Horrible Bosses, Great Bosses

If you think that this blog is all about the movie, “Horrible Bosses” which opens nationwide July 8, you are sadly mistaken. That movie has been highly publicized and has already received some mixed reviews, even though the cast is not lacking for star power (Kevin Spacey, Colin Farrell, Donald Sutherland, Jennifer Aniston). Summer movies very rarely fall into the blockbuster category. It is summer after all. No one really cares what is showing at a movie theater as long as the place is cool, the popcorn is hot and buttery and the seats are comfortable. But then again I am no Siskel or Ebert.

No this blog is all about real bosses and what it takes to be a great one. In the book, How To Become A Great Boss, Jeffrey Fox, the author, presents a simple success formula for becoming a great boss. And as usual, Fox presents his success formula in a list of ten items.

1.    Only hire top-notch, excellent people.

2.    Put the right people in the right job, and weed out the wrong people.

3.    Tell the people what needs to be done.

4.    Tell the people why it is needed.

5.    Leave the job up to the people you’ve chosen to do it.

6.    Train the people.

7.    Listen to the people.

8.    Remove frustration and barriers that fetter the people.

9.    Inspect progress.

10.           Say “Thank You” publicly and privately.

Being a Great Boss has everything to do with the people you hire, communicate with, promote, listen to, acknowledge and respect. It has nothing to do with a boss’s education, time with the company, experience, industry knowledge, relationship with higher-ups, career plans, stakeholders or markets.

The first four items on the list are the steps that hiring managers and business leaders should try to take every time they attempt to fill a position.

  • Telling people what needs to be done and why it is needed is the job requisition, the performance profile, the scorecard for hiring “A – Players”.
  • Putting the right people in the right job and weeding out the wrong people is another way of saying that each position in a company needs to be filled with people whose skills, talents, experience, education and training are aligned with the business strategy and goals of the company.
  • And once you know what you are looking for and what the job requires then hiring top notch, excellent people falls to the recruiting function to source, screen and help select the appropriate candidates.

Once the top notch, excellent people are on board, then great bosses work to keep them. To do so they need to get out of the way and let them do their respective jobs; provide opportunities for training where and when it is needed, either for their current position or for advancement and succession planning; monitor progress of work and the individual employee; remove all obstacles that inhibit or slow down or devalue the employee and lastly, give credit where credit is due, publicly and privately.

This is a simple formula that Fox presents and when you read the list you see that it is about hiring great talent and keeping great talent and that is what makes a boss great.

I am not sure if the makers of the movie “Horrible Bosses” plan on making a sequel but I do have a suggestion. The movie should be called “Great Bosses” and the star studded cast could be made up of numerous bosses that any of us have worked with and for throughout our careers. It would be a blockbuster.

Nominations are welcome. Now, pass the popcorn!

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7 responses to “Horrible Bosses, Great Bosses

  1. Plan on seeing that movie this weekend. So glad that we dont have horrible bosses at Q4B! The number one reason people leave their jobs is due to horrible bosses!

  2. Personally, I have been on both sides of this coin; I have had some really awesome bosses and some that left me scratching my head every day wondering HOW in the world they ever made it into management.

    I completely agree with the ten items outlined above, empowering an employee to be a professional and to get the job done is huge. In addition, showing appreciation for specific tasks/projects “well done” does help to reinforce the continuance of future successes.

    Unfortunately there are still many “micro managers” out there who don’t see the disruption they cause by breathing down an employee’s neck. This behavior only fosters an environment of first and foremost, cover yourself or else!

  3. AMEN. Of course, if more managers do these things, it will be harder for me to recruit people.

    • Sue, There will always be a need for great recruiters like we have at Q4B. Great Bosses build Great Teams and Great companies. Great Companies become more successful and grow. Finding the right talent for great companies and great bosses is not and never will be easy. That is why there will always be a need for great Recruiters and why we will continue to grow. And for that we are Greatful!

  4. I agree with the top 10 items above. When you get a “Good Job” or “You Rock” from your boss for a job well done, it gives you the confidence and encouragement to continue to do great work. I have had some bad bosses and it makes work difficult. As far as nominations go….I nominate Bonnie Browning and Nick Tubach. Definitely the 2 best bosses I have had. Q4B is the best at giving “Thank Yous” for a job well done.

  5. Diana Dertz-Grubb

    Like Sue, I have experienced the good, the bad and the ugly throughout my career. It’s difficult to do your job when every move you make is scrutinized or questioned by the mini-micro-management types. How do you relax enough to problem solve or get creative on how to make improvements or create better efficiencies or even find the joy in your job? At Q4B, we are entrusted with much responsibility in our jobs and roles each day by our Management team. This is a rare privilege that not many individuals ever get to experience in their careers. We are fortunate at Q4B.

  6. These are all really great Best Practices for companies large and small to live by – especially for those highly recruited roles!!

    The larger companies have the deep pockets to offer the Long Term Incentives (LTIs) where often the smaller companies cannot.

    LTIs (also known as “Golden Handcuffs”) may keep some employees on the payroll but if they don’t feel appreciated, aren’t being groomed for better roles and are being drowned in red tape even these individuals could very well be counting down the days when they can collect on the LTIs and be on their way to greener pastures.

    Many smaller companies are much better in tune with their employees and do their best to make them feel appreciated, groom them for better roles as well as avoid as much red tape as possible because they know outside of offering them a competitive salary it’s the relationship and commitment to the company and their management which will keep them from entertaining the calls they receive from competitors.

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