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  • Tom Vachet

Have you ever had a terrible boss?

The majority of my professional career was spent as a consultant. However, there were a few times I was recruited inside, always to an executive position. In my first position I experienced my worst boss, who happened to be the founder and CEO.

I left a consultancy I had founded, that was literally a moneymaking machine, recruited by a client. I moved coast to coast, selling one home and buying another, and taking a cut in income to boot. The trade-off that I bargained for, was an opportunity to work inside a multinational manufacturing company, with offices in Switzerland and Chile, as VP Marketing and Sales.

Within my first week, the CFO pulled me into her office, closed the door, and proceeded to tell me the company had been printing red ink for seven consecutive years. It was one of two moments in my career I had to take a deep breath and think about what to do next. I went immediately into survivor mode, made the CFO my partner, and went about creating a plan to pull the company out of the ditch.

The biggest obstacle to our efforts was the CEO, who was a playboy and a spendthrift who wasted company money, and was completely disorganized. He created roadblocks throughout the implementation of our turnaround plan. As the plan began to show success, he became worse. He resented our success, and in particular my role in it. Although we were ultimately successful, he punished me throughout the entire process.

The good news was that I didn't waste the experience. I learned, from watching him, what not to do; how to be organized around a plan that had buy-in from all the stakeholders, how to be a good and fair manager, how to inspire the people who worked under me, and reward their efforts.

Eventually I gained the assistance of a mentor, an experienced senior executive. And I was able to build on that first terrible experience.

This is a great article that lays out perfectly the traits of a good boss and manager. I hope you enjoy it.

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