4 Ways to Tell if You are becoming “That Boss”


As a leader  it’s healthy to take a step back and see if you’ve become “That Boss,” you know, the one that nobody wants to work for who doesn't have a shred of self-awareness.


I worked at a large corporation for 5+ years and it was easy to tell which managers valued employees. It was also easy to tell which ones had their ego all wrapped up in their jobs and allowed it to ooze forth every time you were in their presence.


When I started out as an owner, I made a personal resolve to not be “That Boss.”


Lo and behold, that  is easier said than done. After the first few years of doing whatever it took to get our business rocking, we came into a season where I was out in the field less. We had hired more people, and I was able to focus more on specific aspects of the business, without being constantly connected to every petty detail. Naturally, I was able to distance myself and tune into the more “macro” vision of the company.

This was a good thing, but it was startling to see how quickly I saw glimpses of my old bosses playing out in how I treated my employees. Here are 4 areas that can easily go sour when you are disconnected from your employees.


#1 – The Nasty, Knee-Jerk Emailer 


Hate mail, threatening emails, and complaints are never a fun reality of doing business.
A tendency we may have as a leader is to immediately react towards which team member was involved in this negative experience for a customer. Upon receiving it I may want to forward the email to all employees so that they can see that somebody isn’t doing their job right.  Who is to blame?


Instead, take some time to figure out the specific complaint/situation. After doing some tracking, you may be able to be more specific in which team member was involved. Then pull them aside and point out what you appreciate about the action they took with a (sometimes very unstable or irrational) customer, and point out your thoughts on another viable option of handling it.


It now becomes a learning experience instead of a bash fest.


#2 – Blame Passer


Often because we’re the name behind the company, when others make real mistakes and cause our company to look bad, we are the ones who get blamed.  I may want to immediately pass the blame to somebody else: A co-owner, a team member, the government, etc. Here’s the thing. You have to take responsibility for error or perceived error in your business. Value others and realize that being a leader means owning responsibility and allowing room for human error. Swallow your pride and move on, striving to be better.


#3- The Prima Donna 


Don’t become too fancy for menial tasks. If you’ve come to a point that you’ve hired help to take on jobs that have given you freedom to focus in other areas, great. But don’t be too high and mighty to do the Yeoman's work. Be willing to dive in now and then with the others and show that you are not above their work. You appreciate what they do. Sometimes there may be a temporary need to answer phones, run a service call, etc. Fill the need.


It’s amazing how much more respect I’ll get when I get back out into the field and work alongside a tech. I also like seeing that I can still relate to the tasks that really are what make up much of the business.


#4 – The “Back in My Day” Reminiscer 


If I am in a meeting with the team on Fridays and they start to throw in a complaint or hardship, I immediately want to bring up the past and all the sacrifices I made, and how if they think it’s hard now, they should’ve been around in the day when I was in their shoes.

Here’s the thing. They don’t really care about what you went through. You don’t need to compare. You can listen if you want, but again, if it’s just an emotional response to something not ideal, it’s really not an issue and you can let it go. Eventually they, too, will have to let it go. Don’t always be on the defense.


remember how powerful an encouraging word is. When you get a positive review, share the report with your team! I remember how great it was when a boss gave me genuine praise for a job well done. It inspired me to strive even more to be that guy. By valuing others, you will naturally gain respect and will be less likely to be “That Boss.”


As should be our goal in leadership: “Create other leaders by having a heart for others”


— Bryan

Related Tech Tips

32° Saturation (Evap Temperature)
Evaporator temperatures below 32° are common and acceptable in refrigeration, that's why there is a defrost sequence. In a heat pump running in heat mode,, it's the same, freezing is a part of the process and defrost is necessary. In comfort cooling… we can't allow the evaporator to get below 32°… or it will freeze. […]
Read more
8 Tips for New Techs (So You Don't Get Fired)
If you are new to the trade, I'd like to welcome you. If you are young and new to the trade, we need you. We are grateful to have you. However, if you aren't thoughtful, you might get fired. No offense, millennials often just have a different way of looking at work than their Gen […]
Read more
Be Careful When Jumping Out a Blower
We've seen it before. A tech diagnoses a failed blower relay or board so they leave the blower jumped out by putting a terminal multiplier on the common terminal of the relay/board and connecting the fan speed tap right to power. There can be an issue with that. Some electric heat fan coils have a […]
Read more

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


To continue you need to agree to our terms.

The HVAC School site, podcast and daily tech tips
Made possible by Generous support from