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20 Things Extraordinary Bosses Do Differently

20 Things Extraordinary Bosses Do Differently

Let’s face it, we’ve all worked for a boss at some point that was less than pleasant. In fact, many of us have worked for bosses that were downright awful.

The difference between having a lousy boss and having an extraordinary boss is paramount and can be the difference between loving and hating your job.

Not only that, research shows that great bosses have a positive effect on their employees in terms of increasing production through educating them on more efficient work methods.

Now ask yourself if your boss is extraordinary by the following traits they possess. Here are 20 things that extraordinary bosses do differently:

1. They give their employees public praise.

In the book, How to Win Friends & Influence People, Dale Carnegie said, “Be hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.” This is never more true than for a boss recognizing his employees. People thrive on recognition, it’s one of our defining human characteristics. The extraordinary boss will do this often.

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2. They criticize in private.

There is nothing worse than making a mistake and then getting reamed out for it in front of your peers. This causes embarrassment and in the long run, a great deal of resentment towards your boss. Extraordinary bosses will reprimand you in private and allow you to save face.

3. They make their employees #1.

The customer may always be right, but without good, quality employees, there will be no customers. Great bosses understand this and treat their employees as their most prized possession.

4. They allow their employees a good deal of autonomy.

Just ask any person who has worked for a micro-manager how important having a sense of independence is. Having autonomy is one of the leading causes for workplace happiness.

5. They have meaningful objectives.

They make their employees want to care about their jobs. An extraordinary boss will help his employees understand the “why” of their jobs. And once they understand that, it allows employees to feel like they are a part of something important.

6. They connect with their employees.

Extraordinary bosses will take the time needed to build relationships with their employees. Remembering their names and learning something about them sets this boss apart.

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7. They aren’t afraid to get in the trenches.

Bosses who lead not by example, but rather by dictating will not be respected. A great boss is not afraid to get their hands dirty and do the same work he asks his people to do.

8. They honestly care about their staff.

If a boss doesn’t care about his employees, how can he expect to identify with them? He can’t. An extraordinary boss truly cares about the well-being of his employees.

9. They are consistent in their actions.

It can be highly frustrating not knowing how your boss will react to certain situations. And while you may not always be pleased with the outcome, knowing it will be consistent makes it acceptable.

10. They lead and inspire their employees.

Anyone can stand in front of a room and talk, but the extraordinary boss inspires his people to be better. Inspired employees work much harder. Sadly, only 30% of U.S. employees are inspired at work.

11. They are reliable.

Being able to rely on your coworkers is important, but knowing you can rely on your boss is vital. There may be times in your career where you simply must count on your boss for something. An extraordinary boss will be there for you when you need him.

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12. They set clear expectations.

How often have you heard a story from someone who struggled with a project because there were no clear expectations? How can you work to your potential if you don’t know what that is?

13. They recognize extra effort.

Going above and beyond what is required of you is an indication of a good employee. A great boss will take notice and let you know it’s appreciated.

14. They know your name and use it often.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, in How to Win Friends & Influence People, noted that one of the most obvious and important ways of gaining good will was remembering people’s names and making them feel important.

15. They are not afraid of failing.

An extraordinary boss understands that failure is inevitable and should be viewed as a learning experience. Be wary of the boss that lets you think he doesn’t make mistakes.

16. They are excellent communicators.

How many of you have had a boss that expected you to read her mind? She wonders why your project wasn’t done properly or why your job didn’t get done the way she expected. It all boils down to communicating those things to her employees. Just as in any relationship, communication is key.

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17. They know how and when to delegate.

Delegating properly can mean the difference between a highly successful business and a failed one. An extraordinary boss will delegate responsibilities and not just tasks.

18. They have a good sense of humor.

Being in a management position is serious business, but being able to take the daily stresses with a grain of salt is invaluable. A survey by officebroker.com polling 600 employees revealed that having a sense of humor was the most important characteristic of a great boss.

19. They possess common sense.

Having a book smart boss may be great, especially if you work in an analytic field, but there is no substitute for common sense. A great boss will possess both book smarts and street smarts. Having to think on your feet and make snap decisions will happen in a management role and without common sense, errors will frequently be made.

20. They have a positive mental attitude.

Whether it be from Norman Vincent Peale or Dale Carnegie, it is said that having a positive mental attitude is absolutely critical for success. As an extraordinary boss, possessing this trait can be contagious and will result in having a more productive and happier workforce.

Remember, not all bosses are created equal. And if you’re lucky enough to work with a boss that possesses some or all of these traits, then consider yourself very fortunate and learn as much as you can from him or her.

You never know… you may be that boss some day!

Featured photo credit: Hernani Larrea via flickr.com

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Published on January 7, 2021

How To Train Yourself When You Lack Attention To Details

How To Train Yourself When You Lack Attention To Details

Some people see the trees for the forest, and some see only the forest, meaning they lack strong attention to detail. But even if you’re one of the people who take a macro rather than a micro view, true professionalism requires balancing both.

If focusing on the fine points is not your forte, you will benefit from training yourself to pay attention to details. You will profit by saving yourself time, effort, money, and credibility.

Why Training Yourself in Attention to Details Pays Off

You add value to your organization when you make the effort to ensure that you performed your work thoroughly and effectively. This is why job postings often list “attention to details” among the required skills.

When you present your supervisor or client with well-completed, high-quality work the first time, it maximizes your value and minimizes wasted time. Detail-oriented people are also more adept at catching mistakes that could lead to costly blunders.

Moreover, attention to detail is an indicator of possessing other in-demand employee qualities, such as organization, thoroughness, and focus. In some professions, such as accounting, engineering, medical research, and more, you can only excel if you have trained yourself to pay attention to details.

In other professions, possessing strong attention to detail is the very quality that will get you promoted to a position where you will be asked to consider the big picture.

Finally, if you are the “go-to” details person, everyone else on the team can relax a bit. They know the project is in good hands and will likely throw you more projects as a reward. This will ultimately lead to your advancement.

3 Important Aspects of Becoming More Detail-Oriented

Here are the 3 important things you need to learn if you want to remedy your lack of attention to detail:

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  1. Respect deadlines
  2. Understand the work-flow plan
  3. Build in time to mess up

1. Respect Deadlines

Deadlines lend all projects a finish line. One smart idea is to take the given deadline and work backward from it, calculating when your piece of the project is due. Then, if you stick to the proscribed schedule for completing the mini-projects that you have, you will never miss a deadline.

One important note on this: It is smarter to stick to the deadline and turn in work that merits a “B+” than to blow the deadline with “A” work. Chances are, through revision and suggested changes from others on the team, you can bring up your B+ work to an A later. But if you disregard deadlines, you will lose the respect of your boss and fellow teammates.

2. Understand the Work-Flow Plan

Your team is developing work in conjunction with other teams who have projects and deadlines of their own. When you grasp the whole work-flow plan, you may be able to either add insight to the greater project or to your own smaller piece of it that others at the firm will consider valuable.

3. Build in Time to Mess Up

You can expect that “what can go wrong will go wrong.” Don’t overpromise on deadlines. Something likely will mess up, but when it does if you built in the time to fix it, those around you won’t freak out.

Chances are, you already give your attention to several details. Take heart. You can do this! You can overcome your lack of attention to detail and become more detail-oriented.

For starters, consider this: Most people take the time and put in extra effort into the activities or undertakings that matter to them most. Training yourself to become more detail-oriented can mean adopting a similar pattern of behavior.

Apply the same attention you give to your appearance. Are you a meticulous dresser? Do you pay attention to how you pair patterns and colors, and how you accessorize a particular outfit?

This is the same system to use when you lack attention to detail with your work. Give every item careful consideration so that each one contributes to the perfectly pieced-together whole.

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Assemble the ingredients the way you do when you cook. Cooking and baking from scratch require close attention to details as you measure and add each ingredient in sequence, and you time everything so that the meal comes together at the same time.

Similarly, your work product requires you to gauge whether all the ingredients have been added and that your final product is delivered on time.

Organize your business network like you do your social contacts. If you follow a broad base of friends and acquaintances on social media, you can apply similar skills to stay up-to-date on details associated with business acquaintances.

When you meet somebody who could be influential to your career or a resource for improving your skills, follow that person on social media. Respond to their posts to keep the lines of communication flowing.

12 Tips to Help You if You Lack Attention to Detail

Teaching yourself to take note of important details involves sharpening your perceptions and thinking ahead. The following tips will help you adopt these practices. Master these habits when training yourself to become detail-oriented.

1. Learn to Listen Well

You will pick up relevant information and needed nuance when you apply the skills of active listening. In conversations, train yourself to make eye contact, give your undivided attention to the speaker, and ask pertinent follow-up questions.

Training yourself to pay better attention to details in conversations includes learning to fully concentrate on what others have to say. If you find it hard, there’s no harm in taking notes on what they say.

2. Pay Attention to Social Cues

Make a point of noticing body language and facial expressions that provide insights into how others perceive a situation. Social cues offer details that give you an understanding of how words and actions impact others. The infamous character Michael Scott of the television show “The Office” epitomizes the consequences of not paying attention to others’ body language.[1]

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3. Follow Rules

Rules and protocols usually come about from lessons learned and are put in place to avoid further mishaps—whether from a safety or efficiency standpoint. If you’re given step-by-step procedures to follow, check them off as you go. Also, return to the rules at the project’s end just to make sure you adhered to them all.

4. Take Notes

Note-taking is a way to boost your retention and gives you something to refer back to when you need to keep track of pertinent details. You will also heighten your focus as you listen for relevant information. Review your notes shortly after the meeting or conversation and highlight the content that you intend to apply.

5. Prioritize What Needs Your Attention Now

When you have a full slate of work that demands your attention, take a few moments to sort assignments from most to least urgent. Keep a calendar, spreadsheet, or project planning software up-to-date with schedules and deadlines to help you stay organized.

As you tackle each urgent assignment, give it your full attention so no details are missed. Give yourself ample time—especially if you tend to be someone who waits until the last minute—as rushing can make you overlook important details.

6. Have a Detail-Oriented Assistant Check Your Work

If you lack attention to detail, then it makes sense to seek help from someone detail-oriented. If you have this option, take advantage of it. Two sets of eyes are better than one. Just be sure to credit your assistant for their help once the project is completed.

7. Learn the Rules of Writing Well

English is a difficult language, and grammar, punctuation, and spelling can all sabotage you unless you pay attention to detail. When in doubt, look it up. Free to use website services such as Grammarly can help.

8. Proofread Before You Hit Send

Nothing is perfect in its first draft. If you lack attention to detail, then put in the extra effort before submitting things. Before you send off any written work, check carefully not only for misspellings and incomplete sentences but also for improper tone, inappropriate colloquialisms, and inconsistent formatting. When your written communications are error-free, they will have their intended impact.

9. Minimize Distractions

It is impossible to stay focused when colleagues carry on conversations nearby or your mobile notifications ding you throughout the day. Do your best to limit distractions.

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If you are working where there is a lot of noise or side activity, try wearing noise-canceling headphones or seeking out a quiet corner. Disable your notifications when you need to focus, and resolve to only check them after you have completed your assignment.

10. Take Breaks

It may sound counter-intuitive to stop and take a walk, but it’s necessary. Walk away from the screen. Moving from one task to the next across the span of your workday is a recipe for brain fatigue. Give your brain a recess time when you come to a natural stopping place or after you complete one project and before you start the next. These short pauses are necessary for sorting through all the details needed for coming up with successful solutions.

11. Make Time for Reflection

At the end of a workday, take a few minutes to go over the day’s events in your mind. What was said or relayed in conversations? What is the status of the projects you worked on? What else occurred that you should pay attention to? Could there have been any details you might have missed that you should address tomorrow?

12. Keep a Detailed To-Do List

This simple organizational tool is your best ally for getting your work done on time and for paying attention to the details. If you are pressed for time (and who isn’t?), write your list to coordinate with dayparts.

Allot a certain number of hours to complete each task, do it, and then check it off. Nothing feels more rewarding than completing all the tasks on your list. But if you can’t finish them, then carry them over to the following day.

Final Thoughts

Details may seem small, but they can become a lot larger when they are overlooked. If you know you lack attention to detail, commit to training yourself to embrace the many facets that can help you consistently excel in the tasks you set out to accomplish.

When you begin to catch your mistakes in advance or apply the tidbits of information you gathered from paying close attention, you will know that you have trained yourself in the fundamentals of becoming detail-oriented. After that, you should start hearing the phrase “Great job!” more often.

More Tips on Boosting Your Attention to Detail

Featured photo credit: Cristina Gottardi via unsplash.com

Reference

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