My articles on “Worst Boss Ever” and Best Boss Ever” have lead to lots of interesting discussions and raised a lot of good points.

One of my colleagues, Eric, who worked with me for my “Worst Boss”, experienced him differently and  suggests that this could be as a results of the rapport we had together.

Having thought about that, I think Eric has a point, because my “Worst Boss” wasn’t a particularly bad Boss in that he was incompetent, he was just unpleasant in his treatment of me, which ultimately comes down to the rapport that I had with him.

What is rapport, well according to google it’s “A close and harmonious relationship in which the people or groups concerned understand each other’s feelings or ideas and communicate well“.

What’s interesting is that with both my Best and Worst Boss we had a good rapport, we shared a common goal and worked well together. What differentiated my Best and Worst Boss was how long that rapport lasted.

With the my Worst boss we got on well for around 6 months, but over the next 18 months the relationship deteriorated, why I am not sure, I know we had a very difficult project and we didn’t always see eye to eye on how we should resolve it.

When he looked to try and repair our relationship at the end, he did apologise for his actions towards me, and said that things had gotten so bad that, subconsciously, every time I did things he didn’t review it objectively, he just looked for something he could complain about.

I don’t mention that to apportion blame, I accept that I am probably just as much to blame for the lack of rapport as him, but I wanted to highlight what can happen when the rapport has gone.

It’s that lack of rapport that dictates how we treat, interact and communicate with each other.

I am sure that my reaction to him was equally as negative, and that I looked to see the bad in everything that he did.

I should probably say that he wasn’t a bad boss, but it was just one of my worst experiences.

However, should the chance arise I wouldn’t go back and work for him again.

Interestingly, even though the experience with my Best boss was  by far the best of my professional career, if the opportunity arose to work for him again I would also turn it down, because the rapport we had has gone, and the experience wouldn’t be the same.

So as leaders if we want people to experience us as good bosses, then we should focus on the rapport that we build with them, the better the rapport the better their experience will be.

This might be why charismatic bosses are perceived as good bosses, as they find it easier to build rapport with others.

What do you think, how was your rapport with your Best and Worst Bosses, was there a difference?

thanks for your feedback, it’s much appreciated.

Gordon Tredgold

Leadership Principles