If Working for a Jerk Motivated Your Self-Employment, What Are You Motivating?

Bucket-Head BossI would rather work for an up-turned broom with a bucket for a head than work for anyone else in this office besides myself.” ~ Stanley from The Office

One of the top reasons that people set out on their own is that they hate their boss. Often, it’s the last straw. It’s the motivation they need to make the leap.

It’s pretty common to hear horror stories of bad bosses. Sometimes, they’re mixed with stories of great bosses — ones that become like mentors.

If you’ve ever worked for a jerk, you know how much a boss impacts your work experience. It may even be what made you pursue the path of the home-based entrepreneur.

So what happens when the perspective changes? What happens when you become the boss?

Now It’s Your Turn

So, you went from working for an incompetent schlub (or a more fitting description), to working for yourself, to being the boss.

Now what? What kind of boss are you going to be?

As is often the case with someone who grew up in a bad family situation, the cycle continues. They become the bad parents that they had.

Or, in other circumstances, they become the exact opposite. They choose to be the antithesis of their parents. This can create a whole new set of problems.

Then there are those who break the cycle. They choose to make their own way.

The same thing can be said of bosses.

You have to choose what kind of leader you want to be. The more conscious the choice the better. How?

  • Learn about great leadership. Leadership is a talent, but it’s also a skill that can be learned. Take the time to educate yourself.
  • Ask your staff for feedback. In the big corporate world, when someone is asked for feedback, usually what’s wanted is for them to parrot the opinion of their superiors. Remember why you started your own business, and ask your team for their real opinion. Make them feel that they can express it. Then listen.
  • Remember the Golden Rule — with a twist. Sure, you can treat your staff the way you want to be treated. But how about treating them the way you want your customers to be treated? Showing them the same respect and attentiveness as your customers, allows them to pass that along. It’s well known that happy employees produce happy customers. They are the front lines in most circumstances, so they are as valuable to your business as your customers.
  • As a home-based business, you have the benefit of more freedom. Your staff can in most cases work from home, set their own hours, and work around their own peak performance times. This kind of freedom tends to draw self-starters and those that like to think for themselves. It can also increase productivity. Utilize that, rather then work against it.

Remember why you jumped ship. Don’t be the boss that your staff hates, or the dunderhead that can’t lead.

Be the boss you’d like to work for, if you weren’t already working for you.


  1. It funny but I learned a lot of great leadership and people skills from a restaurant management book. My fiance and I were thinking about opening a restaurant befor we discovered our home business. Funny where you’ll find great info.

  2. Tony, you got THAT right! I’ve been blessed with pretty good bosses over the years, but there was this one…

    Now that I’m a boss, I have to make sure I’m who I need to be to a)lead b)inspire and c)treat people fairly and with respect.

    Besides, if you don’t it all comes back to bite you in the butt eventually – and that’s a fact! 🙂

  3. Hi Tony, you’ve given us a real challenge – to be the kind of leader that we picture as excellent. Now to go for it!

  4. Priscilla – That’s true. You can find great info anywhere.

    Robert – You’re right. It’s amazing to me how some people get ahead. But eventually they do end up falling.

    Robyn – Thanks. Striving to be our vision of a perfect leader is a great way to stay on track.

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