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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

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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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Last Updated on April 17, 2019

10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career

10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career

What’s the secret of professional success? Some of it lies in the mastery of your discipline and all the technical skills you have to carry out your job; but a much bigger part lies in the soft skills list you possess.

Soft skills are your people or relationship skills—how well you get along with others and your ability to communicate and collaborate—as well as the personal characteristics you bring to the job, such as optimism, a can-do attitude and the motivation to work hard. These skills are not always easy to point out, but their absence can cause serious problems and negatively affect the whole work atmosphere.

They say that hard skills will help you get the job, but soft skills will help you get along—and get ahead. With that in mind, here’s the top-10 essential soft skills list to help you advance your career.

1. Communication Skills

Communication skills are hands-down the most sought-after soft skill that bosses want, and this one ability covers a lot of ground.

To communicate well, you have to listen carefully, interpret the context of the conversation, express yourself clearly, persuade others of your point of view, check your body language and use an engaging presentation style that won’t intimidate or bore your audience. That’s a big ask!

Your personality traits can influence the way you communicate with others. For instance, some people get straight to the point and center their arguments around facts and logic; others are cooperative and sensitive to how others feel. Both these approaches are equally valuable but there can be misunderstandings if you don’t understand where the other person is coming from.

Taking a comprehensive personality test can help you understand why you communicate the way you do and where your blind spots are. It can also help you understand other communication styles is so you can tailor your communication to the person you’re dealing with.

After all, connecting with your conversation partner is the hallmark of good communication.

2. Flexibility

Change is an essential part of any business. Companies need employees who are flexible enough to work with new initiatives, open to new ideas, and generally are able to tough it out when things don’t go as planned.

Research has found a link between job performance and flexibility over the long term because there will be times when you have to step outside your routine and rise to fresh challenges that didn’t exist before.

Being flexible doesn’t mean you have to hop into a new task or job role like an expert. Rather, it’s about showing you’re willing to accept new responsibility and learn different things.

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Bosses look for people who are prepared to step outside their comfort zones and are open to alternative solutions when their first idea doesn’t work.

3. Being a Team Player

Working on a team can be challenging but learning to do it well can definitely help you get ahead in your career. Employers look for people who can negotiate, cooperate and manage conflicts with other people to achieve a common goal. That includes the ability to build lasting relationships with customers and clients.

What makes a good team player? Essentially, it’s someone who knows the goal and knows her role. Employers look for evidence that you know your strengths, your responsibilities and how you can best contribute to the team, then put those skills into action by sharing ideas and communicating in a respectful manner. That’s the definition of being a good team player.

This is another area where taking a personality test can help you get ahead. When teams work together, each member brings a unique set of skills and qualities to the group. Research has shown that different combinations of personalities affect how teams collaborate and how productive they are.

Knowing who you are, and how you work on a team, can drive new insights and open the door to better teamwork.

4. Positive Mental Attitude

There are plenty of things you can’t change at work, like the people you work with or the fact that the printer is broken again. The one thing you can change is how much you let these things bother you.

Bosses like people who are calm, rational and upbeat—those who diffuse tensions in the workplace, not get all grouchy and go around slamming doors.

Studies show that people who maintain a sunny disposition have better relationships at work, are happier in their jobs and make better decisions than those who whine and complain. Some suggest that a positive mental attitude can also make you live longer—which means it’s beneficial for every area of your life![1]

It’s not always easy to keep a “glass half full” mentality when work is stressful and the deadlines are piling up. But there are some things you can do to help maintain a positive attitude. Laughing at your unfortunate circumstances keeps the work environment positive, and taking “sanity” breaks can help you keep your cool in high-pressure situations.

Managers look for positive mental attitude in a team member that is ready for a promotion, so it really does pay to keep your cool in challenging situations.

5. A Strong Work Ethic

People with a strong work ethic are committed to the role, persevere when things get tough and are inspired by challenge. These people are ambassadors for the organization, and will always be seen as top talent and ideal candidates.

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If you can exhibit this skill, then expect to be seen as a great candidate, eligible for new opportunities and positions throughout your career.

Since a strong work ethic can mean different things to different people, it helps to show specific examples of your exceptional work ethic during a performance appraisal or interview. For instance, you might talk about:

  • A time when you persisted in the face of challenges and did not shy away from hard work.
  • How you volunteered to help with projects even though these tasks did not form part of your job description.
  • The networking, workplace learning and skills betterment you’ve undertaken, which shows ambition and drive (people with a strong work ethic have those qualities in spades).
  • How you own your mistakes and never, ever point the finger of blame at others.

For help with building a strong work ethic, check out these tips: How to Build a Reliable Work Ethic

6. Public Speaking

Who’s terrified of public speaking? Pretty much everyone, since public speaking is America’s number one fear, ahead of death at number five and loneliness at number seven.

Yet, according to Warren Buffett, mastering this one skill you could increase your personal value by 50 percent.[2] That’s huge!

If you’re not natural at public speaking, you’re in good company. Buffett had to work hard to overcome his stage fright and once dropped out of a public-speaking course before it started—because he was afraid of public speaking! He eventually realized that he needed to build up his confidence by just doing it; over and over in front of small groups.

For a more structured approach, Toastmasters International teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a variety of pathways. Membership of this non-profit looks good on your resume but the real payoff will come when you can put your newfound skills to use on the job or in the interview room.

Or, you can check out this advice: The Ultimate Public Speaking Tips to Hook and Impress Any Audience

7. Integrity

From a manager’s point of view, the two integrity skills that will set you apart are:

  • Always doing what you say you will do
  • Owning an error instead of minimizing or hiding it

…even when no one is around to check up on you.

There are lots of people who have climbed the ladder without scruples, but they are not the people who others trust, respect and support when promotion time comes around.

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Behaving with integrity is a safe and consistent way to enhance your reputation and achieve your professional goals.

8. Managing Your Time

Phone calls, texts, Slack pings, meetings, huddles, side projects, multitasking—we are busier today than any generation before us. There’s no denying the workplace is an incredibly distracting place to be.

A lot of us have traded effectiveness for busyness which we wear as a badge of honor, both as a proxy for productivity and to show our value to the company. But what bosses want, what they really, really want, is someone who actually gets stuff done on time.

Time management is not merely the art of being on time, but of managing your time so you focus on the projects that really matter and add value to the business. This means prioritizing well, sticking to schedules, delegating, and not getting distracted by tasks that are easier to perform or less important. It means planning ahead and learning when it’s appropriate to say no.

Time management can be a tough skill to maintain, but not a difficult one to pick up. Monitor your actions for a few days—how long do your tasks take to finish? What’s interrupting you? What causes you to lose focus? Once you have the answers to these questions, you can set a schedule for yourself to make sure you’re spending your time wisely and this valuable asset is never wasted.

These 20 Quick Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity are also great to try.

9. Assertiveness

In any workplace, you typically will find people with the following conflict styles:

  • Passive: Those who go out of their way to avoid conflict.
  • Passive-aggressive: Those who express their negative feelings through actions rather than words.
  • Aggressive: Those who respond to conflict in a hostile and rude manner. These people get their opinion heard but they won’t make any friends in the process.
  • Assertive: People who stick up for their rights while still respecting the rights of others.

Managers look for assertiveness above all other styles because it allows decisions to be made without conflict or alienating people.

How do you use this information for yourself?

It starts with understanding your personality so you can anticipate how you will react when conflict arises and address your own shortcomings. Then, you can start influencing the team for top results, and securing your own career advancement in the process.

Learn how to be assertive and gain respect:

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How to Be Assertive and Stand up for Yourself the Smart Way

10. Creative Thinking

LinkedIn recently analyzed over 50,000 skills that employers search for when looking for candidates to find out what skills are currently in demand.[3] Taking the number-one slot on the 2019 soft skills list was creativity: the ability to solve problems and think outside the box.

Creativity is about bringing fresh, and sometimes unorthodox, ideas to the table. This helps companies to innovate, and companies that do not innovate will not survive very long.

How do you showcase your creative thinking skills? The golden rule is to participate.

Be brave and share your ideas during group brainstorming sessions. Volunteer to run a society, networking event or recruitment drive. Ask “what if” questions: “What if we add this information to the client welcome pack?” “What if we eliminate step 3 from the process?”

These activities demonstrate that you’re prepared to go beyond “business as usual” towards creative problem solving—an ability that will serve you every day, all throughout your career.

You can learn to unleash your creativity power:

What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

Final Thoughts

The good news? Every item on this soft skills list can be learned. Although you may feel lacking in certain areas, taking an inventory of your strengths and weaknesses will allow you to focus in on the areas that you’ll benefit from developing.

So take an inventory of your personality, skills, and talents. This will give you a baseline for your communication style, attitude to change, conscientiousness and more. You can then identify your weak areas and develop strategies for improving your team-building, assertiveness and conflict skills.

The better news? The effort is worth it. Developing your soft skills opens the door to a new job or a promotion, and helps you succeed once you get there.

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Featured photo credit: Rachael Gorjestani via unsplash.com

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