Being Grateful For ALL the Things We Have Learned From Bosses

by Rebecca Harmon, MPM, RHIA, CCA

I spent the first half of my career wringing my hands over bad bosses and wondering which of the angry gods was punishing me THIS time, and why. It took me some time to figure this whole boss thing out. Maybe you can relate!

For a long time I was caught up in the unfairness of their behavior, or the unbelievable reality that they were still employed and reigning terror on multiple employees. When the LIGHT finally went on in my head I realized that each and every one of my “bad bosses” was a wonderful teacher and in many ways, more critical to my leadership development than the good bosses I have had (I have been lucky to count some really terrific people as bosses across my career).

Bad bosses show us what NOT to be; how NOT to act and the ways we can avoid becoming a pain in someone’s backside. From high & mighty bosses we learn humility because we’ve seen how important it is to us and to others. From clueless bosses we learn how critical it is to know our industry and the work, because we’ve lived the insanity of working for people who know enough to be dangerous, but not enough to earn our respect. From mean bosses, we learn that terror is not a motivating factor and from spiteful ones we learn that employees have long memories – because we have never forgotten.

If we have paid attention, we have learned everything we need in terms of how NOT to be a boss, but most of us have also had some pretty good bosses. It seems fitting to end on the high note of the good ones, whose personalities, competence and leadership have supported and uplifted us in ways that allow us to overcome the lousy ones, and for this, we are ever-grateful.

There are those bosses who recognize our skills and talents and who have enough self-esteem and confidence to allow us to shine and grow because they know that it takes nothing away from them. There are the bosses who “go to the mat” for us with THEIR boss when they know that an opportunity has arisen that promises to be a career game changer for us, and they care. There are the bosses that recognize that our success is their success and who make everything about the team, and not their own personal accomplishments. And there are the bosses who know enough not to discuss benefits of their position and salary with people who might be struggling with the basics. Perhaps my favorite are the bosses who are OK with being wrong, and bosses who know how to say, “I am sorry.”

As Coders, you may be on your first boss, or have had a few bosses in the past. You’re sure to have more in your future, too (a good thing as it means you have a job!). I invite you to join me in being grateful for ALL the things we have learned from bosses; the good ones and the bad ones. I encourage you to work hard as you progress through your career and grow as a Coding professional, working hard to live up to the bar that’s been set for you by the good bosses you’ve had, and to pass on that legacy of a good boss to the next generation of Coders.



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About the Author

Rebecca Harmon, MPM, RHIA, CCA
Rebecca Harmon returned to HIM practice in a leadership role after spending many years as an HIM educator. Tapping her broad history of diverse healthcare experience that began with a tour of duty in the US Navy, Rebecca writes regularly and speaks on education, workforce issues, management and life. An energetic and engaging speaker, Ms. Harmon enjoys sharing her unique perspective with student, faculty, professional and community groups.

23 thoughts on “Being Grateful For ALL the Things We Have Learned From Bosses

  1. Sheri Davis - April 3, 2019 at 3:19 pm

    Great Article, so so true. Thank you for the uplifting words.

    • Rebecca Harmon - April 4, 2019 at 5:20 pm

      Thank you 🙂

  2. Theresa - April 3, 2019 at 3:25 pm

    This was such a true story. Thank you for sharing.

    • Rebecca Harmon - April 5, 2019 at 4:18 pm

      Thanks for reading it!

  3. Stacy Yauger - April 3, 2019 at 4:08 pm

    Thank you so much for your article. I feel like you know exactly what I have gone through in the past couple of years. I went from a truly awful boss, to a terrific boss.

    My former boss did all she could to tear you down. I thought I would be better off anywhere else that she was not. It is a wonder that she still has a job, like you said. But, she has been at the company forever, had seniority, and had reigned terror on several coders before me. The solution for all of us (myself and others) was to leave the company.

    Now I am at a company that truly values employees and does lift you up. I am grateful for my new position and the leadership.

    I will never forget the way I was treated at my old job. I hope if I ever am in a leadership role that I will lift people up instead of tearing them down. I try to be that way even though I am not a leader.

    • Rebecca Harmon - April 5, 2019 at 4:19 pm

      Thank you for sharing your experience. I wish you the best in your new and BETTER position!

  4. Vera O., CDI Mgr. - April 3, 2019 at 4:32 pm

    This was fabulous! It is good to know that we all have a professional journey and that we are not alone. A good mantra is, ‘The best has yet to come”.

    • Rebecca Harmon - April 5, 2019 at 4:19 pm

      Indeed! Thanks 🙂

  5. DeAnn Grigsby, CPC - April 3, 2019 at 11:11 pm

    I could so relate , great article and I an so happy I have finally after many years found a awesome supervisor and manager. I have always loved to code but now enjoy it so much more and feel like I have a fulfilling career.

    • Rebecca Harmon - April 5, 2019 at 4:20 pm

      That’s great to hear!! Thanks for your comments –

  6. Karen Saracco - April 4, 2019 at 2:19 pm

    Excellent article and oh, so true!! You can surely learn a lot from the “Bad Bosses”! I have had a very similar experience in my career and I strive everyday to be one of the “Good Bosses”. Thanks for taking the time to share your experience and your gratitude.

    • Rebecca Harmon - April 5, 2019 at 4:20 pm

      You are welcome – thanks for your comment!!

  7. Felicia Hill - December 4, 2019 at 4:13 pm

    Excellent article. Very well said. I will be forwarding this to my colleagues. Thank you

    • Rebecca - December 9, 2019 at 9:55 pm

      Thanks for reading it! 🙂

  8. Julia Powers - December 4, 2019 at 4:19 pm

    Hi Rebecca: Thank you for this article. I will keep this when I need some an uplifting message on “those” days.

    • Rebecca - December 9, 2019 at 9:57 pm

      Thanks for reading it! 🙂

  9. Brenda Cooke - December 4, 2019 at 4:23 pm

    Thank You!! this is an awesome article. Yes.. I have learned a lot throughout my 30 years within the medical field and the last 15 has been government. Stand up for yourself, believe in your worth, don’t let everyone know what your thinking. This is what the Bosses of my career has given me. When you know what you know, no one can take it from you. I was a coder for 27 years and it’s still my passion.

    Thank you again.

    • Rebecca - December 9, 2019 at 9:57 pm

      You’re right about keeping some things to ourselves. Good advice!

  10. Trudy A. carmany, CPC - December 4, 2019 at 4:40 pm

    AWESOME words!! I really never looked at my bosses in this way, thank you!

    • Rebecca - December 9, 2019 at 9:58 pm

      🙂 always 2 sides to every circumstance!

  11. renee g friesen - December 5, 2019 at 3:38 pm

    You are so true! Thank you so much for this excellent article!

    • Rebecca - December 9, 2019 at 9:59 pm

      🙂 always 2 sides to every circumstance!

      • Rebecca - December 9, 2019 at 10:01 pm

        You’re welcome – thanks for reading my blog post!