I find in most circumstances, people leave bosses, not companies.
I've come across that motto a lot as a business owner. But, it turns out that there's actually some truth to this statement. According to a Gallup poll, 50 percent of employees leave their company to get away from their bosses. Yes, everyone has been there and gets this statement.
Horrible bosses may be one of the reasons why we decide to leave a company, but they can also teach us how not to lead teams when we have that responsibility.
On the flip-side, I feel like we give these bad bosses too much attention. So I wanted to change things up and take a closer look at the things that we should never take for granted after working for an amazing boss.
At one point you were that employee who looked like a deer in headlights. Confused, lost, and not understanding your purpose within the organization. Even though you have the appropriate skills, you felt like you were in over your head. That is until an amazing boss empowered you.
Empowerment isn't a buzzword among leadership gurus. It's a proven technique where leaders give their teams the appropriate training, tools, resources, and guidance to succeed.
Empowerment involves having a clear strategic vision, making sure that everyone is on the same page, recognizing the efforts of the team, removing roadblocks, and giving employees the freedom to spread their wings.
2. Putting employees first
Unforgettable bosses are the ones who put their employees first. Author Simon Sinek actually discovered in his book Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don't. Leaders have been doing this for centuries. More recently, Sinek was told by a Marine Corps general that "Officers eat last." Whether it's in the chow hall or battlefield, great leaders will sacrifice their own comfort, perhaps even their own survival, for the good of those in their care.
Once you have this type of boss, it's difficult to work for someone who is selfish and is only concerned with advancing their career.
3. Actual lunch breaks
I once had a job where the boss ate at his desk. Because they ate at their desk, they expected everyone else to do the same. I'm sure like most of you, sitting behind the same desk all-day gets really old - and I'm still not sure how sanitary it is to eat at your desk!
After leaving that position, I found a gig where the boss gave us a proper lunch break. Being allowed to eat at a table, or take off to my favorite coffee shop for a couple of minutes, made the workplace a whole more enjoyable. It gave us time to clear our heads, stretch our legs, and socialize with our co-workers.
Learn to lead from example. Sometimes the little things we do without noticing are hurting our employees as they feel it's expectation.
4. Sense of community
The boss who made their employees eat at their desks certainly didn't have strong personal relationships with the employees. These types of bosses don't work side-by-side with their team. They don't encourage collaboration or diversity. How long do you think the average employee stays with a company like this?
When you have a leader who builds a community, you're more productive because you're exchanging ideas and feel like a valuable member of the team. Because of this, you're more likely to stick around - even if the company encounters a rough patch.
I've also had bosses who hoarded information from their employees. I'm not exactly sure why, but my gut tells me that it was because they felt if they withheld information, they didn't give-up their self-perceived authority. Of course, that couldn't be further from the truth. Being transparent helps you build trust with employees, along with empowering them.
I personally understand how difficult it is to deliver bad news to employees, but it's absolutely essential, and even ethical.
6. Permission to make appointments
Whether it's visiting the doctor, dentist, accountant, lawyer, or your child's teacher, a majority of appointments take place during the work-day. That means that you're going to have to leave work early. This doesn't seem like a big deal until you have to cancel an important appointment because your boss won't let you leave the office.
7. Creative thinking
I'm still amazed at how natural one of my favorite bosses was able to encourage creative thinking, even in daily conversations. Simply by interacting with their employees, and actively listening to them, this boss was getting feedback and suggestions without any of us feeling pressured. Instead, we felt like we were also respected and equal team members.
8. The hiring process
Bad bosses have no problem hiring an individual who doesn't fit-in with the company's culture just because they have great credentials or they're only focused on how that person will perform.
Great bosses, however, consider the entire team during the hiring process. They realize that their current employees will have to spend every day working with this employee and if they don't click, that could lead to a toxic and unproductive work environment.
I personally like to have one team member interview and weed out the candidates that wouldn't be a good fit. Next I interview and narrow it down to 2-3 people that I personally think would do a good job. Then I let the team interview them and decide together. This empowers my team. It also helps down the road if someone doesn't work out
9. A happy workplace
Emotions are contagious. So, when you have a bad boss, the entire team will be influenced by their negativity. This creates a stressful, unproductive, and unpleasant work environment. When you have a positive leader, you and your colleagues are happier, less stressed, and more energetic.
10. Effective and efficient meetings
Meetings are considered one of the biggest time-suckers for companies. In fact, the Harvard Business Review did a study where three consultants found that the weekly meeting at one large company consumed 300,000 hours each year.
Amazing bosses are actually aware of this, which is why they know how to run effective meetings that are short, structured, and only include necessary individuals.
11. "Thank you"
I remember the first time a boss thanked me at the end of the day. I thought it was a joke. I didn't feel like I did anything spectacular. Having also worked for someone who never recognized and recommended, nor gave any positive feedback to employees, I realized just how important appreciation can be. Gratitude, even a simply thank you, and celebrating wins when milestones are reached keeps employees happy, productive, and motivated.
12. Work-life balance
Even though your boss may think that there's nothing more important in life than work, the fact-of-the-matter is that there's definitely a world outside of the workplace. When you're off-the-clock you shouldn't be expected to respond to emails, texts, and phone calls. You need time to unwind, recharge, and live your life.
But, there are bosses who don't realize that. Instead, they can drive you insane by constantly pestering you when you're not working. When you have a boss that doesn't cross that line and understands the importance of work-life balance, you'd be surprised at how less stressed you are.
Take a moment and be grateful for those amazing bosses who taught you to be a better person, a better boss, and how to be decent to the employees. Don't take those bosses for granted again.