What I Learned From My Bosses

11 Oct

Whether you are running a meeting of a student group or are a CEO, it’s almost inevitable that you will be responsible for managing people.  At my jobs and internships, I’ve had bosses who were fun to be around and inspired their coworkers to do their best work.  Unfortunately, I’ve been in situations where my boss’s lack of commitment destroyed everyone’s enthusiasm and work ethic.  Even though the boss must occasionally be the bad guy, the best supervisors earn employees’ respect by making work fun and worthwhile.

You are not being paid to socialize.
Nothing annoyed me more than seeing my boss talking with friends while my coworkers and I were hard at work.  Slacking off in front of your subordinates isn’t just slacking off: It’s sending a message that you don’t care about your job.  The best bosses have a great rapport with their employees but know when to chitchat and when to work.

Never ask your subordinates to do more than you.
If you’re the boss, you’re probably getting paid more than your subordinates.  Make sure they can see why that’s the case.  Many of my bosses would frequently check up on me and willingly help me out if I asked, even if this meant staying late to complete their own assignments. However, some of my bosses passed off their responsibilities to their employees and would not check on them for hours.  Make sure everyone knows that you’re working just as hard as they are (if not harder).

Tell people what to do.
This may seem extremely intuitive, but one of the primary responsibilities of being the boss is giving people assignments.  Be prepared to vary your communication style; many of my bosses knew that I had trouble remembering spoken instructions, so they wrote out directions for me instead.  Don’t expect people to automatically know what to do; give clear and explicit instructions.  At one of my positions, I received very little training, and it took me several weeks to figure out what my job responsibilities were.  If you don’t provide thorough guidelines, employees cannot excel on their assignments.

Make work fun!
I’ve had bosses who hated their jobs, and it was obvious.  Whether they were complaining, constantly checking their phone, or merely acting bored, it showed.  If you don’t care about your job, can you really expect your employees to put in a lot of effort?  However, I’ve had bosses who adored their jobs, and it was obvious.  The best bosses transmit their enthusiasm by giving employees the knowledge and confidence to take on managerial tasks.

For more information, please visit <http://www.forbes.com/sites/ deborahsweeney/2011/05/12/5-ways-to-avoid-being-a-lumbergh-or-priestley/> or <http://www.forbes.com/sites/womensmedia/2011/09/30/do-you-have-the-12-signs-of-a-great-boss/&gt;.

by Irene Van Ryn


One Response to “What I Learned From My Bosses”

  1. Elisabeth Green October 18, 2011 at 7:56 pm #

    Irene, I really enjoyed your post, and I think these issues have a lot to do with our time constraint. Many of our bosses will expect our fresh, college minds to create and modify their company’s projects immediately. Since we currently only work or intern for a company over the three short summer months, it is hard for us to fully grasp the culture of a company and specifically, the formality of projects. Once we adjust to the company’s style, it is time for us to go back to school, and we tend to not even see how our projects pan out. This can make us feel like we are not being credited, and consequently, cause us to have a negative view of our bosses. I am interested to see how my perception changes once I begin working full-time for a company.

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