I was asked the other day, “who was your best boss”. I had to think on that for a while. I learned from all the bosses I had over the years. From some I learned what to do, others what not to do.
I remember the patience of my boss when I was hired by the provincial government as an apprentice cartographic draughtsman. I remember how frugal (avoiding another word) my boss was in my first position with MacMillan Bloedel in Vancouver. When I took over the Supervisor of Administration position at MB, the boss and I did not get along, but I admired the fact that he always said what was on his mind so whether you liked it or not, you knew where he was coming from.
In my last position with MacMillan Bloedel, I really had several bosses, although I only reported to one on paper. This was the best ‘boss’. I had always been blessed with freedom to do what worked for the company but learned the most in those last months of my time with them.
What really stands out is being given a task to do and then being left to do it but always available for mentoring. Being asked for my opinion and genuinely receiving and using it. Time and time again you could see the evidence of good, transparent communication and respect for those on the front lines of the company.
When I left the forest industry I fell into a position doing Employment Counselling. My boss was another who left me alone to figure it out. He had faith that I had the skills to do the job ad left me to do it. This was probably the best three years of my working career, partly due to his leadership and partly because of the organization that he built with this leadership.
The best ‘boss’ was really a ‘leader’ who brought out the best in me and I was fortunate to have had a couple.
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