Friday, September 12, 2008

10 Things Every Employee Deserves From a Boss

Sitting in the waiting room before a dentist's appointment recently, I found myself confronted with reading material that consisted of "Five Ways to Make Christmas Ornaments Out of Old Tires" to "10 Reasons It's Very Normal to Love your Blackberry More Than Life Itself."

That left an article on "20 Things Every Woman Deserves From the Guy in Her Life." As I read:"Make-or-break mate requirements: Must love cats! Must not play air guitar!" I thought about what workers deserve from their managers in the workplace.

That led to my list of 10 Things Every Employee Deserves From the Boss:

1. Good manners. Say please, thank-you, hello and goodbye. A smile doesn't hurt, either.

2. Honesty. If a boss can't tell an employee the truth because it violates some ultra-secret, I'd-be-killed-if-I-told-policy, then say so. But don't lie because it's easier or suits some ulterior motive.

3. Space. Bosses do not need to lean or sit on an employee's desk. Or sit in the employee's chair. Bosses have their own chair, and sitting in a worker's seat is just some macho power play that comes off as juvenile. Also, no employee wants to be close enough to smell a boss's breath and the shrimp scampi (and the glass of wine) enjoyed for lunch.

4. A compliment.

5. A face-to-face conversation.

6. Another chance.

7. Some fun. A shared joke, ordering a couple of pizzas for lunch, just something.

8. Loyalty. Bosses should never badmouth one employee to another, or to a customer. They should defend employees to their bosses if at all possible. They should never criticize an employee to someone else until they hear the employee's side of a story.

9. Good p.r. If a worker does well, the boss should spread the word. No marching bands, but a little announcement in front of co-workers would be cool.

10. Respect. Without it, the other nine don't mean a darn thing.

What else do employees deserve from the boss?


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Friday, August 29, 2008

A Salute to the Worker Bees

While most people see the Labor Day holiday as a chance to cut out of work early today and head for one last weekend at the beach or perhaps a barbecue in the backyard with friends, I see it as the one time of year I need to stop and salute all of you.

As a workplace columnist for nearly 17 years, I've interviewed hundreds of workers and hundreds of bosses. I've heard from readers of my column all across the globe. I've been grateful for your letters telling me that information I shared helped you, that for the first time you don't feel like you're the only one who has workplace challenges. You share your difficult experiences: being bullied, being fired, working for a tyrant and getting annoyed with co-workers.

But despite your problems, you continue to go to work every day. Maybe you don't get much recognition, maybe you don't have a glamorous title or a fancy corner office. Maybe you work despite a chronic illness or constant pain. Through whatever trials and tribulations you face in your private life, you go to work.

You work when companies treat you like a commodity to be bought and sold. You labor when your benefits are cut, when you don't get a pay raise and when you fear you may be laid off. You put in extra hours on the weekend, and even when on vacation.

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Sept. 5, 1882. More than 100 years ago people felt like laborers should be celebrated. In 2008, I couldn't agree more.

So, you have my admiration and my thanks. I've learned a lot from each of you over the years, and I have come to be amazed by your resilience, your dedication and your perseverance. To me, the fact that you get up every day and go to work -- no matter what your circumstances or what challenges you face -- make you heroes in my book.

Take a bow. You've earned it.


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