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8 Things Your Boss Doesn’t Want You to Know

8 Things Your Boss Doesn’t Want You to Know
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Whistleblowing is a stigmatizing act. For every person that looks up to you, there’s one that looks down on you and a dozen that want to destroy you. Leaking the secrets of Corporate America labels you for the rest of your life, and it’s not easy. Your boss teaches you everything you need to know about how to perform your job, but they won’t teach you how to seek justice if your job hurts people. Here are some other secrets your boss doesn’t want you to know.

1. Your Boss Needs You

    When you look up your company online or see them in the news, it’s always the executives they discuss. You’re just some number at the bottom of the ladder, so it’s easy to feel like you can’t affect anything in your company. The truth is the real power in corporations isn’t held by executives; the real power lies in the hands of those working in the trenches.

    Your boss probably can’t do your job. When you hear about Jamie Dimon and Brian Moynahan leading Chase and Bank of America to foreclose on peoples’ homes, they’re not doing it personally. They don’t even know how to perform a foreclosure if they wanted. A leader barking orders is just a lone nut without followers to carry out those orders. This is why they go out of their way to keep employees from unionizing. Never forget that.

    2. Your Boss Can’t Be Your Friend

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      Your boss wants to be your friend, but they can’t. When push comes to shove (and it happens often), they may have to let you go, and that’s difficult to do to a friend. Even if they like you, they can’t do much to help you if you’re in a position where numbers are tracked.

      If their boss doesn’t notice, your coworkers most certainly will. If it’s between your livelihood and your boss’s, you better believe your boss will choose self-preservation

      3. Your Boss Guesses…A Lot

        When I worked in management, guessing was nearly a daily occurrence. It’s not that we didn’t know what we were doing – it’s that so much work comes in, so many holes need plugged, that you have to do the best you can with what you have. Part of being a boss is taking an educated guess and seeing what the outcome is.

        Taking chances that pay off mean you’re a great leader, while a chance that fails can put you in hot water. Don’t let it get to you; I once broke something that crashed the backend processing system (overnight updates) that got the head of Countrywide’s IT department paged at 3am. I survived years between that and my departure from the company – this is the nature of the job.

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        If you aspire to a position in management, show your boss you’re not afraid to take chances.

        4. You Have More Power than You Think

          I’m just some guy who once worked in a cubicle in some schmuck position until I spoke up. Soon I was speaking to lawyers, regulators, and more. In doing so, multiple global corporations got hit for billions, and it’s still happening. If I can do it, so can you.

          5. You Can’t Speak Freely

            Think you’re free? Post something controversial on the Internet and then act up at work. You may feel like your work is your life and your associates are your friends and family, but they’re not. When you leave a job, your work circle fades, save for a special few. Some are by choice, and others are out of your control. Watch what you say.

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            6. You’re Always the Last to Know

              Everything in business is on a need-to-know basis. Associates get informed just before the media informs the public. Your company does this so they can preach about how the media is misinformed and you have the real inside story.

              7. Your Company Will Steal Your Work and Contacts When You Leave

                You signed a lot of contracts when you took your job; those contracts stole everything you did during your career. Remember when NBC kept Conan O’Brien off TV? He’s not unique, and neither are you.

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                Even Ari Gold couldn’t take his clients on Entourage, and he was backed by an entire team of writers. Be aware of this going in. Business is about more than just money.

                8. You Get Blamed for Everything

                  I stepped up for my people anytime the chips were down, but when my team got blamed for a failure of mine, I didn’t exactly step up to the plate. I was one of the more generous managers too. If you think your boss doesn’t do the same, you’re delusional.

                  Some will even throw you under the bus individually (see above points for more examples). The motto CYA is much more prolific in business than YOLO. Act accordingly.

                  Featured photo credit: New Line Cinema via wwws.warnerbros.co.uk

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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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