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Four Lessons From the Best Bosses I Ever Had

| February 19, 2013

by Jim Bruce

Deborah Mills-Scofield, writing in the Harvard Business School Blog, talks about four lessons she learned from the best bosses she had.  Scofield calls herself a status quo challenger, an innovator, a strategist, and a disrupter. Her principle interest is in creating and implementing “highly actionable, measurable, and profitable strategic plans and cultures that foster innovation.”

All four are simple but profound:

  1. Let Your People Go.  What do you do when you have great people?  Encourage and support them.  Treat them justly.  Do what is right for them (realizing that this may not be what’s right for the organization).  Give them opportunities – to excel, succeed, and air cover when they fail.  Be willing to take personal risks for the right person.
  2. Light the fire and clear the path.  Make sure that passions align with the organizational direction.  Provide high-level boundaries, resources and introductions to make it happen.
  3. Remember, They’re human.  Make it clear – each person in your group matters not just for what he or she can do but because of who each one is.  Help them learn from your successes and your mistakes.
  4. Trust trumps everything.  Everything you do flows from trust – “learning, credibility, accountability, a sense of purpose, and a mission that makes ‘work’ bigger than oneself.”

In her closing paragraph, Mills-Scofield suggests that we all should look hard at our respective organizations, the people, and the culture and seek to apply just one of these lessons.  In her experience, the benefits will be lasting!

So, take one more step out towards being the great boss that is in you.

. . . jim