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Hey there, readers! 🌟 Grab your virtual coffee, because today, we’re diving into the world of leadership with a dash of expert advice on critical people management skills and a sprinkle of real-life experiences.

Meet the Expert: Madeline Schmidt

On one of our recent episodes of “Bad Boss with Anya Soto,” we had the pleasure of sitting down with Madeline Schmidt, the owner of Monarch Training and Consulting, a seasoned leadership development and training expert. Madeline’s insights and wisdom are here to illuminate the often murky waters of leadership dynamics.

We always start our show with this simple but controversial question: Have you ever had a bad boss and if yes, what made them a bad boss? 

Madeline describes them as The Unintentional Antagonists!

Ever had a boss who made you wonder if they woke up thinking, “How can I be a bad boss today?” Probably not. Most often, bad bosses have good intentions. Madeline rightly points out that the root of their behavior often stems from a place of fear. They want to be liked, they avoid tough conversations, and they prioritize their own needs over those of their team.

The impact? Frustrated employees. Team members who lack clarity, growth opportunities, and engagement. It’s essential to understand that employees crave more than just a paycheck; they want to feel valued and have the chance to grow within their roles.

Enough about the Bad Bosses because we all had them and know them. Let’s instead dive into the ever-evolving critical competencies that progressive managers must practice to retain and develop talent!

Skill Number 1

The Improved Skill of ‘Yes, And’ 

Leaders shouldn’t fall into the trap of ‘either/or’ thinking. It’s not about choosing between being compassionate or holding people accountable—it’s about finding the ‘and.’ Combining empathy and accountability leads to the most successful outcomes. This blend encourages employees to take risks, innovate, and feel supported in their growth.

Forbes has an interesting article about this skill here:

Skill Number 2

Listening: The Underrated Competency

Listening is not just about hearing words; it’s about understanding and empathizing. Leaders who truly listen gain insights into their team’s motivations, values, and aspirations. This information can be used to support team members in their personal and professional growth and development, which was recently noted as a top skill in talent retention.

Here are 15 ways leaders can hone active listening skills:

Skill Number 3

The Ability to Build Competence and Confidence in Your People

Competence and confidence are crucial components of human performance. Leaders can foster these qualities in their teams by creating a safe space for growth and encouraging employees to take calculated risks.

Here are 5 ways to build confidence in your employees:

Our guide will help you set up your Performance Management System. Whether you are a first-time manager or a business owner looking to create a new system

Bonus point: When looking for leadership potential, make sure to promote someone who can balance Accountability with Empathy. 

When leaders prioritize one over the other, the results suffer. Striking this balance is essential for employee well-being, engagement, and ultimately, organizational success.

Did you know that you can outsource your manager training and culture-building tools such as leadership assessments, performance management, and culture surveys to us? Working with us is easy- just fill out this form and we will reach out to schedule a complimentary Culture Assessment conversation for you! 


After this powerful 20-minute interview, we agreed that Good Bosses have a perfect mix of empathy, accountability, active listening, and fostering competence and confidence in their teams. Leaders should aim for the “YES AND”‘ rather than settling for ‘either/or’ approaches. Remember, the best leaders don’t just lead; they empower and support their team members to be their best selves.

Stay tuned for more insights, tips, and engaging conversations on a wide range of topics. Until next time, happy reading! 📚✨

Watch here

For a full episode and to see Anya and Madeline on video, check them out here: 

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