Who Is Your Worst Boss?

The real answer requires a mirror.

“Having a low opinion of yourself is not ‘modesty.’ It’s self-destruction. Holding your uniqueness in high regard is not ‘egotism.’ It’s a necessary precondition to happiness and success.” — Bobbe Sommer

Of all the people you’ve worked for, who was the worst?

The stories of poor leadership are legion. I’ve had some real doozies in my life. I would sum up the worst aspects of such “leaders” as follows:

  • Set unclear direction and responsibilities.

  • Accept the credit for success.

  • Play the blame game for each failure.

  • Micromanage to the point of harassment.

  • Denigrate incessantly.

I could go on, but you know the drill. No doubt you’ve had similar experiences, but as bad as some bosses have been, none of them hold the title of world’s worst boss in your life.

That title is reserved for YOU. You are your own worst boss.

Seth Godin sums it up quite well...

“If you had a manager that talked to you the way you talked to you, you’d quit. If you had a boss that wasted as much of your time as you do, they’d fire her. If an organization developed its employees as poorly as you are developing yourself, it would soon go under.”

You are hard on yourself. I’m convinced such expectations come from a good place. You want to be the best you can be. Unfortunately, you often go too far. You enter the danger zone of self destruction.

The only way out is to regularly check yourself. Turn that negative energy into positive, productive retrospectives. Dial down the emotion and dial up the analytics.

There is a technique in athletic coaching that helps settle athletes when they make a mistake: Ditch the emotion. Focus on technique. Pick one thing you will improve right there in the moment. Then get after it.

Give yourself a break. Spend less time berating and more time analyzing.


In what ways are you hardest on yourself?

What conditions trigger self-destruct mode?