Out of nowhere, a golf ball suddenly appeared on the floor of my cube. That only meant one thing; my boss was a second behind.
But instead of taking a deep breath and hoping this boss would be in and out of my cube in under 30 seconds, I actually looked forward for the interaction that was to come. You see, even though the culture of the company was silo’d, political and sometimes just downright mean, my boss was amazing.
Karen was an avid golfer. Almost daily, she’d start putting a golf ball around the office and pop in to say hi, see how things were going, and always asked if we needed anything before putting her way to the next cube. She did everything she could to shield the team from the corporate chaos that was all around. We respected her, appreciated her leadership, and would follow her anywhere, including another company. Karen always treated us well and cared about us, as well as our families.
It doesn’t take long to figure out if you have a good or bad boss. It usually takes a meeting or two to uncover how they treat their employees. Do they micromanage? Do they blame others or talk about them when they’re not around? After a month, are you miserable because of them? Even if the company’s good, a bad boss can make life hell.
A good boss, on the flip side, trusts, listens and stands up for you, even in a bad company. They create a fantastic team culture where you actually enjoy coming to work. They still have performance expectations and will hold you accountable, but don’t feel they need to watch over your shoulder all the time. If you have an issue, it becomes their priority to help getting it resolved.
Karen eventually left to be a VP at another company. Over half our team asked to go with her, just because they loved working for her. Because she was so good, the team knew they could work for her in any environment at any company. A good boss makes even a bad company tolerable.