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Shopping for a New Boss?

Once upon a job, I had a great boss. She was the first female boss I’d ever had and she taught me a great deal about being a good manager. She taught me to listen and how to stay focused on an objective. She showed me how to help a team reach difficult goals and how to ask for help. She told me what I was doing wrong and praised me when I deserved it.

The first time I met her she asked me a question that no boss had ever asked me. “What would you like to be doing and where do you think you can make the most difference?” I was blown away by the question and grateful that I had a good answer! If your CEO asked you that question, what would you say?

She spoiled me for the next few bosses I had until one day I realized that I could go shopping for a boss who would teach me things and help me grow. I wanted a boss who could show me how to be responsible for my own professional development and I vowed never to work for someone I didn’t respect or believe I could learn from. I became a boss shopper.

Before I took any job I would listen carefully to the person who would be my boss. Did I think the person was ethical? Would our styles be compatible? Would I be proud of the work I was doing? I always listened to my heart and my gut as well as my head.  T

worlds greatest boss mug

hey haven’t steered me wrong since.

The worst boss I ever had (besides the one who was an embezzler!) was the one who was a micromanager. I got excellent performance reviews but he drove me crazy and I moved on to another job as soon as I could.

While these are difficult times for job hunters, it is still important to know myself and to understand what kind of boss will help me provide the most value to my customers and colleagues.

4 Responses
  • Shawne Van Deusen-Jeffries
    October 20, 2009

    Great post with excellent advice because managers can make or break a job. Thanks.

  • Deborah
    October 20, 2009

    Shawne, As a hiring manager, I try to make sure that whether I want to hire the person or not; that I listened carefully. I always want the person to leave the interview with a positive impression of the company. This is my responsibility. It’s a two way street and a lot of hiring managers (especially these days) forget that.

  • Duane Hallock
    October 21, 2009

    Once in a job interview I began by saying, “I’m not here to sell myself. I’m here to exchange enough information so we both can determine if this will be a great fit.” I was hired and was subsequently treated by my new boss more as a partner than an employee.

    As always, Deborah, I enjoy reading your posts. You have lots of practical wisdom to share. Thanks.

  • Deborah
    October 21, 2009

    Hi Duane, thanks for the comment. Very intelligent way to approach an interview. I also like to ask, “Why is this a great place to work?”

    It’s amazing what happens when I ask this. Some people look at the floor and say, “Um.” Other people launch into a story about how much they enjoy their work at that organization. Very telling.

    What do you think?

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