What did your bad boss teach you?

In my early 20’s, I worked as a manager in a retail store, and one of my co-workers was a middle aged woman with three children. After working there for some time, her husband was offered not only his dream job, but also the opportunity to move back to California near both of their families. It was a perfect fit for everyone, and my co-worker and her family were beyond ecstatic.

graffiti-1559161_1920Our boss, however, was less than thrilled. Rather than share in her excitement, she was furious at my co-worker for leaving the organization. “How could you possibly leave me now?! I depend on you!” This woman gave my co-worker the silent treatment for the remaining 2 weeks of her notice. On her last day, my co-worker hugged me tight and told me, “Don’t stay here for much longer. This is a toxic place to work.”
During that time, I learned one small lesson of what NOT to do as a boss.
I made a vow that when my staff turned in their notices, I would handle it differently. I would tell them how happy I was for their new opportunity and I would ask them how I could help them leave on a good note, with the door left open for the future.  Most of all, I would thank them for their service to my business. This commitment to my staff even as they were leaving my employment has served me well in countless ways, not the least of which is the fact that allowing someone to exit on a good note feels good to all parties: you, them, their co-workers, your clients, etc.
Everyone has had a bad boss. Not all bad bosses stay bad bosses; in the case of my former boss, she was under extreme stress at the time, so her behavior had a lot to do with that. (In fact, the business ended up closing several years later.) Today, she and I are on great terms, and I adore her.
Tell me what lessons you learned from your bad boss! Inquiring minds want to know…

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