My boss and I were having a conversation yesterday about being the boss. I guess I have never been the boss, other than motherhood, so I was very enlightened as she gave some great insight.
She’s pretty open about her feelings, and that is rare in an employer, I think. But I need to appreciate that fact, because she’s a good teacher. Sometimes I think she shares too much, but I admire her for being vulnerable – besides, she’s a good teacher. And I am her student.
My husband is a boss, and I can observe some of what my boss was talking about, but I had never realized it before. It’s all about perspective and what you choose to notice, I guess.
- Bosses are expected to be gracious – it’s part of their job.
- Bosses have feelings and those feelings include loneliness, being left out, not wanting to make the tough decisions, controlled anger that cannot be expressed…
- Bosses like to be included in the office banter and fun.
- Bosses need pats on the back, too – they are human.
- Bosses, most of them anyway, don’t enjoy giving bad news or cracking down on slackers.
- Bosses are rarely shown gratitude – it’s part of their job.
I am quick to look for my paycheck but rarely if ever think about the struggle it has to be sometimes for that paycheck to be written.
I am quick to complain about being overworked, but I can turn off my computer and call it a day.
I am quick to point out the annoyances and faults of my bosses and take for granted all their great qualities that attracted me to this career. It’s easier to notice the negative. And sometimes it’s hard to acknowledge the positive.
I am quick to thank fellow employees for something or comment positively on a presentation that took time to prepare, but I RARELY think to comment to my bosses when they conduct a meeting that had to have taken preparation.
I watched my husband spend hours sitting at a table this past weekend, handwriting cards to every employee in the new company that is being formed. No one else saw this. I am sure very few, if any, thanked him for the personal touch.
I have watched him sacrifice his time off to go help others or get the new offices ready.
I have noticed the lines of stress that show on his face as he spends his off time constantly thinking about the company, his employees, how he can improve, and decisions to be made.
I have been his ear as he tells me about his day and talks about his employees with adoration for going above and beyond or sharing about their children’s accomplishments.
I have heard him tell many of his employees “thank you” for a job well done, or “You did a great job,” concerning a project, and I have also heard him respond, “No one did,” when I’ve asked him if any of his people commented on something he did for them.
I have experienced his kind and gentle admonition when I did something incorrectly, I have relished his accolades when I achieved a workplace milestone, I have appreciated his signature and thoughtful “Dear’s” and his shoulder squeeze when his “old school self” just wanted to reach out and show that he cared.
Because at one time, he was my boss.
Even at 53, I am still learning a lot from being an employee.
Even at 53, I am still finding more ways to be grateful.
Even at 53, I realize I need to be more observant.
Even at 53, I am kinda glad I am not at the top of the totem pole. I just need to do better at being towards the bottom.
I am grateful for these little lessons that come out in every day life, when I talk to my boss, when I watch my husband in his professional role, when I sit at a computer all day and let the little things bother me, when I am quick to expect and not-so-quick to show gratitude.
I am grateful once again, for the reminder to say, “Thank you.”
And I am grateful for my boss, who is vulnerable and real, and teaches me very valuable life lessons.
“Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Add up God’s Law and Prophets and this is what you get. – Matthew 7:12 The Message (MSG)