Dear Santa: I made up my list, checked it twice – and the # 1 gift I want for Christmas is a Perfect Boss. I know that this is a weird request, but I spend so much of my time at my job, and I want to feel fully engaged and excited about what I do there. Without a doubt, the person that has the greatest impact on how I feel about my work, my workplace, and my employer, is my boss. So I really really want and need this gift. Here are but a few of the characteristics that I ask be build into my gift.
We live in a market that preaches the notion that the customer comes first and is a company’s most valuable asset. For most companies this is true, but my perfect boss will take this concept a step further by not only pleasing customers, but placing value on their most essential internal asset: me, the employee. As an employee, I am a customer of my boss’s leadership skills. My perfect boss will understand the concept of “servant leadership”. She will ensure that I have the resources, the time and the skill sets to succeed in my job. She will clear away the obstacles of efficiency so that I will be proud of my accomplishments. She will acknowledge my successes and help me when I need guidance and support. She will enable me to accomplish what I set out to do every day – to be the best that I can be for my employer.
Santa – pedestals are for dead people. My best boss must be comfortable and available to interact with me as an employee, and as a person. For me to be productive, my workplace can have no room for aloof leaders. My best boss will acknowledge me when we meet inside or outside of work. He will eat in the employee cafeteria with the rest of us. He will take time for short coffee chats or hallway ‘huddles’ with my team mates. He will be a leader that spends time out of his office and in regular contact with those of us he leads.
My perfect boss will know where the organization is going, where it is now, and how I as an employee can help move it along. She will talk to our team, tell us our goals and how they fit with the goals of the organization. She will be transparent and honest in her messages to us. She will keep us tuned in and engaged on what we as a team have to accomplish each week. And individually, she will take the time to give me the feedback that I need to be successful in my role. I need to know when I’m doing a great job, when I have dropped the ball, and what I need to work on in the future. She will be a great relationship builder, not only with our team, but also with our peer departments, with our customers, and with the senior leaders of the organization.
Santa – I know that this is a big request to fill. But I see a few of my friends with gifts that look just like this one – and I would rather get this gift from you now so I can stay in my present workplace, rather than having to move over to where they work. So please give it your best try. As always, I will leave cookies, a touch of rum, and this year, perhaps a raincoat to help you on your way.
Your forever friend, Virginia.