Most Influential Bosses…

“If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then, you are an excellent leader.” ~Dolly Parton~

There are shows on Horrible Bosses and shows on Undercover Bosses. The following is my “show” on the Most Influential Bosses that I have worked with during my life:

  1. My Mother tops the list of the most influential boss in my life.  She ran a tight ship at our home most likely due to working outside of the home since the early 60’s (while raising four children).  She taught my three brothers and I that we were capable of doing any job around the home from washing and drying the dishes, to cleaning toilets, to making our beds with tight hospital corners and military precision.  She would create lists of chores for each child  that we would need to complete on Saturdays or after school before we could go out and play… she was a master of delegation and truly believed in cross training each of us so we knew how to do any job needing to be done!
  2. My nursing supervisor at a hospital I worked at for my first job after nursing school.  She had called me at home one day to tell me that I had to float to another floor that evening when I reported to work.  I told her that I had been the float nurse the night before so the other nurse “Jane” was next on the list.  I was told that it didn’t matter that “Jane” was scheduled to be the floater… and I could sense arguing was not going to do any good so I said “okay” and hung up the phone, not waiting for any final response.   When I reported to work that afternoon during the change of shift, all of the nurses from the exiting shift and all of the nurses coming onto the new shift were standing around the nurses station.  The nurse supervisor proceeded to scold me about “how dare I hang up on her?” and literally went on for several minutes berating me in front of approximately ten peers and within earshot of some of our hospital patients…. needless to say,  I never liked that woman since that day…
  3. Tony is a prior COO that I reported to several years ago.  As a boss,  he was kind, gentle and his goal was to have everyone like him.  He had a great way to ask the question to help me get to an answer (a true coaching model).  He had a vast network of people he had worked with or met over the years and he continues to expand that network to this day.  He truly is the master of networking and has introduced me to many people over the years who have now become part of my network.  He taught me to always maintain relationships and never burn bridges because we may hook up with people years later who can help us further down the road.
  4. The founder of the company I started with over twenty-three years ago was one of the most influential in my career because of his all consuming need to create an organizational culture that could withstand the tests of time and change.  He was in demand that we had a culture of high accountability,  keeping our commitments, working in true team fashion which included the requirement to be straight with one another (no BS, no passive aggressive behavior… and absolute candor was expected).  Today, the business that he founded, continues to thrive with those core values even after several different CEO’s and being acquired by two other companies.
  5. My current boss (who hates the term boss by the way), is also one of the most influential to me.  He believes that the leader is no better or greater than the associates with whom he leads.  One day he was visiting my office and I had moved out to a cubicle so he could have an office with a door to take care of any business calls he may have.  He refused several times to use my office because he said “it gives off the impression that the execs think that they are better and more important than the associates… worse thing that any leader could do…”  Now that to me is great leadership… be one of the team by being right in the middle with the team, not standing in a suite overlooking the game…

Great, influential bosses come in and out of our lives whether it be at home, at work or at play.  Some recommendations to be a great boss:

  • Believe everyone is capable…, people will rise to the occasion to get the job done if you believe they can do it.
  • Delegate – it is a great way to help people develop new skills.
  • Treat people with respect and NEVER discipline someone in front of a group.
  • Maintain relationships with your employees even after they (or you) leave the company.
  •  Networking allows you to find new relationships and tap into extraordinary people who can help you and who in turn, you can help.  Remember what goes around, comes around…
  • Create a culture with strong values that will withstand time and change
  • Never believe you are more important or greater than the people you lead…

Who was one of the most influential bosses that you have encountered in your life?  Why?

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