I’ve had my fair share of not so pleasant bosses:

One threw paper on the ground and made me put it in the trash can (this went on for an hour or so).

Another made up industry terms and was highly upset no one understood him. When I asked my girl, Google was like, “What?” when I did research on said terms.

However, I’m not going to use this post to rip on any of them.

What I will do is use everything I’ve learned as a tool to be a better leader.

Yes, you can take the horrible things your former or current boss has done and apply them to your business. How will you be a leader? How will you be a good example for you and your client (or co-workers at your new job)?


This is huge. Lack of communication and communication breakdowns are two huge obstacles to upper management and mid-entry level. If you’re not on the same page or didn’t explain everything clearly, it’s hard to progress. Mistakes are inevitable. Wasting a large amount of time and needing to start over on projects will happen. You’re annoyed. Then the passion is lost. For me, I want to make sure I articulate what I want to say, what I need to say for my client. I assume they don’t know what I’m talking about so I try to keep it simple (KISS–keep it simple, Sally. I don’t like “stupid” for this).

Admit when you’re wrong or when your idea doesn’t work out.

The bigger the title, the bigger the ego. “Well, I’m the director. I’m the VP.” Cool, congrats. But you’re also human and make mistakes. When it’s obvious, don’t blame everyone else. Just accept the fact you made a mistake and come up with a solution. If you don’t know, ask. If another person’s idea was better, don’t take ownership of it. Give them respect and credit (more on this in a bit).

Remember the people you hire aren’t slaves.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T. They do certain tasks you don’t because their skill in an area helps build that company, but they are not your slaves. Essentially, they’re the additional parts that keep things together. Treat them nicely to keep your team growing.


It is so easy to give criticism over and over, even if it isn’t in a harsh way. Every now and then say a meaningful thank you. You don’t have to buy them anything, but giving a compliment on something they’re doing encourages them to keep doing what they’re doing. It’s positive reinforcement and shows that they’re meaningful to the team.

What have you learned from previous, not nice bosses?

Until next time,