In my career, I’ve had two really good bosses. I really enjoyed working for each.
When I think back on both of those two bosses, I know there were a lot of things that went really well with both of them. Without a doubt, I wish every boss was great like these two.
It got me thinking: what sets these great bosses apart from every other boss?
Ecology of a Great Boss
Naturally, your mind heads towards the bottom line, money. Next would be something else selfish like: advancement, recognition, authority, etc. Yes, of course those came with success, but I’ve also had terrible bosses who were able to provide those too. They are an end. I’m thinking about the means.
There is one particular thing that was foundational to those two bosses, and it hinges onto [that which makes IT or anything else successful]. The pot-o-gold that all engineers inherently seek, is this: there is an inherent value to “rightness”. It is not the feeling that I (personally) am always right. Instead, it means that when things are right, then everything runs smoother, and everyone is more satisfied with their work. I the words of Hannibal Smith, “I love it when a plan comes together”.
The real answer is this: a truly great boss must help discern the right direction and get everyone motivated in that direction. Set your goal for ultimate nirvana and encourage the team as we make strides towards it.
The best bosses started the epic journey with this question: “You are a smart person. You should be able to apply your smarts to stuff other-than programming. So, what can we do to make everything work better around here? How do we do everything better and more efficiently?” Everyone is charged with this question. The rest is a matter of sorting-out the ideas and prioritizing them.
I wasn’t told how to fish, or even told do go fishing. I was assigned the task of: finding out how to fish better. I focused on that goal and applied myself fully. It was not too long until my job became easier and more satisfying. Everything just worked better. I loved doing it because it was so satisfying.
So, regardless of your goals, set your focus on “the way to get there”. Figure out how to constantly improve what you are doing and how you do it. Get your team involved in thinking about greater thoughts. You will achieve great things and you will be successful. That is how you become a legend.