Good Cop, Bad Cop.

Do you motivate or demotivate? Photo by
What type of manager are you? Do you motivate or demotivate? | Photo by

Think of your manager as a figure of authority whose responsibility is to maintain harmony within the department or team, ensure that tasks are undertaken and completed, and provide a certain amount of protection for the employees.

If you were a manager, you’d want your employees to work well with one another and do their jobs properly. At the same time, if any harm that comes to them, whether it’s an attack from upper management or other departments pushing their work to your team, you’d be the first in line to cushion the blow. Whether you want your team to take on tasks that are not theirs to do in the first place, or push back and stand your ground is entirely up to you.

What I overheard on the radio this morning on my way to work was this question that occupied my mind until I reached the office parking lot. Consider the situations below. Which would you rather have?:

  • A good job but a bad boss?
  • A good boss but a bad job?

Good question. Have you worked for a bad manager before? I had the opportunity to work with both a good manager and a bad manager. Sadly, neither situation worked for me. I had a good manager but I didn’t like my job. It wasn’t a bad job, as in, the job didn’t degrade me in any way. I just didn’t feel the positive vibe that most people get when they do something they love. But she was a good manager. She demanded respect in ways that nobody thought she was being a communist about it. She was a good manager and a good leader.

There was a time when I had to work for three bad managers. I didn’t mind the jobs. I didn’t mind the responsibilities I took on to expand my knowledge and learn more. I think my breaking point was because my then managers weren’t capable of leading me, managing me, and motivating me. I was different from the rest of the employees. I worked differently. My learning curve was too steep. I had a different personality. They couldn’t work well with me, and neither could I.

So I left. I had four jobs in two years and I never found the right equation… until June, when an ex-manager I used to work with in a previous company rang me up with a proposal — to be the Social Media Administrator for the company she’s working at. I’ve not reported to her before, but I have worked with her and I knew what she’s like. I knew what her expectations were like as well. So I grabbed the chance to work with her again, I’ve not looked back since.

Earning Esteem | Photo by Julie van der Poel, in Autism After 16.
Earning Esteem | Photo by Julie van der Poel in Autism After 16.

So I guess I can add a third situation to the two above: You can have a good job AND a good boss. Yes, you can have your cake and eat it.


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