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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 December 3, 2019

7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

I often hear people say, “I want to be successful but don’t know where to start” or “I’ve achieved career success yet I’m not happy.” And then I ask, “what does career success mean to you?” And many have a hard time articulating their response with much conviction.

It’s common that people lack clarity, focus, and direction. And when you layer on thoughts and actions that are misaligned with your values, this only adds to your misdirected quest to achieve your career success.

A word of caution. It’s going to take some time for you to think about and work on your own path for career success. You need to set aside time and be intentional about the steps you take to achieve career success. In my opinion, this step-by-step guide is apart of your life philosophy.

1. Define Career Success for Yourself

Pause. Give yourself time and space for self-reflection.

What does career success mean to you?

This is about defining your career success:

  • Not what you think you ‘should’ do
  • Not what people may think of you
  • Not adjusting to friends and family’s judgements
  • Not taking actions based on societal or community norms

“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms” – Zen Shin

When you strip away all your external influences and manage your inner critic, what are you left with? You need to define career success that best suits your life situation.

There’s no fixed answer. Everyone is different. Your answer will evolve and be impacted by life events. Here are a few examples of career success:

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  • Work-life balance
  • Opportunities for growth and advancement
  • Feeling valued that my contributions had an impact

Now even as you reflect on the examples above, the descriptions are not specific enough. You’ve got to take it deeper:

  • What do you mean by work-life balance?
  • What do you consider to be opportunities for growth and advancement?
  • How do you like to be recognized for your work? How do you know if your contributions have had an impact?

Let’s take a look at some potential responses to the questions above:

  • I want more time with my family, and less stress at work
  • I want increased responsibilities, to manage a team, a higher income, and the prestige of working at a certain level in the company
  • I’d like my immediate leader to send me a thank-you note or take me out for coffee to genuinely express her or his gratitude. I’ll know I’ve made an impact if I get feedback from my coworkers, leaders and other stakeholders.

Further questions to reflect on to help narrow the focus for the above responses:

  • What are some opportunities that can help you get traction on getting more time with your family? And decrease your stress at work?
  • What’s most important for you in the next 12 months?
  • What’s the significance of receiving others’ feedback?

Now, I’m only scratching the surface with these examples. It takes time to do the inner work and build a solid foundation.

Start this exercise by first asking what career success means to you and then ask yourself meaningful questions to help you dig deeper.

What types of themes emerge from your responses? What keywords or phrases keep coming up for you?

2. Know Your Values

Values are the principles and beliefs that guide your decisions, behaviors and actions. When you’re not aligned with your values and act in a way that conflicts with your beliefs, it’ll feel like life is a struggle.

There are simple value exercises that can help you quickly determine your core values. This one designed by Carnegie Mellon University can help you discover your top 5 values.[1]

Once you have your top 5 values keep them visible. Your brain needs reminders that these are your top values. Here are some ways to make them stick:

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  • Write them on cue cards or notes and post it in your office
  • Take a picture of your values and use it as a screensaver on your phone
  • Put the words on your fridge
  • Add the words on your vision board

Where will your value words be placed in your physical environment so that you have a constant reminder of them?

3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

When writing your short-term and long term life goals, use the SMART framework – Specific Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Treat this as a brainstorming exercise. Your potential and possibilities are limitless.

How you define short-term and long-term is entirely up to you. Short-term can be 30 days, 90 days, or 6 months. Maybe long-term goals are 4 months, 1 year, or 10 years.

Here are a few self-reflection questions to help you write your goals:[2]

  • What would you want to do today if you had the power to make it the way you want?
  • If no hurdles are in the way, what would you like to achieve?
  • If you have the freedom to do whatever you want, what would it be?
  • What type of impact do you want to have on people?
  • Who are the people you most admire? What is it about them or what they have that you’d want for your life or career?
  • What activities energize you? What’s one activity you most love?

Remember to revisit your core values as you refine yours goals:

  • Are your goals in or out of alignment with your core values?
  • What adjustments do you need to make to your goals? Maybe some of your goals can be deleted because they no longer align with your values.
  • How attainable are your goals? Breakdown your goals into digestible pieces.
  • Do your short-term goals move you towards attaining your long-term goals?

Get very clear and specific about your goals. Think about an archer – a person who shoots with a bow and arrows at a target. This person is laser focused on the target – the center of the bullseye. The target is your goal.

By focusing on one goal at a time and having that goal visible, you can behave and act in ways that will move you closer to your goal.

4. Determine Your Top Talents

What did you love doing as a kid? What made these moments fun? What did you have a knack for? What did you most cherish about these times? What are the common themes?

What work feels effortless? What work do you do that doesn’t seem like work? Think about work you can lose track of time doing and you don’t even feel tired of it.[3]

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What are your desires? Try it out. Experiment. Take action and start. How can you incorporate more of this type of work into your daily life?

What themes emerge from your responses? How do your responses compare to your responses from the values exercise and your goals?

What do you notice?

5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience

Do you have tendencies to use your head or heart to make decisions?

I have a very strong tendency to make rational, practical, and fact-based decisions using my head. It’s very rare for me to make decisions using my emotions. I was forced to learn how to make more intuitive decisions by listening to my gut when I was struggling with pivotal life decisions. I was forced to feel and listen to my inner voice to make decisions that feel most natural to me. This was very unfamiliar to me, however, it expanded my identity.

Review this list of Feeling Words. Use the same technique you use for the values exercise to narrow down how you want to feel.

Keep these words visible too!

Review your responses. What do you observe? What insights do you gain from these responses and those in the above steps?

6. Be Willing to Sit with Discomfort

Make career decisions aligned with your values, goals, talents and feelings. This is not for the faint hearted. It takes real work, courage and willingness to cut out the noise around you. You’ll need to sit with discomfort for a bit until you build up your muscle to hit the targets you want.

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Surround yourself with a supportive network to help you through these times.

“These pains you feel are messengers. Listen to them” – Rumi

7. Manage Your Own Career

Not to be cynical, but no one can make you happy but yourself. If you don’t take control of your career and manage it like your own business – no one will.

Discern between things that you can control and what you can’t control. For example, you may not be able to control who gets a promotion. However, you can control how you react to it and what you’ve learned about yourself in that situation.

Summing Up

For many who have gone through a career change or been impacted by life events, these steps may seem very basic. However, it’s sometimes the basics that we forget to do. The simple things and moments can edge us closer to our larger vision for ourselves.

Staying present and appreciating what you have today can sometimes help you achieve your long-term goals. For example, if you’re always talking about not having enough time and wanting work-life balance, think about what was good in your work day? Maybe you took a walk outside with your co-workers. This could be a small step to help you reframe how you can attain work-life balance.

Remember to take time for yourself. Hit pause, notice, observe and reflect to achieve career success by getting deliberate and intentional:

  1. Define Career Success for Yourself
  2. Know Your Values
  3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Life and Goals
  4. Determine Your Top Talents
  5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience
  6. Be Willing to sit with Discomfort
  7. Manage Your Own Career

“When you stop chasing the wrong things you give the right things a chance to catch you.” – Lolly Daskal

Good luck and best wishes always!

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Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

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