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20 Signs That You’ve Got a Good Boss

20 Signs That You’ve Got a Good Boss

I have just made a mental list of all the bosses I have had in my forty years of work. Some were pretty good; others were simply awful. Nowadays, the latter are also in the majority. One survey has found that 77% of employees are stressed out at some point, because their bosses are bad!

Then, suddenly I found that I was a manger myself, so I became acutely aware of what makes a good boss. The greatest challenge was in managing staff and using my people skills effectively.

Here are 20 signs that you got a good boss.

1. Your boss reassures you

This may take the form of encouragement and stimulation to do even better. They both go hand-in-hand and the results from employees can be impressive. Once you are reassured that you are on the right track, then you can achieve anything.

2. Your boss does not micromanage

 “Hire well, manage little.” —Warren Buffett

If a boss ignores the above quote, the likelihood is that he will not get much done. Employees’ reactions to micromanagement can range from demotivation to a feeling that they will never be allowed to work on their own. The boss who indulges in this feels he knows best and cannot trust the employee fully.

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3. Your boss appreciates your skills

A great boss will soon become familiar with people’s talents and skills. It is a great asset when delegation has to be done. She will dedicate one-on-one time to finding out about what you enjoy most at work, your ambitions, and where you are headed. This fits neatly into skills training and, hopefully, promotion. You feel that you know where you are going and so does your boss.

4. Your boss can take the blame

Sometimes, a bad boss will do everything to shift the blame on to an unfortunate team leader or member, when the faulty decision was definitely his. Now the good boss will admit mistakes and openly walk staff through the analysis of failure and the lessons to be learned. He is a great model for employees to follow and this will discourage them from playing the blame game.

5. Your boss is friendly and approachable

We have all had difficult and bad tempered bosses, not to mention autocratic and mean ones as well. If your boss is friendly and approachable it really helps you to discuss a problem or how to solve a particular issue which is bothering you.

6. Your boss can communicate effectively

You know exactly what you have to do and by when. Your boss has explained it all to you and this makes meeting the deadline much easier. Problems arise when a bad boss is hopeless at communicating.

7. Your boss keeps meetings to a minimum

Guess what really grates on people’s nerves? Yes, you guessed it—all those endless and often, useless meetings. Workers feel that meetings should be used for brainstorming and reporting on progress. They should help, rather than hinder productivity. Good bosses know that and put it into practice.

8. Your boss focuses on small wins

Employees are encouraged when the boss notes the small wins or baby steps towards the big goal. A great boss will make sure that workers are thanked, whether it is an email or a phone call. It works every time and motivation shoots up.

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9. Your boss is an active listener

Many bosses make the mistake of talking far too much and stifling staff contributions. Employees sit still and are sullen. A great boss will defend her stance when she knows she is right but will also be able to listen when she thinks she may be in the wrong.

10. Your boss does not know it all

“It is easy to be a holy man on top of a mountain.” —W. Somerset Maugham

Not claiming total knowledge is a great attribute because it is what the psychologist, James Meacham, describes as the “attitude of wisdom.” These bosses are aware that there is an ideal balance between knowing and doubting. This is reflected in the workers who feel that they will be consulted and encouraged to offer innovative ideas, when appropriate.

11. Your boss does menial tasks

Many bosses, once they rise to the dizzy heights of executive level, would never dream of dirtying their hands with menial tasks. But a really good boss knows what exactly is going on and is prepared to do even boring jobs. It is an excellent way of keeping in touch with reality in the workplace and is a also a great way to bond with staff.

12. Your boss is prepared to coach

Some bosses never really want to dirty their hands with actually coaching workers on how to do certain jobs. They feel that workers need to learn themselves. Yet the secret of wise management is that the good boss knows when to step in and teach and when to be just a helpful presence on the sidelines.

13. Your boss gives immediate feedback

Workers want feedback and they need it immediately whether they have screwed up or succeeded. That is when they really appreciate it and not months later at the performance assessment.

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14. Your boss creates a constructive atmosphere

If you really feel part of the team and know that respect, integrity and trust are actually put into practice, then you have a good boss. The boss will be the driving force in creating this atmosphere which in turn will lead to higher morale and greater motivation.

15. Your boss is flexible

Because your boss takes a personal interest in her workers’ lives, she will be much more willing to allow for flexible working arrangements when family matters need more attention. You will naturally feel more valued and more committed.

16. Your boss is not afraid of empowerment

Some bosses steer clear of empowerment as they feel that workers could start to run the whole company. Insecure bosses want to stay in control. But a good boss knows that by encouraging staff to make changes to improve services, production and finances, then it will be a win-win situation for everyone.

17. Your boss is empathetic

Empathy is an essential human quality and goes over and above taking an interest in the employee as an individual. The good boss’s perceptions of what people are going though is paramount to building a great team. He is not just a figurehead playing a role but rather a person who is fully tuned into his five senses in understanding what is going on around him. Watch the Financial Times video where Valerie Gaultier explains all this.

18. Your boss is fair

You can spot a bad boss immediately if she is surrounded by a clique of favorite persons who may be brownnosers, overly ambitious or just simply trying to get one up on their colleagues.

Treating everyone equally is the hallmark of a really good boss. Workers feel appreciated and they know that everyone is treated fairly.

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19. Your boss does not participate in office gossip

Some office gossip is harmless but more often than not, it is misused to damage people’s reputation and cause fear, resentment and envy. A good boss sets the example by refusing to get involved in spreading any gossip. She will be a role model to follow.

20. Your boss stays cool in a crisis

Crises happen. There may be an emergency, a drop in customer orders or the threat of industrial action. A bad boss may shut himself off and refuse to involve staff as he thinks he can solve the problems. Fear and distrust are usually the result, not to mention a reduction in staff morale.

A good boss knows that he will have to take the staff into his confidence by asking for help and ideas. The best way to get the staff’s commitment is to invite suggestions, solutions and to move forward although there may be painful decisions to be made.

If your boss meets all these criteria, you should stay. If you are a boss and you can’t tick off all the boxes, then it may be time for some self-assessment.

Featured photo credit: Modern business: Team work /Kevin Dooley via flickr.com

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Robert Locke

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Last Updated on October 9, 2018

19 Ways to Improve Creative Thinking Skills in the Workplace

19 Ways to Improve Creative Thinking Skills in the Workplace

Our world is changing at faster pace than ever. In order to keep up, we are continually adapting to new technology and the changing industries.

Employers are looking for employees who can solve problems, think creatively and be a leader in every situation.

These 19 tips will help you find ways to improve creative thinking skills. You can also use these skills to gain credibility as a leader in the workplace:

1. Set limitations

In order to increase your own creative thinking, it helps to set limits for yourself, so you have to think outside the box to come up with solutions.

Set deadlines, budgets or any other type of limitation to increase your creative problem solving. This will build your credibility as a creative problem solver as you come up with innovative solutions.

2. Change things up

If you find yourself falling into a rut and doing the same thing every single day, then you will likely struggle to come up with new ideas. This is why it is important to change things up in your routine and break out of your rut.

Get your creative juices flowing by exercising at a different time, or trying something new for lunch. Move your desk to a different position or change your personal workspace.

Any of these changes will help spark your mind and get the new ideas pumping again.

3. Listen and care about others

When you show that you care about others and listen to their ideas and thoughts, they will trust you more.

“Leaders who listen are able to create trustworthy relationships that are transparent and breed loyalty. You know the leaders who have their employees’ best interests at heart because they truly listen to them.” — Glenn Llopis

Listening to your coworkers allows them to be more open with you and feel that they can take risks and be creative.

Discussing ideas with your coworkers will not only help you improve creative thinking techniques, but also set the environment for a more creative office.

4. Find good mentors/critics

If you want your creative work to improve, then you need to find a good mentor or critic who can give you positive feedback and help you to keep moving forward.

As your work improves over time because of your dedication and your mentor, people will hold you in greater respect.

Every type of creative work takes several drafts before it is ready to go. With your mentors, you can find ways to continually improve your work. Ed Catmull, president of Pixar said:[1]

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“Early on, all of our movies suck. That’s a blunt assessment, I know, but I… choose that phrasing because saying it in a softer way fails to convey how bad the first versions of our films really are. I’m not trying to be modest or self-effacing by saying this. Pixar films are not good at first, and our job is to make them go… from suck to non-suck. We are true believers in the iterative process – reworking, reworking and reworking again, until a flawed story finds its throughline or a hollow character finds its soul.”

Use your mentor’s knowledge to bring your first drafts to life.

5. Try and fail, a lot

The best way to get better at things is to keep trying and failing until you improve. This enhances your creative thinking and shows your coworkers that you don’t give up easily and are willing to improve.

The ability to take failure and turn it around is one of the best qualities of any leader.

The Harvard Business Review reported:[2]

“Darden Professor Saras Sarasvathy has shown through her research about how expert entrepreneurs make decisions, they must make lots of mistakes to discover new approaches, opportunities, or business models. She frequently references Howard Schultz who, when he started Il Giornale in Seattle, the company that Schultz used to later buy the original Starbucks brand and assets, the store had nonstop opera music playing, menus written in Italian, and no chairs. As Schultz has often said, “We had to make a lot of mistakes” before discovering a model that worked.”

6. Be consistent (no tortured artists here)

When you think of creativity, an image of a broken-hearted artist or alcoholic writer may come to mind. Many people today associate creativity with isolation, despair, alcohol and inconsistency.

Just picture Jay Gatsby.

While that is good for drama, that’s not really how creativity works. Creativity is fostered through consistent effort. Put in the work everyday and you will find your creative muscles and credibility will grow.

As a leader in your workplace, you need to show consistency in everything you do, not just your own work, but throughout the company to build your business’s credibility.

7. Be honest to yourself and others

Acting dishonestly is one of the fastest ways for you to lose your credibility. Always be honest to the people around you and to yourself.

If your coworkers feel that they can trust you, then they rely on you more and work with you better. Honesty is what builds a solid foundation for a successful workplace.[3]

During the creative process, it is important to be honest to yourself. It’s easy to get carried away with fantastic ideas but you will need to learn to be honest with yourself about what is and is not possible.

8. Collaborate

The best work usually comes from teamwork. Katherine W. Phillips said,[4]

“The fact is that if you want to build teams or organizations capable of innovating, you need diversity. Diversity enhances creativity. It encourages the search for novel information and perspectives, leading to better decision making and problem solving.”

Show your coworkers that you value their efforts and perspective. By working together, you can create new ideas and make something better than you ever have before.

Collaborating will not only improve your own creative thinking but will create a bond between you and your team.

9. Use humor

As a leader, you want your coworkers to feel comfortable to be creative and open-minded.

Humor has been proven to help people to relax and feel more willing to try something new and helps foster creativity.[5]

To improve your own credibility and help others gain confidence in their own creative thinking, use an appropriate sense of humor to lighten the mood when needed and to get those creative juices flowing.

10. Be vulnerable

This goes along with being honest with yourself and others. To be a creative thinker, then you have to be willing to fail, admit your failures and be open to receiving critique.

This can be difficult especially in a workplace where you want to show your strengths instead of weaknesses, but by admitting yo ur weaknesses and being open to others, your credibility will grow as your coworkers know that you listen and are adaptable.

Take a look at this article to find out Why Showing Vulnerability Actually Proves Your Strength.

11. Have meaningful conversations

Creative people love to have meaningful conversations. This is the best way to gain a new perspective.

You have had a certain amount of experiences that have shaped the way that you see the world. But everyone around you may have different perspectives. By engaging with these people, you can learn more about their views. Try to walk in their shoes and understand their perspectives, especially if you disagree.

Steer clear of shallow small talk and discuss bigger and more meaningful topics with those around you. Ask about their experiences, their hopes, their opinions and you will gain new perspectives that will assist your creative thinking.

12. Be constantly learning new things

Some of the greatest minds in the world (Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey and Mark Zuckerburg) have said they dedicate at least five hours every week to learning new things.

They are passionate about growing their minds and learn about everything from nuclear physics to politics. As they learn about different topics, they look for ways to apply what they have learned to their own industry.

Start your own educational journey today by finding some books you would like to read or finding high-quality articles online about each topic.

Keep in mind your own industry and how you can apply what you learn to your job. You never know all the different ways astronomy can help your marketing efforts.

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13. Experience it all

Steve Jobs once said that creativity comes from experience.[6] The more experiences you have, the better connections you will be able to make to find solutions.

Try to experience as many things as possible. You don’t have to go on some huge trip around the world to have more experience; simply meeting new people and trying new things will give you more experience that will build your creative skills.

14. Give yourself some love

When I was younger, I was given the advice to take the time everyday before I went out for the day to ensure I felt good about myself and fully confident. Sometimes this took the shape of wearing a new pair of shoes or writing in my journal that morning.

I was told if I could take the time to prepare myself for the day, then I could focus all of my energy on the people around me. This is something that great leaders do today.

Take the time to rest and prepare for the next day, so you can throw yourself into your creative work and help those around you.

Self-care can be whatever it is that you need: a hot bath, going to the gym, walking your dog, reading, the list goes on and on. Figure out what energizes you, and do it as often as needed.

15. Take ownership

Accountability fosters your creative thinking because you know that others will see your work and know whether you did it well or not.

Creativity works best under some pressure, so take your projects seriously by taking responsibility for them.

Your coworkers will have greater respect for you as you take ownership for your work projects, even if you are disappointed in the results.

16. Be reflective

Hindsight is 20-20, so by looking back at past successes and failures, you can get new ideas for your work.

Reflecting is a part of the creative process and will help you as you continue to create and work. Learning from the past sets an example for your coworkers and will improve your credibility among your colleagues.[7]

“Creativity requires us to be confident in our areas of practice, whatever they may be. And reflection is an indispensable part of observing, developing, digesting and being in dialogue with our creative ’self’.”

17. Communicate

Communication is key to any good relationship and this includes the relationships between you and your coworkers.

Notice how your coworkers handle critique and find the best way to give them constructive criticism. Notice how your coworkers handle conflict, and find a positive way to help each of them through it.[8]

“Effective communication is one of the key prerequisites for a thriving workplace. It drives fast, clear and precise flow of information between individuals and groups. A lack of proper communication can greatly decrease productivity.”

Communication is a skill that is vastly underestimated and incredibly useful in the workplace. As you develop this skill, you can become an impressive creative leader.

18. Meet deadlines

We have all experienced those coworkers who can’t meet a deadline with their projects. It can be frustrating and throw off everyone else’s work.

To be a credible leader, don’t be that person.

I’ve already mentioned that creativity works best with a little bit of pressure. When you try to meet deadlines, you force yourself to come up with creative ideas.

Use your creative thinking to finish your projects on time, so you can meet your deadlines.

Your coworkers will know that they can count on you to get the job done on time, which will likely lead to you getting more projects.

19. Respect others

No matter how brilliant you are, if you don’t show respect for the people around you, your credibility in your workplace will suffer.

The opposite is true as well, if you show respect to each of your coworkers, your credibility as a leader will grow.

Michigan Ross Professor Jane Dutton who has conducted research on the impact that mutual respect has on creativity said:[9]

“Across our studies, we demonstrate that respectful engagement is more than simply a nice way to interact, but is a catalyst and cultivator of creativity.”

By creating a friendly workplace, not only your creative thinking will improve but also everyone around you. With a work environment of mutual respect, ideas can develop into something incredible.

The bottom line

Creative thinking and leadership abilities are some of the top skills that employers are looking for. Start applying these 19 tips to your work, and you will see great results in your own work and with your coworkers’ work.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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