April 25

If you’ve been in the workplace for long enough, it’s likely you’ve had some at least one really bad manager. Maybe they were obviously only in it for themselves, phoning it in, or completely unable to empathize with your needs. It becomes nearly impossible to do your work when you report to someone who feels more like an impediment than a benefactor.

However, your tenure on their team was not a complete loss, because you can learn from the experience. Ask these questions:

What did you need from them that they couldn’t provide?

What frustrated you the most about how they made decisions?

What qualities did they exhibit that made your life more difficult?

Why didn’t you trust them?

What skills did they lack that you needed them to have?

Now, as you consider your own life, work, and career development, what do your answers to the questions above mean about where you should be focusing your own growth? How can you leverage what you learned from your bad experiences into something that will benefit those you lead, collaborate with, or work for?

Choose to be the leader, the collaborator, the peer you wish you’d had.

What qualities do you need to develop to be the leader or collaborator that others need?

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