Positive traits of good leaders and a few examples of bad managers (in the end a bad manager is a bad leader)…

Based on my blog of yesterday and my post to Linkedin on basically why meetings go bad I was thinking it was time for a positive blog. I have over the years had some managers that were fantastic leaders. People that I value and trust to this day.

I also had the opportunity to work with great leaders although I didn’t report to them directly I learned much from them over the years. Leadership is all about making sure the person you are talking to knows you have value.

The negative impact of that is pretty significant. I once had a boss you called me into his office and told me that someone had reported X had happened during a customer event. X never happened, no one else that was there ever reported it, and I told my boss that. He determined that the person in question was right and that the 40 or so other people involved were just backing me because they liked me. He even promoted the other person. I learned a valuable lesson from that boss, never trust someone with ambition. They both, the person who lied and the boss that let him had ambition. I wonder now if they are happy knowing that they got to the top by hurting others. Because if they fall no one is going to catch them.

Enough negative as I said the primary focus is positive today. Things I’ve learned from great leaders.

  1. The first positive lesson I learned from a boss is own your mistakes. If you make a mistake then you need to step up and say in fact I made a mistake.
  2. The second positive lesson I learned from a great leader is don’t sweat the small stuff. I let the dishonesty of my boss bug me for years. In the end it wasn’t worth it. That manager was and is a manager not a leader.
  3. The third positive lesson I learned from a great leader is kindness. Make sure when you lead people that they know you are connected. Not just to them but to what they are doing. That you understand that people have a value. That value isn’t just what they know it is the ethics and morality in which they operate.
  4. I learned that you have to meet people where they are. Success is an interesting problem. It is a goal we all have but it is also something that we all fear. We don’t want to fail. So be aware of that when considering that rule number one, can cause people to have to release their desire for success.
  5. I learned that glory must be shared. In the end it is easy to seek personal glory – I know I was guilty of that in the past. But you have to be willing to reach out and share that glory with all who helped the team get there. Life is a team game and there is no I in team.
  6. Be careful – great leaders have loyal followers. But if you don’t effectively lead those followers you will in the end destroy your credibility as a leader. The story told in the beginning of this blog destroyed my belief in that manager forever. He and of course the person whose path included lying to get a job.
  7. People are human. Be human.

Just a few positive lesson’s I’ve learned from great leaders. I had a few over the years. One who was my second principal. One who was my boss in my helpdesk days. One who was my first IT boss. My first boss at Microsoft and my first boss in Microsoft Columbus Ohio (the rest of the managers I had in Ohio were terrible.). The list goes on. Bad bosses don’t realize they are bad. They don’t realize in the end what they cost the team. Leaders make good managers because they understand the impact on the team. They understand that it isn’t an I sport. As I talked about yesterday and as I talked about today – the impact of a bad manager is well bad. The value of a good leaders can move mountains.


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.