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Bosses vs. Leaders

Did you notice the title? There are bosses and there are leaders. Who out there agrees with me? I’m sure we have all had our fair share of “bosses”.

It amazes me how supervisors and managers are placed into positions of leadership without the knowledge of the position, what their employees job duties are, the dynamics of the company, even the employees themselves and how to legitimately “manage”.

A supervisor or manager, honestly, should be able to perform any task that their employees are asked to perform. They should know the ins and outs of the business.

I’ve been employed by businesses where a supervisor or manager mysteriously is hired based on their wonderful resume. Come on! We can ALL make up a great resume. It does not mean we have the skills. A great liar can pass the interviews or shall I say a “pretender”.

I’ve also accepted positions whereas my “bosses” were flat out asses. Excuse the language. It is the truth. No matter how good you were at your job, exceeding goals, never missing work, they were never satisfied. I’ve faced racial tension in the workplace as well. Favouritism, ooh, I’m sure we are all too familiar with this one. The saying “it’s all about who you know”. This absolutely stands true!

In many positions the actual leaders are overlooked because they simply are harder workers. Maybe they have a tendency to stay to themselves, whereas as another employee might be very social, pretty good at their job, a great networker. This is what “management “ wants. They want that “image”. Forget the skills.

I used to believe that if I worked my hardest and I put in as many hours as I could, surpassed my goals, and really focused, I would be recognized as a leader. In many situations, I was recognized as a “work-horse”. There were times where I was overlooked for higher positions because it was easier to keep me working based on my production, yet, I was that “go to” person before anyone went to the higher ups in management. I filled my brain with knowledge. Knowledge was my passion. Knowing a position, knowing the company, knowing everything I could know.

Once I built my resume, was somewhat recognized and became a supervisor, I was terribly ridiculed by one “boss”, regarding my “people skills”. Being told “Emmely, you can’t always have A’s on your team, sometimes you have to have C’s”. Okay, say that’s the outlook. Am I doing an employee any justice at all by not coaching them up? Are they not hindering the entire team based on being that “C” employee?

This same “boss”, loved to belittle me in-front of my employees, co-workers, anyone she could. It was a game to her. Yet I continued to succeed in every aspect of my position to include working with employees.

The only time in my career where I can say now, I truly recognize, having great leaders, were with a finance company I worked. While supervising a group of collectors for automobile loans, these two men were instrumental in my leadership development as well as my personal development.

What I did not realize at the time was, these two men were actually letting me make decisions for my team, they listened to my input, they didn’t have tell me what to do. They had conversations with me. They discussed the potential outcomes and disadvantages of setting “unrealistic “ goals for my team. These two men also trusted me. They trusted me to make decisions for my team, the employees, and the company.

Though I did not see it at the time, I see it now. I cannot stress that enough.

I look back on the times I was a exceedingly angry at not receiving a promotion, I may have not been ready at that moment. Maybe there were pieces on the back end of the business they were waiting for to okay the decision. Whatever the reasons were, the truth still stands, they were leaders!

I look back and I know at the time I was valued. That specific job, with those specific “leaders”, is the only time I can truly say that I was led. Led by example in business, led to see the bigger picture, led to see how important it was to have those “people skills”.

I was extremely successful in that position. I was frustrated because I did not feel as though I was receiving sufficient compensation or the correct title for what I was achieving and doing for the company.

I was not patient, I was not grateful, I was not thankful. I acted like a brat. I gave a 5 week notice to my direct supervisor when I planned to resign. It was given back to me several times. I failed to return the favor to my leaders and discuss with them exactly how I was feeling and how I should handle it as a business person.

You see, this company helped me through one of the hardest years of my life, in 2009. They were caring, they were understanding, they were human. They were not just a “business”. They were “leaders” that knew when they had great employees.

It has been a long time since I left that position in 2010. It is my biggest regret. I regret leaving the leaders like I did. I regret leaving what honestly felt more like a work family. I truly loved that position. I loved it, I breathed it, it was my career. I regret not being respectful enough to talk to these leaders face to face. I regret my reactions and actions.

Could they have fought a little harder to keep me? Absolutely! I believe during that time there were a lot of hurt feelings and it was taken more personally than a business decision or career move.

If you are ever lucky enough to have a true leader or leadership team in your career, value them, learn from them, respect them a little more.

There are tons of “bosses” out there and very few “leaders”.

Thank you to MW and DC for putting up with me for over 3 years and for everything you taught me. I did not value it then, I assure you, I value it now!

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