Friday Comment Thread: 'Best and Worst Bosses Ever'

I talked Tuesday with an Understandably reader named Philippe Bouissou, who had posted on last week’s thread about working for Steve Jobs in the late 1990s. I wanted to hear more.

I’ll be writing on what we talked about soon, probably for Inc.com. But our conversation got me thinking about leadership, and about the many bosses I've had, both good and not so good.

At the risk of embarrassing a few of the best of them, I’d like to give them credit here:

  • Jerry Fridkin. My boss at the U.S. Department of Justice … had an encyclopedic knowledge of law … He taught me about compassion and communicating. (Jerry is a supporting player in this article about his wife in The Washington Post, but it tells you a lot about his character.) …

  • Bob Woodward. A fantastic boss who demonstrated amazing work ethic … also taught me about having faith in your work … Keep going, even when you’re not sure what you’re working toward… The goal will reveal itself ...

  • Vinit Bharara. Was a co-founder of Quidsi, acquired by Amazon for $550 million … Taught me humility … Also, the importance of “doing the math.” … If I had $1 for every time he asked me to calculate the marginal cost of something I wanted us to do, I’d buy you all lunch …

I suspect most of us have had similar experiences. We’ve had good bosses and bad bosses. We’ve tried to be good bosses ourselves.

So let’s hear about them:

Tell us about the best or worst boss you’ve ever had (even if it was a long time ago). What did you learn from him or her? What stories do you remember? And how did working for that person affect the way you try to lead today?

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