expensive.

17. Don’t be ambitious to get promoted. Instead, focus on serving and doing a great job.

18. Be responsive to everyone at every level. You never know who may be your next boss.

19. Keep confidences. Make no exceptions.

20. Do not complain about your boss to anyone who is not part of the solution. If you can’t keep from complaining, then have the integrity to quit.
21. Working for awful bosses taught me that it’s worth it sometimes to persevere through a tough situation to reach your goals.
22. Working for incompetent and unethical people taught me that I get to (and have to) make my own ethical decisions every day. Just because somebody says “You have to do what I tell you!” doesn’t mean you really do.1. Working for awful bosses taught me that it’s worth it sometimes to persevere through a tough situation to reach your goals.
23. Working for miserable bosses taught me that just because someone has a lofty job title, degrees from fancy universities and other trophies doesn’t make them a good person or a smart person.
24. Working for lousy bosses taught me dozens of things never, ever to do or say when I became a manager myself. It made me sensitive to the pressure employees feel, and the powerlessness they feel when someone is bashing them but doesn’t want to hear their opinion.
25. Working for sub-standard managers taught me to find my voice, and speak up when I needed to. Because my lousy bosses were not good listeners and didn’t want my opinion anyway, working for them also taught me how to frame an argument so that my boss would think it was their idea.
26. Working for difficult people let me see close-up how fear hurts our judgment and decision-making. My lousy bosses were not evil people they were just afraid. They were afraid of failing in their job. They were afraid of anything that looked like a threat to their authority. Sometimes even a very young person can scare a fearful manager perhaps it has happened to you!
27. Working for awful managers taught me that every life experience is valuable, both the pleasant and the unpleasant ones.
28. Working for bad leaders taught me that human relationships are a million times more significant than business relationships, which are based on power.