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I was listening to Jack Welch's- Welch Way podcast and he answered a question on What is better situation at work: a Good boss in an Average company or Bad boss in a great company. Jack Recommends the latter and suggests sooner or later the bad boss is found and Ousted.

I had always been fortunate to work with great bosses over a period 22 years and in great organizations.Yes, about a decade back, the change of job was for a bad boss in a great company whom I couldn't live along even for 5 months as I felt that by the time company finds out (Since he was newly recruited as a last minute fit, with hobson's choice). I would be long dead. Of course, at that time there was no manager tools or other communication aids to consult or counsel.

I had chosen companies to work for the positive vibes and relations I had established with the hiring manager right from the interview process and it had sustained through out the job . Even when I changed jobs, the relations with the managers were maintained.

Just wondering what are the forum thoughts??.

Regards
Karthik

tomw's picture

[quote="karaikudy"]I was listening to Jack Welch's- Welch Way podcast and he answered a question on What is better situation at work: a Good boss in an Average company or Bad boss in a great company. Jack Recommends the latter and suggests sooner or later the bad boss is found and Ousted.[/quote]

That's not been my experience at all. I've seen bad bosses with 20 years in a company. Sometimes they got to where they were due to a little politicking in the office or appropriate application of lips to the proper person's posterior. That bad boss can often stay around a lot longer then you can put up with them.

I'd take the good boss every time.

HMac's picture

I like Jack Welch a lot - it's a special kick hearing him on his podcasts - but I'm going with my man TomW on this.

Maybe Jack [i]should [/i]have said:

[list]"Look, Susie, there are advantages to both. All of my work experience was at a single, large traditionally organized company, when there was a lot of stability in the workplace. So if you did your job well, you could have some confidence that you'd stay around, and outlast the jackass you worked for.

"But these days, individuals have to take a lot more control over their own career. And one of the most important allies you can get is a good boss, one who's gonna help you develop and advance (even if that means helping you advance to another company, because you've outgrown the one you're in!).

"So I think it depends. It's great to work at a great company. But if you're not getting what you need, and you're being blocked by some horse's ass, then you have to think about working somewhere else."[/list:u]

-Hugh

PS - If you're not a subscriber to Business Week's [i]The Welch Way podcasts[/i] (iTunes has 'em), add 'em to your feed. They're pretty good. And listening to Jack is a blast.

jhack's picture

Jack is right. The key is "great company." If they allow a bad manager to stick around, they're not a great company. If they don't promote you past a bad manager, they're not a great company.

And if you join a company only because you like the boss...well, how long will she be your boss? One reorg later, you're working for a bad boss in an average company. Plan ahead more than one move.

John

tomw's picture

[quote="jhack"]And if you join a company only because you like the boss...well, how long will she be your boss? One reorg later, you're working for a bad boss in an average company. Plan ahead more than one move. [/quote]

John is right about this.... and it's why I lose at chess too much. I don't think enough moves ahead.

US41's picture

[quote="jhack"]Jack is right. The key is "great company." If they allow a bad manager to stick around, they're not a great company. If they don't promote you past a bad manager, they're not a great company.

And if you join a company only because you like the boss...well, how long will she be your boss? One reorg later, you're working for a bad boss in an average company. Plan ahead more than one move.

John[/quote]

Good advice. Add to that a highly concentrated drop of cynicism, please: Almost all companies are bad companies. Almost all bosses are bad bosses. If you limit yourself to working for great companies and great bosses, you'll have your choice of all 12 bosses and almost all both of the companies.

The message I hear from manager tools in the podcasts repeated over and over is not to try to cherry pick your situation, but rather to BE A GREAT BOSS and get promoted to change the face of management.

Sorry dude, but that means you're going to be working for some major boneheads during your career. If you don't now, you're one of the chosen few, and your situation is probably going to change for the worse before it is over unless you start your own company.

Please - no declaring some optimistic rainbows and unicorns picture of the face of management. If you've been to a conference, you've seen Mark's face when someone asks a question that leaves him staring back at you as if to say, "You really just asked me that? What are you smoking?"

And these are the people who are self-aware enough and smart enough to pay money to hear Mark tutor them on management - the top, top of the best of management.

It's a furry and unwashed world out there, fellas. If you are reading this, you are a special person. If your boss is reading this, maybe you should appreciate him more despite his flaws. It's a special thing.

There's something that really sucks about being special: It means you have to learn to live with almost no one meeting the standard you set for yourself. You have to figure out how to be happy in that situation. That is not easy. That is hard.

Mark's second book could be titled, "The Effective Manager II: How to Stay Sane When No One Meets Your Standards."

I've got a great boss right now. I follow my boss around like a puppy. My boss is awesome. I cherish every minute of it. These are golden days, and they shall not last forever, nor may they necessarily ever come again unless I am the source.

US41's picture

[quote="TomW"]I don't think enough moves ahead.[/quote]

You don't have to be able to think more than one move ahead. You just have to be smart enough to reach out to someone else like John and humble/strong enough to decide to do it. You are.

The most powerful thing about Manager Tools is not what all of us are learning today and doing as junior managers. It is what will be going on in here in 10-15 years when the seeds planted amongst us grow into mustard trees and we are all positioned to cascade this approach amongst thousands of people.

HMac's picture

[quote="US41"]Sorry dude, but that means you're going to be working for some major boneheads during your career.[/quote]

I have. For several. And for me, it was soul-sucking, mind-deadening agony. It was WORSE that working for a bad company (I've done that too!)- because working for a bad boss had much more immediate and neagative impact on my daily work.

Some of my worst bosses were at formative times of my career: when they could have an inordinate impact on my belief about what value I brought to the company, or how good I was at my job.

Look, both of the situations suck. Based on my experience, when faced with the Hobson's Choice of Bad Boss/Good Company vs. Good Boss/Bad Company, one has the potential to do more immediate damage. So for me, it's a "choose the least bad"...

[b]AVOID BAD BOSSES.[/b]

You can't manage your boss, right? So you're not gonna change her. But if she's a good boss, then you and she have a chance that you might do something great together in a "bad" company.

PS: I greatly respect those of you with the opposing view. But that's my story, and I'm stickin' with it. 8)

-Hugh

AManagerTool's picture

I have had a great boss at a bad company and a bad boss at a good company. As 41 points out, neither is optimal but both are to be expected. You can't pick which situation you find yourself in.

That said, I'll play along with the gist of the thread....

I have found that bad company with a good boss sucks more than the other way around. My good boss had to constantly work within the bad system and it was killing us both (we both quit...BTW). With the good company/bad boss combination, I find that the bad boss can do much less damage because the "good company" HR rules keep his "bag full of monkey wrenches" under his desk.

lazerus's picture

Imagine a square divided into quadrants. In the upper left is Good Boss/Good Company; upper right is Bad Boss/Good Company; lower left is Good Boss/Bad Company; and of course lower right is Bad boss/Bad company.
[img]http://www.jefflazerus.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/quad.jpg[/img]

Sadly, most of my own experience has been down in the red zone. Our job is to get ourselves and our companies up and to the left.

Define "bad boss"? "Bad Company"? There is a lot of grey area, isn't there? I could be a great boss re: listening to my people, but horrible at training. How do you measure "great boss"?