Just because you’re the boss…
…doesn’t mean you need to yell or be abrasive to get your point across.
…doesn’t mean I can read your mind and write/design/build something based on your vague parameters.
…doesn’t mean you can’t get in the trenches and get your hands dirty.
…doesn’t mean you have to be perfect or know everything.
…doesn’t mean we want to hear all your random stories unrelated to work more than once.
…and choose to have no life doesn’t mean that your employees hate their nights and weekends.
…doesn’t mean you have to fly first class or get picked up in a Towne Car.
No boss is perfect.
Employees don’t expect you to be. Chances are you’re the boss because you have a wealth of knowledge, experience, or both. Most employees would love to acquire a bit of both under your tutelage so…
… be patient when we have questions. Especially good ones.
… refrain from yelling (unless we’re one of those knuckleheads that only respond to that).
… provide constructive criticism. “You did (this) well. I feel you could’ve done (this) better. Here’s how I think I would’ve approached it.” I’ve never found a more successful formula.
… give ample direction so that we have a good feel for what you want us to accomplish. If we look lost, we probably are. We’d rather only do it once too.
… pull up a chair, brainstorm with the team, lend a hand. We’ll have a lot more respect for you. (My current CEO unloads furniture off trucks with the warehouse crew).
… admit when you don’t know something. Don’t get intimidated when an employee is more knowledgeable about something than you. That just means the team is stronger. You should be striving to hire people good enough to take your place eventually anyway.
(I see so many bosses trying to surround themselves with young, subservient employees that will suck up to them, won’t challenge the status quo, keep their heads down, and just be thankful for a job. Is there anything worse than an egotistical boss?)
… act like our boss. Maybe you can be our friend too, but that’s a fine line. We’re probably not inviting you to happy hour and we don’t want to hear an abundance of your personal stories in which you try to impress us. They don’t, and we certainly don’t care once you’ve recycled it multiple times.
… we’re all for working hard and paying our dues (eh, this is probably debatable for half the workforce), but there has to be some semblance of balance. Don’t get cranky on Friday afternoon because we’re anxious to go out with our friends and you’ll be working Saturday (by choice). And please don’t call us on our days off unless it’s important.
… transport yourself to your heart’s content, but I still think it’s dumb.
I haven’t been in the workforce that long so most of these I’ve collected via friends horror stories, but I do think that some of these solutions are fairly universal. I also think ego is often the root cause of a bad boss.
I want to hear what you have to say. What are things you’ve experienced that really turned you off/hindered your ability to do well? What solutions would you offer? If you’re a boss, how do you combat these negatives? How is your approach different? Where am I off base?