This past weekend, while buying one too many things at Target, I saw an entire section of cards in celebration of National Boss’ Day. Upon seeing them, I immediately thought to myself, “What are you supposed to celebrate if you have a really bad boss?”
I know that’s the pessimistic way to take this “national holiday,” but seriously, not all bosses deserve one of those “Thanks for being a great boss!” cards.
Between working in retail, waitressing, daycare centers, and now as an adult in the real world, I’ve had my fair share of horrible bosses. The Michael Scott’s of the office who just want to be everyone’s friend, and don’t actually know what their doing. The egomaniac who will rip you apart in front of all of your co-workers for no reason. The one who doesn’t understand the importance of work-life balance and sends texts or emails at two in the morning. I feel like I’ve seen it all in my short 24 years.
What I have yet to see is a boss (or CEO) who makes me extremely proud to work for them because they genuinely care about all aspects of their title (for the sake of this article I am strictly talking my day jobs, not my awesome team at 20some).
So, I’ve boiled down the attributes I wish all bosses would realize are important when taking on their role.
You set the tone for what the work environment will be
I feel like a lot of people in leadership roles really forget or don’t even realize this. If you walk into work everyday with the mentality that “this is a paycheck, I need to get in and out,” then so will your employees. If you want to run a successful team, make the environment welcoming. I’m not saying this means you need to have happy hour everyday, beer on tap, and ping pong (although those are welcome). What I am saying is that you need to build a community where your employees feel like they are coming in and making a difference, that their ideas are heard, and that they don’t wake up dreading coming to work in the morning.
Showering your employees with perks, but not actually hearing them out doesn’t work.
Don’t get me wrong, perks are amazing. Discounted gym memberships, work from home options, alcohol, it’s all great. However, if all you do is pour on more perks when your employee who has been there for three years addresses the fact that he or she hasn’t seen a raise, that’s a problem. Having a fun work environment is great, but don’t forget to value the hard work that your team puts in day in and day out (and if you don’t, better believe you’ll see their not so nice reviews on Glassdoor as will future candidates).
Saying you have a work-life balance and actually having it are two very different things
We all have to put in hard work at our jobs. The hours can be long, and sometimes we may have to take work home. But if you’re pushing that you give your team a great work-life balance, this shouldn’t be happening every day of the week. You shouldn’t be sending out emails or texts at 9 p.m. for something that can wait until tomorrow. Balance is key with everything. Creating work-life balance is difficult, but the better it is, the less chance your entire team burns out within a few months.
Just being genuinely nice goes a long way
Obviously this is true for anyone, but when you’re the leader of a team or company for that matter, it’s even more crucial. I’ve dealt with bosses that I was actually afraid to talk to, bosses that never smiled unless they were talking about how great they were, and ones who hid in their office and didn’t come out all day. That’s not what we need when we are hustling to make our way in this adult world. We need leaders who want to see their team succeed, who push us to be better, but that, in the end, care about who we are as individuals.