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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

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

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Last Updated on October 16, 2019

How to Bounce Back Gracefully After Getting Fired

How to Bounce Back Gracefully After Getting Fired

Whether you saw it coming or not, getting fired is a real shock and its impact is daunting. What did you do wrong? What are you supposed to do next? When will you stop feeling so angry?

But there are ways to deal with a layoff.

The most important thing is to remain calm and see it as an opportunity to reflect, change and improve. This is a great time to consider what happened, look again at your needs and desires and start afresh on a stronger, more constructive basis.

Let’s take a look at how you can bounce back gracefully after getting fired.

1. Deal with the Shock of Getting Fired

To lose your job is to lose your identity as a worker and as a person. Debbie Mandel, author of Addicted to Stress, states that 7 out of 10 of us define ourselves by our job titles, since work is where we spend the majority of our time and energy.

Being laid off affronts your sense of self-worth—it implies that you simply are not good enough. It’s no wonder you feel confused and emotional.

The first thing, then, is to take some time to digest what happened and deal with the overflow of sensations. People who quickly recover from the pain of a job loss tend to do two things very well:

First, they accept their feelings of sadness, anger, fear and shame as a part of the natural healing process.

Second, they do their complaining to a friend.

Never call out your boss in the office or on social media. It’s a bad form to speak ill of the company you work for. Stay stylish, and your employer will speak better of you when you need a reference.

2. Stay Away from the Drama Queens

Mass layoffs are, unfortunately, very common. If this is your situation, then you may be surrounded by a lot of angry people, ruminating and lamenting their fate.

“It’s not fair!” they say. “After everything we did for this company! We don’t deserve this!”

You’ve lost your job and that’s tough. But please resist the urge to join in the negativity. Positivity is by far the most important attitude to apply right now. If staying upbeat means you have to limit your exposure to the Negative Nellies, then that’s what you have to do.

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Remember, life is not harder for you than it is for other people on this planet. You live in a democracy, you have freedom of choice and you enjoy a certain material abundance.

Stay positive and focus on what’s going well in your life and the exciting future opportunities available to you. Getting fired is only a temporary setback.

Staying positing could be challenging in a difficult situation, so these tips can help:

10 Questions To Ask Yourself To Stay Positive When Facing Difficulties

3. Take a Break and Let the Dust Settle

Instead of running straight into another job that may not be the right one either, take a short break to recover from the job loss. You need a week or two to de-stress and meditate on the next step.

Be attentive to your need for self-care during this interlude. Everything goes so fast these days that we often do not stop to think or give ourselves the permission to do a little mourning.

Getting fired is a big shock: you need time to refocus and take stock of the new reality. Do not make things harder for yourself!

What you need is to pause a while and do some self reflection:

How Self-Reflection Gives You a Happier and More Successful Life

4. Be Anchored in the Present

Since you no longer have a hold on the past, but have not yet designed your future, try to build yourself up with the present. What do we mean by that?

We mean that right now is the only time you have any control over. Focus on that instead of losing yourself in memories or reliving the awful day you got fired over and over in your head.

Get up at 7 a.m. each day, whatever happens. The body needs rhythm and habits. You will feel much more energized if you keep a consistent routine. Maintain a healthy lifestyle, revisit your budget, play sports, volunteer. Take care of the practical stuff like claiming unemployment. Enjoy the small pleasures of everyday life.

When you’re busy, there’s no room for the inner critic to raise up and derail you. Keep active, and you will gain more of the precious energy you need so much to move forward.

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Try these things to help you live in the moment:

34 Ways To Live in the Moment And Grow in the Moment

5. Understand the “Why”

There are lots of reasons why people are fired. Sometimes the mistake is yours and it’s embarrassing to admit you backed yourself into this corner.

Other times, it’s not your fault. Businesses change direction all the time—maybe yours is going through a major transition or merger and your job is disappearing.

Either way, to give the situation some closure, you need to understand why you were dismissed. What slipped? What could you have done differently? Was your boss really out to get you or did you do something to put your job in jeopardy?

Be honest with yourself. It’s not easy to admit that you might have dropped the ball but it’s the only way to turn the situation into a learning experience. Ask yourself:

What skills do you need to improve?

Is there training you can access, or learning you can do?

In the end, did this job suit you that much? Were you happy there?

Reflecting on these questions can help you put things into perspective. What lessons can you learn to avoid reproducing the same pattern in your next job?

6. Find out If You Were the Right Fit

Hiring decisions ultimately come down to personality. You can study for an interview all you like, but every candidate who is chosen for interview has the right credentials for the job.

The final decision comes down to personality. Who does the recruiter like the best? Who is a better fit for the company culture? That’s the person who strikes it lucky.

Firing decisions are based on personality, too. Slacking off, insubordination and playing fast and loose with the company rules—these are the official reasons why people are getting fired.

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But all of these reasons boil down to one thing: personality. Specifically, they signal a personality clash between an employee and a manager, or an employee’s fit with the company’s culture.

Here’s an example:

Suppose you were fired for “not being a team player.” Some people, namely introverts, lose energy when they are surrounded by other people and gain energy when they are on their own. Forcing an introvert to continuously work on a busy, noisy team without any solitary rest periods means the job is a mission impossible. This employee will never perform at her best.

Or how about the time the Kansas City Star newspaper fired Walt Disney for a perceived lack of imagination? Talk about a clash of personalities![1]

Getting fired can be a signal to turn inward and do some self-reflection so you can better understand your personality and how it might fit in with corporate culture.

In particular, personality assessments based on Isabel Briggs Myers’ sixteen personality types can help you to understand your own work style and how you can find a job and workplace that better match who you truly are.

In many cases, it is totally liberating to realize that all the crap you had to deal with was just down to a clash of work styles and not something you did wrong!

7. Rediscover Your Strengths and Talents

A personality test can also give you clear insights into your strengths, weaknesses, motivations and work potential. Do you have leadership abilities? How do you communicate and manage conflict? What benefits do you add to an organization?

Identifying your working style should be your top priority right now, otherwise you risk accepting a new position that has all the same problems as before. The last thing you want is to reproduce the same old dramas the next time around.

When you become aware of your potential, you will have the confidence to search and find the type of work you love.

For example, getting fired from your banking job may have knocked you sideways. But you have some stellar home decorating skills, and a personality test shows that you are curious, flexible, rational and resilient—all the traits of successful entrepreneurs. Maybe this dismissal is an opportunity to launch the business you’ve always dreamed of but never dared to admit to yourself?

By considering all your special skills and talents, you increase your chances of finding a job you would really enjoy, and not just the one you can do.

8. Get the Word Out

At this point, you should be ready to take action and move forward with your job search. Let’s not sugarcoat the situation: getting a new job is tough. It helps to have a clear idea of the direction you want to go in, a list of all your crossover skills and a freshly polished resume.

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Look around for inspiration. Talk to recruiters in your sector to establish what they consider to be your most valuable skills. Use all the resources at your disposal: job search agencies, headhunters, work coaches, careers websites and so on. These resources can help you match your qualifications to the job requirements and ensure you have the right keywords on your resume.

Don’t hold back on marshaling your networks. Put friends and family to work to pop up leads, and don’t be afraid to ask for referrals. Sometimes the simple act of getting the word out to the people who know you is the surest way to find work fast.

9. Anticipate Questions and Know How to Answer Them

Even if it wasn’t your fault, getting fired can hurt you if you don’t know how to explain why you were let go. You have to be honest here and tell recruiters the truth. Even if a would-be employer does not specifically ask why you left your previous job, it is better to clarify the situation upfront before it comes out in your references.

The best approach is to take your share of responsibility and show that you want to go forward and that you understand the lesson.

For example, suppose you got fired for asking the difficult questions that no one wanted to answer and your candidness set people on edge. Acknowledge that some people perceive your communication style as abrupt and explain how you’re taking steps to increase your diplomacy skills.

A recruiter can be seduced by someone who knows how to evolve and who shows a great energy for personal development.

10. Adapt and Persist

Throughout this journey, you inevitably will go through moments of self-doubt and disappointment. There are undulations in every road, and these are the normal steps for regaining self-confidence after getting fired.

Stay tough! Don’t conclude that your future is hopeless just because the dream job doesn’t land straightaway. You open a positive path when you maintain focus. Have the confidence to know that the perfect job for you is out there.

Remember, you are not alone. Many people walked this road and they would urge you to keep the momentum. Stay open-minded and go where the opportunities take you: it will bring you closer to the job you really want.

Coming Out on Top

While getting fired isn’t the ideal situation, it isn’t the end of the world either. Even if feels like a doozy right now, you will get through it and emerge happier on the other side.

Be clear on what you want, have courage and believe in yourself. In the end, you may decide that getting fired was the best thing that ever happened to you. It can be the catalyst for a powerful, career-fulfilling change.

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Featured photo credit: Jesus Kiteque via unsplash.com

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