Friday, September 12, 2008

10 Things Every Employee Deserves From a Boss

Sitting in the waiting room before a dentist's appointment recently, I found myself confronted with reading material that consisted of "Five Ways to Make Christmas Ornaments Out of Old Tires" to "10 Reasons It's Very Normal to Love your Blackberry More Than Life Itself."

That left an article on "20 Things Every Woman Deserves From the Guy in Her Life." As I read:"Make-or-break mate requirements: Must love cats! Must not play air guitar!" I thought about what workers deserve from their managers in the workplace.

That led to my list of 10 Things Every Employee Deserves From the Boss:

1. Good manners. Say please, thank-you, hello and goodbye. A smile doesn't hurt, either.

2. Honesty. If a boss can't tell an employee the truth because it violates some ultra-secret, I'd-be-killed-if-I-told-policy, then say so. But don't lie because it's easier or suits some ulterior motive.

3. Space. Bosses do not need to lean or sit on an employee's desk. Or sit in the employee's chair. Bosses have their own chair, and sitting in a worker's seat is just some macho power play that comes off as juvenile. Also, no employee wants to be close enough to smell a boss's breath and the shrimp scampi (and the glass of wine) enjoyed for lunch.

4. A compliment.

5. A face-to-face conversation.

6. Another chance.

7. Some fun. A shared joke, ordering a couple of pizzas for lunch, just something.

8. Loyalty. Bosses should never badmouth one employee to another, or to a customer. They should defend employees to their bosses if at all possible. They should never criticize an employee to someone else until they hear the employee's side of a story.

9. Good p.r. If a worker does well, the boss should spread the word. No marching bands, but a little announcement in front of co-workers would be cool.

10. Respect. Without it, the other nine don't mean a darn thing.

What else do employees deserve from the boss?


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Siobhan said...

Feedback. As nice as it feels to hear "you did great this year" it's frustrating not to hear why they think so, or where there is room to improve. Because there's always room to improve.

Anita said...

You're right. And I assume you mean more than the yearly performance evaluation. Ongoing feedback is important if you're going to continue to grow your skills, which is important for your success, and that of your company.

Great point.

Ian said...

An open door policy for concerns & career goals; open communication is so important. (Although the gen Y part of me had been abusing this a lot)

One of my previous manager opened up a block at the cafeteria for 1/2hr bi-weekly for any of his employee to talk to him.

Anita said...

I once interviewed a manager who took his office door and literally hung it from the ceiling to show he had an open door policy. I don't know many people who would go to this extreme, but I do agree that being open to speaking directly with employees -- both about long and short term goals -- is critical.
Thanks for adding to the list.

Erika with Qvisory said...

I think employees deserve a little faith from their bosses. If an employee takes an hour and a half lunch one day but takes only a half hour the next, the boss should have faith that the worker will get the work done even if the hours they work sometimes vary a little.

Anita said...

I've heard this complaint more and more, especially since so many employees can use technology to do work at night and on the weekends. I think that's why it's so important that bosses keep open the lines of communication, so that employees feel trusted -- and feel like they're being treated as adults, not children who are playing hooky from school.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Young Snowbird said...

Bosses need to show by example the work ethic they expect from their employees. Morale goes down fast when work is delegated work out and then the boss sits in their office doing personal business and talking to friends and family on the phone. It sounds harsh, but managers need to Manage, and not force their employees to "manage up."

Anita said...

Young snowbird,
In other words, walk the talk. I agree -- they need to lead by example, and have a strong work ethic and code of conduct.
Thanks for adding to the list.