Don’t Be a Bosshole

May 8, 2011 — 9 Comments

This post was inspired by my buddy James Dibben at bluecollarcoaching.net. He did a podcast (click here) discussing his thoughts on employee-manager relationships. His podcast has led me to consider my management style.

I am new to being a manager. I try to apply everything I have learned about being a leader and mix it with my avoidance of stupid corporate systems (James calls this corporatness) to create my management style.

One of my downfalls (which is typical with engineers) is my want to always be right. I try and temper this by allowing the people I lead (my team) to share their point of view and allow them to test their ideas (By calling it a test we can reverse it if it doesn’t work). If I have concerns with their ideas I will mention them but still allow my team to go ahead with a test (unless the failure will be disastrous). I also temper this by telling myself that I do not know everything.

We are each experts at our own job and I would be full of it to think I know another person’s job (even if I did it in the past) better than they do. I like to let my team try new things because it gives them an opportunity to learn and take ownership at their job. I also get other workers involved with projects that affect their area so they have ownership of the projects and they help me to make it better (once again, I am not an expert).

A couple of other things I do to avoid the corporatness: I always ask my employees “How can I help you do your job better?” and “How can I be a better boss?” I also make it part of my employees job to improve their job.

I always take time to teach my team new things (like computer skills) even if I can do it 10 times faster. It is an investment in my future time and their learning.

In that same vein I empower my team to make decisions without always coming to me. If they do need my help, I show them how I think through the problem to teach them even more.

I like to give my team stretch projects to help them learn more. All the while I am watching them and offering little bits of guidance when they need it. By the end of the project they can complete the project again by themselves.

Each person on my team has a different set of strengths and I make sure the person realizes their strengths and also how their strengths fill in my weaknesses. Then I try to work each team member in their strengths on a project.

This has earned the title Best Boss from one of my employees. I tried to play her statement off but she stopped me and pointed out that I was the best boss in 30 years so I have to be doing something right.

Photo by Psycholabs

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9 responses to Don’t Be a Bosshole

  1. Bossholes are bad, mmkay? As stated here, the best things to do are to engage your team and ask for their input. If people feel like their contributions are welcomed and helpful, morale will increase and work will improve. Leadership by intimidation is an outdated (and broken) management style.

    • There are still A LOT of managers (I refuse to use the term leader, lol) who still use intimidation as their style. Those are the same people who think the hard work in their company is what chases everyone away. Maybe it’s their management style!

      • Those managers are probably going to learn some lessons with the younger generations coming to the work force. They are more interested in meaningful work than a huge paycheck.

    • I do not see intimidation so much more of trying to hit the numbers with out considering the investment now to hit the numbers later.

  2. Josh, I thought I had created the worst episode ever and here you are talking about how much it helped you!

    Thanks for your encouragement as always.

    The fact that you are working so hard on your leadership skills is what will put you ahead of 90% of all other engineers out there. So very few are good leaders in my experience. They get a little too fact driven and lose personality in the mix of it all. They also tend to treat people like the machines they design.

    It’s awesome to see you pushing against that!

  3. Josh, I thought I had created the worst episode ever and here you are talking about how much it helped you!

    Thanks for your encouragement as always.

    The fact that you are working so hard on your leadership skills is what will put you ahead of 90% of all other engineers out there. So very few are good leaders in my experience. They get a little too fact driven and lose personality in the mix of it all. They also tend to treat people like the machines they design.

    It’s awesome to see you pushing against that!

  4.  i thought all bosses were bossholes it goes with the territory.

    • I hope someone lets me know if they think I am a bosshole so I can stop. 

      I have had some bosses that were great and some that were bossholes.  I think it depends on the individual. 

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