There are tough bosses, and there are tough bosses we love.
Tough-and-great bosses are those who push and criticize us and we still sadistically yearn for more.
One of my tough bosses had standards that were barbarically exorbitant. Once we were preparing for a large trade show and he asked us to elevate the grand stage by 1 inch, an hour before the show. I still think he was being a jerk and an asshole just to make a point.
He was very stingy with praises. After a budget pitch to the executive team he said to me, “Your jokes were lame.” I retorted, “Do you have anything positive to say about the pitch?”
“Your jokes were lame. That’s all I had to say. That’s very positive.”
What I observed was many of these tough-and-great bosses were great at conveying the nuanced impression of “you performed horribly and you are not a horrible person.”
They were highly skilled at instilling self confidence in us. Under their spell, instead of expending energy to sort out the emotional struggles that came with the feeling of inadequacy, we were able to focus all our effort on improving.
And the most amazing part? They did so with zero effort and sugar coating.
Radical #bossbetter? Yep.