Be that helpful boss

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Google might be the very best of the “great places to work.” Even so, it won’t be great for you if your boss is a jerk or your teammates are backstabbers or you can’t get the resources you need or your work is boring.

For most people, the place where they work is personal. It’s their team and their work and their boss.

Great bosses put the “great” in “great places to wok”

The one thing that can turn an awful place to work into a great place to work is a great boss. I’m using “boss” to mean the person officially responsible for the performance of the group. Here’s the kind of workplace they help create.

Great places to work

For decades I began every supervisory skills class with the same exercise. To start, each person identified a time when it was great to come to work. Good news. In more than thirty years no one said they’d never experienced that.

Next we defined what a “great place to work” was like, based on the experiences of the people in class. The same things have been consistent for decades.

  • The team produced great results.
  • The people were great to work with.
  • It was a growth experience.
  • There was a lot of individual control over work life.

Great bosses are helpful bosses

The next part of the exercise was to have the group identify what their bosses did that made the work experience so good. Those behaviors became the model that we trained to in the class.

Those descriptions were also consistent across the decades. Words like “fair” and “consistent” and “inspiring” were used a lot. But there was one word that always made the list and that hardly ever appears in articles and blog posts about great bosses: “helpful.”

Great bosses are helpful. They help people understand the work and why it’s important. They help get the job done. They help with relationships. They help with personal development. Great bosses are helpful.

Be that helpful boss

If you’re responsible for the performance of a group, pay attention to all those things that great bosses do. And remember to be helpful. Great bosses are helpful bosses.

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