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After you’ve had a few jobs, you can accurately look back and see which managers, supervisors and bosses were the most influential to you and which were the bane of your existence. Although, years might have gone by, you still can recall in perfect detail the feelings and particular situations you were placed in that made you glad you had the mentor you did or completely resent them. We all learn from these times and move forward with our lives, but being a person “in power” is, well, a powerful thing and it should be used for good, not to satisfy your own ego.

I remember every job and person I worked with in 20/20. I recall hearing the term, “pay your dues,” so much so that I could lay down that line before a person of higher rank could. I learned a lot being a “newbie”— but most of all, I learned how not to treat others.

There’s no doubt about it, our individual upbringings and background have a lot to do with how we act in the “real world.” Simply put, everybody has their own stuff. The stuff that makes them have anxiety, walk around being joyful (all the time), that makes them patient, or short-tempered, that makes them a great leader and what makes them a poor one. The trick is recognizing your own stuff and not letting it negatively impact who you are as a person, how you’re perceived and how you treat others. Take a few minutes and do this exercise: ask yourself, if you could go back and both confront the worst manager you had and praise/thank/talk to the best one you had, what would you say? Now, remove yourself from the mighty shoes you might be wearing now and ask, what would my coworkers and employees say to me?

You and your employees work together at least 40 hours a week. You spend more time with these people than you do your own family. While you might not know their personal “stuff,” being a leader you should recognize that everyone has it– even you. In my experience, what differentiates between a terrible boss and a great one is how they implement kindness, patience, trust and willingness to help you grow as both an individual and an employee. Now, what kind are you?