Bosses we love

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  • It's easy to complain about your manager, but do you ever stop to consider the alternatives? Click on to read about eight kinds of bosses who deserve a little credit for doing something right. Maybe you'll even find your boss described here.
  • The Boss Who Listens: What's worse than a manager who continues reading his e-mail while listening to your question, interjecting "uh-hmm, yes" at regular intervals, as though he's paying attention—and then suddenly turns to face you and asks peevishly: "What were you saying?" A manager who listens to his employees is a boss to be thankful for. The manager who pays attention, who reflects on what you said Tuesday, comes back with intelligent observations on Wednesday, and remembers what you've told him from one meeting to the next may not be one in a million, but he's at least one in a hundred. Next time your manager tunes into your wavelength, take a cue from every kindergarten teacher in the country and say: "Thanks for listening!"
  • The Boss Who Shares: It's hard to tell whether uncommunicative managers don't realize—or just don't care—that you need certain pieces of information to do your job. It's hard to fathom why a manager would walk around with critical data and not share them with you until you've wasted weeks of effort on a project that ends up canceled. "Oh, yeah, I meant to tell you about that" is cold comfort, but the silver lining is this: Once you work for a boss who doesn't share information, you'll never fail to appreciate one who does. The boss who promptly and completely fills you in on what you need to know is a gift to be treasured. You might have to beg for some things at work (extra vacation time or a real office), but you shouldn't have to plead for the information you need to do your job.
  • The Boss Who Decides: When you took the job working for Jim, you thought: "He's so nice and easygoing." Six weeks later, the veil has been lifted and the awful truth emerges: Jim is so nice that he couldn't make a decision if his life depended on it. A doormat boss who won't make a tough call inflicts a special kind of torture on his team members. Let's appreciate the boss who decides and moves on—sometimes with less consensus-building than we might wish for, but we can live with that. At the end of the day, a boss who's not afraid to make decisions can be a very good person to work for.
  • The Boss Who Coaches: You don't pretend to know everything about every aspect of your job—who does? The worst bosses take the smallest missteps and paints them as catastrophes. The best managers treat mistakes as opportunities to coach their employees. They don't do it by blustering and threatening and wondering aloud why they hired you in the first place. They do it by asking questions to understand what went wrong and brainstorming with you to avoid the problem next time. You come away from a managerial coaching session feeling as though you've learned something important. Almost makes you forget the gaffe ever happened. Great managers believe in one-on-one coaching and make a habit of it. It's a pleasure to work for someone whose investment in your development shows so clearly.
  • The Boss Who Stands Up: It's not that you want your boss to go to bat for you on every little issue, but you'd like to think that when the stakes are high, your boss will support your causes. Great managers don't hesitate to carry the flag for the team when the ideas are sound, regardless of the political headaches involved. Once you've had a boss fight for the right answer, it's hard to work for the too politically aware manager whose allegiance to No. 1 is abundantly apparent. A boss who fights for what's right on the job deserves thanks, and not just in November.
  • The Boss Who Tells the Truth: One of the hardest parts of managing is delivering bad news, which is why so many bosses simply won't do it. They beat around the bush and drop heavy hints until their staff members go crazy. They let you intuit the bad news on your own. Instead of acknowledging upcoming budget cuts again, they'll say: "Umm, I'm not sure, but let's push off that new branding campaign until spring." Just give us the news, already! Be thankful for the boss who tells you what's going on, even when the news is bad. A spoonful of sugar won't help the worst medicine go down, but a plainspoken boss who deals forthrightly with adversity and opens the door for productive conversation is a boss we'd all love to have.
  • The Boss Who Has a Life: Which boss is more worthy of our thanks than the one who works hard, loves his job, and then goes home and puts the job aside? A boss with a life serves as a role model for the next generation of managers as well as a gift to the time-pressed workers of this generation who like to think they can have professional success without giving up every shred of personal fulfillment in the deal. Let's give thanks to the manager who knows how to deliver value to his employer and support his team, and know when to turn it off and enjoy a football game or a night at the opera. A boss with a life sends the message that it's O.K. for team members to have lives of their own, too. With some of the prize turkey managers we've seen over the years, the manager with a job and a life and apologies for neither is a boss to appreciate—the sooner, the better.
  • Bosses we love

    1. 1. BOSSES WE LOVE:Its easy to complain about yourmanager, but do you ever stop toconsider the alternatives?Click on to read about eight kinds ofbosses who deserve a little credit fordoing something right.Maybe youll even find your bossdescribed here.
    2. 2. The Boss Who Listens:Whats worse than a manager whocontinues reading his e-mail whilelistening to your question, interjecting"uh-hmm, yes" at regular intervals, asthough hes paying attention—and thensuddenly turns to face you and askspeevishly: "What were you saying?"A manager who listens to his employeesis a boss to be thankful for. The managerwho pays attention, who reflects on whatyou said Tuesday, comes back withintelligent observations on Wednesday,and remembers what youve told himfrom one meeting to the next may not beone in a million, but hes at least one in ahundred.Next time your manager tunes into yourwavelength, take a cue from everykindergarten teacher in the country andsay: "Thanks for listening!"
    3. 3. The Boss Who Shares:Its hard to tell whether uncommunicativemanagers dont realize—or just dont care—that you need certain pieces ofinformation to do your job.Its hard to fathom why a manager wouldwalk around with critical data and notshare them with you until youve wastedweeks of effort on a project that ends upcanceled. "Oh, yeah, I meant to tell youabout that" is cold comfort, but the silverlining is this: Once you work for a bosswho doesnt share information, youllnever fail to appreciate one who does.The boss who promptly and completelyfills you in on what you need to know is agift to be treasured. You might have tobeg for some things at work (extravacation time or a real office), but youshouldnt have to plead for theinformation you need to do your job.
    4. 4. The Boss Who Decides:When you took the job working forJim, you thought: "Hes so nice andeasygoing." Six weeks later, the veilhas been lifted and the awful truthemerges: Jim is so nice that hecouldnt make a decision if his lifedepended on it. A doormat boss whowont make a tough call inflicts aspecial kind of torture on his teammembers.Lets appreciate the boss who decidesand moves on—sometimes with lessconsensus-building than we mightwish for, but we can live with that.At the end of the day, a boss whosnot afraid to make decisions can be avery good person to work for.
    5. 5. The Boss Who Notices:Its 7:16 p.m, youre waiting for the commutertrain to pull into the station and take youhome after a frustrating day, and your cellphone rings. Looking down at the screen, yousee your boss number on the caller ID. "Oh,not now, Im exhausted," you think as youanswer. Then you hear her say, "Jake? I justwanted to say that you did a great job with thesales analysis today. Im looking at it now—what a huge help. Thanks so much." O.K., youthink as you hang up and board the train, Iguess I can stand a little end-of-the-dayrecognition.Its easy to overlook and take for granted theboss who notices your special efforts andaccomplishments. Its a wonderful thing towork for someone who takes the time to saythanks and to let you know when youve madea difference on the job. Too many managerstake late nights at work and nose-to-the-grindstone weekends for granted, so weshould appreciate the boss who noticescommitment and will say so.
    6. 6. The Boss Who Coaches:You dont pretend to know everything aboutevery aspect of your job—who does? The worstbosses take the smallest missteps and paintsthem as catastrophes. The best managers treatmistakes as opportunities to coach theiremployees. They dont do it by blustering andthreatening and wondering aloud why theyhired you in the first place. They do it byasking questions to understand what wentwrong and brainstorming with you to avoid theproblem next time. You come away from amanagerial coaching session feeling as thoughyouve learned something important. Almostmakes you forget the gaffe ever happened.Great managers believe in one-on-onecoaching and make a habit of it. Its a pleasureto work for someone whose investment in yourdevelopment shows so clearly.
    7. 7. The Boss Who Stands Up:Its not that you want your boss to goto bat for you on every little issue,but youd like to think that when thestakes are high, your boss willsupport your causes. Great managersdont hesitate to carry the flag for theteam when the ideas are sound,regardless of the political headachesinvolved.Once youve had a boss fight for theright answer, its hard to work for thetoo politically aware manager whoseallegiance to No. 1 is abundantlyapparent. A boss who fights forwhats right on the job deservesthanks, and not just in November.
    8. 8. The Boss Who Tells the Truth:One of the hardest parts of managing isdelivering bad news, which is why somany bosses simply wont do it. Theybeat around the bush and drop heavyhints until their staff members go crazy.They let you intuit the bad news onyour own. Instead of acknowledgingupcoming budget cuts again, theyll say:"Umm, Im not sure, but lets push offthat new branding campaign untilspring." Just give us the news, already!Be thankful for the boss who tells youwhats going on, even when the news isbad. A spoonful of sugar wont help theworst medicine go down, but aplainspoken boss who dealsforthrightly with adversity and opensthe door for productive conversation is aboss wed all love to have.
    9. 9. The Boss Who Has a Life:Which boss is more worthy of our thanks thanthe one who works hard, loves his job, andthen goes home and puts the job aside?A boss with a life serves as a role model for thenext generation of managers as well as a gift tothe time-pressed workers of this generationwho like to think they can have professionalsuccess without giving up every shred ofpersonal fulfillment in the deal. Lets givethanks to the manager who knows how todeliver value to his employer and support histeam, and know when to turn it off and enjoy afootball game or a night at the opera.A boss with a life sends the message that itsO.K. for team members to have lives of theirown, too. With some of the prize turkeymanagers weve seen over the years, themanager with a job and a life and apologies forneither is a boss to appreciate—the sooner, thebetter.

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