Did you ever have a boss who changed your life?

Have you ever come across Gretchen Rubin? If not you can learn about her here and here. She is most famous for The Happiness Project and I wrote about it a bit here.

Any-hoo, I was on LinkedIn the other day, trying to find something interesting, which at times (in my opinion) can be difficult,  and came across a question posed by Gretchen. She asked "Did you ever have a boss who changed your life?"

Immediately I thought yes. Many have. Some good and some bad and most taught me something and as a result, changed my life and career in some way. Here are the three bosses that immediately came to mind.

1. The Store Manager
This boss was a Store Manager when I worked in retail. I was her Assistant Manager and despite her liking me, she didn't want to teach me anything and she was often rude to customers. She was insecure and nervous and I think quite a bit worried that if she taught anyone anything they might take over her job. I wrote about her here. She was very worried when she went on holidays back to the UK for a 6 week trip that we would all get along without her and she wouldn't be needed. Myself and the rest of the team really enjoyed that time she was away. We actually worked as a team and had happy customers.

How did she change my life? She taught me all the things not to do as a manager. She taught me to be generous and teach other people what I knew and to not be insecure about doing that. Managers and leaders who are generous with their time and knowledge will always be valued.

2. The Difficult Manager
I started work at this Australian listed company and from day one I knew it wasn't for me. I didn't fit the culture and my manager was a difficult person from start to finish. She was diagnosed with a debilitating illness when I worked there but I suspect I would have still struggled to work with her demands and style despite that. I tried lots of different things to work with this manager but in the end I just couldn't do it any more. I also wrote about her here

How did she change my life? She taught me that despite being able to work with pretty much anyone, if I don't fit the organisational culture I would fail from the start. I learnt that organisational fit is really important and that there are just some people that I won't be able to work with, and to keep trying is very unhealthy.

3. The Challenging Manager
There are challenging people who are bad for your career, and challenging people who are good for your career. This is a tale of someone good for my career. This manager was open to a debate, a verbal sparring and it was great. If I didn't believe in something I could speak up. He also made me realise the importance of the role of HR. I have worked in many organisations where it wasn't valued that much, but having someone point out that I helped manage the most expensive part of running a business was enlightening. This person was also the first to treat me as a true business partner and confidant, and I learnt so much about the business by just being there to listen.

How did he change my life? He gave me confidence to be me and to not be afraid of conflict, as conflict can help relationships in the workplace.  I also improved my spreadsheet skills immensely!

Did you ever had a boss that changed your life?

Lisa x