Or, everything your employees would LOVE to tell you but are afraid to because they don’t want to get fired. But here’s the deal, folks, some things just NEED to be said. What’s your biggest bitch about YOUR boss? Will you find it within? I bet you will. Wouldn’t you like it if your boss really did promote synergy (like a boss?). Wouldn’t you LOVE a way to tell them HOW to become a better boss? Not to worry, fellow workers of the world, I got you. With these five tips (and an anonymous emailing of this blog to Corporate), you, too, can have a better boss.
Better Boss Pro Tip Number One: IT CAN WAIT EIGHT MINUTES!
Okay FIRST of all? Hello, Bosses? I have a NEWSFLASH for you! Get ready, because this is a big one. YOUR EMPLOYEES’ TIME IS JUST AS VALUABLE AS YOURS. Yes, you read that right. Just like you are NO BETTER than that homeless guy on the street who puts HIS pants on one leg at a time just like YOU do? Apply that same adage to your employees. Just because you have some letters like CEO after your name does NOT make you King (or Queen) of the Planet. What does this mean? THIS MEANS YOU RESPECT YOUR WORKERS’ TIME AS YOU WOULD EXPECT THEM TO RESPECT YOURS. Still need an example?
Let’s break it down just a little bit further. Let’s say it’s lunchtime. You can CLEARLY see your employee eating their lunch at their desk. But you have a pressing matter. You think to yourself, it’ll just take a minute. Let me just run in there and-
Stop right there. Do not pass HR, do not collect $200.
STOP RIGHT THERE, BOSS. You do NOT get to infringe on YOUR EMPLOYEE’S LUNCH HOUR ANYMORE. THAT IS THEIR TIME, GOT THAT? Unless you are bleeding out of your eyeballs AND your asshole AT THE SAME TIME, you do NOT get to interrupt your employees while they are at lunch. PERIOD. Whatever it is, IT CAN WAIT. Would you like it if YOUR employee busted in on you while YOU were eating? I THINK NOT.
Also? FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, DO NOT HAND THEM SOMETHING FROM YOUR GRUBBY ASS HANDS WHILE THEY ARE HOLDING FOOD AND EXPECT THEM TO TAKE IT. FFS THERE’S STILL A PANDEMIC. If you put something INTO their hand from YOUR hand, they now have to waste precious minutes TO WASH UP because who TF KNOWS where your hands have been? So can you NOT do that? It’s called an “IN-BOX”. Know it. USE IT.
Employer of the Year Pro Tip Number Two: NON-WORK HOURS MEANS EXACTLY THAT!
So we’re good about lunch hours, right? Right. Now, let’s talk about respecting your employee’s time before-and-after hours. What does this mean? THIS MEANS YOU DO NOT CONTACT YOUR EMPLOYEES BEFORE OR AFTER THEIR SHIFT. Even if your employee is on SALARY. Salary ≠ YOUR ownership of THEIR time. Okay? Don’t call your employee before 8 AM. Don’t email them after 5 PM.
And absolutely, POSITIVELY, DO NOT contact THEM ON THE WEEKENDS. If they’re sick? Don’t blow up their phone. Oh, they’re on vacation? TOUGH SHIT. DO IT YOURSELF or get someone else to do it. Even salaried jobs have the expectation of a paid FORTY HOURS A WEEK. That is ALL the time your employee owes you. You don’t get to bother them on their off time, okay?
However, there are TWO exceptions to this rule.
- It’s about their promotion. Trust me, they WANT to hear about that!
- They’ve fallen off the planet and you’re desperately trying to locate them.
BUT THAT’S IT! See, here’s the thing. Generally, a GOOD boss will have CROSS-TRAINED their employees to handle business if someone’s out sick or goes on vacation. But an even BETTER boss will not only have cross-trained ALL their employees, but ALSO be ready to pitch in on an employee’s behalf at a moment’s notice. Now I grant you, stuff does happen. And if so, Employee, don’t wait for your boss to hunt YOU down. ESPECIALLY if you’re working on a big project.
One-off exceptions aside, let me just put it to you this way, Boss. If you’re regularly contacting your employees during non-working hours, I can guarantee you they’re looking for another job. So, if you want to keep your employees happy and productive?
RESPECT THEIR TIME DURING NON-WORKING HOURS.
Nobody should have to be afraid of their phone in the evening or on the weekend. Lastly? Remember this: just because YOU like to work 24 hours a day, doesn’t mean EVERYBODY does.
Becoming Better at Bossery Pro Tip Number Three: THIS COULD’VE BEEN AN EMAIL!
As an employee, HOW many times have you suffered through a boring-ass meeting that lasted WAY too long? TOO many, I’d wager. Hi, Boss? Here’s what your employees are DYING to tell you. The next time you want to stage a staff meeting, do this instead. Think to yourself, could this be an email? Couldn’t I just WRITE DOWN what I want everyone to do and hit send?
Why, I’d bet you a dollar to a donut, the answer would be YES. Please, for the love of EVERYTHING HOLY, if your “staff meetings” are just YOU droning on and on for an hour because you love the sound of your own voice? STOP THAT. STOP IT RIGHT NOW. For three reasons:
- Nobody is paying attention.
- Nobody wants to be there (even if there’s donuts).
- Everyone is thinking, “couldn’t this have been an email?”
As an employee, I’ve seen more time wasted with bullshit “staff meetings” then I can shake a keyboard at. Therefore, UNLESS you’re having a meeting to recognize EACH AND EVERY ONE of your employees’ good work, KEEP IT TO AN EMAIL. One-on-one meetings are a little different; I get that. But to waste an hour (or more) of everyone’s VALUABLE time just to give a directive that could’ve EASILY been written down? I know you’re gonna be shocked and astounded when I tell you this, but here goes.
THAT IS WHAT EMAIL IS FOR.
And did you know that, with email, YOU CAN CONNECT WITH MULTIPLE PEOPLE AT THE SAME TIME?
And if you DO choose to stage meetings (seriously, could it not have been an email?), MAKE IT JUST AS EASY FOR YOUR EMPLOYEES TO SCHEDULE TIME WITH YOU. Don’t be that boss who demands ridiculous company meetings but ghosts when YOUR people need some of YOUR time. That’s not cool. All THAT does is show your employees that you are ABOVE them somehow. May I assure you, you are not. You poop, too, and YOUR poops are NOT superior to anyone else’s poops. You might do YOUR poops in your comfy executive bathroom, but you still poop, just like they do.
Better Boss Pro Tip Number Four: DO NOT HOARD INFORMATION.
Admittedly, this is one of my BIGGEST pet peeves about bosses. So if you’re a boss reading this, PAY ATTENTION. STOP HOARDING INFORMATION. COMMUNICATE CLEARLY AND CONCISELY!! GIVE YOUR EMPLOYEES THE TOOLS THEY NEED TO DO THEIR DAMN JOBS! What do I mean? Just what I said. So I’ll assume you’ve read the above section. You’ve sagely decided, yes this can, in fact, be an email. So then, you email me, your employee, with a certain directive to do x, y, and z.
Great! Thank you. One problem. You haven’t given me the information I NEED to complete directive x, y, OR z. What am I talking about?
Let me give you an example:
Can you contact Joe at Blow, Incorporated? I need a purchase order for that one job. Also I need Joe to give me a call at some point to discuss the project we discussed last week.
Let’s dissect this e-mail to see where Boss went wrong.
First of all, WHICH Joe at Blow, Incorporated? Joe Blow? Joe DiMaggio? A LAST NAME WOULD HELP HERE BECAUSE THERE MIGHT BE FORTY-TWO JOES THAT WORK AT BLOW, OKAY? Also? Secondly? Boss, you’re assuming Blow, Inc. is in the system or I know who they are. So, a phone number or email might be helpful. Because if I have to look up Blow, Incorporated on the internet, their information MIGHT not be correct and I’m going to waste an hour of MY time trying to chase Joe down. Thirdly, WHICH ONE JOB? IS THERE A JOB NUMBER? And WHAT project? And finally, WHEN DO YOU WANT JOE TO CALL YOU?
This is what I mean by “half an information” or “hoarding information”. And it is MADDENING. And what’s worse? Is you getting pissed off because I’ve come back to you needing more information! So to all the bosses reading this: TELEPATHY IS NOT A THING. WE CANNOT READ YOUR MIND! AND WE WON’T COME BUG YOU FOR MORE INFORMATION IF YOU GIVE US WHAT WE NEED TO DO WHAT YOU WANT IN THE FIRST DAMN PLACE.
So let’s clean up that email request, shall we?
Will you please give Joe Blow at Blow Incorporated a call? They’re not in the system yet, so a copy of his business card is attached. I need a purchase order for job #32156. Also, can you please have Joe call me at 8 AM on Monday the 23rd to discuss the solar project we previously spoke about during last Wednesday’s conference call.
Now, isn’t that SO MUCH better than giving some vague directive?
Trust me, Boss, with your handy-dandy new email narrative, EVERYBODY WINS.
Become a Better Boss Pro Tip Number Five: PLEASE AND THANK YOU ARE STILL A THING!
Look, if you haven’t noticed by now, the whole boss barking orders at the cowering employee trope is OVER. People aren’t going to put up with that shit anymore. Don’t believe me? Does “The Great Resignation” ring a bell? Employees are BEYOND TIRED of bosses barking orders at them for starvation wages. They’re exhausted of being treated like GARBAGE.
Dear employee, I bet you can count on ONE HAND how many times your boss has said “please” or “thank you” when making a request.
So bosses? This is one of these parts that you’re GONNA want to pay attention to. I’m about to reveal a HUGE piece of information that will only help you in the long run. And it’s simple, really. You might recall learning this as a small child. So what is this piece of important information?
PLEASE AND THANK YOU can go a VERY long way. And you know what?
So can the following phrases and variations thereof:
- I appreciate all your hard work.
- You did a GREAT job on this!
- I’m so lucky to have such an awesome employee.
Also? GET TO KNOW your employees. TAKE AN INTEREST IN THEM. Ask them about their weekend. Even a sincere “how are you doing today?” can make MASSIVE inroads into how your employee feels about you and your workplace. Talk about counting on one hand? The boss I wrote about in one of my very early blogs asked how I was TWICE in TWO YEARS. He praised me maybe THREE times during that time. And that wasn’t from lack of stellar work.
SO DON’T BE THAT BOSS. Don’t be that asshole that employees secretly dream about stabbing in the face. Honestly, do you WANT to be the reason someone burns the building down?
So What Have We Learned?
Look, Boss, I know your job isn’t easy. Sometimes being an employer can be like herding cats. I promise you, I get it. It’s understandable. Life’s tough at the top, yada, yada, yada.
But none-the-less, perhaps you’ve forgotten how to be a human being during your time WAAAAAY up there in your ivory CEO tower (complete with comfy executive bathroom). However, here’s the thing. You know how YOU treat people more powerful than you?
THAT’S HOW YOU SHOULD BE TREATING YOUR EMPLOYEES.
A paycheck is NO reason to routinely treat people like crap, okay? After all, you wouldn’t even have a BUSINESS if it wasn’t for the people working for you. We can see that in every restaurant that’s closed, and every business that’s shut its doors because the word is out they treated people like garbage.
By the way? Here’s a super-secret bonus tip for you. IF you’re lucky enough to have a thriving business and MANAGED to make a profit or two? SPREAD THE WEALTH. And I’m not talking $25 in a generic Christmas card you handed off to your best office employee at your crappy Christmas dinner, either, ya cheap bastard. That’s not a bonus. That’s an INSULT.
Don’t be THAT boss, either. But with the above tips, and a little hard work, I bet you CAN be that stellar boss that hard working employees dream of. Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase, happy wife, happy life? The same energy applies to your employees.
Bottom line? Take good care of them, and they’ll take good care of you.
Let’s talk about it!
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And as always – thanks for reading,