Well, perhaps Santa did not bring you your perfect boss for 2016 – but then perhaps Santa did not bring your boss a perfect employee either. Just as employees can flourish with a good boss, so too can bosses appreciate and succeed with good employees. So let’s turn the tables for a few minutes and examine some of the characteristics of a good employee …. from the boss’s perspective.
Work is not a birthday party, so surprises should be avoided at all costs. I have never worked with, or for, a boss that enjoyed surprises. Bad news may upset your boss – but it is always worse if you have known about it for a while and have withheld it. If you are having challenges in a work area, then ask for help. If something is not working properly, then speak up and bring it to the attention of the boss, or a responsible person. When you are at risk of missing a deadline, then advise your manager ahead of time, rather than delivering late with no notice. When a project is coming off the rails for whatever reason, then keep your leader in the loop, either asking for help, or identifying what steps that you are taking to address the problems. Build an open and trusting relationship with your boss so that small problems do not grow into much bigger surprises further down the road. Avoid Surprises Always.
A boss has the right to ask you to do things and suggest a time for completion. You have the opportunity to discuss and to seek clarity on priorities when there is a scheduling conflict. But in the end, the boss is entitled to some of your time , to determine your work priorities and to expect a commitment to an agreed deadline for delivery. Be fanatical about meeting your delivery deadlines and your commitments. You are only as good as your word, and as Yoda says: “do or not do – there is no room for ‘try’ ”). Deliver on Commitments – Always. In the rare case you get into an over-commitment situation, then re-read # 1 above.
If you want to be recognized for your brain rather than just your hands, then always exercise the brain when faced with a problem. Thinking through a couple of solution options moves the conversation quickly from the problem to the solution phase. Even if your options are not selected in the end, the fact that you generated a few, demonstrates initiative, creativity and engagement – all things that are highly valued in employees. But be careful not to be too insistent on your solution – advice needs to be followed in the end by “obey” – that’s the nature of the work relationship. Provide Solutions – Always.
Negative feelings and attitude about your work or your workplace are almost always visible in your dealings with your boss, your co-workers and your customers. When people sense negative attitudes, they start to question loyalty and engagement and are left wondering why you remain in the job. If your job is important to you, then behave like it is, or you will soon be without it. A bank likes to lend money to people who already have money in the bank. In the same way, prospective employers prefer to offer jobs to candidates who are already employed. Every career counselor will tell you that the best way to secure a better job, is to excel and succeed in your current job. That is so much easier if you have your positive attitudes shined and showing. Be Positive – Always.
Every employee has either internal or external ‘customers’ for the services that they are employed to provide. Customers are not only people that leave money at the counter. Customers include the next person in the production line that does something else with your output. Your boss is your customer – as are your co-workers. Each of these expect quality work from you as an employee – on time, right the first time, and delivered in a friendly and energized manner. Good employees know their customers and their expectations. Good employees are passionate about delivering their best possible product. Good employees return phone calls and e-mail requests. They get up each morning with a sincere intention of doing whatever it takes to delight their customers today. Be Passionate about Service – Always.
This person was selected to be your boss for the special skills and attributes that he or she has demonstrated in the past. Challenge yourself to search out these strengths – and then establish a relationship that allows you to access these skills or insights when appropriate or needed. Bosses are human too. As with all of us, they have a need to be recognized and to feel needed. Bosses also have customers – employees like yourself who need help and guidance. So view your boss less as an adversary – and more as a resource to help you succeed in your role.
It is the start of a New Year at work – and 2016 is one day longer than last year. So we will all spend a significant amount of time in our place of employment, reporting to another person higher in the chain of command. Having a successful 2016 starts with you and how you manage yourself in your place of work. Helen and I join the rest of The Delfi Group in wishing you a healthy, happy, engaging and exciting 2016, whether an Employee, or a Boss.