"I got to work with lighting people, who made me look better than I really am. I got to work with audio people who make me sound better than I really do. And I got to work with producers and directors, and just all kinds of talent people. They made me look a lot smarter than I really am."
Many people focused on the teary-eyed reflection that Jay Leno made last night, but, emotion aside, there is some truth about good leadership in his words. A truly good leader makes his team strong by building on the strengths of his team, not by showing how well he can belittling his subordinates into submission. This is almost a polar opposite from the tactic you see in the bully and supporting toadies relationship. Instead, what we have here is a functional family of workers, that one can almost liken to a happy shop of elves all doing their best to help Santa with his big job.
This relationship is devoid of manipulation and jealousy. Where, before, we had offers of favors and threats of punishment, we have now, a respected captain who knows how to site abilities in people and organize those abilities appropriately into a functioning body. He also has a good trust in his subordinates. Kind of like the trust that Captain Kirk displayed for Mr. Spock, Dr. McCoy, and Lieutenant Uhura. In turn, Captain Kirk gets loyalty, respect, willingness to expend extra effort to achieve a particular goal, and at last, job security!
Folks, when you are disappointed with your lot in life, you should never look around, or down. You need to look up. You need to look up in order to see who's pissing on you. It may be that you can't do anything to change it but leave your job. If you aren't in a position to leave your job, then at least LEARN something from the situation and quite possibly avoid working yourself into the grave. Learning how to spot the traits of both poor leadership and good leadership will help you make better decisions about your career.
Some last thoughts are...Leadership is always experienced through the employee, not the other way around. Poor leaders don't just fail to lead, they experience failure that they blame on others, they cause traffic jams of information and process, and in the worst cases they cause harm by trying to get revenge or punish their reports. The same can also be said about bosses that dole out gifts and favors above and beyond nominal. You better believe that boss is going to ask you for something later and any employee who accepts poor leadership by "doing extra work" to help out the boss is only contributing to the problem.
One friend and co-worker I know in my industry once got a Chanel handbag from her boss. She always had a disgusted look on her face when she carried it. When I asked her why she looked so disappointed about her gift, she just said, "I can't afford it."
"But it's free!" I said.
She simply responded, "I don't want to owe her anything I can't afford to do...therefore, I can't afford it."
What a sticky situation to be in. It doesn't sound like her boss trusts her in the first place...which is certainly not a sign of a good leader.