Are You a Good Boss or a Great One? If You Want to keep Growing of a Leader, Ask Yourself These Key Questions.
These thoughts plagued Jason, an experienced manager, as he lay awake one night fretting about a new position he’d taken. For more than five years he had run a small team of developers in Boston. They produced two highly successful lines of engineering textbooks for the education publishing arm of a major media conglomerate. On the strength of his reputation as a great manager of product development, he’d been chosen by the company to take over an online technical-education start-up based in London. Jason arrived at his new office on a Monday morning, excited and confident, but by the end of his first week he was beginning to wonder whether he was up to the challenge. In his previous work he had led people who’d worked together before and required coordination but little supervision. There were problems, of course, but nothing like what he’d discovered in this new venture. Key members of his group barely talked to one another. Other publishers in the company, whose materials and collaboration he desperately needed, angrily viewed his new group as competition. The goals he’d been set seemed impossible—the group was about to miss some early milestones—and a crucial partnership with an outside organization had been badly, perhaps irretrievably, damaged. On top of all that, his boss, who was located in New York, offered little help. “That’s why you’re there” was the typical response whenever Jason described a problem. By Friday he was worried about living up to the expectations implied in that response. Do Jason’s feelings sound familiar? Such moments of doubt and even fear may and often do come despite years of management experience. Any number of events can trigger them: An initiative you’re running isn’t going as expected. Your people aren’t performing as they should. You hear talk in the group that “the real problem here is lack of leadership.” You think you’re doing fine until you, like Jason, receive a daunting new assignment. You’re given a lukewarm performance review. Or one day you simply realize that you’re no longer growing and dvancing—you’re stuck.