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10 Things Only People Who Have A Good Boss Would Understand

10 Things Only People Who Have A Good Boss Would Understand
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The people we work with on a daily basis have a tremendous influence on our productivity and satisfaction. More than any other person, your boss shapes your daily experience. For example, your company may boost of family friendly policies but it is ultimately your boss who can approve your flexible schedule.

Our culture is filled with examples of bad bosses – Dilbert cartoons, Bill Lumbergh from the classic movie “Office Space” and the bluntly named 2011 film, “Horrible Bosses.” Our obsession with the effects of bad bosses means excellent managers and leaders truly have the chance to shine. If you have a great boss, you’ll be nodding and smiling as you read this article.

1. Communication is strong and positive

The quality and quantity of communication you have with a good boss is fundamental. A good boss knows how to run a meeting, communicates bad news in a professional manner and provides regular feedback to all staff. When you have a good boss, you are never left wondering about their plans or when the product is due for a launch. From time to time, the boss may have keep certain information confidential but good bosses seek to minimize secrets as much as possible.

2. Good bosses encourage people to grow their skills and leadership

The drive for learning, mastery and growth are important drives for knowledge workers. A good boss regularly looks for ways to help their staff grow with a variety of methods. They may ask their staff to undertake highly challenging work. A good boss may ask a junior person to present to senior management so they can develop their management skills.

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A good boss is never threatened by the growth and capabilities of their team. For example, George Washington’s first administration included John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, men who would go on to become President themselves. Managing a team of star performers is challenging but good bosses are up for the challenge.

3. Good bosses have low staff turnover

According to Gallup researchers, the performance and support provided by one’s immediate supervisor is the top predictor of staff turnover. Support includes providing staff with the right equipment to get the job done and advice on how to solve challenging problems. If you look around your department and see that most people stay in the department year after year, then you are probably blessed with a good boss. In contrast, a bad boss never takes responsibility for high staff turnover rates.

Keeping staff turnover low isn’t simply good for morale – it also saves money. Gallup reports: “It’s generally estimated that replacing an employee costs a business one-half to five times that employee’s annual salary.”

4. Good bosses are pro-change

A good loss takes an active role in shaping change. Rather than obsessively seeking to preserve the status quo, a good boss understands that change is a reality. They are optimistic about change and look for new opportunities to serve more customers, improve productivity and increase quality. After all, the business world is constantly changing so a good boss needs

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Good bosses embrace change by seeking input from their staff. For example, a good boss at a bank will look at a development like Apple Pay and look for ways to change. They may ask their software developers to improve the bank’s mobile app or ask their customer service team to study Apple’s product and come up with recommendations. In any case, good bosses embrace change and look for ways to grow.

Tip: Learn How to Lead Change in Your Organization: sooner or later, everyone has to develop the capacity to handle change.

5. You enjoy a gossip free workplace

Gossip eats away at teamwork, job satisfaction and productivity. That’s why good bosses do not tolerate this kind of behavior (in fact, you never hear them gossiping!). Instead, an effective manager encourages you to speak directly with the person and seek a solution. Otherwise, the problem or controversy that triggered the gossip will only get worse. Good bosses are proactive in preventing gossip because gossip is associated with workplace bullying according to the Kansas City Star.

Tip: How To Stop Negative Gossip In Office.

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6. Good bosses welcome questions

Making a success in the business world is tough. That’s why good bosses are open to questions from their staff. After all, if you are confused or unclear on how to complete work, the whole organization will suffer. Michael Hyatt, best selling author and former CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, offers suggestions for asking more powerful questions. Bringing excellent questions to the table marks you as a top performer.

7. Good bosses attract talented people

A good boss’s reputation spreads quickly. Of course, money matters in career decisions yet it is not the only motivation to consider. A good boss attracts outstanding job applicants. With so many negative or ineffective managers in the world, working for a good boss is a major attraction. You can observe this principle in action in large organizations where people are enthused about joining your department.

8. Good bosses handle problems professionally

Disappointments and problems are a reality in the modern workplace. A good boss resists the urge to scream and panic. Instead, they follow a problem solving strategy to respond to the situation. For example, if a supplier is late with a shipment, a good boss will ask for your opinion and help you to come up with new ideas. In contrast, a bad boss is likely to become irrational and angry in that situation.

Not sure what kind of boss you have? Think about the last few times you made mistakes at work – how did your boss react? If you encounter screaming and tremble in fear, it may be time to search for a new job.

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9. Cooperation is encouraged (not cut throat competition)

Some companies and departments are driven by fierce competition. People are so busy meeting deadlines and making sales quotas that they have no time to help others. Even worse, there are some organizations where competition is highly prized that people sabotage others. Good bosses promote and understand the value of cooperation. They lead creative brainstorming sessions and set goals for the entire team. By setting this cooperative tone, a good boss makes it easy to ask for help and support.

10. Staff are excited by the goals of the organization

Google’s mission statement is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” That’s an exciting mission! When your boss provides clear and exciting goals, it is much easier to get through long days of struggle and frustration. Even if the top leadership of the organization has unexciting goals, a good boss can still create excitement by creating new goals.

Featured photo credit: Darth Grader/JD Hancock via flickr.com

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Bruce Harpham

Bruce Harpham is a Project Management Professional and Founder and CEO of Project Management Hacks.

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Published on July 27, 2021

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

Put the Pro in Professional

After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

2. Dress the Part

While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

3. Stage Your Workspace

Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

5. Arrive on Time

In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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6. Turn on Your Video

Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

Attend to the Pesky Details

8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

Talking Has a Time and a Place

11. Chat Appropriately

Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

Manage Yourself

14. Minimize Distractions

While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

15. Save Snacking for Later

Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

Final Thoughts

Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

Reference

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