Inner monologues are the best. You always come out as the hero in your own mind.
“Oh yeah, I totally told my boss that there’s no way I’m working on Saturday.”
“Oh, good,” your friend says. “We can do that thing that we really wanted to do now.”
“No, I can’t,” you sheepishly reply.
“Why?” your friend asks. “You don’t have to go in now.”
“I actually do have to work on Saturday still,” you say. “I may not have said exactly what I told you that I said. And it’s really important that I’m there. It’s a good job. I don’t want to mess it up, you know?”
Oh, yeah. We know. So, for all of those people who think, but don’t say what you’re thinking, here are eighteen things you probably have thought of saying to your boss, but haven’t.
1. You cannot micro-manage your way to success – not for me and not for the company.
Sure, there needs to be structure (and a general order) in the workplace or else there will be chaos. We get it. However, sometimes a certain set of circumstances calls for a unique approach, even if it’s just a one-time exception. Let us have our moment. Gray area is okay. You’re confusing ‘losing control’ with ‘losing your unnecessary mania.’
2. If you let the inmates run the system, you’ll get what you deserve.
Don’t allow middle managers or employees free reign to deviate too much from the company’s original and successful business plan. Or else the company may not be around much longer. A lot of workers have great ideas in concept, but not actuality. Don’t buy into the hype and buzzwords. It’s your company. Take it back before it’s too late.
3. Treat me like a person.
I’m not “blonde girl.” I’m not “fat guy.” And I certainly don’t appreciate it when you don’t make eye contact with me when we’re speaking. I’m a person. I can contribute to the company. Give me a chance.
4. The people at the bottom are just as important, if not more so, than the people at the top.
Secretaries and assistants are the heart that keeps the office beating. Don’t take them for granted. Most senior employees wouldn’t last five minutes handling the phones at a busy company.
5. Learn your manners. Respect is not only for the people working their way up.
Say “please” and “thank you” instead of just: “do this.” Yeah, it sounds like something you’d hear in a kindergarten class, but you clearly didn’t show up on that day. Or you were just too busy bossing your classmates around.
6. Compliments can be as constructive (if not more so) than criticism.
“Thank you.” Look, you said it! Not that difficult, right? Over time we’ll work on actually meaning it…
7. … Small gestures go even further.
Buy lunch for an employee, throw a little celebration when a major deadline is met, sing happy birthday and have cake on an employee’s birthday – all of these things will keep the morale high. And employees love not working, especially when bosses insist.
8. Give us the peace-of-mind of knowing that you not only acknowledge, but support, a work-life balance.
There’s more to life than just work. Encourage hobbies outside of the office. The more enrichment an employee has the more valuable he/she becomes.
9. Either have an open door policy or some kind of suggestion box. Letting issues fester causes unnecessarily emotional baggage in the workplace.
Anytime one of my colleagues became frustrated with the day-to-day operations he’d say, “I’ll make sure to put that in the suggestion box.” The joke was that we didn’t have an actual suggestion box or a channel for his displeasure (or anyone else’s) to be heard. If you’re not going to listen, at least pretend that you do.
10. Learn patience. Please.
One place that I worked trained a receptionist who lasted only three days. The next receptionist (training to take over for the one who quit) left after lunch on her first day and never came back. It wasn’t that the new hires weren’t of the right caliber. It was the way they were treated from the start. People learn at different speeds. Not every employee is going to be Usain Bolt right out of the gate.
11. Don’t begrudge employee salaries. Provide what we earn, and what we deserve.
When employers make employees feel as if they don’t deserve their salary or that the employers are being extremely generous to give them work, it makes the employees less inclined to work hard for the cause, especially if/when the employees know how much the higher-ups at the company are making. This is more or less the “Let them eat cake” of 2015.
12. If you can’t offer growth and stability, you aren’t offering much of anything at all.
If you’re going to take the time to train and nurture your employees, why would you want them working somewhere else once they’re fully up and running? Most times, if companies promoted from within people would be more content and feel that they’re on a successful track. Sure, the _gold watch era_, working for a company for 50-years and then retiring, is over, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t at least try to retain your talent, especially if they don’t want to go elsewhere.
13. … The same goes for incentives.
A 401 (k) plan, flexible hours, excellent benefits, and lots of vacation time would be the preferred option, but if your company is a startup or not able to offer it, there are other ways you can show your employees you value them. If they work for the company five years – give them a gift card to a restaurant. Ten years – what about a plaque for their dedication and service? Fifteen years – that’s like the equivalent of fifty today. Give them a watch or bracelet.
14. Sh*t happens. You can either be the kind of boss that people hide in terror from, or the kind people learn from when they know they’ve messed up.
A busboy/girl will break a glass, a salesperson won’t close, and a professional football player will fumble on the 1-yard line with ten seconds left, down by six in the big game. Stuff happens. Just have an idea how to handle it. Mistakes can teach valuable lessons, or at least American businessman Thomas J. Watson believed in that theory: “I was asked if I was going to fire an employee who made a mistake that cost the company $600,000. No, I replied, I just spent $600,000 training him. Why would I want somebody to hire his experience?”
15. Just get rid of the dead weight already. We’re all aware of it anyway.
On the other hand, if an employee keeps making the same mistake over and over, then you have a major problem. If you’ve tried different ways to correct the incorrect behavior and it’s still not working out for you or him/her, sometimes it’s best to part ways before the problems become worse. Don’t be afraid of having that conversation and letting go of employees who are only hurting the company. The other employees won’t mind. They know who is doing his/her fair share and who isn’t, as well.
16. Lead by example. Not command.
If you want someone to work on a Saturday or Sunday, they won’t resent you as much if you’re working on your regularly scheduled day off too. If it’s important enough for you to be there, then it’s important enough for everyone else. You set the tone for how everything runs and operates.
17. We are sorry.
… For that time we drank too much at the holiday party and no-showed at work the next day. For not understanding on the first try. We want to appease you twice as much as you want us to work well for you. Please understand that.
18. Thank you.
For better and for worse, you give us a place to go every day, a general purpose, and allowing us to provide for our families. As much as we may rag on our jobs, at the end of the day, we’re happy to have them. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to work.