I’m old. I may not look or feel old-but I’ve got over a decade under my belt in a board room across two continents and these eyes have seen a lot of Good and Not So Good Bosses in action.
I also have clients who are Amazing Bosses. I can tell, believe me. When you read about the things that they do as Good Bosses, you’ll be calling me to forward your resume to them.
Lastly, I am in the unbelievably fortunate position in my life right now to actually have a Good Boss (no he isn’t on my E-zine mailing list; I know what you’re thinking).
Here are the examples of Good Boss behaviour that I’ve compiled over the years. I hope you can find yourself somewhere in my stories.
The Sales Manager was fuming mad. He blamed our department and specifically me for the delayed promotional launch. As a result of the delay, he was embarrassed in front of his customers and had asked some of his reps to travel across the country for this event. My Good Boss completely deflected the anger and faced the Sales Manager’s wrath. He point blank refused to blame anyone (least of all me, who was cowering in the corner). When the Sales Manager’s tone turned ugly and he started to accuse me again, my Good Boss literally stopped the conversation cold and said ‘NO, we all accept the responsibility! Now let’s talk about solutions.’
I’ll never forget the lesson that I learned from my Good Boss that day. He went onto become a CEO at a Tier1 beverage company later in his career to teach others how to be Good Bosses too.
One of my clients actually has a victory bell he rings when his team scores a big or even a little sale. This motivates the team so much that each week, it’s become a race to see how many times the bell will ring. In fact, the bell has become a symbol of collaborative work coming together to culminate in what almost always turns into an impromptu celebration. This is a Good Boss indeed and his results can attest to it.
The most ironic thing was the award I recently won at my day job as a brand marketing manager this year. I found out that my boss had nominated me for a company achievement award because of all the extra personal time I had spent working at consumer shows. I had volunteered to take this on because our budget had been cut and we couldn’t afford the agency to hire a team to work at the shows.
In sharp contrast to this, I remembered a previous boss in a previous life. Not only did she demand that I work at all consumer shows but also refused to reward or even acknowledge the sacrifice of my personal time in any way. Imagine that everyone working at the same show from the same company but from other departments were given vacation time in lieu of the personal time used up. Instead, I was given a sketchy review by this Not So Good Boss because I had dared mention this discrepancy to her. A Good Boss acknowledges personal sacrifice.
The secret to a good marriage, it is said, is when both parties can accept each other as they are without trying to change the other. I feel the same can be said of a Good Boss. He simply accepts the people who he’s working with and learns to speak their language to work towards a common goal. I have rarely seen a boss-employee relationship work out where the differences between them weren’t accepted and worked into the solution. Prime example of this Good Boss theory is my own boss. I have taken a more junior position as a day job (remember, I’m old) which allows me the luxury of having my own coaching practice at the same time. Despite his younger age, my Good Boss accepts my level of thinking and outspoken opinion which is based on years of accumulated wisdom. In addition, he respects my desire to coach others. What does he get in return? He and the company deserve and get my very best efforts– always. I know that his acceptance is rare because when I speak publicly or meet a client for the first time, they’re astounded at the arrangement. Believe me, it works and is a true win-win for both parties.
- Is Consistent:
One of my Good Boss clients writes thank you cards to her staff after every major campaign effort. She has sent me numerous cards and even gifts over the years to thank me for a job well done—and she’s paying me, don’t forget! She is so good at acknowledging that she recently sent a client who was moving to a new job an ‘adjust to your new job’ kit. How clever is that for a networking strategy?
Yes, those are creative and motivating things to do but that’s not what makes her a Good Boss. It’s her consistency in doing these things. Year after year, month after month. She won’t love you one month and ignore you the other. It is simply part of who she is and even as her coach, I’m one of her loyal fans.
Last but not least, the biggest gift a boss can give to his team is the gift of deep listening. Continuous communication, open ended questions and the ability to suspend judgment while listening are all powerful tools any boss can use to become a Good Boss. These principles are so effective that an entire industry called ‘personal coaching’ has grown like wildfire around the world because of them.
So, tonight before you close your eyes to sleep, ask yourself ‘what are some things you can do to be a Good Boss?’ I would love to work for you one day.
With kindness as always,