Thursday, November 18, 2010
What did your first boss teach you?

I saw my first boss at a technology exhibition last week. I knew he was going to be there so was excited about meeting the chap that gave me my break in journalism in 1998.

Mark's a great guy and taught me a lot. Warning: This is going to be a bit of a cringey post (particularly if you're Mark) but I'd encourage you to think about it. I just hope he's reading it!

So... Five things that my first boss taught me:

Know people. He used to walk into any room, exhibition or meeting and everyone knew him. That was impressive to a budding journalist who had been in an industry for just a few weeks, and made me begin to understand the power of contacts.

Be generous, particularly towards junior members of the team as it builds loyalty and respect. He lent me his brand new Rover 800 V6 to drive to a conference in Paris. Yes, I crashed it. No, he didn't mind.

Stay in control. When we were out drinking with the MD until we were sick in our hair (not easy) or spending an entire day at a conference so hungover we could barely see, he was normally fine because he had held back a bit the night before. I try to do this now (but sometimes fail).

Bridge corporate boundaries. He was in with the MD but simultaneously down with the kids. He'd come out of his office just for some banter, and gave as good as he got... Even when we put up rude posters of him around the office. Or took the piss out of his taste in music. Or his hair.

Be nice. I never witnessed him raise his voice or lose his cool. If he was annoyed you could tell, but it wasn't via shouting or throwing stuff. He actually wanted you to enjoy the job enough to do it well. And he's still a top bloke.

Except for the hair, of course.