In my leadership workshops and keynote speeches I sometimes ask the group/audience to think of the best boss and worse boss they’ve ever had, what each did, and what effect it had on you.
People come up with all kinds of descriptors and behaviors of both bosses. But one thing emerges about the best boss ever (BBE). He or she is someone you want to work for…and keep working for.
Furthermore, a BBE is almost always someone that others in the organization would like to work for too. When an internal posting for a position in this manager’s department opens up, many people apply. They know that he/she will inspire them, give them opportunities to do their best work, encourage them, challenge them, and develop them. And that BBE doesn’t take himself/herself too seriously; there’s a refreshing humility present here.
BBE’s are “talent magnets.” I really like that term. I love the visual image of their drawing excellence to them and then of the synergy that results when all that talent starts working together.
But these “best bosses ever” don’t just aggregate talented employees. They nurture and grow the capacity and potential of their people. And, more than is the case with average managers, their people move on and up in the organization to new and greater contributions to the enterprise’s success. In other words, with the most talented employees, a form of reverse polarity at some point takes place.
Alas, methinks I stretch the magnet metaphor a bit too far.