The worst bosses I ever had…were women. I know I am not alone, many share the same experiences. These experiences have driven me to be a better leader and to cultivate opportunities for my employees that I never had. As a business owner (regardless of my gender), I need to live by example.

When reflecting back on my worst bosses, I realized they did teach me valuable leadership lessons.

  1. Be transparent. By being clear with expectations for each role in your company, your employees know what is expected of them. Share with them the vision and 1 year, 3 year and 10 year goals. Understanding they are a part of something bigger, drives them to contribute in a more strategic way.
  2. Support professional growth. When an employee grows professionally, the company benefits. Provide opportunities for community engagement, leadership training and more. We work with our employees to develop a professional development plan that we support as a firm.
  3. Be intentional with culture. You want employees to look forward to coming to work each day. We purposefully build team bonding into our schedule – whether it is Friday Sangria or a BBQ at my house to share an updated company strategy to working on a patio for the afternoon. Employees work hard, reward them with some flexibility and fun.
  4. Lead by example. This is by far the most important. We have all had those bosses that tells us one thing and do another. While I am out of the office a lot, I make it a priority to attend our team meetings, bonding sessions and hit deadlines.

Use your past ‘bad boss’ situations to drive yourself to be a better leader. Sometimes our worst experiences can be our best education.

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