We've all had alpha personality co-workers or bosses we couldn't connect with.
They were overbearing. They had to do it their way. They were too far in the weeds and hyper-critical of your work. You didn't like them. Hate's a strong word, dislike is not.
So you ran away and got the hell out. Time to do your own thing.
Then a funny thing happened. You grew up, got promoted a couple of times and found yourself being a lot like them. You didn't notice the similarities until you had a flash point with a direct report. Then it hit you:
"OMG. I've become what I used to hate."
That's probably true. But the failure didn't happen today, it happened with the younger version of yourself. You didn't know how hard it was to run the show.
Need an example? How about Kyrie Irving of pro basketball's Boston Celtics? Kyrie is infamous for running away from the demanding, badgering, bitchy shadow of Lebron James, requesting a trade after winning a NBA Title with Lebron and the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2017.
Now he's around a bunch of youngsters with the Celtics and feels like the parent Lebron tried to be to him. So he called Lebron to tell him he finally grew up, and apologized for being a bratty kid. More from ESPN:
Celtics guard Kyrie Irving said that in the wake of his outbursts at coach Brad Stevens and forward Gordon Hayward on the court at the end of Saturday's loss at the Orlando Magic and pointed criticisms of Boston's young players afterward, he called LeBron James and apologized for the way he handled criticism from James when the two were teammates in Cleveland.
"Obviously, this was a big deal for me, because I had to call [LeBron] and tell him I apologized for being that young player that wanted everything at his fingertips, and I wanted everything at my threshold," Irving said after scoring 27 points and dishing out a career-high 18 assists in Boston's 117-108 home victory over the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night. "I wanted to be the guy that led us to a championship. I wanted to be the leader. I wanted to be all that, and the responsibility of being the best in the world and leading your team is something that is not meant for many people.
"[LeBron] was one of those guys who came to Cleveland and tried to show us how to win a championship, and it was hard for him, and sometimes getting the most out of the group is not the easiest thing in the world."
Some of the people you used to hate were bad people. Some were good people trying to keep the wheels on the bus as it rolled along at 150 mph and were better than you gave them credit for.
Now that you're running things, you should reach out to the latter group and tell them you appreciate them - if only belatedly.
It might be the start of an important relationship you need professionally.