Best Boss…

I experienced the good, the bad and the ugly of Chicago O’Hare airport last week. I am convinced there are maybe four weeks in total in the year when O’Hare is on time, tranquil and friendly. The rest of the year snow storms or thunderstorms change everything.

I was on my way to the mid-west. We had some senior leaders visiting our site and I was involved. Good news is that my O’Hare travels (and travails) were worthwhile. As well as opportunity to engage with our visitors, I was able to meet up in person with lots of other local leaders at all levels.

I always enjoy those sorts of one-to-one meetings. I am always interested in what comes up as themes….similarities in topics and discussions. Sometimes it’s very surprising…other times not so much.

Our people are passionate, engaged and motivated. I always hear passion, see engagement and feel motivation. I always leave with more ideas, greater excitement and different worries…than when I arrived. O’Hare was definitely worthwhile…

Last week I found myself thinking about leaders, supervisors…about bosses. Bosses I have had. I was asked in one meeting if I could recall the best boss I had ever worked for. A different question. A question I hadn’t been asked before.

It took me a while to consider…just about two seconds I would guess! I knew immediately and instinctively. The best boss I have ever had. And I also knew why…immediately.

I knew how I felt at that time. I knew how much I had grown in that time. How much I enjoyed that time.  How cared for I felt. How I learned so much.  I laughed so much. I felt engaged and empowered. I felt I could do, achieve and deliver anything and everything.

That next morning around 4:00am (jet lag is a strange enabler of deeper thinking) I also recognised an additional ‘truth test’ of my best boss answer. I knew I would go anywhere at any time if it involved opportunity to work with my best boss.

This isn’t my test – this is one of the classic philosophies of leadership and supervision….engagement and retention. We leave leaders if we depart rather than companies…and we stay with leaders rather than with companies.

The people we work for make a difference to us – to me…they make all the difference to us. We stay because of who we work with…and we follow if they move.

My best boss had such an impact on me that I knew – in the middle of my early morning workout I knew that my answer would be an unequivocal yes. If I was asked. Anything. Anywhere. Any time.

Perhaps not surprisingly my next thought (still early that morning) was what sort of a boss I am. Once I realised the impact of my best boss on me, it was obvious to consider my impact on others. How well am I able to work out what my team need from me to grow, deliver and enjoy…and just as importantly what they don’t need?

How do I make them feel? How empowered? How engaged? How happy? How much have I learned from my best boss and how much do I manifest that learning?

I know what I want the answer to be, but in truth I am not sure that I know.

But I know how to find out, not least since I know how my best boss found out about what I needed – it’s so easy to ask. And I recognise that my answers were factored into what my best boss already knew and thought…

I want to be a best boss…




About Steve Street

I have worked in R&D within the Pharmaceutical industry for over 30 years. Up until April 2012 all of my career had been with one company, but that has now changed. I left that company and took up a new role on May 1, 2012 - still very much within the Pharmaceutical industry and again based in the UK. I have been blogging every week now for over 10 years but only on an external site since January 2012. Email updates of the blogs can be requested using the ‘follow’ option within Wordpress. The blogs are only ever my personal view of what I see, think and feel. I am delighted if you agree and find value; happy if you disagree with my views and overjoyed if you feel motivated to comment. Most of all I am simply grateful that you read. Cheers Steve
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3 Responses to Best Boss…

  1. Leslie Sloan says:

    Tell me what, when and where :-). You were a great boss, helping me grow and achieve things I didn’t know I was capable of! Thank you for that!

  2. Abhijith Padmakumar says:

    Great post. Loved reading it !!

  3. jeff tryba says:

    interesting thoughts on what constitutes a good boss. feeling cared for can also be a trap.

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