What Constitutes a Great Boss??

August 25, 2021 by  

Great bosses change us for the better. They see more in us than we see in ourselves, and they help us learn to see it too. They dream big and show us all the great things we can accomplish.

“A good boss is a man who isn’t worried about his own career but
rather the careers of those who work for him.”H. S. M. Burns

Being a great boss obviously has a tangible value other than just being liked, but how do you know if you are one? If you are not, how do you get better?

When I ask audiences to describe the best and worst bosses they have ever worked for, they inevitably ignore innate characteristics intelligence, extraversion, attractiveness, and so on and instead focus on qualities that are completely under the boss’s control, such as passion, insight, and honesty. This means that any of us can study the unique qualities of great bosses in order to learn and improve.

 Have you ever worked for an information hoarder? Some bosses seem to think that every piece of information they share reduces their power and authority. In fact, just the opposite is true: great bosses know that sharing information empowers their employees, instead of diluting their own power.

A great boss puts a lot of thought into hiring. Bad bosses think nothing of hiring a jerk with great credentials because they are only interested in how that person will perform. Great bosses think of the entire team. They recognize that their current employees are going to have to work with the new hire every single day, and they look for someone who will complement the team holistically, rather than just fill in a certain skills gap.

A great boss looks for and celebrates wins. Great bosses don’t have a “Why should I praise you for doing your job?” attitude. They look for reasons to praise their employees, both privately and publicly, and they take the time to celebrate milestones, instead of just driving everybody on to the next project or deadline. They understand that getting a paycheck doesn’t cancel out that inherent need to feel valued and appreciated.

A great boss respects your time. Great bosses don’t give you the impression that their time is more valuable than yours. They don’t keep you waiting for scheduled meetings. They show up prepared and get to the point, instead of trying to impress you. They don’t goof off on your time. It is not that they are unwilling to have fun at work, but they don’t do it at your expense, causing you extra stress or making it necessary for you to stay late to catch up.

A great boss is empathetic. Bad bosses only see their employees from the perspective of how the employees reflect on them. If their employees are doing a great job, they look good; if their employees are performing poorly, they look bad. Great bosses, on the other hand, see their employees as more than just extensions of themselves. They are able to get inside their employees’ skins and understand things from their perspective. That doesn’t mean they are pushovers, or that they just say, “Oh, sorry you are having a bad day; don’t worry about that deadline.” But it does mean that they recognize their employees are human and that they treat them as such.

A great boss is accountable. Bad bosses are quick to point the finger when something goes wrong. They will throw their employees under the proverbial bus without a second thought. Great bosses understand that a large part of their job is being accountable for the team’s performance. They know that this just goes along with accepting a managerial role. That doesn’t mean that they don’t offer the team feedback on what is going wrong, but it does mean that they take the blame publicly. Even privately, they see the team’s failure as a failure of leadership on their part, and they act quickly to correct it.

A great boss says thank you. Bad bosses think the work their employees do is something the employees owe them. After all, they are getting paychecks, right? That is true but great bosses look past work as a transactional relationship and realize that people are putting a huge part of themselves into the work they do. They say thank you, even if it is “just part of the job.”

A great boss doesn’t forget that people have lives outside of work. Bad bosses tend to see people as one-dimensional: they show up and get the work done, and the boss doesn’t have to worry about them again until the next day. Great bosses, on the other hand, never forget that work is just one facet of their employees’ lives. They never forget that they have families, friends, hobbies, and other interests and obligations outside of work, and they don’t infringe on their “real” lives by asking someone to work late, for example without a very good reason. When they do have a good reason, they acknowledge that they are asking for a sacrifice and express their gratitude accordingly.

A great boss is a great communicator. It seems like some bosses will do anything to avoid giving a straight answer. They don’t want to say something they can be held accountable for later. Other bosses just don’t want to be bothered with clear explanations and solid answers. Great bosses say what they mean and mean what they say and they say it clearly, so that people don’t have to read between the lines or try to guess their real meaning.

A great boss creates leaders. Have you ever noticed how sometimes all the promotions come from within one manager’s team? That is no accident. Great bosses pull the very best out of their people. They inspire, coach, and lean into people’s strengths, and when their employees are ready for new challenges, they gladly send them on their way.

Bringing It All Together
If you are currently a boss, is this how your employees would describe you? If not, you are leaving money, effort, and productivity lying on the table. You are also probably losing some good employees, if not to other jobs, then at least to disengagement and lack of interest.

A Gentle and Simple Method for Overcoming One’s Shyness

August 6, 2021 by  

Shyness is a common complaint, especially among school-age children. But adults can also be shy and find their shyness to be a frustrating barrier to living life to the fullest. You might believe that you were born shy, and there is some science to suggest that shyness is partially hereditary. However, you can learn to be less shy and to enjoy your life more.
You weren’t born able to walk, talk, or ride a bike, but you still learned. You can learn to be more socially comfortable, too.

Try these strategies to come out of your social shell and enjoy the company of others:
1. Imagine yourself being more social. The things you imagine vividly are indistinguishable from real experiences as far as your brain is concerned.
 Spend some time each day imagining yourself confidently and successfully navigating a variety of social situations that you would like to handle well in real life.
2. Use systematic desensitization. Start small. Very small. Walk around your local mall and do your best to make eye contact with the people walking toward you. If that is too intimidating, walk around with your head up, eyes forward, and walk confidently. Slowly ramp up the level of interaction from there.
 Make it a point to smile and say, hello to one person. On the next trip, say hello to three people.
 Ask someone for directions to a store at the other end of the mall. Or ask someone for the time.
 Have a 30-second conversation with another shopper or a store worker. Once you get used to that, start having 60-second conversations.
 Develop a fair amount of comfort with one step before moving on to the next.
3. Control your negative thoughts. You are not anxious until you begin imagining negative outcomes or engage in negative self-talk. Those are the two actions that trigger anxiety.
 Note that they are actions, meaning they are things that you have to do. They might be habits and require little to no effort to perform, but they are still under your control. Think about something positive instead.
4. Stay present. If your attention is focused on your environment or on the person you are interacting with, your anxiety will be much lower.
 When you are listening to someone speak, study their eyes or their nose. Put all of your focus on them rather than engaging with your thoughts. You will be surprised by how much this helps!
5. Use affirmations. Affirmations are one way of controlling your thoughts. Make a list of positive affirmations and use them whenever you are feeling shy.
6. Here are a few suggestions:
 People are kind and interested in getting to know me.
 People love me once they get to know me.
 I am open to confidently meeting new and interesting people.
 I am immune to the negative reactions of others.
 I am a powerful and social person.
 I love people and they love me.
7. Change your perspective. Wouldn’t you love to meet someone that was kind and friendly, even if they weren’t perfect? Everyone feels the same way. You can be the kind, friendly person that everyone wants to meet. You don’t have to be perfect or anything close to perfect. Just be kind and friendly.
 You will have more friends than you know what to do with, but you have to let people get to know you.

You can learn to be more socially bold and comfortable with practice. Be patient with yourself and start slowly. A small improvement each week in your social comfort leads to significant progress very quickly. A little effort and courage are all that is required. You can overcome your shyness and feel a greater enjoyment for life.