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by Nancy Richardson & Rochelle Davidson, CPCC, ACC | November 12, 2019

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The Boss Effect: Choosing Your Boss Wisely, Being the Boss People Choose


Research suggests that people often quit their bosses, not their companies. If you are a manager, take a closer look and determine what type of boss you are.

4 Types of Bosses

“New Bosses” tend to be over-promoted and placed in leadership positions before they’ve demonstrated the leadership acumen required for that role. They have an adequate level of intelligence and are focused on the status and power their title brings. The “New Boss” tends to feel threatened and lacks the experience required to handle adverse situations, often leaning on others for advice.

“Smart Bosses” exist in most organizations. They work very hard to be the smartest person in the room at all times, often trumping every idea and always having the last word. “Smart Bosses” can be the most abrasive type, yet they often don’t realize they come across this way.

“Nice Bosses” are the easiest because they are, well, so nice. It feels good to work for them as they typically have extreme wisdom, life experience, and perspective to offer. However, because they have been in leadership positions for a very long time, they are often far removed from the work to the point where their experience is no longer current. It can feel like they’ve lost touch.

“Wise Bosses” are calm, confident, and without ego. They have done the work themselves, earned their stripes, and grown into their leadership role from the bottom up. They have been guided and coached by the best and seek out a massive amount of leadership training wherever they can find it.  

Our goal here is that you learn to discern the qualities you have as a boss and what’s important to you so that you can legitimately be in a position to create your legacy. This may include qualities, skills, and behaviors, and it may also include how you want others to feel when they work with you. This will be very personal to you. What are your non-negotiables as a boss? And what are your nice-to-have’s? Also, consider what kind of boss you DO NOT want to be, and be disciplined in becoming the best version of yourself.

Possible questions to ask yourself include the following:

Who are you as a leader?

  • What are your current development goals as a leader?
  • What strengthens/energizes you as a leader? What weakens/exhausts you?
  • How do you deal with challenges/adversity/change?
  • When are you at your best?
  • When are you at your worst?
  • What would you count on me for?
  • What could I count on you for?
  • How would others describe you as a leader?
  • What significant failure have you experienced? What did you learn from it?
  • What has been the toughest yet most helpful feedback you’ve ever received?
  • What would happen if I disagreed with you?
  • Why would I want you as a boss?
  • Why would I not want you as a boss?
  • What can I learn from you?
  • What do you want to learn from me?
  • To what degree will I be able to influence change?
  • How much autonomy will I have? (Note: consider how much autonomy you want!)
  • What will my decision-making authority be?

Any of the four kinds of bosses described has something to offer, depending on what kind of boss you are at any given time in your career. What are your goals? What are the conditions in which you will have the largest impact?

Find your freedom in all of it by knowing that you are in the driver’s seat; you have control over how you show up in the workplace. 


NANCY RICHARDSON began her career with a BA from the University of Washington and an MBA from Ohio State University. After more than twenty years of working in large, corporate environments, including Starbucks and Lululemon—where she put in insane hours and had little time with her family, and where others determined her worth—she decided to design her own life by tapping into the era of start-ups and passion projects, building meaningful brands, and working from home to spend more time with her family. She is the Founder & Principal Strategist of Dragon Lady and CEO of Mom ’n’ Pop Shop. Her mission is to embolden the workforce of the future. Nancy was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, and currently lives in Vancouver, Canada. She can be reached on LinkedIn and at Mom ’n’ Pop Shop and WorkFreely.

ROCHELLE DAVIDSON, CPCC, ACC, is Chief Embolden Officer at Rochelle Davidson Coaching Her purpose is to embolden and equip people and organizations to create their unique impact in the world. With a BA in Business from the University of British Columbia and an MA in Applied Behavioral Sciences from Bastyr University, she is at her best when partnering with leaders to create healthy employees and workplaces, to get results that matter. Rochelle is a proud cancer survivor and this experience has further fuelled her mission to see people and organizations thrive, not merely survive. She supports her clients in creating environments where their people are inspired, connect in meaningful ways, and use their strengths to contribute to something bigger than themselves and has worked with companies including Lululemon Athletica, Accenture and the University of British Columbia. Rochelle is a certified professional coach, credentialed through International Coach Federation and Coaches Training Institute. Rochelle lives a life she loves in Vancouver, Canada. She can be reached on LinkedIn, at WorkFreely.co and at rochelledavidson.com.

Their new book, Work Freely: Love Your Job. Love Your Life. is available on WorkFreely.co,  Amazon and other fine booksellers now.

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