Horrible Bosses

No, not the movie, but the real world kind.

“I hate my boss,” my son, a teenager working at a local fast-food restaurant, recently said to me. “He ‘s condescending. And he rides me for every mistake, even the smallest ones.”

Welcome to the working world, kid! Get used to it!!

(I feel safe in sharing this as it’s HIGHLY unlikely that either my son or his boss read this blog!)

With all kidding and sarcasm aside, surely not all bosses are bad. So, what makes a boss good? It’s an important question, one I think about often in my efforts to help companies develop analytical skills.

The answer isn’t simple, and varies depending on a company’s goals, competitive position and personnel. But some characteristics prove universal. A number of these were evident in a recent Wall Street Journal article describing a meeting led by Ashton Carter, the new Secretary of Defense, evaluating our country’s approach to combatting ISIS in the Middle East. Here are a few quotes from the article:

• “For 90 minutes, Mr. Carter questioned his ideologically diverse guests about the most pressing problems facing the administration.” Great bosses welcome input from many sources, including and especially from dissenting points of view.
• “’Tell me something I don’t know,’ Mr. Carter asked the group.” Great bosses endlessly pursue new knowledge.
• “’He’s making this purposeful effort to break open [the Defense Department’s] habits a little bit and say: “Let’s look at this problem differently,” ‘ said a senior defense official who took part in the meeting. “This is reversing the paradigm.”’ Great bosses develop and communicate a framework (paradigm) for viewing a problem, but constantly challenge it and its underlying assumptions.
• “’Mr. Carter asked a lot of questions and revealed little of his own thinking’, Mr. Ford said.” Great bosses listen.

Ironically, these are characteristics not only of great bosses, but also of great analysts.

Hmm… perhaps the two are correlated???

This entry was posted in Problem Solving. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>