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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 March 25, 2019

How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

Career advancement is an enticement that today’s companies use to lure job candidates. But to truly uncover growth opportunities within a company, it’s up to you to take the initiative to move up. You can’t rely on recruiter promises that your company will largely hire from within. Even assurances you heard from your direct supervisor during the interviewing process may not pan out.

But if you begin a job knowing that you’re ultimately responsible for getting yourself noticed, you will be starting one step ahead.

Accomplished entrepreneur and LinkedIn Co-Founder Reid Hoffman said,

“If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward.”

It’s important to recognize that taking charge of your own career advancement, and then mapping out the steps you need to succeed, is key to moving forward on your trajectory.

Make a Point of Positioning Yourself as a Rising Star

As an employee looking for growth opportunities within your current company, you have many avenues to position yourself as a rising star.

As an insider, you’re able to glean insights on company strategies and apply your expertise where it’s most needed. Scout out any skills gaps, then make a point to acquire and apply them. And, when you have creative ideas to offer, make it your mission to gain the ear of those in the organization who can put your ideas to the test.

Valiant shows of commitment and enterprise make managers perk up and take notice, keeping you ahead of both internal and external competitors.

Employ these other useful tips to let your rising star qualities shine:

1. Promote Your Successes to Your Higher-Ups

When your boss casually asks how you’re doing, use this valuable moment to position yourself as indispensable: “I’m floating on clouds because three clients have already commented on how well they like my redesign of the company website.”

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Tell your supervisors about any and all successes. Securing a new contract or signing a new customer should be a cause for celebration. Be sure to let your bosses know.

2. Cultivate Excellent Listening Skills

Listen well, and ask great questions. Realize that people love to talk about themselves.

But if you’re a superb listener, others will confide in you, and you’ll learn from what they share. You may even find out something valuable about your own prospects in the company.

If others view you as even-minded and thoughtful, they’ll respect your ideas and, in turn, listen to what you have to say.

3. Go to All Office Networking Events

Never skip the office Christmas party, your coworker’s retirement party, or any office birthday parties, wedding showers, or congratulatory parties for colleagues.

If others see you as a team player, it will help you rise in your company. These on-site parties will also help you mingle with co-workers whom you might not ordinarily have the chance to see. For special points, help organize one or two of these get-togethers.

Take the Extra Step to Show Your Value to the Company

Managers and HR staff know that it can be less risky – and a lot less costly — to promote from within. As internal staff, you likely have a good grasp of the authority structure and talent pool in the company, and know how to best navigate these networks in achieving both the company’s goals and your own.

The late Nobel-Prize winning economist, Gary Becker, coined the term “firm-specific,” which describes the unique skills required to excel in an individual organization. You, as a current employee, have likely tapped into these specific skills, while external hires may take a year or more to master their nuances.

Know that your experience within the company already provides value, then find ways to add even more value, using these tips:

4. Show Initiative

Commit yourself to whatever task you’re given, and make a point of going above and beyond.

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Position yourself so that you’re ready to take on any growth opportunities that present themselves. If you believe you have skills that have gone untapped, find a manager who will give you a chance to prove your worth.

Accept any stretch assignment that showcases your readiness for advancement. Stay late, and arrive early. Half of getting the best assignments is sticking around long enough to receive them.

5. Set Yourself Apart by Staying up on Everything There Is to Know About Your Company and Its Competitors

Subscribe to and read the online trade journals. Become an active member in your industry’s network of professionals. Go to industry conferences, and learn your competitors’ strategies.

Be the on-the-ground eyes and ears for your organization to stay on top of industry trends.

6. Go to Every Company Meeting Prepared and Ready to Learn

A lot of workers feel meetings are an utter waste of time. They’re not, though, because they provide face-time with higher-ups and those in a position to give you the growth opportunities you need.

Go with the intention of absorbing information and using it to your advantage — including the goals and work styles of your superiors. Respect the agenda, listen more than you speak, and never beleaguer a point.

Accelerate Your Career Growth Opportunities

A recent study found that the five predictors of employees with executive potential were: the right motivation, curiosity, insight, engagement, and determination. These qualities help you stand out, but it’s also important to establish a track record of success and to not appear to be over-reaching in your drive to move up in your company.

Try to see yourself from your boss’s position and evaluate your promote-ability.

Do you display a passion and commitment toward meeting the collective goals of the company? Do you have a motivating influence with team members and show insight and excellence in all your work?

These qualities will place you front and center when growth opportunities arise.

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Use these strategic tips to escalate your opportunities for growth:

7. Find a Mentor

With mentorship programs fast disappearing, this isn’t always easy. But you need to look for someone in the company who has been promoted several times and who also cares about your progress.

Maybe it’s the person who recommended you for the job. Or maybe it’s your direct supervisor. It could even be someone across the hall or in a completely different department.

Talk to her or him about growth opportunities within your company. Maybe she or he can recommend you for a promotion.

8. Map out Your Own Growth Opportunity Chart

After you’ve worked at the company for a few months, work out a realistic growth chart for your own development. This should be a reasonable, practical chart — not a pie-in-the-sky wish list of demands.

What’s reasonable? Do you think being promoted within two years is reasonable? What about raises? Try to inform your own growth chart with what you’ve heard about other workers’ raises and promotions.

Once you’ve rigorously charted a realistic path for your personal development within the company, try to talk to your mentor about it.

Keep refining your chart until it seems to work with your skills and proven talents. Then, arrange a time to discuss it with your boss.

You may want to time the discussion around the time of your performance review. Then your boss can weigh in with what he feels is reasonable, too.

9. Set Your Professional Bar High

Research shows that more than two-thirds of workers are just putting in their time. But through your active engagement in the organization and commitment to giving your best, you can provide the contrast against others giving lackluster performances.

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Cultivate the hard skills that keep you on the cutting edge of your profession, while also refining your soft skills. These are the attributes that make you better at embracing diverse perspectives, engendering trust, and harnessing the power of synergy.

Even if you have an unquestionably left-brain career — a financial analyst or biotechnical engineer, for example — you’re always better off when you can form kind, courteous, quality relationships with colleagues.

Let integrity be the cornerstone of all your interactions with clients and co-workers.

The Bottom Line

Growth opportunities are available for those willing to purposely and adeptly manage their own professional growth. As the old adage says,

“Half of life is showing up.”

The other half is sticking around so that when your boss is looking for someone to take on a more significant role, you are among the first who come to mind.

Remember, your career is your business!

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Featured photo credit: Zach Lucero via unsplash.com

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