You’re Doing it Wrong: How to Get the Least From Your Employees

Avatar Jim Macdonald
September 16, 2014
I had a boss once whose management style I would put into the category of Idiot. That’s a business term, right? He was one of those guys who the company didn’t know what to do with, so they made him a boss. Awesome. He was famous for never complementing people and always showing them the “Right” way to do everything (his way). I used to play a game with him, because you can do that with idiots. It went like this…

He would task me with writing something, perhaps a letter to send to one of our sales channels. I take my writing seriously, so I would really work at creating a great message and presenting it in a way that, hopefully, it wouldn’t end up in the garbage. EVERY TIME I turned an assignment in for review by my boss, he would get out the red pen and start slashing and notating. Then he would hand it back to me and tell me to fix it (do it the right way). I would go back to my desk for a couple of hours and later return to him with the exact same letter I wrote originally, but this time I would present it to him like this. “I thought the comments you made were really insightful and definitely made the letter much better. I rewrote it and I think it reads much better now.” He would look it over and say, “Looks good. Let’s send it out.” Awesome.

Did I mention that I was working in the marketing department and my boss came up through the ranks as an I.T. guy? That’s awesome too. Why would the leader of the marketing group need any experience? I love corporate America.

It didn’t take long after he became my boss for me to quit that job and become an entrepreneur. I swore that I would never do to any employee what he did to me. If you are someone’s boss, at least have the decency to realize that everyone has different talents, and everyone does things differently. Having started my business in the back room of my house by myself, it has been a long, weird road to get to where I am today. The great thing is that every one of the partners in our firm value our employees and want to help them to be their best.

We put a lot of value on the culture of the company and we want to keep our employees involved in steering us toward our future. If you are ever anyone’s boss, you should try to do the same. It will give employees a stake in the company and stop them from leaving when something better comes along.

By the way, I heard that less than a year after I left the corporate life, that boss was fired. Awesome.
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