A few weeks ago, I had reason to give advice to a close friend of mine. She had only been in the workforce at a Trust Company working for two months and was already entertaining the thought of quitting her job and finding a new one.
What was the reason for her wanting to quit her work and career so soon with still another two months of probation left to go? Well, I am so glad you asked. Let’s take a look.
The reasons she explained was that she felt pressured by her boss, who seemingly expected her to know all of the company’s rules, policies and procedures in handling clients incorporation, registration etc. which the boss had not yet shown or taught her.
Whenever she is given an assignment, the boss is constantly checking and asking “did you reply to ‘Client A’s email?” “Did you do this or that?” Answer, “Yes. I did.” Boss, “Are you sure?”
She described her boss as being very immature and one who continued to shrug her responsibility of giving her clear, precise instructions and providing clear guidance, and who was constantly being ‘hard on her’ and always made it seem like it was her fault whenever a mistake was made.
She explained the situation as one in which the boss would wait until half an hour before the work day was about to finish and would put bundles of files on her desk and expected them to be completed before the next working day. It turned out she would end up staying back late at the office doing hours of overtime work that she was not paid for.
To sum it all up, she would leave work daily feeling very frustrated, unhappy and even dreaded when the morning came for her to have to face the boss again.
For most of my work life, I have always had trouble referring to persons who I directly report to as my boss or have persons at my office referred to me as the boss. Of course I respect the position of authority that is held but always seemed to prefer saying my supervisor or manager. Needless to say, let me explain why.
Saying someone is ‘my boss’ or ‘your boss’ to me always seem to carry a subtle form of management style that have its roots back in colonial times of a slave and his/her colonial slave master. I would even associate boss with someone who simply run the show at the office but required little or no skills and experience to do so.
What would the slave master do? His style is to have the slave work under extremely poor conditions, pile tons of work on the slave, offer minimum wage and then crack the whip over the slave’s back when the work was not done the way they want it or not done in the shortest amount of time. It becomes a cycle!
Now do you see any resemblance with what I just explained and my friend’s story? Tell me about it later on. 🙂
“A boss creates fear, a leader confidence. A boss fixes blames, a leader corrects mistakes. A boss knows all, a leader asks questions. A boss makes work drudgery, a leader makes it interesting.” ~ Russell H. Ewing
Who is really the Boss?
As I was conducting my research for this post, I was quite surprised by the Google keyword search results as you can tell from the screen shot below. It does appear to be a trending topic and in this information age, people are definitely seeking for answers on ways to better themselves while in position of authority.
I even had an Aha moment and thought that maybe it’s time that I adjust my way of thinking and that in this modern era, nothing was ‘really wrong’ with referring to someone as the boss. Or, let’s see as we explore more deeply its real meaning as opposed my perceived meaning.
Definition of Boss
“People ask the difference between a leader and a boss. The leader leads, and the boss drives.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt
The dictionary, merriam-webster defines boss (noun) to mean:
- A person who exercises control or authority; specifically: one who directs or supervises workers.
- A politician who controls votes in a party organization or dictates appointments or legislative measures.
Another citation which comes from dictionary [dot] com in the noun states, a boss is a person who makes decisions, exercises authority, dominates… By extension of its meaning in the verb form (used with object)
- To be master of or over; manage; direct; control.
- To order about especially in an arrogant manner.
When used in the verb form now (without object) it is expressed as (a) to be boss (b) to be too domineering and authoritative. In the adjective form, a boss is considered the chief; master and the real show stopper for me, the word boss can be used as a
12 Admirable Attributes of a Great Boss
Having a great boss is something that most of us, if not all of us desire. But is it always that easy to encounter such an honorable person in the workforce? According to Jeanne Sahadi at CNN Money, “having a truly great boss is the exception rather than the rule.”
It is also said when someone quit, they are not necessarily quitting the job; they are really quitting the boss. Or, the employee says upon leaving “the last person I ever want to see again is my former boss.”
So what makes a really great boss? Here are 12 attributes of a great boss that you will find truly admirable.
1. Realize that the success of any organization is through employees and so respect and appreciate them
It is a fact that no man is an island and no man by himself can achieve result that is relative to success and the fulfillment of the company’s overall mission, vision and goals.
Your staff is responsible for getting the bulk of the work done and so even if you are the boss; it is not right that you take all of the credit and not appropriately give credit, respect and appreciation to your staff. Good bosses give credit, say ‘thank you for a job well done’ and are equally rewarded with increased productivity level.
2. Do not micro-manage but delegate and create an environment of trust
Have you ever noticed that the people who micro-manage in organizations are often the ones least trusted and respected by employees? The reverse is also true that micro-managers do not respect or trust the employees.
An excellent boss knows however knows that once he has trained the employee, it is time to step back and give the employee the opportunity to handle the task without the constant interference which research has shown undercut confidence and ultimately destroys it. People must be allowed to develop their own style as long as it does not interfere with company regulations.
3. Is a positive thinker
These managers and leaders understand the relation between positive thinking and the power of psychology. They are fully cognizant of the fact that life can sometimes have some sharp learning curves and rather than being negative and pessimistic, they look at every situation as a learning opportunity.
4. Is transparent and regard honesty as the best policy
We all know that the truth hurts, right? However, it is better to be honest and tell employees the truth of how they are performing, even if it hurts. In the long run you earn their respect and trust.
5. Effective listener
A boss who always want to be heard and do not want to listen to employees concerns or allow them to finish speaking without interrupting, is domineering, rude and disrespectful.
Great bosses on the other hand hear and take the time to listen which gives the employee a sense of empowerment and significance in the team.
A good boss fosters an environment of good open communication. Provides clear instructions and guidance to employees. He pays careful attention to his tone and his body demeanor when communicating to employees. He not only know how and when to speak but also know when not to speak.
7. Mentor those he is assigned to manage and lead
This attribute is among one of the top skills for managers and leaders who instead of just telling the employees what to do, will show them how it is done.
9. Encourage growth
The beauty about this is life is about learning and growing through our experiences each day. Encouraging growth is a way of ensuring employees learns from their mistakes, as opposed to being afraid of making them.
10. Practice good work ethics and is fair
A good boss will remain consistently fair and practice good work ethics among employees. He is respectful of the fact that every employee need to be treated equally and fairly and deal with problems quickly and directly.
11. Support and give praise
An employee understands the importance of receiving their pay check for the work that she/he has done, but more valued is the praise, the appreciation and the pat on the back from the boss for good work, especially when it is done in front of customers.
12. Promote and encourage work-life balance
Knows the importance of treating people as more than just a resource or asset to the organization and so would promote and encourage work-life balance. The benefit is that people perform better
Infographic-How to Be the Best Boss
Your turn, let’s talk it over
What do you think about these 12 attributes of a great boss? Did any of them resonate with you? Do you think the list was exhausted or do you have any that you would like add? Share your thoughts in the comment form.
photos courtesy: Freedigitalphotos.net