June 26, 2014 by Rick Brammer
Have you ever been lucky enough to have had a horrible boss? I have, in fact, I had three of them. Why lucky? I have long held (just ask my kids who have heard this a few hundred times) that learning what not to do is as valuable as what to do. Training, classes, books, lectures and hands on experience can all provide tips on what to do as a leader. And when you have a great mentor, those lessons can be multiplied as they are reinforced, and you are provided constructive feedback.
Horrible leaders also provide great examples, great examples of what not to do. Suffering through life with a boss like this can be distressing and depressing, but what if you viewed your experience with a totally different prospective? What if every time that boss did something outrageous you sat back and asked yourself, “What could I learn from this about being a good leader? What would I have done differently in this situation?”
The three horrible leaders that I had all had one major thing in common—lack of respect—for everyone. Their time, opinion, life, or whatever was always more important than anyone else’s. It may not have always been blatant, but here are just a few examples of what I mean:
• Sitting in meetings on a computer or cell phone
• Calling after hours for their perceived “emergency”
• Taking credit for any team success
• Finding someone (else) to blame for every failure
• Lack of communication due largely to poor listening skills—the only person they want to hear talk is themselves.
All of these send the same message; what I do is more important than anything you do. Wrong!
Typically this type of leader talks a good story, mostly for their own benefit, yet they fail to recognize they are being tuned out. A great quote, I frequently use, by Ralph Waldo Emerson speaks to this. “What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.”
In fact, these individuals, and those like them, are not leaders they are bosses. They demand compliance when long term success often is linked to commitment. And since a boss like this doesn’t show commitment to his/her team, their team will usually reciprocate in kind.
Learning from your mistakes is good, but even better is learning from the mistakes of others—it is a lot less painful. So look for all the opportunities to learn, open yourself to learning what not to do. And feel free to learn from my experiences.
So, are you feeling lucky?
Rick Brammer is president and co-owner of United Credit Service, Inc.
Founded in 1950, United Credit Service, Inc. is a full service revenue cycle management and debt collection agency in Wisconsin providing highly effective, customized one on one management and recovery solutions for our business partners. We offer pre-service collection solutions as well as traditional back-end collections. Visit our website at http://www.unitedcreditservice.com or call 877-723-2902.