For Bosses on Boss’s Day: Have You Done Eough?

October 16th is Boss’s Day.

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When I think of Boss’s Day I think of the bosses I’ve had, the bosses I’ve seen and the boss I’ve been. I think of the skills I admired and echoed.  I think of the skills I could see that were buried under layers of self-discipline issues and integrity challenges.  I think of the good, the bad and the ugly:

  • The boss that was in his late 40’s, that would have temper tantrums like a two-year old when things did not go well.  (Stomping feet, throwing things, and completely consumed with blaming someone instead of problem solving.)
  • The boss that was kind, fun, supportive, and late for everything!
  • A different boss that realized in a training that her constant tardiness felt like a slap in the face to many of her employees and they were questioning her integrity.   (Her discovery was profound and behavior-altering!)
  • The boss that listened first to understand, then evaluated if the team had the tools,training and support to do their job before determining how to handle poor performance.  (Building trust and a strong organization!)
  • The boss that consistently answered calls on his speaker phone, but never told the people on the other end of the phone they were on speaker and let whoever was in his office listen to the conversation.  (Fueling gossip and eroding trust.)
  • The boss that would put an issue on the table and then sit back, watching guiding and supporting the team’s leadership.  (Inspiring teamwork and maturity.)
  • The boss that was early to every holiday party so he and his wife could stand at the door and welcome every employee and their family.  (Setting a very high standard of professionalism and care.)
  • The boss with that would do anything to manipulate the behavior of the team, including constant lying.  (Someone gifted with extraordinary skills that will never get to taste real success because of their own behavior.)

When I think of Boss’s day, I think of the people who don’t know what they don’t know.  I think of the people who want to get it right, but can’t see how their behavior impacts others.  I think of the people who know what they are doing and simply don’t care to change.  I think of the mistakes I’ve made. I think of the titled leaders I’ve judged sometimes too quickly and too harshly and sometimes spot on!  I think of the leaders I’ve admired and I think of who I want to be.

When I think of Boss’s day, I think of two interview questions I ask all prospective employees.  “What kind of leadership motivates and inspires you?  What kind of leadership hinders you?” 

iStock_000005590179XSmallI always ask those questions looking for insights into the needs of the prospective new hire.  Of all the answers I’ve received there is one answer I will ALWAYS remember.  “Someone who knows where they are going and takes their people with them.”

  • I remember that response because there was no hesitation.
  • I remember that response because it emphasized the importance of vision.
  • I remember that response because it underscored the importance of loyalty.
  • I remember that response because it became a way for me to self-audit – to think of each person on my team and to ask myself, Is the vision clear?  Have I done enough? …Enough to clarify, enough to motivate, enough to support them, enough to understand them, enough to grow them, enough to encourage them, enough to promote them?

The woman that gave me that response passed away many years ago, but today her response is still one of the best tips on leadership I could share with any leader…

Have you done enough to make sure your people know where you are going and to grow them so they can go with you if they want to?  

Image Credit:  iStock

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