I met with a manager yesterday and she relentlessly told me all the things her department “should” be doing. Frustration and anger were oozing out of her. I had to wonder how all these “shoulds” were manifesting themselves when she spoke to her employees:
You should get here on time.
You should have proofread more carefully.
You should have done more research.
And “should” turned inward is also a big problem:
I should eat less sugar.
I should clean the office.
I should save more money.
Some ways we can change our self-talk which will in turn change how we speak to others are:
I eat healthy foods most of the time.
I organize my office a little bit every day.
I cut out the afternoon Starbucks to save money.
Talking in positive, concrete actions is helpful self-talk. And once we are kind to ourselves, we can be kind to others. For example:
Would a change in your morning routine be helpful?
Would an additional proofreader make sense?
Have you considered doing more research?
Your self-talk is ALWAYS on and ALWAYS with you. I hope yours is an encouraging voice, “You got this.” “Way to go.” “I’m on fire!”
Tell yourself kind and supportive things. Over and over again. If you aren’t nice to you, how do you think you come across to others?
This is Part II of the series I promised you.
Last week I shared some of my thoughts on supporting your boss and being a dream employee. Here are some more universal truths:
- Offer solutions, not problems. My first boss after college, Fred Pfannenstiehl, taught me a valuable lesson. He used to say, “Come to me with your problems, and I expect you to have at least three reasonable solutions along with the problem.” A lot has changed in all these years, but Fred’s advice is still excellent.
- Do what you say you will do. Let me repeat that. Do what you say you will do. If you say you will call, call. If you say you will follow up, follow up. If you have a deadline, meet it. Everyone has extenuating circumstances: illness, family emergencies, weather, and colleagues not honoring their commitments, but most of the time, you need to find a way to honor your work-related obligations. By most of the time, I mean 99% of the time. This is how you are judged. If your boss, colleagues, or organization can’t depend on you, then you aren’t a great employee to have around.
- Keep it light. Smile a lot. No one wants to be around a curmudgeon.
- Say positive things about your workplace, your colleagues, and your products. What if you can’t? Well, then that’s a clear indication it’s past time for you to get a new job. You are getting paid to represent your company. If you can’t represent your company well, find a new company.
- Know your boss’s and your organization’s goals and strive to meet them. Think not only about your tasks, but about advancing the organization as a whole.
How do you help make your manager successful?
I am fortunate that this blog is read by employees and leaders in a myriad of industries, states, and positions. There are so many differences in terms of what is important across industries, yet there are some universal truths. Here are a few; I’ll share more in the weeks to come.
- Care more about getting the work done than who gets it done. Whether you are negotiating a federal policy or stacking items on a grocery shelf, if you can help serve the client, patient, or customer, be like Nike and Just Do It.
- Continue to learn. Whatever your position, learn more about how your market, your product, and your procedures are changing. Read about your profession. Listen to podcasts.
- Respect your boss’ decisions even if you don’t agree with them. If your boss, manager, supervisor, or chief gives direction and you don’t agree, be curious. Why are they making that decision and how can you support it?*
- Don’t let your boss be caught off guard. If you are a teacher and you think a parent might complain, prepare your principal. If you are a lobbyist and you anticipate media attention, prepare your manager. If you are a drug researcher and you think the data might be faulty, prepare your manager. Bad news is bad, but it is better coming from you than from an outside source, or even an inside source. Don’t let your boss be surprised.
- Initiate projects that would help with business goals. Don’t wait to be told. If you can think of a way to advance the cause, go for it. Likewise, the more you can complete your work without direction, regardless of your position, do it!
- Understand that your manager is human. He or she will make mistakes, upset you, and not always do what you would do. Get over it and cut him or her some slack.*
*If the decision is illegal or unethical, follow the proper channels to have it investigated.
Want to have a dream boss, be a dream employee!
What are your universal truths?