5 Ways to Create Your “Best Boss Ever”
Help your boss be the kind of boss you’ve always wanted!
I was recently speed reading my way thru an article called “40 Ways to Say Good Job”. The article was written for managers and supervisors, making the point that frequent compliments are not just good for morale but can help managers create the kind of employees they want based on the simple premise that behaviors that are rewarded, tend to get repeated.
“By recognizing someone’s behavior at the right time in the right way, you can signficantly impact how they will behave in the future.”
What a simple concept!
And if it works between bosses and employees why wouldn’t it work in reverse? Why can’t employees create their “best bosses ever” simply by catching their bosses in the acts of doing things “right”?
We think its possible….read on for some ideas you might try….
- Thank your boss whenever they are helpful.
“I know you’re busy but I want to thank you for spending time with me this morning working on this issue.”
Your boss is just like you – they want to know that what they are chosing to do with their time contributes something of value to their team. Thanking them for their time helps to ensure that you’ll get their time when you need it next.
- Let them know specifically how their “help” (input , feedback, etc.) was helpful,
“Your input was particularly helpful because it gave me a much larger picture on what is in play here. The success of this project is even more significant than I was thinking. When you share your bigger picture perspective it helps me broaden my own.”
“I really appreciate this feedback on what I could have done differently in this situation. It will help me the next time something like this comes up.”
Many bosses have no clue as to how their input is received or if it gets turned into action. Sharing how their input “made a difference” will encourage them to continue providing the the kind of helpful input you need.
- Describe and show appreciation for behaviors your boss “didn’t do” .
“I particularly liked that you didn’t tell me how to solve this problem, but gave me things to think about before I started my approach. I’m one of those people who prefer solving problems on my own but sometimes need help in making sure I think about all the factors that can impact results.”
“I really appreciate this style of feedback. You made me feel that you just wanted me to have more success, not to simply criticize or judge me.”
Chances are that using these words will mean that the next time an issue comes up, your boss will give you the kind of help or input you want and need – not the kind of help or input you don’t want. They’ll for sure avoid using words or a style you’ve told them doesn’t work for you.
- When bringing up a difficult issue, let your boss know exactly what you need from them in the moment.
“I have an issue with an employee on our team that is starting to get to me. I’d love your perspective on this issue so that I can get myself to a place where I can deal with it myself.”
“I have an issue with an employee on our team that is starting to get to me. I think I just need to vent about it for a minute with you before I end up making it a bigger issue than what it needs to be.”
Most bosses are highly motivated to solve problems and will go quickly to offering up ideas or taking charge of the solution, unless you tell them more specifically what you need in that specific moment.
Also keep in mind that there are many managers who are not comfortable in conversations that are just about venting and may not react well if you start your conversation with a vent. For example, some managers need to be mentally prepared for a vent to give them a chance to re negotiate the goal of the conversation.
“I’m okay with you venting with me (and not others) and I will do my best to listen carefully without inserting a solution. When you’ve got all you’re feeling off your chest, I’d like to talk more about ways to actually address the problem. Are you okay with that?”
- Give your boss a public thank you or compliment.
“I just want to say in front of everyone that I really appreciate the way you bring issues to the team. I like the opportunity to get involved solving problems that impact all of us…and you make it easy to offer up ideas – even some that likely won’t work.”
Yes, some members of your team will think you’re a brown noser….but who cares? Your goal is to influence your boss to be the best boss ever, and if you see a behavior that you like, what’s the downside of recognizing that behavior in front of others. Believe it or not, your boss is just like you – they need support and feedback to be the best they can be.
I realize that to use these ideas you always have to the right context…..a boss who at least on occasion does things right, even if on more occasions you see them doing things wrong. From my experience most bosses take their “boss role” seriously and are working on trying to increase their effectiveness as a manager or leader. Oftentimes their missing link is feedback from the employees they manage or supervise on how their behavior is impacting them.
You’ll know quickly if your boss is someone who values your feedback…and by finding a way to give very specific compliments on those things they do right, I believe you can go a long way towards creating your “best boss ever”.
If you have a specific or uniquely challenging “boss” scenario you’d like to share with us and/or our readers, we’ll be glad to share it and get you some ideas for those “right words”
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