Monday, May 6th, 2013
At some point in our lives, we’ve all had The Boss From Hell: the control freak, the personal-email snoop, the guy or gal who times your bathroom breaks and deducts the time you spend at the water cooler from your paycheck.
But what about the other kind of boss? The kind who actually treats you like a real human being instead of warm body?
Truly exemplary bosses are few and far between, but the good news is, like true love, they exist. And also like true love, a really remarkable boss might come your way once in a lifetime.
What Makes a Truly Remarkable Boss?
One thing that separates a remarkable boss from an ordinary boss is that they have a personal code of ethics that they stick to, come what may. We’re not talking about the boss who walks around the office in a ‘Save the Whales’ T-shirt, rattling a collection box and singing Kumbayah. But rather the boss who, when the going gets tough, proves that they are worthy of their title of leader.
I’ve been lucky enough to have several truly exceptional bosses in my life. Those bosses embodied leadership, and led by action rather than words. I feel lucky to have met them, and years later, I still count them as an inspiration.
So what makes a truly remarkable boss? Here’s a rundown of lessons I’ve learned from top bosses.
1) Remarkable bosses actually listen to your ideas
New hires usually come to a company bubbling with ideas on how to make things better. Even the old deckhands can be coaxed into revealing a few pearls of wisdom they’ve been nursing over the years.
A great boss is one who gives every employee face time – not just the big players, but also the little guy who makes the coffee — who may have just had a brainstorm on how to make the company a million dollars. The worth of the idea is irrelevant; being taken seriously by your boss is a valuable perk you won’t find listed in the employee handbook.
2) Remarkable bosses have your back
My first boss earned my undying loyalty during my first week on the job, when he stepped smoothly into the firing line between me and a screaming customer. Was she having a problem? No problem. A free product materialized out of a bag, the customer stopped yelling, everyone went away happy. I was spared being the newbie who got torn to shreds in front of everyone on her first day.
I never forgot the lesson my boss taught me, which is that a true leader always protects his followers, even if that means taking the heat themselves.
On the polar opposite end of the spectrum, I’ll never forget (or forgive) the boss who, during my first month at a new firm, had me personally do the “letting go” of a popular long-term staff member who had been slacking. The experience itself wasn’t as traumatic as the loathing glares I got from from his co-workers for a few short months after that until I mercifully managed to find a new position.
My boss saved face by asking me to do his dirty work, but in the process he lost my respect for him as a leader. It is easier to hire a new employee than it is to get back the respect of an existing team member you’ve thrown under the bus.
3) Remarkable bosses practice what they preach
Remarkable bosses lead by example. They don’t see themselves as being above the rules just because they made the rules. If your boss takes you to task for being 5 minutes late while he ambles in around lunchtime reading the paper and holding a breakfast wrap from Panini Garden, he’s sending mixed messages to the team, which can quickly grow into morale-ruining resentment.
The truly remarkable boss acts as if he himself was an employee at his own company. If he asks employees for openness, he may set his desk out in the open, eschewing the traditional office. If he wants his workers to go above and beyond, he will stay late alongside his team and order them pizza when they work overtime on a big project. In doing so, he earns that priceless commodity: his employee’s admiration.
4) Remarkable bosses learn your name and use it often
One thing that both psychologists and the owners of Starbucks have in common: they both know the power our own name holds over us. Call out “Order number 173!” in a bustling coffee shop and you may have to call it five times before the order is picked up. Call out “Suzanne!” and ten bucks says that Suzanne will have her coffee in hand in five seconds.
I once had the demoralizing experience of being laid off by a man who didn’t even know my name after three years working at the company. If it had been a large firm, that might have been forgivable, but we only had 30 employees. And that man was our CEO. Being laid off was bad enough, but being laid off by someone who apparently hadn’t even registered my presence in three years of full time work was nothing short of soul-crushing.
Learning someone’s name equals respect. So memorize your employee’s names, even if you have no direct contact with them. How can you lead your company if you don’t know who you are leading?
5) Remarkable bosses make time for you
The demands of the average workday can push even the calmest of us to the ends of our rope. We get snippy with people, we hunch over our computers and scowl at our bulging physical or email Inboxes, we groan when we get yet another meeting request.
Whenever I find myself starting to bristle at the new hire who has just bumbled up to my desk and is asking me ten thousand questions on my lunch break, I take a deep breath and visualize the welcoming smile my last boss would give me whenever I entered his office. Whether I’d planned a formal meeting or had just shown up unannounced, he would always react the same way. He’d motion me to sit down, give me his full attention, and smile with a gruff, “Now, what can I do for you?”
Maybe I’d walked in just as he was getting ready to leave for lunch. Maybe his Inbox was as scary as mine. The point is, he never let that show. He always made time for me, and in return I always felt like like I could talk to him, no matter what the subject. In any company, large or small, good communication is the cornerstone of a healthy and long-lasting boss-employee relationship.
Some of us are born to be great leaders; others have to work at it. If you are struggling with a boss who may not be treating you with respect, ask yourself this: would I work for this person if I wasn’t being paid to do so? Bosses who treat their employees as they themselves would like to be treated earn their undying loyalty and respect, which can literally make or break a company when times get tough. In this day and age, that is a rare thing indeed.
What was one leadership quality you admired from a present or old boss?
Reyna Ramli is a writer for CareerBliss.com, an online community dedicated to helping people find happiness in the workplace. When Reyna is not writing, she enjoys cooking, working out, and reading fashion blogs and magazines.
Wednesday, March 27th, 2013
What distractions do you use to avoid doing your work?
Try making a list of them.
You’ll be surprised by how many different ways you let something distract you from your work.
My Top Ten Distractions:
- My dog
- Sunny day
- Chatting with a friend.
Tuesday, March 12th, 2013
Most of you know I was laid off from day job in 2011 and been helping small business owners develop their core values, improve their sales pages and create amazing product launches. The business has been going well, but there are struggles too. Last week my son was sick and I had to keep him home with me. Every hour of work time is precious to me, but like any family man with strong family values my son comes first.
He stayed home with me last Tuesday and Wednesday. He broke his fever on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon he was back to his happy self.
On Wednesday night I looked at my “to do” list that had piled up. I felt behind. Overwhelmed. I felt this panicky feeling bubbling up inside me. You probably know that I like to call this my “arch nemesis”. That little negative inner voice that tries to scare the heck out of me every chance he gets.
Take Back Control
Instead of letting my arch nemesis take over I looked at where this stress was coming from. I began to feel like I didn’t choose to stay at home with my son. This made me feel even worse. I was lying to myself to motivate myself to be more focused. It wasn’t working. I was freaking out. I couldn’t focus.
I had a little chat with my arch nemesis. We went for a short walk.
I needed to readjust my attitude. Taking 15 minutes out of my day to do this saved me from wasting hours of work worrying instead of actually getting something accomplished.
Conversation with My Arch Nemesis
Me: “It’s ok to feel behind.”
Arch nemesis: “No it’s not. You have 100 things to do to take your business to the next level.”
Me: “I agree, but who is more important my “little dude” or the work?
Arch nemesis: “I hear you, but…what about the blog post, client call and proposal that you have to do today?”
Me: “They are all at the top of my list. I’ll get it done. I have 4 hours. If you ease up on my a little bit I’ll be able to get a lot more done.”
Arch Nemesis: “Ok, what about the first draft of the landing page you have to write?”
Me: “Number 4 on my list and I’ll get it done. I can only do one thing at a time.”
Arch Nemesis: “Hmmm, what about your ebook that you wanted to outline?”
Me: “That’s going to have to wait until tomorrow.”
Arch Nemesis: “What?! But you were so looking forward to it and once it’s done you can get started on it and that’s going to really help level you up.”
Me: “I know, but we did what was right. Our little dude needed us. Right?”
My Arch Nemesis puts his head down in defeat.
Arch Nemesis: “Ok, you promise to work on it for at least an hour tomorrow?”
Me: “I promise.”
After our conversation was over I felt much better.
It’s amazing what a walk with your inner arch nemesis can do to improve your perspective.
What do you do to bring your “To Do” anxiety back under control?
Tuesday, February 26th, 2013
86% of people who have a job right now will be looking for a better job, according to Inc magazine.
Why will you be looking for a new job this year?
Because you don’t feel appreciated, that of course makes you feel unhappy.
You aren’t appreciated because you don’t have enough leverage at work. You haven’t been able to carve out a niche – a place in your company where you are the “go to” person to solve certain problems. This could be because your core values and your company’s core values aren’t in sync. This happens and figuring out how to realign your needs with your company’s will help level up your career.
Becoming a “go to” person at your company isn’t easy, but when this happens you feel needed, appreciated and useful.
That’s what a great career gives you.
Continue Reading »
Wednesday, February 13th, 2013
Some people will tell you “Just have a cup of coffee” when you are feeling tired. This may help for a short while, but the coffee only masks whatever underlying issues you may be having.
You may not feel a connection to your work like you once did. You may not be getting enough sleep. There are many reasons why you may be struggling with your energy level at work.
The key is to look for the underlying issues.
Last week 3 pm struck and I had hit a wall. I literally couldn’t even see straight.
I knew something wasn’t right. Usually I can work late into the day without feeling tired at all.
Then I realized that I hadn’t taken my short walk. I was so busy trying to get stuff accomplished that I forgot my walk.
I jumped up and went for my short walk, but it was too late. My routine was thrown out of whack and I never recovered.
Continue Reading »
Sunday, February 10th, 2013
I know what you’re thinking! With the economy as bad as it is you’re probably asking yourself, “It’s an employer’s market, so why would I spend the extra money to give my employees a free lunch when I can pocket it instead?” and you know, you wouldn’t be wrong in thinking that. But you may also be costing yourself money in ways unseen.
Give a Boost to Employee Morale
When employee’s love their job and morale is high, employees feel the most loyal to the company they work for. This means the grass doesn’t look quite as green on the other side of the fence, and they stop looking for a job with better benefits or higher pay. This results in a lower turnover of your core workforce. When employees are good at what they do, they make you money, when they’re not, they cost you. If providing lunch everyday can boost employee morale and build company loyalty it may end up saving you money in the long run.
Continue Reading »
Sunday, February 3rd, 2013
Sometimes I feel like I need to scream at myself. I’ve always been tough on myself and it’s a big reason I started Work Happy Now back in 2008. I wanted to research and test out ideas that helped me become happier and more productive.
I know getting mad at myself doesn’t solve anything. It’s just such an ingrained habit that’s hard to break.Every now and again it sneaks back in. Then I take a deep breath and tell myself it’s up to me to create more positive habits.
So I’ve been taking more time to apply Active Relaxation to my workday. I also tell my clients don’t compare yourself to others, take baby steps and enjoy the process. I haven’t been doing any of these things. I’ve been beating myself up by letting my arch nemesis dictate my happiness.
Monday, January 28th, 2013
Right now I’m in the process of putting together an advisory team online and offline. There is something powerful about meeting with a team of people, in person and online, every few months to discuss your career.
My hope is that we create a give and take relationship. I actually hope to give as much to them as they give to me.
Too often I get caught in the daily grind and don’t take time to discuss various ways to succeed, become happier and connect. Taking the time to stop and talk with a super smart team of people is a must for every career.
Continue Reading »
Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013
One of my favorite things about having a blog is being able to reach out to amazing people who have different points of views. Jenny Blake is an amazing story and you’ll learn a lot from this interview.
The video didn’t turn out very well. I’m still working on my video recording skills. The content is great and I think it makes up for the out of sync lips.
Here are a few key tips that you’ll take away after you watch the video:
- Why great loss can be the best time to start fresh.
- How to let go of your fear and reach out to people who can help you.
- How to find clarity within your goals.
Monday, January 21st, 2013
Because you are trained to have doubts. Your Arch Nemesis (resistance) takes over and stops you from making a positive impact.
You need to listen to these fears, walk with them and still believe in your superpowers to make this world a better place.
When you stop believing in yourself, you stop dreaming.
We need you to dream big and make this world a better place.
You deserve to be happy and have a great career.
Let me say that again – You deserve to be happy and have a great career.
What do you do to build your confidence when you are feeling down?