How often do you hear people mention some derivative of “I do not like my boss”? It is reported that in exit interviews, 86% of associates cited that they were leaving because of the boss, not the company. For those of us working in the business of human capital and leadership, this is a trend we are all too familiar with. And while it may be true that during the current “leadership crisis” great bosses (and in this case “leaders” interchangeably) seem to be few and far between, I have to wonder what role the bosses’ employees play in that less than savory statistic. After all, they say there are always two sides to every story. So what can we do to ensure that no matter what the story is with your boss, you are still a rock star employee? Here are a couple tricks that could help you in doing just that!

  1. Initiative. “Things may come to those who wait, but only things left by those who hustle.” I couldn’t have said it better, Mr. Abe Lincoln. So you are not getting the direction you crave? Go find something you can work on or learn about. Seize the carpe! Employees that go out of their way to take initiative don’t wait for their job to happen to them, they make it happen for themselves. These self-starters are proactive, curious, and thorough. And in doing so, tend to be great problem solvers and high achievers. A perk of that? Typically behavior as described above lends to less micromanaging and in turn increased trust and confidence in the employee and his/her abilities.
  1. Chances. When in doubt, whatever you do, do not do nothing. In the words of hockey-legend Wayne Gretsky “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Employees that are willing to take a chance are more likely to reap a reward. Interestingly, the success does not lie in the reward alone though. When taking chances, employees tend to think outside the box, fostering an environment for innovative problem solving and creative thinking. Not to mention, when an employee takes a chance and it goes well… talk about a confidence boost! And when things don’t happen to go so smoothly, the whole experience is still an excellent learning opportunity.
  1. Inspiration. According to Gallup’s 2013 Annual Engagement survey, only 13% of people are reported as actively engaged in their work. Engaged employees are passionate about they do, have a “can do” attitude, and breathe positivity. Or, in more basic terms, they are inspired. Inspired by life, by work, by the future, you name it. They are happy to be a part of it, whatever it is, and tend to be highly committed. Even more impressing, inspired employees like to “spread the wealth” and are great motivators to those around them. And to be clear here, you don’t have to be a boss or leader to be inspired. So says Simon Sinek, “there are leaders and there are those who lead. Leaders are those who hold a position of power or authority. But those who lead are those who inspire us.” Who knew that a little inspiration could go such a long way?

As you can imagine by now, none of the “tricks” above are a secret nor should they be a surprise. The magic is in applying them. And when you’re in the right place, doing whatever it is you were put on this earth to be doing, these tricks are more likely to be a walk in the park. Equally, you are more likely to be an absolute rock star employee, no matter what the story is.

Now imagine, if the above were true for every employee in the world: how much more enjoyable would it be to be the boss? What if employees took some ownership in the not-so-optimal statistic and did something to help change it?

What then would the story be?



Megan Dougherty

Megan Dougherty

Megan Dougherty’s methodical approach to business and her high-attention to detail are juxtaposed by her playful sense of humor and adaptability. A self-proclaimed “tom-boy,” Megan winds down on the weekends in a ball cap with her dog, Bear. Megan holds a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communications with a concentration in Strategic Advertising and a minor in Spanish, from Virginia Commonwealth University.

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