What Makes a Good Leader? The Story of My First Boss

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When I first started at Accenture (known as Andersen Consulting at the time), I worked as a developer. My first boss was a woman by the name of Kathy.As I look back on my career, I feel that she had a lot to do with my development as a leader foundationally. I have said it for years: You work for many different types of people, and you learn from each one. For me, I am always looking for the good and the bad traits in my leaders. I try to absorb the good and steer clear of the bad. Admittedly, there are some traits I’m still trying to develop to this day! Ultimately, I have constantly reminded myself that I am who I am. Thus, if I am working for someone who does not treat their people well (and I have worked for my fair share of such people), I will not follow or take an interest in that trait. However, I would still attempt to seek out those positive traits that are best suited for my personality.


This brings us back to Kathy. I remember one day, she walked into my cube and told me she had a new opportunity for me. The memory is still so clear to me to this day, not because of the opportunity itself, but because of how she discussed it with me. I mean, this was a big deal. I would be responsible for building code that would impact the MOST critical accounts in the new system. At 23 years old, could you imagine that? I certainly didn’t when I drove into work that morning. What was important is that she trusted me (or I was the last developer to say yes). I ended up taking the opportunity and running the whole project, from business requirements, communicated status and even leading a client developer. Long story short? We did it perfectly.


Kathy also ran her teams like a family. While we had fun day after day, we also had to discuss difficult subjects, just like any family. Yet,through it all, we managed to treat each other with dignity and respect. Today at 1Rivet, I also feel that running things like a family is best. I like to put it this way: we spend two-thirds of our day working and sleeping. If you aren’t enjoying both, that means you are wasting your career or seriously need tore evaluate your sleep schedule.


Whenever I look at myself and ponder how I became who I am today, at my core, I believe I am who I am and thank my parents for that. However, when it comes to my views and strategy pertaining to leadership, I have to thank Kathy! She showed me a world where people work best when they work together.When given the opportunity, even the impossible could become achievable through hard work, trust and a shared vision.


Thank you, Kathy!

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Eric Middleton

Embodying the 1Rivet culture, Eric asks himself and others daily: "What have you done for the client today?" He’s a passionate leader who brings an innovative approach and a burst of energy to every client organization.