Editor’s Note: As I wind down my stint as Editor of TLNT — yes, I’m going to be leaving soon — I wanted to share some of my favorite posts from over the years. Here’s one from our very first month in July 2010.
Anyone who has spent much time managing knows this to be a management truism you can’t avoid: You learn more from a bad boss than you do from a good one.
I was struck by this again last weekend while reading the latest Corner Office column in The New York Times. It was a Q&A with Dawn Lepore, the chairwoman and CEO of Drugstore.com, and she had a lot to say about being a manager and building a company.
Great advice for every manager to follow
It was all good, if fairly predictable, management talk, but then she said something interesting when asked if she had any bosses who were big influences:
I had a very bad boss early in my career. She was older than I was. She’d started in the financial services industry and she’d had a very hard time, so I think that probably shaped her as a leader. She was very smart but had terrible communication skills. She did not make people feel valued or comfortable or like they were supported at all. And I remember what that felt like. And I thought, I’m never going to do that to people.”
This is great advice that probably every manager or HR professional knows in their heart – you learn the very most about managing people from dealing with those who manage people badly. And, the bad managers that have the biggest impact are those you got stuck working for yourself.