A Touch of the Extraordinary

Most of us would agree that the quality of our boss has a big impact on the quality of our job. A good boss supports us in ways that make us better at what we do, and a bad boss confuses, demotivates, and generally drags us down. In a small business this importance is magnified because there’s no one else to go to, no other manager to provide direction or support.

A few months ago Inc magazine looked at some qualities that make a good boss – one that makes their employees and, by extension, their entire company better. Inc’s list of 8 Core Beliefs of Extraordinary Bosses caught the eye of several nForm-ers because it seemed to paint a striking portrait of our boss, Gene Smith.

At first, it was a shock to see that Gene displays all eight of the core beliefs. Sure, he’s a good boss and everything, but all eight? But there’s no question – he has ‘em all. A couple of examples:

Management is service, not control: Who knows how many mistakes we’ve made over the years? Many. Yet, we’ve never had a smack down. Not even the time one of us (who shall remain nameless) opened up the FTP server and risked all that was behind the wall. In fact, Gene may have laughed when the culprit ‘fessed up. Of course, this may just prove that he’s crazy.

Work should be fun, not mere toil: Thanks for making us play laser tag, Gene, even though some of us really did not want to in the first place. It felt good to shoot you. Really good.

We could easily illustrate every point, but perhaps the entire list can be boiled down to a couple of things: empathy and a concern for the humans involved in any situation. In our previous building there was a lady who ran a small windowless shop. She loved to visit with customers and she could be hard to escape from. One time, over the drinks we bought from her, we were laughing about the many ways the shop lady could trap us. Gene laughed and then observed: “I wonder how it is for her to be in a shop with no windows and not many customers. It must be hard.”

Maybe Gene’s great leadership secret is his ability to understand other people’s point of view and to evaluate them in a fair manner. Those are important qualities in UX design, in running a business, and in life.

So on this, Gene’s birthday, the nForm crew would like to say how glad we are to have a leader that has been officially endorsed by Inc Magazine. Or close enough. Not only do we benefit from a great work environment, our clients benefit from a team that has been empowered to do the best work it can.

Thanks Gene, from the whole nForm crew. Happy Birthday.

Man, we’re gonna catch hell when he sees this post. No more blog privileges for you!



Dennis Breen


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