How to Be Happy and Successful with Bad Bosses: Part 2

This is a follow-up to an article from FindMyShift.com, titled the worst bosses in film. https://www.findmyshift.com/blog/the-worst-bosses-in-film. The article provided a great summary of the different types of bosses we run into. The film versions are exaggerated but still highly representative of the types of bosses most of us have experienced at some point in our lives.

 

I thought it would be helpful to provide ideas about how you might deal with each kind of boss in a way that will help you be happier and more successful.

 

Let’s start with two secrets that will help you be happier with any kind of boss.

 

The first secret is that your bosses, no matter how mean and nasty they are, don’t make you unhappy. It is not what they say or do that makes you unhappy, it is how you choose to internalize what they say or do. They don’t have control of your life or your happiness, you do.

The second secret is having an “Autonomy” account. This is 3 to 6 months of salary in a bank account. We are all happier when we have autonomy, the ability to choose actions that will impact our lives. An “Autonomy” account allows you to get up every morning and decide if you want to go to work or not. You could decide not to work because you have a choice. Your savings will get you through a job search. More importantly it gives you a cushion to make the right decisions at work, even if the boss might fire you. It lets you sleep better at night because you have a cushion if you get laid off. Start building your “Autonomy” account today, even if it is as little as $100 per month.

 

Now let’s talk about how you deal with the unscrupulous, the ghost, and the incompetent boss.

 

 

The “Unscrupulous Boss”

 

The “Unscrupulous Boss” will lie, cheat, and steal to get what they want and to get noticed or promoted by upper management. This is one of the few bosses where quitting is a good option. Integrity is everything and you don’t want to get caught up in or associated with anything that could damage your reputation or your integrity.

 

“Your reputation is more important than your paycheck, and your integrity is worth more than your career.” Ryan Freitas

 

If your company is unwilling to recognize your boss’s lack of integrity, then you shouldn’t be a part of that culture. There is no solution for working with a boss you don’t trust, who takes actions that are illegal or unethical, or worse yet expects you to. Although it may not seem like it at the time, there is always a better option.

 

There is also a more common form of the “Unscrupulous Boss” that is not as blatant or as clearly unethical as we described above. They tend to cross the line every now and then and seem to be good at heart, but just sometimes make bad decisions due to pressure or ignorance. Unfortunately you still can’t afford to be associated with this type of boss. You have to report their illegal or unethical actions immediately so that you don’t end up becoming a part of the crime or cover-up. The careers of the people with good intentions are often ruined while the truly guilty seem to find a way to slide through unscathed. Don’t stay with a boss who takes actions that are illegal or unethical. Your reputation and your integrity are way too important. You will be much happier and more successful when you find a more positive environment.

 

 

The “Ghost Boss”

 

The “Ghost Boss” is becoming more and more common, especially as the number of people working from home swells exponentially. They never seem to be around and are hard to find when you need them. They are constantly on business trips, in meetings, or just working from a different location. The good news is they are not necessarily a “bad” boss, they are just difficult to work for if you don’t put the right structure in place.

The secret to being happy and successful with a “Ghost Boss” is to schedule regular meetings and provide regular updates via text, email, or voicemail. Send them your goals at the beginning of the week or month and then show them that you accomplished those goals at the end of the week or month. Have an agenda ready for each meeting and ask them regularly what else they need from you. With a “Ghost Boss” it is usually better to solve the problem and tell them your solution, decision, and next steps rather than asking them to solve the problem. They trust you or they would be communicating more often. Reward that trust by making decisions, taking action, and keeping them informed. A “Ghost Boss” can provide you with a lot of autonomy and opportunity. Create a structure that works for both of you and you will be happier and more successful.

“Incompetent Boss”

The “Incompetent Boss” doesn’t know the industry, their particular position, or just doesn’t know how to lead. There are all kinds of reasons the Incompetent Boss gets their job. Maybe they were really good at a lower level job, maybe they have a good friend or family on the executive team, or maybe they have just been around so long, they got promoted because of seniority. Whatever the reason, they are still your boss and you still need to find a way to deal with them in way that makes you happy and successful.

 

The conundrum with an “Incompetent Boss” is they know they are incompetent, but they don’t want anyone else to know. Even though it is obvious to everyone, their worst fear is that anyone finds out. So they will try to hide their incompetence at all costs and will become very defensive any time it is brought to light; which means they will make you look bad, rather than take the blame themselves. So the secret to managing an incompetent boss is to help them look good. Subtly give them ideas and tips to get them on the right track. Implement what works instead of exactly what they tell you when you know it doesn’t work. They will quietly appreciate your help even if they don’t give you public recognition. Take the role of an unofficial leader and help your team be successful. Don’t let people stand around and wine and complain about your boss’s incompetence. Do what needs to get done so that you all feel good about the team’s accomplishments.

 

An important note: Don’t wait for your boss’s incompetence to be recognized by the higher level management team. Unfortunately, that could take a long time if it happens at all. Instead, become a leader on your team and look for other opportunities that come your way as your leadership is recognized throughout the organization. Help your team and your “incompetent boss” be happy and successful and you will be happier and more successful.

 

Conclusion

 

The most important thing to remember about bad bosses is that they are human too. Many of us are bosses now, and the rest will probably be a boss at some point in our career. The sad truth is that statistics show that only about 1/3 of us will be good bosses. The rest of us will be “bad bosses” and make similar mistakes as the bosses described above. So how do you want to be treated when you make those mistakes? Do you want to be forgiven and helped, or persecuted and demonized? Treat your “bad boss” the way you would want to be treated if you were in their shoes. Help them become a better boss. Help them be happier. Making that effort will make you happier and more successful.

 

Check out The Worst Bosses in Film: https://www.findmyshift.com/blog/the-worst-bosses-in-film

Clarity – The Most Critical Aspect of a Successful Organization

If I had to pick one word that was most critical to defining and driving the success of an organization, it would be CLARITY.  Clarity is of vital importance to every aspect of an organization at a business and personal level.  Setting the overall direction of a company, roles, and responsibilities, setting goals and recognizing success are all areas that can all be improved with clarity.

Through my experience, I have found that most companies, large or small, suffer from a lack of clarity at some level.  While it may manifest itself in different ways, I believe that clarity is an underlying cause of many challenges.  And, while a major issue, it truly isn’t impossible to overcome.  If companies understand the importance of clarity and drive it across the organization, success will improve.

Here are a few key areas of critical importance to success:

Clarity of:

  • Purpose – By establishing a clear purpose for an organization or company, you drive an understanding of what the company is about and what it will take to be successful. This clarity of purpose can be trickled down throughout the rest of the company and departmental and individual levels.  Each level of the organization should be able to look at the clearly defined purpose of the level above and be able to understand their role in success.  This clarity will also drive a higher level of engagement because people want to know that they are part of a bigger purpose and that what they are doing matters at a broader level.
  • Roles & Responsibilities – Once the purpose of an organization is clear, clearly defining Roles & Responsibilities becomes critical. By having this level of clarity, an organization can operate more effectively and efficiently with less of a chance for overlap and conflict within an organization or across organizational boundaries.  Individuals will have full visibility of the roles of others and know how to help their success and when to lean on them for support.
  • Communications – having clear and direct communications minimizes the confusion in the organization and provides a common understanding across all parties. While everyone has a different communication style, from short one-line messages to long drawn out explanations, it is important to encourage clear messaging.  People should understand if there is action required or if it is for informational purposes only.  If there is any question, then the message isn’t clear enough.
  • Objectives – When setting targets and objectives at the company or individual levels, the more detailed and clear the better. The objectives should be clearly linked to the overall purpose of the organization and/or the role of the individual.  This linkage will drive a higher level of connection and engagement.
  • Accountability – This is a big one that seems to be missing.  Once we have clarity on the overall purpose and visibility of our role in fitting with that purpose, we need to execute to drive success.  Then be held accountable to that execution.  Many companies I have worked with can get to a level of clarity of the purpose, but then fall when it comes to accountability.  Part of a leader’s role is to clearly articulate the expectation of performance and the consequences of not performing.  I will cover that in a later article.

What other areas can you think of that would improve with clarity?  Make sure you make it a point to focus on clarity across your organization and on a personal level – I guarantee you will have a stronger impact and more success.

 

Why She Loves Volleyball

I’m From Volleyball

I’m from the court

I’m from squeaky shoes and dusty floors

I’m from “is that all you got!”

I’m from “Sweet 16’s”

I’m from dripping sweat and smelly knee pads

I’m from pass, set, hit, cover, block, repeat

I’m from “get lower” and “get behind the 10”

I’m from lot’s of homework

I’m from bruises and floor burns

I’m from tight nets and full ball carts

I’m from 2 tempo sets

I’m from 3 hour practices

I’m from hard work and dedication

I’m from Volleyball!

 

by Gabriele White

GabrieleWhite.com

 

Practice Autonomy

Success Tip: Focus on the Choices You Do Have

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“You are who you choose to be.” – Hogarth in Iron Giant

Create Success by Focusing on the Choices You Do Have

People who feel like they have autonomy are more productive, show more persistence at a task, and experience less stress and burn-out.  You and your employees feel more motivated when you have autonomy over how something gets accomplished. There are many things you can’t control. They key is to focus on what you can control instead of what you can’t control.  Successful people differentiate themselves by focusing on the choices where they can make a difference and have an impact rather than complaining about the things they don’t get to choose.

Quick Tip:  There is a difference between not having choices and not liking your choices. Take a moment to acknowledge you do have a choice even if you don’t like the outcomes.

 

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My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

7 Things Every Entrepreneur has to Learn About People to Accelerate Growth

Managing people is tough; they don’t come with a manual and they are even less predictable than profit and cash flow. Even worse, you are may be the most important and yet the worst employee you have. Here are seven ideas to help you navigate the people challenges associated with growing your company, including managing yourself.

  1. Your Health and Personal Life are important to the company – The company needs 100% of your focus to succeed. In order to make that happen, you have to be available both physically and mentally. If you come to work tired and run down with lots of personal challenges occupying your thoughts, you can’t provide your best leadership. But if you come to work energized and excited, with new ideas to solve the most recent challenges, everyone else will do the same. Take time to exercise. Allocate time in your schedule to nurture your closest relationships and also to relax and do nothing. Manage your finances or have someone you trust manage them for you. In order to master the many challenges of growing your business, you need to come to work with a clear mind and healthy body.
  2. Invest in an executive team – growth brings more clients, more employees, more technology, more products, more financials, more decisions, and more pitches to name a few. You need an executive team you can trust with various parts of the business as you focus on the areas with the most strategic importance. You will need a team that you trust to keep all aspects of the business running, who understand your vision, and who have the business acumen and knowledge to continuously be improving company performance. An executive team will make the hard decisions and will help you learn and grow as a leader. If you have to make all the decisions, constantly check-in, or continuously train and teach, you don’t have the right team and you need to make changes in yourself and your team before you can accelerate your growth
  3. Trust your team – Hire good people and let them do their jobs. If you can’t trust them to do their jobs, you have to let them go. To successfully grow a company, you have to let go of more and more areas of the business which you would really prefer to continue owning. If you can’t trust the people you hire, then the growth of the company will be limited to your bandwidth. Many entrepreneurs struggle with micro-management and trusting their team to do as good a job as they would. No one is as good as you, no one is as committed as you, no one has put as much of their blood, sweat, and tears into the company as you have. But if you want to grow the company, you have to trust that they will be good enough and can do a better job by focusing 100% on the task than you can do by focusing only 1% on the task. The more of your team you trust, the bigger the company can grow.
  4. Give clear direction, again and again – “If you have said it once, you have said it a thousand times…” but they still don’t seem to get it. That is why you have to tell them 1,000 more. The ideas are crystal clear in your head because you have been thinking about this business every waking hour of your life for the past however many years. Unfortunately, everyone else is behind. They need your vision and your clear direction so they can deliver your dream. Hopefully they got the big picture right away, but it will take a while before they understand all the nuances and details like you do. Keep telling them and keep clarifying. In order to grow your business, you need a mass of people who understand enough to keep everyone else going in the right direction. The more people who eventually “get it”, the bigger your company can grow.
  5. Your people will fail – there are no perfect companies, perfect employees, perfect partners, or perfect entrepreneurs. Sooner or later someone on the team is going to fail at something important. How you handle that failure and that person will resonate throughout your company and your culture for years to come. Do you want to create a culture of risk takers who are always willing to push the envelope, or do you want a team that is careful and deliberate about never confronting any unknown outcomes? If you want to grow your company, know that failure will exist and prepare your team and yourself to create the atmosphere that will best support the kind of culture you want to live and work in.
  6. You are not alone – Friends, family, advisors, and employees are all on this journey with you and most will sacrifice significantly to help you succeed. More than likely they helped you get to this level and they will become even more vital to getting you to the next level. You need people to humble you, challenge you, and to bounce ideas off of. You need people to pick you up when you are down. You need someone you can go to when you run out of ideas or when you run into that huge problem you have never faced before. Don’t suffer and struggle when you can reach out to others and get their support. Don’t waste your time trying to prove something when you can accelerate your growth by reaching out to your network of support. Most of your network will welcome the opportunity to help you succeed in whatever way they can. You are not alone, reach out and ask for help if you want to successfully grow your company.
  7. Enjoy the ride – Nothing stops growth faster than a disengaged leader. If you are not having fun and not feeling like you are accomplishing something and making a difference, than you can’t push the company to the next level. For many people, their best years at work are while they are working crazy hours, creating unexpected results, and making a difference for their team, their company, and often the world. If you don’t still feel that passion, if you are not ignited by the thought of waking up every morning and changing the world, then you won’t be able to successfully grow the company. Leadership and success are hard. Building great companies is even harder. Make sure you are having fun and enjoying the ride, or your results will eventually suffer. Don’t sacrifice your time for money. Have fun! Make a difference. Change the world; and most importantly be happy. Enjoy the ride and you will find that growth and success can be sustained for a long, long time.

 

Check out our previous list of what you have to learn about your business before you can grow successfully.

Hopefully this list is helpful and you are on a path for profitable growth. What else would you add to the list?

 

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My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

6 Things Every Entrepreneur Has to Learn to Accelerate Growth

Starting a company is tough, but sometimes entrepreneurs find that growing their company is even more challenging. Here are 6 areas you should learn about to help you be more successful as you grow your company.

  1. Manage the big vision instead of the details – When you first get started, you are responsible for every little detail of the business. In order to grow you have to turn those details over to other people and trust they will handle them. This is more painful and difficult than many people realize. You have invested your heart, soul, and life into the business, you are often operating on a razor’s edge, and you don’t want anything to go wrong. But to grow and expand you have to let others handle the details. You can still confirm they are on the right path and do spot checks to ensure your big vision is still on track. But to grow, you can no longer do or know everything about the business.
  2. Build a revenue machine – There are many aspects to a business that you need to manage; from operations, technology, and hiring to product development and profitability. But the one thing that differentiates a business from a hobby is revenue. Is someone willing to pay for what you provide? In order to grow, you don’t just need one client, you need a system for continuously finding prospects and turning them into customers. A system that can scale and a system that you can turn over to other people in your company. We call this a revenue machine. You may always be involved with landing the big clients and overall revenue growth, but you need a revenue machine that continues to function even when you have to focus on one of your other 15 jobs within the company. In order to grow your business; build a consistent predictable revenue machine.
  3. Understand your financials – Are you profitable? Which products are generating the most margin? Which geographies? Which channels? What is your cash flow and run rate? What are your biggest expenses and how can you manage them? Can you afford to hire new team members or to invest in new technology and equipment? Clients and employees may be your focus, but your financials are how you measure your results and make key decisions about where you company needs you most. Without good financials, you will eventually grow your company into failure. If you want to successfully grow your business, make time to take a basic business financials course and hire someone you trust to not just “do the monthly books”, but to provide you with the financial insight that will ensure you grow successfully.
  4. Cash Flow is king – An often overlooked part of any business growth plan is cash flow. A simple way to look at Cash Flow is do you have enough money in your checking account to cover your payroll at the end of the month. Lots of companies have accounting profits and empty bank accounts. Without cash flow, you can’t hire more people, open new geographies, invest in new technologies, or even pay for travel to pitch new partners and clients. Many companies survive years without making a profit, but they all fail the day they run out of cash. So, to grow a company successfully you have to be vigilant about improving your cash flow. Whether that is customer growth, accounts receivables, loans from banks, or new investors; as the leader you have to ensure the company exists long enough to take advantage of the next big opportunity that is coming around the corner.
  5. Some clients are more important than others – It is a common refrain “every client counts,” and that is extremely true for the first few clients and maybe even the 10th or 15th But eventually, if you want to grow the company, you have to choose where you will focus your efforts. It may be because of size or for strategic reasons, but some clients will need to be at the top of your contact list while others drop down towards the bottom. If you can’t prioritize your clients and your time, you will not be able to grow your business.
  6. Always be looking for that next big deal – If you want to grow, you always have to be on the lookout for that next big deal. It could be that new giant client that doubles your size overnight, a new and lucrative distribution channel, a new product, or a new partnership. Whatever it is, you have to be diligent and focused about looking for and preparing yourself and the company for that next big deal. You can’t grow if you don’t get it, and you can’t grow if you are not prepared to handle it when it finally happens. If you want to grow, start looking and preparing for that next big deal right now.

Next we’ll share 7 ideas for helping you navigate the rough seas of managing people and yourself to accelerate growth.

Hopefully this list is helpful and you are on a path for profitable growth. What else would you add to the list?

 

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MyHappiness App

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About 

My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

15 minutes prioritized me time

Success Tip: The U in Success

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“Don’t be so busy making a living that you fail to make a life.”

You are the key to success for yourself, your family, and your company.  If you don’t take care of yourself, stay engaged, and make sure you are physically and mentally available, then the great things you can do won’t get done.  If you are resentful because you never get time for yourself then you won’t be as productive, you will lose interest, and you will eventually become over stressed and burnout.  Your success at your career is dependent on you making time for yourself and doing the activities that interest you and keep you healthy.   Make time for you, and you will come to work refreshed, excited, and full of new ideas to help the company grow and prosper.

 

Quick Tip:  Take baby steps.   Make changes in small increments.  Don’t start with a marathon, walk around the block every day until it becomes a habit, then expand from there. Set aside 15 minutes for 30 days, then grow that to 20 minutes.  Make small changes and turn them into habits.

 

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MyHappiness App

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About 

My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

Your To-Do List is Your Life. What’s On Your List?

Look at your to-do list. Right now, right here, this is your life. The to-do list sitting on your desk is how you are going to spend your day and your life. Think about how you spent yesterday and the day before. Was it running around trying to get everything on your list done? Are you really busy now, hoping that eventually, you will get caught up, and then be able to relax and do what you want? Your to-do list is your life. It is a list of how you are choosing to spend your time each day. For some people that is a really good feeling, while for many others, knowing that your to-do list is your life is extremely scary.

The good news is you create your to-do list. You can always make a new list and change your direction. You can always choose to build a different life, starting today.

 

What’s On Your List?

Think about what is on your list and what you want to accomplish. Is your to-do list full of things that will make you better? Things that once accomplished you will feel good about? Does your to-do list have items that will make other people’s lives better? Is your to-do list filled with actions that will make you happier today or in the near future? Are you going to make a difference for someone today? Are the things you are going to do, going to matter for your family, your friends, and other people in the world?

 

What On Your List is Hard?

Some things on your to-do list are hard and you are not sure you can complete them successfully. But you can still enjoy trying. Hard work for a good purpose is worthwhile and will help you feel happier and accomplished.

 

Should I Do Things that Are Not Fun?

We all have things we have to do that won’t be pleasant. We can’t completely eliminate the mundane, the boring, or the things that are necessary but not fun. Our challenge is that, often, those things crowd out the good things in our lives. We get focused on doing and forget we are also supposed to be living and happy.

 

Re-Write Your To Do List

If you want to be happier re-write your to-do list. Start with a blank sheet of paper and at the top, prioritize the things that will matter or make difference for someone else. Add additional items that will make you feel accomplished or fulfilled; even if they are only baby steps that move you in the right direction. Then add the rest of the mundane, boring, and must do’s. Always make time for the items at the top of your list, and the bottom of your list will become easier and more enjoyable.

Your life is made up of todays not tomorrows. Don’t sacrifice your todays hoping tomorrow will be better. Create a happier to-do list today! Decide how you will spend your life today and every day.

 

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MyHappiness App

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About 

My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

Success Tip: Focus on What Went Right

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Don’t spend your commute ruminating about what you did wrong that day at work.  Instead take the time to review what went right and why it went right.  We all have to handle problems throughout the day, but you can end the day on a positive note that builds on your strengths and gives you reasons to be happy about the day.

Fill your memory with a list of small successes and it will provide you the confidence to create the bigger successes.

Quick Tip: At the end of each project ask the team what they were most proud of or what they learned.

 

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MyHappiness App

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About 

My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

Use Every Experience as a Learning Opportunity

 

We all love to learn from great people and great leaders, but we also need to embrace learnings from those that aren’t great.  We can leverage most every experience as a learning opportunity.  Sometimes it will be to leverage the greatness that we have experienced and others will be to ensure that we don’t duplicate an unpleasant experience.

As I evolved over my career, I experienced some great leaders that have motivated me to go beyond my comfort areas and drive success where I didn’t believe it existed.  They were clear in their communications and expectations. They were very supportive leaders who would accept a failure as a milestone towards success; always leveraging the good or ensuring that I learned from the experience and put it to good use in the future.  I am sure that you too have had managers like this and would like to emulate their style as part of your leadership qualities.

Then there was the opposite end of the spectrum.  Leaders who are overly aggressive and had a more confrontational style.  Leaders who belittle you in front of others and simply aren’t motivational.  This style of leadership focused on the negatives, no matter how many positives existed.  While these leaders may be some of the most intellectually intelligent people you have worked with in the past, studies continue to show that emotional intelligence and attitude is a stronger indicator of success than IQ.

While at the end of the day, my personal belief is that both leaders are trying their best to drive success in the organization.  The HOW (how they executed) in their styles is the difference.  Nonetheless, we will all experience both types of leaders over our careers.  The challenge is how we handle these experiences and leverage them to grow our styles positively.

Leveraging the positive and nurturing experience is probably easier.  We feel good and see the positives in the style.  We can take that good feeling and translate it into how we interact with others by providing clarity in communications, inspiring to look for the positive, nurturing and encouraging when challenges occur.

On the other hand, attempting to take the negative experiences and evolve them into how you develop your style is likely more difficult.  You are experiencing something that you know you don’t like, so trying to leverage them to create your style is difficult.

First of all, as you are “in” the situation, as hard as it may be, understand that you are still gaining valuable experience.  The experience is coming from two perspectives.  First, you are in a role where you are accumulating knowledge and experience in your daily task.  This is experience that you will be able to take with you and reference over your career.  No matter how difficult the leadership is, this is something that they can’t take away from you.

Second, from a leadership perspective, you are learning how “not” to do something.  While it may be difficult to translate into direct actions for you in a leadership role.  The key learning is that you know it is a difficult situation and not a position you’d want to push on others.  Are there aspects of this leader that are good, and if leveraged differently, could help you be a better leader?  Make sure you take a mental picture of all of these instances so that when you are in a similar situation, you will be act accordingly.

The bottom line is that we will all have positive and negative learning experiences over our career.  How we learn from both will be how we mold our leadership style.  How will you leverage your experiences?