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20 Things Extraordinary Bosses Do Differently

20 Things Extraordinary Bosses Do Differently
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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.

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

Featured photo credit: Hernani Larrea via flickr.com

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Published on July 27, 2021

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

Put the Pro in Professional

After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

2. Dress the Part

While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

3. Stage Your Workspace

Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

5. Arrive on Time

In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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6. Turn on Your Video

Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

Attend to the Pesky Details

8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

Talking Has a Time and a Place

11. Chat Appropriately

Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

Manage Yourself

14. Minimize Distractions

While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

15. Save Snacking for Later

Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

Final Thoughts

Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

Reference

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