Is there a boss that really sticks in your memory? In most cases, two kinds leave the most unforgettable marks: the amazing boss and the horrible one.
The former may offer you critical corporate mentoring, whereas the latter made you realize the kind of boss you never want to become yourself. However, whether you had a horrible or amazing boss, there is a good chance you learned lessons from them that you can carry to your next job or apply to your personal life.
Aside from skill acquisition and traditional characteristics like reliability and punctuality, you’ll also learn crucial leadership lessons from your first boss. Those lessons will have a strong impact on your professional and personal life.
Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned from my first boss:
Attitude vs. Education
Your boss may teach you that your attitude is more important than your education.
I was in college when I discovered an opening as a research analyst, and I really wanted that job. However, the position calls for a college degree.
I lied during the interview, saying that I would graduate in a few months. I got the job, but my boss soon discovered what I did. I already expected to fire me; however, he let me stay in the company.
My boss gave me an opportunity to excel professionally and personally. He always welcomed my ideas and developed as a purposeful team player. He made me realize that qualities like perseverance, determination and hard work are more important than a college degree.
I have witnessed firsthand that the team members have the willingness to go above and beyond. Leaders should not discount an employee’s potential for greatness just because they lack experience or education.
Employees Should Be Treated as Humans
Unfortunately, most businesses see employees as a list of responsibilities or a job title instead of actual human beings.
Employees are human; they have families and friends, desires and passions, and good and bad days. Leaders who consider these things can truly optimize employees’ productivity.
Even if my boss is the company owner, he also acts as a friend. He exerted time and effort to get to know every team member. We felt he genuinely cared about our welfare. He even created rapport with every team member, enabling a better understanding of our abilities, strengths and competencies.
Since I knew that my boss genuinely cared about me, I developed a sense of belonging. Even if he is a busy leader, I appreciate that he acknowledges that his employees are not robots. He knew that humans have infinite potential despite shortcomings and faults.
I witnessed how passionate my boss is when it comes to his business. He never missed a chance to show appreciation for every detail of his operation.
I have noticed that most business owners are passionate about selling quality products or providing excellent customer service. However, if leaders are not attentive and interested in the little things, they find generating overall employees’ enthusiasm challenging tasks.
There is a big difference between micromanaging and cultivating passion. Micromanagement stems from a lack of trust, whereas passion is derived from a commitment to quality and a desire to improve.
Work is Not a Chore
One of the things I like about working with my boss is that majority of my working day does not require me to stay in front of my computer. I also spend some parts of my workday less traditionally.
For instance, we played some sports because darts, hoops, tennis tables, etc., were in the warehouse. We also created ad-hock competitions and quizzes to learn more about the products we offer.
My boss showed me that it is fun when work is not a chore.
Own Your Responsibility
During my sixth month in the company, I accidentally lost a file I prepared to send to the marketing department. My boss could have helped me rectify the problem, but he let me talk to the department and collaborate to resolve it. I understand that the marketing team is a bit distressed about what happened since they have to meet a deadline.
At the time, I felt frustrated and embarrassed because I had caused a delay in the operation. On the bright side, I appreciate the lesson that my boss was trying to teach me.
Responsible enables people to act and do things independently. However, it also demands to own our actions, be it good or bad. We must also acknowledge our shortcomings or failures and then learn from them.
My boss taught me how to collect, analyze, and organize data. However, since I was a headstrong teenager at that time, I feel like my method is more effective than his.
In return, I made a lot of mistakes in my research. I admit that I made an inconvenient mistake, but I learned humility. This valuable characteristic always reminds me that I should not assume the right answer, superior rationale, and best strategy.
People who have gone before me are more experienced and wiser. Whenever they are willing to give us advice and guide us, it is best to follow.
My boss pushed me countless times outside my comfort zone. He kept assigning tasks with a trust that I could do and complete them on time.
He allowed me to improve myself while fixing my mistakes. I ventured outside my expertise, and I made mistakes. However, my boss’s encouragement motivated me to keep improving. He always inspired me to be and do better and seek more learning.
Work-Life Lessons from Your Boss
You may not notice it yet, but your boss surely wants to teach you some lessons that you can apply to your life professionally and personally. Once you realize those lessons, embrace them and see the positive impact on your life’s different aspects. The lessons we learn from our bosses are the legacy they want to leave us, and we should appreciate each of them.