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10 Things Highly Likeable Bosses Do Differently

10 Things Highly Likeable Bosses Do Differently

Did you know that highly likable bosses are still a rare commodity? If you would like to be in that category, look at these sobering statistics for a moment.

According to one survey carried out by Accenture, 31% of workers leave because they do not like their boss. In the Gulf states, that number rises to 44%. That is almost half! Looks like an uphill task. Read on to discover what highly likable bosses do differently.

1. They cut meetings to a minimum.

Workers hate meetings and resent the amount of time spent on them. Intelligent managers know this and are aware that a whopping 37% of employee time is spent on meetings.  They prune meetings to a bare minimum and ensure that there is a time limit on them. Bosses chair the meetings to make sure this happens and adhere strictly to the agenda.

2. They are accessible.

Some bosses build a cordon round themselves. They have minions who slavishly keep people out. The message is that the bosses are busy and staff naturally feel that they cannot easily approach them with a problem.  It is a well established fact that employees work much better for a boss they like and respect.

Popular bosses welcome suggestions from staff and always have an open door policy, which they actually put into practice. They understand that the key to any successful business is a happy, motivated staff who are consulted and appreciated.

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“A leader is best when people barely know he exists, not so good when people obey and acclaim him, worse when they despise him. But of a good leader who talks little when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: We did it ourselves.” —Lao-Tzu

3. They are 100% reliable.

Reliability is a two-way process. It permeates a successful company. But the highly likeable bosses know that they have to deliver on the following:

  • decisions are followed through
  • tasks are completed on time
  • they are prepared and on the ball
  • they are punctual
  • they lead their teams with a mix of persuasion and firmness

“You do not lead by hitting people over the head—that’s assault, not leadership.” —Dwight Eisenhower

4. They delegate successfully.

The key to successful delegation is that bosses know what to let go, so that they can concentrate on top priorities. They also know that they can delegate the task to employees and show them that this is developing their skills and training. Employees see a delegated task as an opportunity for empowerment and a great chance to acquire new skills. They also realize how their work fits into the bigger picture. Highly likeable bosses can do this very skilfully.

“Delegating work works, provided the one delegating works, too.” —Robert Half

5. They are flexible.

Interesting research shows that where employees have flexible bosses, they suffer fewer health problems. It has a positive effect in less absenteeism too.

Employees need more flexibility when it comes to caring for sick children or parents. They should also be given the possibility of choosing their work schedule if it does not interfere with offering customer service or productivity.

6. They are optimistic and positive.

Successful managers exude confidence and optimism. They may do that instinctively but there are sound reasons for doing so. They know that optimism is infectious and can motivate employees to be more enthusiastic and focused. Keeping these thoughts to the forefront can produce better results and happier staff.

The research by Dr. Martin Seligman is very interesting in this regard. He says that everybody must make a real effort to look at the positive aspects and opportunities rather than moaning about all the obstacles. The managers who can inspire their staff to do just that will become successful and highly likeable.

“Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.” —Zig Ziglar

 7. They are friendly.

Highly likeable bosses take an interest in their staff. They are great at remembering important events in people’s lives and can celebrate with them.

They also know that negative forces such as dislike, resentment and bitterness can lead to poor performance and can be extremely contagious. This is why these wise bosses do everything they can to be friendly and create goodwill without giving up on objectives and deadlines.

“The boss depends on authority, the leader depends on goodwill.” —Anon

8. They are compassionate.

Many bosses try to be tough and want to show that they are still in control. If a person is always late, they will sack them on the spot.

But popular and compassionate bosses take a much more intelligent and humane approach. They first explain that unpunctuality is having a knock on negative effect on productivity, staff morale and relationships. They then ask the employee to implement changes and give them a deadline to improve. This creates less resentment and is a much better way of dealing with a difficult issue.

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9. They show appreciation and thanks.

When work is done well, intelligent bosses know that a short congratulatory email is the right way to express their appreciation. This encourages employees to do even better. It can also be used in their assessment and is a powerful motivational tool.

Showing gratitude pays handsome dividends. One survey by Glassdoor showed that 80% want to work harder when they are thanked for their achievements. That figure fell to 40% when the bosses were unpopular, demanding, and ungrateful.

10. They are charismatic.

It is difficult to define what charisma is, yet we know it when we see it. Highly likeable bosses are charismatic. They are self-confident, open and friendly. You can feel their presence in a room immediately. Their body language is as confident as they are. They have a real gift in listening to you and making you feel important. They are empathetic to a very high degree.

Now, if you are a highly likeable boss and meet all the above criteria, congratulations! If not, at least you now know what you need to work on.

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Featured photo credit: Annual Volunteer Appreciation Ceremony / USAG – Humphreys via Photo Pin

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Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on March 21, 2019

11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

Most gurus talk about habits in a way that doesn’t help you:

You need to push yourself more. You can’t be lazy. You need to wake up at 5 am. You need more motivation. You can never fail…blah blah “insert more gibberish here.”

But let me share with you the unconventional truths I found out:

To build and change habits, you don’t need motivation or wake up at 5 am. Heck, you can fail multiple times, be lazy, have no motivation and still pull it off with ease.

It’s quite simple and easy to do, especially with the following list I’m going to show to you. But remember, Jim Rohn used to say,

“What is simple and easy to do is also simple and easy not to do.”

The important things to remember when changing your habits are both simple and easy, just don’t think that they don’t make any difference because they do.

In fact, they are the only things that make a difference.

Let’s see what those small things are, shall we?

1. Start Small

The biggest mistake I see people doing with habits is by going big. You don’t go big…ever. You start small with your habits.

Want to grow a book reading habit? Don’t start reading a book a day. Start with 10 pages a day.

Want to become a writer? Don’t start writing 10,000 words a day. Start with 300 words.

Want to lose weight? Don’t stop eating ice cream. Eat one less ball of it.

Whatever it is, you need to start small. Starting big always leads to failure. It has to, because it’s not sustainable.

Start small. How small? The amount needs to be in your comfort zone. So if you think that reading 20 pages of a book is a bit too much, start with 10 or 5.

It needs to appear easy and be easy to do.

Do less today to do more in a year.

2. Stay Small

There is a notion of Kaizen which means continuous improvement. They use this notion in habits where they tell you to start with reading 1 page of a book a day and then gradually increase the amount you do over time.

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But the problem with this approach is the end line — where the “improvement” stops.

If I go from reading 1 page of a book a day and gradually reach 75 and 100, when do I stop? When I reach 1 book a day? That is just absurd.

When you start a habit, stay at it in the intensity you have decided. Don’t push yourself for more.

I started reading 20 pages of a book a day. It’s been more than 2 years now and I’ve read 101 books in that period. There is no way I will increase the number in the future.

Why?

Because reading 40 to 50 books a year is enough.

The same thing applies to every other habit out there.

Pick a (small) number and stay at it.

3. Bad Days Are 100 Percent Occurrence

No matter how great you are, you will have bad days where you won’t do your habit. Period.

There is no way of going around this. So it’s better to prepare yourself for when that happens instead of thinking that it won’t ever happen.

What I do when I miss a day of my habit(s) is that I try to bounce back the next day while trying to do habits for both of those days.

Example for that is if I read 20 pages of a book a day and I miss a day, the next day I will have to read 40 pages of a book. If I miss writing 500 words, the next day I need to write 1000.

This is a really important point we will discuss later on rewards and punishments.

This is how I prepare for the bad days when I skip my habit(s) and it’s a model you should take as well.

4. Those Who Track It, Hack It

When you track an activity, you can objectively tell what you did in the past days, weeks, months, and years. If you don’t track, you will for sure forget everything you did.

There are many different ways you can track your activities today, from Habitica to a simple Excel sheet that I use, to even a Whatsapp Tracker.

Peter Drucker said,

“What you track is what you do.”

So track it to do it — it really helps.

But tracking is accompanied by one more easy activity — measuring.

5. Measure Once, Do Twice

Peter Drucker also said,

“What you measure is what you improve.”

So alongside my tracker, I have numbers with which I measure doses of daily activities:

For reading, it’s 20 pages.
For writing, it’s 500 words.
For the gym, it’s 1 (I went) or 0 (didn’t go).
For budgeting, it’s writing down the incomes and expenses.

Tracking and measuring go hand in hand, they take less than 20 seconds a day but they create so much momentum that it’s unbelievable.

6. All Days Make a Difference

Will one day in the gym make you fit? It won’t.

Will two? They won’t.

Will three? They won’t.

Which means that a single gym session won’t make you fit. But after 100 gym sessions, you will look and feel fit.

What happened? Which one made you fit?

The answer to this (Sorites paradox)[1] is that no single gym session made you fit, they all did.

No single day makes a difference, but when combined, they all do. So trust the process and keep on going (small).

7. They Are Never Fully Automated

Gurus tell you that habits become automatic. And yes, some of them do, like showering a certain way of brushing your teeth.

But some habits don’t become automatic, they become a lifestyle.

What I mean by that is that you won’t automatically “wake up” in the gym and wonder how you got there.

It will just become a part of your lifestyle.

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The difference is that you do the first one automatically, without conscious thought, while the other is a part of how you live your life.

It’s not automatic, but it’s a decision you don’t ponder on or think about — you simply do it.

It will become easy at a certain point, but they will never become fully automated.

8. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

Marshall Goldsmith has a great book with the same title to it. The phrase means that sometimes, you will need to ditch certain habits to make room for other ones which will bring you to the next step.

Don’t be afraid to evolve your habits when you sense that they don’t bring you where you want to go.

When I started reading, it was about reading business and tactic books. But two years into it, I switched to philosophy books which don’t teach me anything “applicable,” but instead teach me how to think.

The most important ability of the 21st century is the ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn. The strongest tree is the willow tree – not because it has the strongest root or biggest trunk, but because it is flexible enough to endure and sustain anything.

Be like a willow, adapting to the new ways of doing things.

9. Set a Goal and Then Forget It

The most successful of us know what they want to achieve, but they don’t focus on it.

Sounds paradoxical? You’re right, it does. But here is the logic behind it.

You need to have a goal of doing something – “I want to become a healthy individual” – and then, you need to reverse engineer how to get there with your habits- “I will go to the gym four times a week.”

But once you have your goal, you need to “forget” about it and only focus on the process. Because you are working on the process of becoming healthy and it’s always in the making. You will only be as healthy as you take care of your body.

So you have a goal which isn’t static but keeps on moving.

If you went to the gym 150 times year and you hit your goal, what would you do then? You would stop going to the gym.

This is why goal-oriented people experience yo-yo effect[2] and why process-oriented people don’t.

The difference between process-oriented and goal-oriented people is that the first focus on daily actions while others only focus on the reward at the finish line.

Set a goal but then forget about it and reap massive awards.

10. Punish Yourself

Last two sections are pure Pavlovian – you need to punish bad behavior and reward good behavior. You are the only person who decides what is good and what is bad for you, but when you do, you need to rigorously follow that.

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I’ve told you in point #3 about bad days and how after one occurs, I do double the work on the next day. That is one of my forms of punishments.

It’s the need to tell your brain that certain behaviors are unacceptable and that they lead to bad outcomes. That’s what punishments are for.

You want to tell your brain that there are real consequences to missing your daily habits.[3]

No favorite food to eat or favorite show to watch or going to the cinema for a new Marvel movie- none, zero, zilch.

The brain will remember these bad feelings and will try to avoid the behaviors that led to them as much as possible.

But don’t forget the other side of the same coin.

11. Reward Yourself

When you follow and execute on your plan, reward yourself. It’s how the brain knows that you did something good.

Whenever I finish one of my habits for the day, I open my tracker (who am I kidding, I always keep it open on my desktop) and fill it with a number. As soon as I finish reading 20 pages of a book a day (or a bit more), I open the tracker and write the number down.

The cell becomes green and gives me an instant boost of endorphin – a great success for the day. Then, it becomes all about not breaking the chain and having as many green fields as possible.

After 100 days, I crunch some numbers and see how I did.

If I have less than 10 cheat days, I reward myself with a great meal in a restaurant. You can create your own rewards and they can be daily, weekly, monthly or any arbitrary time table that you create.

Primoz Bozic, a productivity coach, has gold, silver, and bronze medals as his reward system.[4]

If you’re having problems creating a system which works for you, contact me via email and we can discuss specifics.

In the End, It Matters

What you do matters not only to you but to the people around you.

When you increase the quality of your life, you indirectly increase the quality of life of people around you. And sometimes, that is all the “motivation” we need to start.

And that’s the best quote for the end of this article:

“Motivation gets you started, but habits keep you going.”

Keep going.

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More Resources to Help You Build Habits

Featured photo credit: Anete Lūsiņa via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Sorites paradox
[2] Muscle Zone: What causes yo-yo effect and how to avoid it?
[3] Growth Habits: 5 Missteps That Cause You To Quit Building A Habit
[4] Primoz Bozic: The Lean Review: How to Plan Your 2019 in 20 Minutes

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