Good boss, bad boss

A few days ago I realized that this year marks a decade of my career in Human Resources. Over this past decade I have had the opportunity to work with a variety of bosses and in some of my roles, I have had the opportunity to manage teams.

So I wrote down a few points about the different types of bosses that I have had and how they have influenced me. Of course, it was almost easier to remember all the annoying traits and the more I thought about them, the more it became clear to me that I have been all those annoying traits to someone else. But first a little more about these amazing boss traits. 

Amazing bosses really led their team to excellence and did it with compassion. They were not afraid to fail, they gave solid feedback to help people improve, and they invested time in mentoring. They let their teams own their projects, encouraging innovation and leadership.

They measured outcomes against high standards. Trust was common. These leaders helped their team shine before their own bosses and were comfortable leading with a servant heart. They stood up for their teams, protecting them from fruitless labour. They didn’t feel threatened when their teams knew more than them and were able to accept their mistakes. They created a growth attitude and pushed their teams to new challenges to enable them to become stronger.

They bought treats for their teams out of their own pocket. They let their teams rest on vacations and weekends. They knew their families and bothered to ask about them sometimes. They discouraged gossip and kindled a culture of respectful feedback. They knew how to celebrate successes. These are the leaders that have impacted me so deeply and I strive to be like them.

Now on to some funny traits:  


I am always stressed out – I work all the time and expect my team to do the same.

I stress over minute details and I need to please everyone! What if they don’t like me?! is my greatest fear. As a result, I can’t give thorough feedback, can’t handle feedback about myself, but end up making my team rework everything just because someone suggested it.

I am competent so I micromanage. I am always late to meetings because I always “need” to finish “one more thing”.

20180421_160314I know more than you ever will – how dare you try to teach me! I need to reply to all emails immediately – even during sensitive meetings.

You can’t expect me to remember everything and I can’t bear any blame. It is always someone else’s mistake. Be diplomatic with me and praise me all the time, not because I need affirmation but because I truly deserve it – I am the best.

Every one likes me – what’s not to like? I am full of life and I know everything.

20180421_160302I hear no feedback, I change nothing! Don’t innovate and just do it my way.

I can show strategic compassion to make my team feel valued. If someone in my team knows more than me, they will be favoured above the others.

If you make a mistake, I will reprimand you in front of the team so that no one ever thinks of repeating that mistake ever! I love gifts, initiative and people who follow instructions impeccably. 


20180421_160322I am laid back and I am awesome. I have a new vision speech every week but can’t seem to follow through on any plans. I think it’s because I am a perfectionist and if I cannot do it perfectly, I won’t do it at all.

I borrow ideas and spin it off as my own, taking credit for work I didn’t do. If I am leading a project, I cannot delegate because no one else can do it a perfectly. It’s okay if I miss important deadlines that impact my team.

I hate confrontation but you can pick up hints from my passive aggression.

I guess we are all combinations of some good boss and some bad boss. Being self aware can help us become better bosses and have lasting impacts in the lives of our teammates. If you have had a good boss, remember to send them a thank you note today.



Entrepreneurial Employees

Entrepreneurial employees – the one consistent wish on every manager’s list. Not everyone with an entrepreneurial mindset end up starting their own companies – some of them work for other companies and are probably part of your team now. 

Habits of employees with an entrepreneurial mindset:traits-of-entrepreneurs

  • They don’t hesitate to take initiative and display strong leadership skills
  • They are constant learners and use opportunities to grow
  • They are driven by outcomes and impatient to succeed
  • They can work independently without supervision
  • They will leave your company sooner than later unless you give them a purposeful reason to stay. 

A manager’s leadership style can influence how entrepreneurial an employee will be. There are certainly some employees who will always just show up at work and do the bare minimum in exchange for a paycheck. But even in that situation, managers can encourage an attitude of entrepreneurship. On the other hand, employees who have an entrepreneurial mindset will also stop investing in the company if the leader fails to manage them well.

Managers who destroy entrepreneurship share some common traits:

  • They micromanage their employees because they believe that any amount of autonomy granted to employees will be exploited. Managers who believe this find it difficult to trust their employees with the simplest of projects.
A new manager was assigned to a team and the manager began to believe that the team did not have enough work. To remedy that, she began managing them so closely that the team decided to let her do all the work and simply do what they were told. Despite creating verbal action plans during meetings, her team would not deliver on projects. Whenever she confronted them, the same excuse was shared, “I didn’t know that I was supposed to do that.” The manager was frustrated with her team and decided that the best course of action was to start managing them even more closely. Since her team lacked initiative in leading projects, she decided to send them detailed notes at the end of each meeting to dictate every task that she had assigned to them so that they would no longer be able to use their usual excuse.

There are three main problems with this approach. Firstly, the manager will end up wasting a lot more time each day writing out those detailed emails to them. Secondly, if she does miss including something in her email, she will end up with the same ‘lack of initiative’ complain towards the team because the task will go unfinished. Additionally, her approach will crush any possibility of coaching her team to take ownership of their projects.

  • The other trait in managers that destroys an entrepreneurial spirit is criticizing new ideas and shooting down new solutions to problems. 
A friend of mine shared this about her manager. The manager encouraged new ideas only in theory. The manager would criticize the team for not thinking creatively but no matter how great an idea was, it would get rejected before it had even been fully discussed. And some of those ideas had potential. Needless to say, as time passed the team was less inclined to share ideas because everything was “shelved” for the future.

When faced with a problem, such managers then make it their responsibility to solve everything without including any inputs from the team. Even when inputs are encouraged, they steer the solution to what they had planned to do right from the start.

  • These managers end up delegating only mindless tasks that are aimed to keep employees busy without adding any value to the employee’s role. Some managers fail to learn the art of delegating.
A few months ago, I was discussing delegation skills with someone in a leadership role. The person was talking about their reasons for not delegating projects. They said that delegating often requires more effort to explain than to simply do the work themselves. The manager failed to understand that delegating projects in addition to coaching employees would be an easy way to develop the next line of leaders.

The other reason why this leader did not delegate was because they would wait too late to start the project and would run out of time to train someone else on the project. Needless to say, the manager was struggling to retain employees.

  • They believe that they need to stop employees with entrepreneurial mindsets from using company resources to build their own companies. Employees with an entrepreneurial mindset almost always have side businesses and it is this characteristic that makes them work smarter to make their employer succeed as well. 
 I was recently reading an entrepreneur’s success story. The entrepreneur admitted that he had spent hours building his own company while still employed at a full-time job. Instead of wasting down time at his job, he would use it all to work on his own company. After almost a year of working this way, he quit his full-time job and launched his own children’s book company.

During his role at his full-time job, he had succeeded in making a greater impact in the company than most of his other colleagues who were planning to work there for several more years.

If you want your team to continue developing an entrepreneurial attitude and exhibit a greater responsibility towards your company’s success, there are a few things that you can do.

Action Description
Be thoughtful in your leadership Managing employees with an entrepreneurial spirit requires  more transparent and approachable leadership instead of simply distributing tasks.
Allow your team to work independently Entrepreneurs work best when there aren’t suffocating and unnecessary rules. The successes that entrepreneurs create far outweigh the challenges of working with them.
Encourage and accept fresh ideas and solutions If the ideas that they offer are not useful, coach them to think critically and relevantly.
Delegate projects based on expertise Make your team grow by challenging them to work on projects that require critical thinking.
Be generous with time offs and adjusted schedules Employees who are granted more flexibility in choosing their work hours tend to use their time at work wisely and end up being more productive. (Important question for managers – do you want your employees to fake busyness or be genuinely productive?)
Hold them accountable Entrepreneurs thrive on outcomes. Let them be responsible for their successes and failures and guide them to think of effective solutions when they fail.

The right mix of leadership will help employees succeed and that, in turn, will result in greater success for the company. Those who don’t fit in will leave, and those who stay will excel. You will maximize resources, get more accomplished and overall have less managing to do. 

It’s true that there will still be those who will not turn entrepreneurial and will not take ownership of projects despite getting every opportunity to grow. They need to be managed differently.

If you have a great team, encourage them to be entrepreneurs. When you have a new hire, the work culture that you set with them will determine how engaged they are with the company’s success. Young professionals are often easier to mold than seasoned employees. Train them, coach them and let them work independently if you truly want to foster entrepreneurs and result in greater success.


The Overseas Magazine Editor

Business Books on our 2017 Reading List

Business books that you need to put on your reading list too!

Never split the difference.pngNever Split the Difference by Chris Voss and Tahl Raz

A former international hostage negotiator for the FBI offers a new, field-tested approach to high-stakes negotiations—whether in the boardroom or at home.



deep-workDeep Work by Cal Newport

Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It’s a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time.


launchLaunch by Jeff Walker

“Launch” will build your business—fast. Whether you’ve already got a business or you’re itching to start one, this is a recipe for getting more traction.



lean-startupThe Lean Startup, Eric Reis

Most startups fail. But many of those failures are preventable.  The Lean Startup is a new approach being adopted across the globe, changing the way companies are built and new products are launched.


4-hr-work-weekFour hour Workweek by Tim Ferris

Forget the old concept of retirement and the rest of the deferred-life plan–there is no need to wait and every reason not to, especially in unpredictable economic times.


reworkRework by Jason Fried

Rework shows you a better, faster, easier way to succeed in business. Read it and you’ll know why plans are actually harmful, why you don’t need outside investors, and why you’re better off ignoring the competition.


flyingFlying without a Net by Thomas J. DeLong

Confronted by omnipresent threats of job loss and change, even the brightest among us are anxious. In response, we’re hunkering down, blocking ourselves from new challenges.


executionExecution by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan

The book that shows how to get the job done and deliver results . . . whether you’re running an entire company or in your first management job.



captureAndrew Carnegie by David Nasaw

Celebrated historian David Nasaw, whom The New York Times Book Review has called “a meticulous researcher and a cool analyst,” brings new life to the story of one of America’s most famous and successful businessmen and philanthropists—in what will prove to be the biography of the season. Forget the old concept of retirement and the rest of the deferred-life plan–there is no need to wait and every reason not to, especially in unpredictable economic times.

capture1The 50th Law by 50 Cent

In The 50th Law, hip hop and pop culture icon 50 Cent (aka Curtis Jackson) joins forces with Robert Greene, bestselling author of The 48 Laws of Power, to write a “bible” for success in life and work based on a single principle: fear nothing.


capture3Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer

An instant bestseller that is poised to become a classic, Moonwalking with Einstein recounts Joshua Foer’s yearlong quest to improve his memory under the tutelage of top “mental athletes.”


capture4The Innovators Dilemma by Clayton Christenten

The bestselling classic on disruptive innovation, by renowned author Clayton M. Christensen.



capture5The Promise of a Pencil by Adam Braun

The riveting story of how a young man turned $25 into more than 200 schools around the world and the guiding steps anyone can take to lead a successful and significant life.



Have you read any of these yet? Share a book review with us by sending an email to






The 23 best business books to read this summer

reading beachA man reads a book at the Anantara Rasananda in Koh Phangan, Thailand.Paula Bronstein/Getty Images


Summer’s officially begun, and that probably means you’re going to need something to read on your next trip to the beach or for the long flight to your vacation destination.

You’ll be kicking back, but might as well bring something educational to accompany that magazine you picked up at the airport.

To help you out, we’ve selected our favorite business memoirs, career guides, and the most exciting research on the future of work.

You’re sure to find something to like that will also leave you with some ideas to take back to the office.

View As: One Page Slides


‘Sprint’ by Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky, and Braden Kowitz

'Sprint' by Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky, and Braden Kowitz


Ever wonder how you could bring some of Google’s magic into your office without installing a quirky slide between floors or investing in an on-site chef? “Sprint” can help you out.

It’s a guide from Google’s venture capital arm GV. Its design partners Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky, and Braden Kowitz explain how to implement their signature five-day “sprint” session.

They’ll show you how they’ve used this method to launch game-changing products with companies like Blue Bottle Coffee, Slack, and Nest.

Find it here »

‘Shoe Dog’ by Phil Knight

Nike is not only the world’s biggest athletic company, with a market cap of about $88 billion. It’s also, remarkably, been able to be a worldwide leader of “cool” since the 1970s.

It all started with a new college grad named Phil Knight who sold running shoes out of his parents’ garage.

Knight is retiring as the chairman of Nike this month, and he’s using his book “Shoe Dog” as the definitive story of how he built an empire. It’s a well-written and emotionally engaging story about an entrepreneur growing as a human being alongside the company in which he completely invested himself.

Find it here »

‘Originals’ by Adam Grant

'Originals' by Adam Grant

Penguin Random House

Adam Grant is a star in his field. He’s the highest-rated professor at Wharton and the youngest to ever reach “full professor.” His success is built on some of the most exciting and practical work in behavioral science.

In his latest book, Grant takes a look at some of the most innovative and daring thinkers of the past 100 years, from Martin Luther King, Jr. to the founders of Google, breaking down what goes on inside the mind of an “original.”

Find it here »

‘O Great One!’ by David Novak and Christina Bourg

'O Great One!' by David Novak and Christina Bourg


When David Novak retired as the chairman of Yum Brands (KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut) in May, he left behind a legacy of 41,000 restaurants across 125 countries and a market capitalization of about $34 billion.

His book “O Great One!” is a parable based on his own career that communicates the No. 1 leadership lesson he learned: The greatest thing a leader can do is show appreciation for great work.

Find it here »

‘How to Have a Good Day’ by Caroline Webb

'How to Have a Good Day' by Caroline Webb


Caroline Webb is the CEO of consulting firmSevenshift and a senior adviser to McKinsey, where she was formerly a partner. Her book is a collection of career best practices she’s learned in her 16 years as a consultant.

“How to Have a Good Day” may sound like a book full of self-affirmations, but it’s densely packed with field-tested career advice, from how to have productive meetings to how to deal with an annoying coworker.

Find it here »

‘Grit’ by Angela Duckworth

'Grit' by Angela Duckworth


What’s the one thing that West Point cadets, spelling-bee champs, Jeff Bezos, and Julia Child have in common?

Ask Duckworth, a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and a winner of the MacArthur “genius” award, and she’ll tell you: grit. That is, a combination of passion and perseverance that plays a huge role in determining your success in life — more so even than intelligence or innate talent.

To be sure, “Grit” and the psychology behind it have its critics, some of whom say that the research doesn’t add anything especially new. Regardless of where you stand, the book is a compelling read that will encourage you to start questioning your own potential for achievement.

Find it here »

‘An Everyone Culture’ by Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey

'An Everyone Culture' by Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey


In nearly every workplace, employees are working two jobs: the one they signed up for and the one spent navigating office politics, argue Harvard professors Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey in “An Everyone Culture.”

There are, however, companies that avoid this, and the authors call these Deliberately Developmental Organizations (DDOs).

Kegan and Laskow thoroughly analyze what they perceive to be the benefits of radical transparency through case studies on hedge fund giant Bridgewater, ecommerce company company Next Jump, and real estate company Decurion.

Find it here »

‘Quench Your Own Thirst’ by Jim Koch

'Quench Your Own Thirst' by Jim Koch


Today, Americans can walk into nearly any neighborhood supermarket or corner store and find at least one quality craft beer. But when Jim Koch left a consulting job with a $250,000 salary in 1984 to start a beer company and compete with the likes of Budweiser and Heineken, he seemed like a lunatic.

Today Koch’s Boston Beer Company, maker of Sam Adams, is a $2 billion company and one of the reasons why it’s no longer seen as crazy to open a brewery in the US.

“Quench Your Own Thirst” is the story of how he got there, told in Koch’s blunt, wry delivery — for example, in one chapter he breaks down the “F— You” rule he implemented at Boston Beer.

Find it here »

‘Deep Work’ by Cal Newport

'Deep Work' by Cal Newport


In 2016, nearly anyone living in the developed world has a short attention span from years spent jumping among smartphone apps and web browser tabs. It’s not a benign cultural change, argue Georgetown professor and bestselling author Cal Newport, because the greatest output is the result of what he calls “deep work.”

Newport’s book of the same name explains how one can build sessions of deep work into their work days to get more top-quality work done in the span of an hour than they otherwise would in the entire day.

Find it here »

‘Ego is the Enemy’ by Ryan Holiday

'Ego is the Enemy' by Ryan Holiday


For someone at the start of their careers, acting on ego can prevent them from constructive learning opportunities; for someone who has already experienced success, acting on ego can prevent them from adapting to change.

Bestselling author Ryan Holiday draws from history and philosophy to show how one can master one’s own ego, using examples that range from New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick to First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.

Find it here »

‘The Inevitable’ by Kevin Kelly

'The Inevitable' by Kevin Kelly


Kevin Kelly, one of the founders of Wired magazine, has established himself as a guru of Silicon Valley. “The 4-Hour Workweek” author Tim Ferriss un-ironically calls Kelly “the most interesting man in the world” and legendary tech investor Marc Andreessen dubbed “The Inevitable” an “automatic must-read.”

In it, Kelly gives you a sneak peek at the future, and how it will be shaped by maturing forces like artificial intelligence and the on-demand economy.

Find it here »

‘The Sleep Revolution’ by Arianna Huffington

'The Sleep Revolution' by Arianna Huffington


In 2007, after she’d been founder and editor of The Huffington Post for two years, Huffington fainted and woke up in a pool of blood. The likely reason, she determined later, was sleep deprivation.

Today, Huffington is a champion for snooze time. (She says she personally gets a full 8.5 hours of sleep every night.)

In “The Sleep Revolution,” she shares research and expert opinion on why it’s important to prioritize sleep, as well as tips on how to get a better night’s rest. Hint: Don’t bring your smartphone into bed with you.

Find it here »

‘Warren Buffett’s Ground Rules’ by Jeremy C. Miller

'Warren Buffett's Ground Rules' by Jeremy C. Miller


Investment analyst Jeremy Miller’s “Warren Buffett’s Ground Rules” is a thorough but easy-to-understand analysis of the investing principles of Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett, one of the greatest investors in history.

In fact, Miller’s analysis is so spot-on that the Oracle of Omaha himself gives it his full endorsement. “Mr. Miller has done a superb job of researching and dissecting the operation of Buffett Partnership Ltd. and of explaining how Berkshire’s culture has evolved from its BPL origin,” Buffett wrote.

Find it here »

‘Never Split the Difference’ by Chris Voss and Tahl Raz

Is Your Boss a Bottleneck?

We have all faced it – we work hard to secure a new deal and the boss takes forever to approve the final step! Bosses can seem super slow at times and you might need some strategies to work around the bottleneck.

Scenario 1: Your boss is a micro-manager.

Some managers micromanage because it’s their management style. Others micromanage to genuinely eliminate errors and improve quality because employees don’t do a good job. Determining the difference will help you start in the right direction. Be great at your job and eliminate reasons for delays. Then follow up frequently for a response. This should help with quicker feedback.

Scenario 2: Your boss has trust issues.

This could very well stem from past experiences. Help your boss restore trust in your abilities. Be transparent and do a great job. Don’t be afraid to let the boss take credit. Everyone knows your boss couldn’t have done it all on their own.

Scenario 3: Your boss has too much on their plate and is terrible at delegating.

We all know them – they like to keep it all till the last minute and then distribute them too close to deadline. Prove your capability and show initiative.

Scenario 4: Your boss just wants to look busy.

This could be the worst case scenario. Bosses who delay approvals just to look busy or they want to do it all because they want to take all the credit. In my experience, letting them know about the impact of the delay and being patient with them while you wait can help you survive this situation.

Scenerio 5: Your boss is disorganized.

The disorganized ones struggle with one more thing – failure to say no. They fail to figure out just how much work they have know, out of sight out of mind. Assist them in managing their projects. Keep track of your own projects. Bosses don’t mind reminders.

Scenario 6: Your boss is not transparent.

Your boss knows something you don’t and either is not authorized to share or doesn’t care to. Get an estimate of the turnaround timeline and ask smart questions to find out what’s really causing the delay. If everything fails, remain patient and assume the best.

If you’re an approving authority for your team, stop being the bottleneck. Communicate the reason for the delay to keep the team motivated and engaged.

Is your boss a bottleneck? Tell us how you work around it? 



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