Why You Should Say “Thank You, Next” To Your Past Bosses

Everyone, at some point, will have more than one boss. And, like all of us, they will have different personalities, strengths, weaknesses, etc. Most people I know tend to have a deep memory of their favorite boss and the ones they liked the least. 

Thinking back on my own experiences, observations, and bosses, the ones that do the best job as leaders and managers tend to have had some pretty bad bosses. The correlation seems clear: we can learn a good portion from books, seminars, and podcasts, but seeing things work themselves out in real time gives such hefty knowledge it becomes ingrained in what we should do (or not do) in hard situations. I would go as far to say that we should be grateful for the really bad managers because they make us innately better for our future leadership. 

Listening to Ariana Grande’s song “Thank u, next,” I always find myself thinking of those bad bosses. And also thinking of what they taught me by accident.

Sharing credit whenever you get the chance

I’ve seen so many workplaces accept as common practice that if your employee does a great job, it means, as the boss, you can claim it. If you want to build a great culture, I recommend getting away from this as fast as possible. Giving credit to the ones who do the gritty work and not inserting yourself as one who had to do all the heavy lifting will earn trust with your team, create a culture of appreciation, and probably turn a few heads by acknowledging that teams really matter.

Owning up to mistakes

We all know that no one is perfect, so why would we expect any person to constantly bat a thousand? I hear a lot of talk about how it’s okay to fail, but there aren’t many tangible examples of people putting this into practice, especially in leadership. Do they apologize when they lose their temper, or is it okay to sweep it under the rug with a “it’s been a hard day”? If you can’t remember the last time you physically had to say the words "I’m sorry," you may need to make a note that this is a growth edge for you. (And no, saying “I’m sorry you feel that way” doesn’t count.)

There are countless ways to thank our past leaders for why we do things differently now. And keep in mind that no boss is perfect, and we will all have our own instances where someone is thanking us for what we accidentally taught them. 

What are your top 2 learnings from past bosses? Let’s share together so we can help others grow too!

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