I don’t have a lot of great boss stories, so these are very special to me.
This particular story is important because it wasn’t about a boss I reported to directly. This was The Big Boss – three layers above me. It wasn’t someone I had a lot of daily contact with, but I had spent the past month in close contact with him on a large strategic project.
The project itself was hell. I was leading an effort to pull together the strategy that The Big Boss would present to The Chairman. Everyone had different opinions; at least a dozen people thought they were in charge; there was more than the usual jockeying and positioning and power plays. What else is new, right? I had to make sense of it all.
In the end, the project was a success. No one got any big awards. No one got promoted. We did get to keep our jobs. That was the good news but that wasn’t the best part. Can you feel the suspense building? Here’s the best part:
The day of The Big Presentation I arrived in my office to find a voicemail left for me by The Big Boss. It went something like this:
“I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for all the effort you put into this project. Your leadership was key and we have the right answer.”
I was stunned for a few minutes. Usually these kinds of messages would be passed down via an immediate manager – and even then they were rare. The fact that The Big Boss took the time to personally leave the message before The Big Presentation let me know that he really recognized the work I had done.
Those few words made me a fan of that boss forever!
I know there are still some really good bosses out there! What’s your great boss story?