Seeing the selection of Boss’s Day cards for October 16th reminded me of the bosses I previously worked for who ranged from great to toxic. [See my suggestion below for observing Boss’s Day this year.]
I had the privilege of working for a few executives I highly respected. I also worked for execs who were inept, inconsistent, immature, and egotistical to the point of being intolerable.
Along my journey in the workplace, I did my best to practice the positive traits of the best bosses and avoid the negative behaviors of the bad ones. They all taught me how much influence those in charge have on engaging employees to do their best or causing them to disengage over time.
The Best Bosses taught me the value of working effectively with employees. Through their attitudes and actions they demonstrated:
- honesty, transparency, and clarity in communicating what was happening in the organization and how it impacted people’s work
- fairness in their dealings with employees by showing no favoritism
- support for employees by providing the tools, training, and trust to do their jobs.
The Bad Bosses taught me the behaviors that frustrate employees and lead to a toxic work environment:
- treating employees as minions whose function was to bolster the boss’s ego
- assuming employees have no life outside of work and are available to be called upon 24/7. (The mantra of one boss could have been “Lack of planning on my part will constitute a constant emergency on your part.”)
- assigning employees projects without all the proper information and/or support needed to accomplish them. (I experienced this situation because one boss was into power trips. Another couldn’t make up his mind on what he wanted and waited until the project was near-completion. Then he’d shift gears so my team would have to start over – wasting precious resources in the process.)
I don’t know if anyone is ever fortunate to work with only the best bosses or cursed to work with only nightmare bosses; most likely it’s some combination. Regardless, each has something to teach us about what works and what doesn’t in managing and leading people.
How to Observe Boss’s Day 2020
COVID-19 restrictions and working remotely may preclude the usual celebration of taking the boss to lunch. If you’re fortunate to work for someone worth acknowledging on Oct. 16th, let that person know you appreciate working with her/him/them and offer specific feedback that compliments and reinforces why you like being part of that person’s team.
If you work for a bad boss, consider observing Boss’s Day discretely by updating your resume. It might turn out to be the best gift you give yourself.
[Photo by Ben White on Unsplash]