Unless you are independently wealthy or have been lucky enough to work for yourself all your life, chances are you’ve had a bad boss or have a partner or friend who has had.
You know the type: the boss who sets stretch tasks and but witholds the team resources to achieve them. Who talks about you taking more responsibility and the micromanages you. Who offers a grunt when you ace a project, but chews you over for 20 minutes because of a minor error. Who takes credit up the chain for great work you do, but won’t cover for you when deadlines slip…
I wrote about this here on this site years ago, and was reminded of it again due to leadership sites I follow. At the time, my client had been doing everything right, killing himself to complete complex operations-IT projects, plus studying nights for an MS degree and managing a young family.
His boss committed all of the above evils and more. She would casually set him ‘by-close-of-business today” tasks late in the day, interfere in carefully nurtured team relationships he had built up over months, use fear of termination to crack the whip… and the list goes on.
At the first possible moment, he quit. Yay.
Listening to this phase of his life, I could at least offer some consolation. After the event, what he had was fabulous experience for his future role as a manager and leader, all of which would play well in an MBA admissions essay.
Why? Because if you have experienced having your motivation sapped, having to walk on eggshells around an idiot who controls you, having to grind your teeth in frustration at not being able to implement an obvious innovation — that is, if you have been poorly managed yourself, you have excellent insight into what not to do.
And therefore, reversing all that a bad boss does, you have a good idea what kind of leader you should be, and therefore are likely to be.
And for MBA admissions essay or interview purposes, your bad-boss story is a “proof event” showing you have been through real learning about management and have developed insights into how to handle people under you, and are therefore ready to manage effectively when your turn comes.