Note-8 Good Managers, Leaders, Mentors and Total Jerks

As I write this post, I know there is a possibility that one of my former bosses might be reading this. I just want to say that if you are connected with me I consider you as Manager, leader or Mentor and not a Jerk. I don’t connect with Jerks and I have had only two jerks as my bosses in my entire career.

I consider bosses in these four flavors. Some are also cocktails.

A Leader is someone I look up to and I trust their decisions. I know that on a professional career level I can follow their strain of thought and it will benefit me and the company I work for. A Manager need not necessarily be a leader.

A manager has the risk of being a jerk very quickly. As a direct report I will need something from the manager and vice versa. Many times one would think that a manager decides the career prospects of their direct reports. While that has some truth in many circumstances, a Good Manager knows how much they depend on their direct reports. It is a collaboration effort between two people to advance one anothers career prospects.

Two of my bosses who were jerks were managers who thought their direct reports were dispensable and were to be used for their career advancement. They did not understand this two way contract. No wonder they fell into my jerk list.

Now comes the Mentor. This is a title I usually give to people after I have left the company. That might just be me. These are people I keep in touch and reach out to during my career decisions. I value their opinion not just in reference to the company we worked together in but much beyond. And my mentors are not limited to bosses, but also colleagues and peers I worked with.

The interesting thing is that those who we find as leaders or Good Managers or mentors are not necessarily the same for others. These people might even be jerks according to others. We all live on our own experiences. That said, the two bosses I have in my Jerk list are in a few other people’s Jerk List as well… That is what I call total Jerks.

And FYI I have been an individual contributor and direct report most of my career. So I might be biased in my opinion.

Categories: Career & Work

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