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12 Traits of a great boss .. (MSN popular opinion)

For many people, a cardinal sin is thinking they’re perfect. Job seekers think they’re not making any job-search mistakes. Employees “always” do the best they can. And bosses are always great.

Right.

Unfortunately, in real life, nobody’s perfect — not even you, Mr. Boss Man. In fact, many bosses assume they’re doing a good job at managing their employees when the opposite is the reality.

“Such situations occur frequently, quite simply because the boss does not have accurate feedback,” says Sandra Naiman, author of “The High Achiever’s Secret Codebook: The Unwritten Rules for Success at Work.” “Often, employees don’t tell him or her what they really think.”


In reality, being a good boss isn’t as easy as it sounds. Just because you’re the boss doesn’t mean that you can tell people what to do and they’ll do it, Naiman  says. And even if they do, that doesn’t make you a good boss.

“The role is really one of supporting and motivating people to do a good job. This means you have to understand what motivates people, be constantly available to them, be a role model and adjust your style to suit each individual direct report,” she says.

Here are 12 things that good bosses do, according to Naiman and Vicki Salemi, author of “Big Career in the Big City.

1. Ask employees how you can best support them in doing their job. “This ensures that you are doing your best job to help your employees do theirs,” Naiman says.

2. Make sure that employees have all the information, resources and support they need to do their job. “It also demonstrates that you see yourself as [being] there to support them,” Naiman adds.

3. Give continuous feedback, both positive and constructive. “This helps the employee develop [professionally] and avoids surprises during performance reviews,” Naiman says.

4. Provide opportunities for professional growth. “This lets employees know that you are in their corner,” Naiman says.

5. Don’t let employees know of your own job concerns or challenges or problems in your personal life. “This prevents employees from feeling that they have to take care of their boss,” Naiman says. “A good boss is perceived as competent and there to support his or her employees.”

6. Create trust. “A good boss is a trusted boss. So, keep promises, follow through on commitments [and] never betray a confidence or talk about others in the organization, except in a favorable way,” Naiman says.

7. Show compassion. “Treat employees like they’re people. Not employees, but people. If one of your direct reports had a death in the family or even a bad day, be human and compassionate,” Salemi says.

8. Listen. “One of the best traits of a boss is someone who not only goes to the wall for their employees but who also listens to them,” Salemi says. “Sometimes team members just need to vent and get things off their chest. A good boss will listen.”

9. Give frequent feedback. “Instead of waiting until an annual performance review to give feedback — good or bad a sign of an excellent boss is proactive behavior,” Salemi says. “A fantastic boss will get the most out of his or her employees. Giving positive feedback and acknowledging a job well-done often results in more good work.”

10. Understand your employees’ jobs. When you don’t completely understand what your employees do or how they do it, it’s more difficult to help them navigate their job if they need more resources, Salemi says. “Plus, a good boss should go to bat for his or her employees. If they don’t understand the magnitude of their direct reports’ job responsibilities, this may be harder to do or convince the higher-ups of their worth.”

11. Live and breathe by the company rules. If you show up late, take long lunches or are not available at certain periods throughout the day, people notice, Salemi  says. “Rules aren’t just for direct reports to abide by. A good boss will know that their behavior is to be emulated,” she says. “If the rules don’t apply to them, who should they apply to? A true leader takes this very seriously.”

12. Acknowledge your employees’ work. “Recognize their performance. Even as employees go through a busy season or may be inundated with job sharing in this economy, a good manager will keep them motivated by putting wind in their sails and, more importantly, keep turnover low,” Salemi says. “If you have a good boss, you’re golden, you won’t want to leave. When you know your boss is on your side, it makes a difference in your productivity, morale and overall workplace happiness.”

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By Rachel Farrell, Special to CareerBuilder


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How to argue with your boss and win … may be

Do your homework and try not to be confrontational when disagreeing

Apple’s people told Steve Jobs the new iPhone had antenna problems that needed fixing. They didn’t get through, though, and as a result Apple brought a faulty product to market. It’s hard to disagree with the boss, especially a hard-driving, charismatic one like Jobs. But it’s part of a manager’s responsibility to push back against a decision, a plan or a directive that’s faulty. Here’s how you can argue successfully with the boss and live to tell about it. Take these three steps.

1. Get all the facts. Is the boss’s decision really boneheaded? Maybe there are reasons for it that you don’t understand. The company’s strategy could be shifting in response to competitors’ moves, a pending cash crunch, a regulatory problem, M&A activity, or other conditions not yet apparent to you. It’s possible that the boss understands there will be problems but feels that from a big-picture perspective the plan makes sense.

You’ll encourage an open discussion about the decision if you listen respectfully as the boss announces it rather than reflexively arguing against it or, worse, disagreeing in public or losing your temper. Ask for “background” about the plan, not a “rationale” for it, which can sound confrontational. Learn what it’s meant to achieve. Learn in what ways the decision is based on solid evidence, and in what ways on assumptions. Ask open-ended questions about the effect it will have on staff, the supply chain, finances, the company’s reputation and so on.

Tell the boss you agree with his objectives, or you agree that change is needed, or that there are parts of the plan that sound really good to you. Ask for permission to study it and discuss it later. Schedule a meeting.

Gather all the intelligence that’s available so you can develop an alternate plan that achieves the original decision’s objectives but avoids its problems.

2. Develop your plan. Don’t let your disappointment about the decision make you feel you have to start from scratch. Identify what’s good about the boss’s plan. Try to retain those parts, not only because they’re right but also to give the boss some ownership of your version. Get creative. Think about all the other ways the expected goals could be reached. You can begin by picturing an ideal solution and thinking forward to see what would be needed to make it work.

Mine your network for ideas. Ask people across the company how they can add value to your proposition. Suppliers can be especially useful to talk with, since they may have processes that can help. As you talk with others, make it clear that you’re looking for the best way to make the boss’s plan work, not trying to supplant it with your own.

Test your plan with trusted advisors. They may identify flaws you don’t see. Maybe your plan won’t generate revenue quickly enough. Maybe it relies on resources that are no longer available. Your advisors can help you make the process you’re proposing faster, cheaper and even more effective. They also can tell you if it will threaten someone who might try to block it. Working with them, you can find ways to get that person’s support.

Think about the boss’s personal motivators as well. Maybe he’s playing it safe because of a pending retirement, or maybe he’s accepting some risk to earn a huge bonus. You can’t get into someone else’s mind, but you can try to get into the boss’s shoes, to look at the plan from his perspective. (While you’re at it, examine your own motives: Are you against the plan because it hurts you in some way? Because you weren’t consulted? Because the boss is a dork who couldn’t have any good ideas?)

3. Present your plan.
Anticipate what questions the boss may ask about your plan, and prepare concise, persuasive answers to them. Prepare a written summary that you’ll leave behind. Present your plan with confidence and enthusiasm, because if you don’t show you believe in it, the boss won’t either.

Begin by describing the plan’s payoffs, and then go into details of its implementation. Don’t burden the boss with too much detail, though, unless you’re asked for it. Once the boss is satisfied with your answer to a question, stop explaining and move on with your presentation. Avoid digressing from your main message or mentioning other people’s criticisms of the boss’s plan.

Choose your words carefully. When discussing the original plan, never use the word “disagree.” That might get the boss’s back up. Even a “but” might infer you’re negating what the boss says. Present “recommendations” or “suggestions,” not the “conclusion” you reached about what’s needed, which would sound pompous.

Despite your best efforts, the boss may insist that you carry out the original plan. If that happens, the best solution may be to get approval to do so on a test basis. Be sure you make it an honest test, not one intended to showcase the plan’s weaknesses. Document every step. Let staff members who don’t have an interest in the results help you make your evaluation. Cite their participation when you report the results.

What can you do if the boss remains unpersuaded? Come to the meeting prepared for that possibility. If the plan violates law or compromises ethics, you may choose to refuse and accept the consequences. Absent those kinds of problems, though, you can agree to move ahead and feel good about it because you’ve met your obligation to make a strong case against the decision. Be sure the boss understands that you’re ready to move forward with dedication and enthusiasm.

At some point every manager has to argue with the boss. Whether or not you’re successful, the challenge can provide a payoff. You get to demonstrate leadership, creativity, an ability to negotiate and deep concern for the well being of both your boss and the company.
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By Bill Rosenthal

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10 Ways to Manage Bad Bosses – according to CNN.com

Do you ever think your boss behaves like a child going through the “terrible twos,” throwing tantrums or reverting to a little lost lamb when in over his or her head?

I call this regression “Terrible Office Tyrant” (TOT) behavior. TOTs can act like schoolyard bullies afraid to reveal the slightest incompetence, or like helpless children. They can be fickle, stubborn or needy or have irrational fears. And they can consume your workday, not to mention wreak havoc on productivity and profits.

A bad economy, workplace pressures and stress can trigger the many striking similarities between bad bosses and terrible tykes. We’re all human, and behind a boss’s professional facade is often a grown kid who can’t handle his or her power.

When your boss slips into any of the 10 classic TOT behaviors, including the “bratty” type (overly demanding, stubborn, self-centered or tantrum-throwing) or the “little lost lamb” variety (fickle or overly fearful), you can use proven parental techniques and actually thrive in your job. By seeing the childlike motives behind a boss’s (or co-worker’s) actions, you can better manage even the most difficult situations.

Use C.A.L.M.
The top four tips to keeping your office from being a corporate playpen are best described by the acronym C.A.L.M.: communicate, anticipate, laugh and manage up:

1. Communicate
Communicate frequently, openly and honestly. Savvy TOT-tamers take the initiative to establish an open dialogue. At work, stay aligned with your boss’s objectives rather than focusing on your pet projects, so that your work remains consistent with what’s most critical to management.

By bravely opening the dialogue, you’ll also avoid misunderstandings with co-workers; other factors may be contributing to an ignored e-mail or seemingly unfriendly response, such as a tight deadline or pressure from the boss.

2. Anticipate
Be alert for problems and prepared with solutions. Offer answers to emerging issues; don’t add to the pile of problems if you want to avoid triggering bad behavior. Your boss wants to delegate as much as possible — as long as you make the process worry-free. Know when to stay away if you expect a tantrum is coming down the hall.

3. Laugh
Use humor, or what I call “the great diffuser” of tension, to break down interpersonal logjams. Laughter helps create bonds and reminds us of our larger purpose: to work together with upbeat, constructive energy. We can and should be able to accomplish great things as a team at work, while having some fun. Take the initiative to do this and watch the seething subside.

4. Manage up
Let yourself shine by being a problem-solver and collaborator. You can be a beacon of positive energy for your boss, co-workers and team. Part of managing up also means setting limits to bad behavior. Oftentimes TOTs are unaware of the effect of their actions. You can influence these actions, and your skills will be transferable to any job.

Advanced TOT-taming tips
Here are some specifics on how to tame your TOT and humanize your workplace. Try these time-honored “parenting” techniques:

5. Don’t fight fire with fire
If your TOT is tantrum- or bully-prone, mirroring his childish behavior is a downward spiral. Avoid the temptation to win the battle and lose the war. Instead, calmly and concisely tell your boss how his or her actions affected you. Keep a matter-of-fact tone and be factual. Use “I” statements rather than “you” to avoid an accusatory demeanor.

6. Use positive and negative reinforcement
When bosses set aside their worst TOT traits, respond with gratitude and comment on how it inspires you to do your best. Praising positive actions is a powerful way to foster better behavior. Over time, your boss will link the better management style with positive employee morale and results. Remember, if there’s something in it for your boss, you can effect change.

7. Know your timing
Timing can be everything, with a child or an office tyrant. Learn the best times of day to approach your boss. Study his or her patterns, mood swings and hot buttons and plan your interactions accordingly. It can make the difference between a pleasant “yes” and an irrevocable “no!” If you anticipate problems with solutions, you become indispensable.

8. Be a role model
Project the highest ethical standards and radiate positive energy. Maintain a balanced demeanor and approach each crisis (real or imagined) with a rational style. Your boss often needs a sounding board and you can be a valued voice of reason and calm when issues emerge.

9. Package your information well
Some TOTs can be frustrating when they’re inattentive or unavailable. It can seem like a form of corporate ADD, or as I call it, BADD (boss attention deficit disorder). BADD bosses can’t focus on important tasks and allow e-mails, text messages, phones and people to interrupt their (and your) flow.

Make sure you understand your boss’s ideal communication method, package your work in an appealing way and make your presentations engaging and interactive. Make it irresistible for your boss to find out about your projects.

10. Set boundaries
Let bosses know privately when they’ve gone over the line, but do so diplomatically. Keep the conversation focused on your work product. If your manager is intentionally malicious, that’s another matter that requires more serious action. If, after repeated efforts for cooperation (such as with a bully boss and unsupportive management), you may be best off looking elsewhere. You have to determine how much strife you can handle.
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By Lynn Taylor

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If you are serious about your professional career and want to pass your IT Certification exam in first attempt and don’t want to waste your precious time and money then visit http://www.ComputerTipsnTricks.com/ITcert.htm for Free Practice Exams, Free Study Material / Books etc.

Saying No to Your Boss

When you think back to your childhood and your mom said, “We’ll see,” it was always better than a flat out, “No.” Much like “possibly” is sufficient when you ask your boss for time off and “I’ll think about it” gives you hope when you ask for a raise.

Though all of these responses are really just a more polite version of “no,” they’re easier to hear than the actual word itself. While hearing “no” is hard enough, it seems that saying no is even more difficult for some people — especially when it comes to your boss.

“Most employees avoid saying no to their boss because they fear it will ruin their relationship, cost them their job or appear disrespectful,” says Joseph Grenny, co-author of “Crucial Conversations.” “With the right set of skills, it is possible to be 100 percent candid and respectful when holding this important conversation.”

The reality is, we can’t say to yes to everything, so it’s essential to position yourself in the best way possible if and when you have to say no at work. The trick, experts say, is not really what you say, but how you say it.

“Many of us won’t say the word because we are afraid to, especially in this economy,” says Mary Byers, author of “How to Say No … And Live to Tell About It.” “It’s easier to say no at work if you don’t actually use the word. That way, your boss won’t feel like you’re being insubordinate.”

Elisabeth Manning, a human potential coach, recalls a time when she was an assistant to the president of a major company. The president wanted to make Manning her marketing manager at the same time — and the same salary.

Manning, who knew that she would have too much on her plate if she accepted working both jobs, told her boss that she wanted to maximize her capacity for potential at the company and accepting the offer would not be the best, most efficient use of her time.

“I was neutral, not emotional and held my ground,” Manning says. “I spoke as if it were already a done deal, without fear.”

Here are five situations where you might find yourself needing (and wanting) to say no at work and how you can do so tactfully — and without losing your job.

How to say no to…

… Your boss assigning you too much work
It can be tough to tell your boss you have a problem with the amount of work he or she is assigning you, but it’s possible if you can make your boss feel safe, Grenny says. Start with facts instead of harsh judgments or vague conclusions and let them know you care about their interests and respect them, he says.

“Strip out any judgmental or provocative language and be specific,” Grenny says. “For example, ‘Last week, you gave me two large projects to finish in a very short amount of time and I had to complete these on top of my regular responsibilities. I am afraid my large workload might be affecting the quality of my work.'”

… Outrageous demands
If your boss asks you to do something like run his errands or work all weekend and you can’t (or don’t feel like you should have to), focus on what you can do, says Dr. Susan Fletcher, a psychologist, author and speaker.

“The next time your boss asks you to go pick up his or her dry cleaning, instead of saying no, say, ‘What I can do is cover your phone calls for you while you are out of the office,'” Fletcher suggests. “Or if your boss asks you to start up a new company initiative, instead of saying no, say ‘What I can do is brainstorm with you on the strategy for the initiative and help get the proper team members in place who can execute the strategy.”

… Something you honestly can’t do
Of course, it’s always good to learn new skills, but if you truly believe you aren’t the best person for the job, you should say no. Byers suggests responding with something like, “Is there another department where this project might fit better, or someone we can collaborate with?”

“If you know you don’t have the necessary time, resources or knowledge for a given project, this is a good way to open dialogue about the best way to get an assignment done,” she says.

… Unrealistic deadlines
If you frame your response in a way that helps your boss to rethink his request, you’ll be OK, says Beth Sears, president of Workplace Communication.

Be aware of your tone of voice and try something like, “I understand your need for this assignment to be completed, but I need some help prioritizing my other work. You requested me to complete ‘A’ by tomorrow, ‘B’ by Thursday and ‘C’ by Friday. This last assignment ‘D’ would make it impossible to accomplish all of these. How would you prioritize these tasks?” Sears suggests.

… Anything illegal, unethical or that crosses personal boundaries
Say no to anything that will you get into trouble if you say yes. Meaning, if something will be detrimental to your career or goes against your integrity, you should always say no.

Jennifer Bergeron, an HR training specialist, recently said no to one of her bosses who asked her to lie to her direct manager.

“I said, ‘I’m not comfortable doing that, because the result will be [X, Y and Z]. Please don’t ask me to ever lie to someone,” Bergeron says. “He said, ‘OK, you’re right. I didn’t realize all that was going on.'”

by Rachel Zupek for CareerPath.com

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