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I’ve had a few good bosses in my life. Let’s take a quick look back at some good examples.

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I talk a decent amount about career advice on the blog, such as resumes, interviewing, salary negotiation, and internships. But one key factor is the importance of a good manager.

My original topic today was going to be the BMW Magazine app on the iPad, — and I do feel there’s a great story there how car makers can reach consumers via the Apple tablet — but the story needed a lot more research.

So pressed for time, I thought about a story or two I could tell on the podcast. But that got me to thinking about cars and bosses.

A good manager is like a good set of tires
Sometimes people really underestimate tires. It’s more fun to talk about how a car looks, the 0-60 time, the 300 watt stereo, or the 405 horsepower. But tires play a HUGE part in the enjoyment, and safety of a vehicle. They control ride, handling, steering, braking, cornering, acceleration, and traction.

If your tires are old or balding, it can ruin a lot of other good things on car. Just being a few pounds over- or under-inflated can be a serious hazard.

The same goes for your boss, although it’s perfectly ok for him to be getting old or starting to bald (hey!!!).

What I’m saying is, a boss that isn’t very good can make even the best job suck, and a really bad boss can permeate everything you do and make you hate your job. They can stall your career, prevent you from getting raises and advancing, and create office politics.

In story one on the podcast, I pause 30 seconds for a shameless suck up to my current bosses. As recent readers know, I have a broken arm. This happened while on my (deservedly earned) 7 business days of vacation, so I was out of work during that. But then add time missed during my subsequent 2 surgeries, leaving for appointments, coming in late after physical therapy, and working at about half speed. Even though I was working remotely, jumping on conference calls while on buses, and consistently on email, tack on nearly an additional 10 business days — that’s a lot of missed office time.

Not ONCE has anyone said anything besides “do whatever you need to in order to get better.” From my immediate boss, to our department VP, to coworkers, to the President of Conde Nast Digital (who I saw in the elevator and who is also a competitive athlete and biker), nothing but concern and well-wishes. I am thankful that these people have my back.

The other four stories I cover:

– The New York Move
My VP at ESPN had to make some hard decisions when moving the team from Seattle to New York. Also listen how he handled the “coaching” of his employees during the free-reigning late 90s dotcom era like Jim’s childhood Boston Celtics teams.

The Startup Guru / Bartender / Softball King
Has one of YOUR bosses ever served you drinks, hit the game-winning home run, and kick started the second half of your career?

The Female Assassin
Hear how a quiet supervisor reacts like a violent Grizzly defending her cubs when an employee is attacked by an outsider.

Shin Yoshino/Getty Images

The Scoutmaster
A fatherly figure saves Jim’s college party plans and prevents a poor, dark, winter.

What are some of the things a manager needs to do to have their employees backs?
1. Filter and disseminate information
2. Have a grasp of email etiquette
a. On vs off the record, forwarding, proper CC: and BCC:
3. Gives credit in public, criticizes in private
4. Steer their careers, ask them about next steps
5. Protect and defend against other departments
a. Too much work, annoying employees, giving credit

Ask yourself this:
– As an employee, take a look up the chain of command. For the most part, will your supervisors be there for you?
– If you’re a manager, are you doing everything you can to instill confidence in your employees?

Thanks for reading

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