A month ago, I asked my clients, as well as other readers of my weekly posts about leadership, career advancement, and other topics intended to be of value, to please spend a few minutes participating in a survey.
My initial request was for people let me know which three pieces of advice they would like to offer their bosses. I emphasized that responses were anonymous, they went to Survey Monkey, and when I went to that site to view the responses, their names, email addresses, and companies would all be anonymous.
Two weeks later, after studying the responses, I was confident I had a wealth of good information to share, hopefully to help some bosses become even more effective.
It occurred to me, though, that positive reinforcement is more effective in helping gain improvement, so I decided to ask for another survey the following week. In this second survey, I asked everyone to take a few more minutes to let me know which three qualities and practices of their bosses they particularly value and appreciate.
Again, I had great responses that created a wealth of important information, which I will summarize below. At a later date, I may write a more exhaustive report about the information you all gave me.
In fact, Karen Gordon, my former colleague and a very capable business professional, wrote me directly after receiving the Monday morning survey, suggesting that the idea was great and that she bet what I learned could be the basis for a book in and of itself. So true, Karen.
Your responses are interesting. While I am glad I sent the second survey, framed in a positive approach, i.e., qualities and practices that are valued and appreciated, these responses really validated answers given in the earlier survey, i.e., advice to offer your bosses. In fact, they were pretty much mirrors, e.g., I appreciate that my boss is a great listener versus I wish my boss listened to me/us.
There is way too much information to share in this post, as I like to keep my weekly papers as quick reads., as we get so much information coming at us endlessly on the Internet. So here is a summary of the most common responses, the qualities and practices that are most valued and appreciated:
- Attentive listening – people want to be heard, to feel their ideas matter
- Be honest and open – clarity is very important, level with us
- Trust – essential for quality relationships, for a winning organizational culture
- Timely feedback, appreciative and constructive, it’s the lifeblood of teamwork
- Speak well of us to others
- Help us learn, grow and succeed, to advance
- Ask for our ideas and feedback
- Integrity – while almost assumed, we all know it’s essential
- Accessibility – get out of your office, come speak with us, that’s an open door policy
- Be encouraging and fun, appreciate our hard work, and recognize our successes
- Be composed, level headed when stressed, it helps us
- Include us in decision making when you can
- Display your humility, it is with foundation of growth, let us know you want to get better every day, as we all do
- Be a good communicator, be clear, tell us what you can, not on a need to know basis
- Recognize the important of conversations and quality relationships
Any surprises? I don’t think so. When I sit back and think about these responses, which were all multiple in that they came from a number of people, these track exactly with what I hear regularly from my clients in my leadership consulting and coaching practice, and definitely from the feedback I see offered to bosses in 360 assessments.
Think about these qualities and practices. Pretty simple, yet in the face of the crazy busy days we have in our work and the volumes of information coming at us, we have to bear these in mind.
I hope this is helpful. Thanks to those who participated.
The good news is that it is all Common Sense!