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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

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

More by this author

Bruce Harpham

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

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Published on November 12, 2020

5 Signs You Work in a Toxic Environment (And What To Do)

5 Signs You Work in a Toxic Environment (And What To Do)

What’s the most draining, miserable job you’ve ever had? Maybe you had a supervisor with unrealistic demands about your work output and schedule. Or perhaps, you worked under a bullying boss who frequently lost his temper with you and your colleagues, creating a toxic work environment.

Chances are, though, your terrible job experience was more all-encompassing than a negative experience with just one person. That’s because, in general, toxicity at work breeds an entire culture. Research shows abusive behavior by leaders can and often quickly spread through an entire organization.[1]

Unfortunately, working in a toxic environment doesn’t just make it miserable to show up to the office (or a Zoom meeting). This type of culture can have lasting negative effects, taking a toll on mental and physical health and even affecting workers’ personal lives and relationships.[2]

While it’s often all-encompassing, toxic culture isn’t always as blatant or clear-cut as abuse. Some of the evidence is more subtle—but it still warrants concern and action.

Have a feeling that your workplace is a toxic environment? Here are 5 surefire signs to look for.

1. People Often Say (or Imply) “That’s Not My Job”

When I first launched my company, I had a very small team. And back then, we all wore a lot of hats, simply because we had to. My colleagues and I worked tirelessly together to build, troubleshoot, and market our product, and nobody complained (at least most of the time).

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Because we were all in it together, with the same shared vision in mind, cooperation mattered so much more than job titles. Unfortunately, it’s not always that way.

In some workplaces, people adhere to their job descriptions to a fault:

  • Need help with an accounting problem? Sorry, that’s not my job.
  • Oh, you spilled your coffee in the break room? Too bad, I’m working.
  • Can’t figure out the new software? Ask IT.

While everyone has their own skillset—and time is often at a premium—cooperation is important in any workplace. An “it’s not my job” attitude is a sign of a toxic environment because it’s inherently selfish. It implies “I only care about me and what I have to get done” and that people aren’t concerned about the collective good or overall vision.[3] That type of perspective is not only bound to drain individual relationships; it also drains overall morale and productivity.

2. There’s a Lack of Diversity

Diversity is a vital part of a healthy work environment. We need the opinions and ideas of people who don’t see the world like us to move ahead. So, when leaders don’t prioritize diversity—or worse, they actively avoid it—I’m always suspicious about their character and values.

Limiting your workforce to one type of person is bound to prevent organizations from growing healthily. But even if your work environment is diverse in general, the management might prevent diverse individuals from rising to leadership positions, which only misses the point of having a diverse work environment in the first place.

Look around you. Who’s in leadership at your company? Who gets promotions and rewards most often? If the same type of people gets ahead while other individuals consistently get left behind, you might be working in a toxic environment.

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However it manifests in your workplace, keep in mind that a lack of diversity is a tell-tale sign that “bias is rampant and the wrong things are valued.”[4]

3. Feedback Isn’t Allowed

Just as individual growth hinges on being open to criticism, an organization’s well-being depends on workers’ ability to air their concerns and ideas. If management actively stifles feedback from employees, you’re probably working in a toxic environment.

But that definitely doesn’t mean nobody will air their feelings. One of the telltale signs of toxic leadership is when employees vent on the sidelines, out of management’s earshot. When I worked in a toxic environment, coworkers would often complain about higher-ups and company policies during work in private chats or after work hours.

It’s normal to get frustrated at work. That’s just a part of having a job. What isn’t normal is when dissent isn’t a part of or discouraged in the workplace. A workplace culture that suppresses constructive feedback will not be successful in the long run. It’s a sign that leadership isn’t open to new ideas, and that they’re more concerned about their own well-being than the health of the organization as a whole.

4. Quantifiable Measures Take Priority

Sales numbers, timelines, bottom lines—these metrics are, of course, important signs of how things are going in any business. But great leaders know that true success isn’t always measurable or quantifiable. More meaningful factors like workplace satisfaction, teamwork, and personal growth all contribute to and sustain these metrics.

Numbers don’t always tell the whole story, and they shouldn’t be the only concern. Measure-taking should always take a backseat to meaning-making—working together to contribute to a vision that improves people’s lives. If your workplace zones in on quantifiable measures of success, it’s probably not prioritizing what truly matters. And it’s probably also instilling a fear of failure among employees, which paralyzes employees instead of motivating them.

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5. The Policies and Rules Are Inconsistent

Every organization has its own set of unique policies and procedures. But often, unhealthy workplaces have inconsistent, unspoken “rules” that apply differently to different people. When one person gets in trouble for the same type of behavior that promotes another person, workers will feel like management plays favorites—which isn’t just unethical but also a quick way to drain morale and fuel tension in the office.[5] It only shows how incompetent the leadership is and indicates a toxic workplace.

For example, maybe there’s no “set” rule about work hours, but your manager expects certain people or departments to show up at 8 am while other individuals tend to roll in at 9 or 10 am with no real consequences. If that’s the case, then it’s likely that your organization’s leadership is more concerned with controlling people and exerting power rather than the overall good of their employees.

How to Deal With a Toxic Work Environment

The first thing to know if you’re stuck in a toxic work environment is that you’re not stuck. While it’s ultimately the company’s responsibility to make positive changes that prevent harmful actions to employees, you also have an opportunity to speak up about your concerns—or, if necessary, depart the role altogether.

If you suspect that you’re working in a toxic environment, think about how you can advocate for yourself. Start by raising your grievances about the culture in an appropriate setting, like a scheduled, one-on-one meeting with your supervisor.

Can’t imagine sitting down with your supervisor to air those problems on your own? Form some solidarity with like-minded colleagues. Approaching management might feel less overwhelming when you have a “team” who shares your views.

It doesn’t have to be an overtly confrontational discussion. Do your best to frame your concerns in a positive way by sharing with your supervisor that you want to be more productive at work, but certain problems sometimes get in the way.

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Final Thoughts

If your supervisor truly cares about the well-being of the organization, they will take your concerns seriously and actively take part in changing the toxic work environment into something more conducive to productivity.

If not, then it might be time to consider the cost of the job on your well-being and personal life. Is it worth staying just for your resume’s sake? Or could you consider a “bridge” job that allows you to exhale for a bit, even if it doesn’t “move you ahead” the way you planned?

It might not be the ideal situation, but your mental health and well-being are too important to ignore. And when you have the opportunity to refuel, you’ll be a far more valuable asset at whatever amazing job you land next.

More Tips on Dealing With a Toxic Work Environment

Featured photo credit: Campaign Creators via unsplash.com

Reference

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