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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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Last Updated on January 14, 2019

The Key to Finding Job Satisfaction and Having a Successful Career

The Key to Finding Job Satisfaction and Having a Successful Career

Regardless of whether you hold an entry-level administration role or regularly travel to the ends of the Earth as a hot-shot senior executive, you can still find yourself harboring an emptiness… a feeling that something is missing. A popular assumption that experiencing job satisfaction and a successful career should be underpinned by a well-rounded suite of tangible benefits, no longer holds true for many of us.

We’d never deny health care benefits, appropriate and fair remuneration, bonuses and travel perks in a job package. However, even if served to us on a silver platter, those features can only satiate us to a certain point.

You might wonder what governs entrepreneurs and start-up business owners to quit their lucrative jobs, essentially look the gift horse in the mouth and kiss such benefits goodbye! There can be an irresistible pull to mastermind a business with products and/or services that serve the greater good of community wider than that constituting their daily existence.

Even with research showing entrepreneurship to pose greater threats to their mental and physical health, this unique breed of individuals choose to go against the grain in chasing their dreams of being their own boss. Why? Why would anyone risk this type of career suicide?

Whether you’re an employee, have recently taken the leap to being a business owner or been in business for a while, the commonality is a congenital condition we all share as human beings; to feel a sense of purpose, value and contribution to our community. Despite it being harder to find this for ourselves in today’s world, these approaches will help you achieve ultimate satisfaction through the twists, turns and joyrides that are essential features of shaping a successful career.

1. Search for Opportunities That Feed Your Passion, Not Temporary Excitement

Even though well-intended, the ‘feel good now’ compass that career coaches and consultants often recommend you use to create career satisfaction can actually do you more harm than good. Excitement is transient. It doesn’t last. Passion is the compass you need.

Passion and excitement are two different things. The resounding career legacy that still draws you to turn up on the job regardless of the sunshine or storm that awaits you…that’s passion. It’s like a mental and/or emotional itch you can’t shrug off. Staying attuned to that calling will breed success for you sooner or later. Patience is key.

You’re also likely to have more than one key passion. Beware of getting caught in the notion you have to find your one true purpose. In fact, run immediately from any coach who tells you there is only one. There isn’t.

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Your passion is a journey that can take multiple forms so forget thinking there is the single dream job out there that will give you satisfaction in every way you can imagine. It simply doesn’t exist.

Consider embracing different roles and projects to help you fuel your passion or fuel your pursuits in finding it. Job satisfaction and your career success will be all the more sweeter from a wider range of enriching experiences.

2. Don’t Position Job and Career Satisfaction Assessments as Pivotal Guides to Your Success

Despite their popular use for vocational guidance, assessment tools such as Gallup’s Clifton Strengths and the Myers Briggs Type Indicator have come under fire[1] as being limited to the amount of true value and direction they can offer partakers.[2] These and many other guidance assessment tools (e.g. VIA Character Strengths , DISC ) are self-report questionnaires that don’t have normative population data against which to compare your results.

Simply remember these tools help you develop a stronger sense of what you identify as strengths and weaknesses within yourself, not in comparison with other people. They will still add insight around what sorts of career opportunities, tasks and projects are going to light your fire, what ones are going to extinguish it and what will prod and keep the coals steadily smoldering.

3. Be Clear on Your Personal Values, Ethics and Principles and Choose Relationships That Support You Honoring Them

Teamwork, collaboration, open communication and trust are commonplace for any flourishing work environment. However, whether or not your personal values can be honored in your work can make or break your job satisfaction.

How committed do you want to be to an organization that expects an average of 10 unpaid overtime hours every week under the guise of ‘reasonable overtime’? Are you willing to accept their construing this expectation as ‘strong commitment’ at the expense of your partner and children waiting at home for you? What are your boundaries concerning when you clock on to their time and when you clock off to yours?

Being very in tune with what your personal values, principles and ethics are will bid you well in the job satisfaction stakes. Spending time to reflect on experiences and working relationships you’ve had – the good, the bad and the ugly – will help you make well-informed searches and grounded decisions that will propel your career success.

Finding and nurturing relationships with associates and colleagues who share similar values doesn’t just make your day-to-day pursuits more enjoyable. You become fortunate to work with like-minded people who will support, understand and appreciate you like a second family.

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Being able to honor your personal values in your work means you will still be able to sleep at night when you have to tread where others fear to, and make extremely difficult decisions others would never ever dream of having to make as you forge success in your career.

4. Be Clear on Your Own Definition of What Having a Successful Career Means for You

It’s tempting to get caught up in the ideals and projections of success expressed by those we love, admire and respect. Underneath, we all want on some level to belong to a successful club of some sort.

With research reporting how much money we feel we need to be truly happy,[3] many of us try to subscribe to the notion that having the car of our dreams or taking a European holiday annually will not bring us happiness. The truth, however, for many of us is these tangible rewards are congratulatory reminders of our persistent efforts to chase our career pursuits.

If those are things you aspire to, don’t let anyone steal your desire and want to feel deserving of these things, that those are some parameters by which you define your career success.

Despite consistently being the top revenue earner for two years running, you may not wish to become the sales manager. You may not wish to step out into running your own business even though you consistently excel as an employee, delighting clients and repeatedly receiving glowing testimonials.

Your definition of career success might be enjoying the predictability of a regular workplace routine. You get to leave – without feeling guilty – at the same time each day, love the people you work with and get to spend a good, uninterrupted amount of work-stress free quality time with your family. That picture is also blissful job satisfaction and complete career success.

5. Identify the Sorts of Challenges and Problems You Want to Learn to Overcome

Standard advice you might receive from a career coach might be to look for opportunities where you get to capitalize on exercising your strengths and career-related activities you enjoy.

However, to become a success at anything involves improvement. To excel at anything often involves stepping outside boundaries and comfort zones where others wouldn’t. This means dedicating focus and attention to things you’re not so good at and things you don’t like.

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Here’s where working with a coach can be particularly helpful. Map out the experiences that were unsavory in your working history. Were there challenges you opted out of, projects you failed at or toxic relationships that blasted your sense of purpose and self-worth into oblivion? It’s within these experiences that you might just find the most valuable lessons and guiding lights for your trajectory to achieve greater job satisfaction.

If your natural leadership style is to be a collaborator, finding opportunities that require you to apply a more dictatorial style might be needed. Discussing a secondment or short-term project where you get to develop and test your skills can be a step further in earning contention to lead a larger project down the track.

With several of the company’s boldest personality types penciled to roll out the operation, you’ll not only develop skills that earn your right to throw your hat in the ring; those key players have an opportunity to see your competence. You can then work on building relationships with those stakeholders before you need to hit the ground running should you win the lead.

Greater job satisfaction comes with planning and choosing the lessons and opportunities you want to learn, not desperately flailing, floundering and hoping for the best.

6. Keep Reviewing Your Goal Posts and Be Amenable to Change

The word ‘career’ is indicative of a longer-term pathway of change, growth and development. The journey is dynamic.

You will accumulate new skills and let those you no longer need, become rusty. Your intrigue will be stimulated by new experiences, knowledge and people you meet. Your thinking will continue to expand, not shrink. As a result, your goalposts are likely to change.

A major part of enjoying a successful career is not just setting goals effectively, but regularly reviewing and readjusting them where necessary. However, moving the posts or the target still needs to take place by applying the same processes by which you originally created them. The strength of your emotional connection to those revised goals needs to be the same, if not stronger.

By asking yourself the following questions, you can assure your developmental and growth trajectory is still on course:

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  • Would working toward these goals still allow me to honor my personal values, principles and ethics at the same capacity if not greater?
  • Do the activities I need to undertake to meet these goals honor my highest priorities?
  • Does this feel right for me and those who are nearest and dearest to me?
  • Is this aligned with my passion?
  • Is chasing this goal a right step for me to take now or is this a detour or distraction which could delay my greater plan?

Each of your career goals should have different review periods. Whatever you do, stick to the review schedule you set. It will not only keep you focused but help you see your progress (or lack thereof) and allow you to timely re-chart your course before you get too far down the track. You don’t want to waste time haphazardly heading in the wrong direction.

7. Be Prepared to Let Go

It can be unfathomable to us as to why others risk leaping into the unknown when everything truly appears fine and dandy in the career realm. The company provided stability, recognition, financial success, interesting projects and the promise of a promotion…what was wrong? Why now jump sideways to run a café or train in another field altogether?

Nothing may have been wrong at all. It was all going right. It was just the end of a chapter. Perhaps the yearning for the next step is actually taking a different trajectory entirely. You may want to simply experience a different rhythm. Perhaps it’s time to pursue a different passion.

If you have leaped from employee-land to freelancing or have made the reverse-jump (or you know someone who has), you will have quickly grown a different appreciation for pros and cons each work lifestyle brings. Working for yourself can bring the greater realization of your creativity, whether or not it can be monetized to earn you a living.

When your customers are buying you or a product you designed and fashioned, there is a direct level of appreciation and gratitude that can elevate your confidence in the way you have never experienced as an employee, regardless of your rank.

Similarly, there are times where we need to recognize our business ventures were adventures, not long-term life-changing empires. There are times we need to recognize that time is what provides the clearest limitation of how long we persist for in such pursuits.

We have to recognize the absence of enough financial, mental, emotional and physical breadcrumbs that tells us we’re no longer meant to push in that direction. At least, not for the present time.

The Bottom Line

Above all, keep the momentum. As long as you remain committed to pursuing work opportunities that allow you to honor your highest priorities, the truth of who you are and what you stand for, achieving ultimate job satisfaction and a successful career will never be too far away.

More Resources to Help Advance Your Career

Featured photo credit: Csaba Balazs via unsplash.com

Reference

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