Leadership Observations

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Leadership Observations

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I’ve been telling this story (or details) anecdotally in my agile and leadership classes for a number of years. But I thought I’d also capture it in the blog.

My initial goal was simply to capture my observations. But I’d like to hear from others and their experiences.

I started working as a software engineer at Sperry Univac in 1981 and am still working. If my math is right, that’s 37 years and counting.

Ugh, right!

I’ve had approximately 15-18 jobs over that time. My longest tenured position was just shy of 10 years. My shortest position was less than a week. But that’s a story for another time.

I’ve held management/leadership roles since 1987 so for about 25 years. I’ve held senior leadership roles for about 15 years.

During that time, I’ve reported to ~40 different “leaders”. Of that total:

  • I can clearly recall ~3-4 that were Great. They were my role models and mentors. In fact, one of them I reported to in three different companies, so he must have been doing something right.

  • I can also recall ~3-4 that were Dysfunctional, dishonest, lacked character, and who were simply terrible bosses who sucked.

  • And the rest were sort of in the middle. Meh! But they didn’t suck.

Given the above ratios: 10% Good, 10% Suck, 80% Meh; I’ve often thought of the Pareto Principle and am convinced it applies to leadership quality as well.

I saw this article and it might support my observations or conclusions. (and it’s what inspired me to write this post)

But more importantly, I wonder what your experiences are. Do they align with mine? Or are they better or worse?

Please add a comment and share your own experience. Also, if you buy into my observations, what we can do about increasing the Great Bosses percentage?

Or are we doomed to follow Pareto in Leadership forever?

Stay agile my friends,



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