4 Secrets That Only Good Bosses Know and Use

Have you ever wondered why God’s forehead is flat? Because every time HE looks at humans, HE slaps his forehead and says, “There they go again.”

I know. Dumb joke.

But in a similar sense, have you ever looked at some bosses and thought to yourself, “What were they thinking?” or “There they go again.” In other words, you could hardly believe they were acting in such non-productive ways.

By contrast, great bosses invariably employ 4 positive strategies that bring out the best in others. Unfortunately, those strategies remain “secrets” to all too many bosses.

In last week’s Tuesday Tip, I gave you the first two secrets of Direction and Trust.

The third secret is …

► 1. Hope

It’s easy to get discouraged when we see all the changes at work and in the world … and some those changes are questionable, at best. But the truth is … we’re always going to be going through lots of change. And we’re always going to have tough times.

That’s why employees need their bosses to be consistently tapping into the 3rd secret of great leadership … hope. Giving your followers hope. Employ these three hope-inducing strategies.

► a. Share your optimism.

Employees want a boss who believes a better future is possible. Employees want a boss that ignites their own optimism. And people are inspired when they hear their boss say something like Christopher Reeve did after he was paralyzed. He said, “This appears limiting, but let’s see what can be done.”

That’s exactly the way Mayor Rudy Giuliani handled the devastating attack of 9/11 on New York City. In his memoirs he wrote, “Be an optimist. People do not follow pessimists. They follow people who solve problems and have hope.”

Personally, when I deliver my Journey-to-the-Extraordinary program, as the “boss” or teacher of the class, it is my deepest hope that my optimism rubs off on the participants and the strategies I teach stick with them.

And I believe it does. Michael Hulligan from US Bank was in my Journey program last year, and he recently sent me this note: “I wanted to take a moment to extend a very sincere and large THANK YOU to you! Your Journey has made such an incredibly positive impact on my life.”

Michael continued: “I have taken your instruction and guidance to heart and by doing so my confidence has risen to places that I didn’t know existed for me, and I have seen myself open up to the world so much more than I have ever did before. My outlook in life was pretty bleak, but now my outlook is starting to shine brighter and brighter each day and with each affirmation. I have new hope.”

If you register for the Journey coming to Minneapolis on May 21-22, 2019, you qualify for the $500 Early-Bird Tuition Savings.

► b. Lay out a step-by-step map to the better future.

However, it takes more than a nice, rah-rah motivational talk to build hope. It’s also fueled by clear step-by-step actions.

Morten T. Hansen wrote about a Yale University study in Collaboration, where a group of students was given information on the tetanus disease, along with pictures of convulsing patients suffering from it. The students were then asked if they thought it was important to get a vaccination to prevent this disease.

Most everyone in the group said “yes.” Then a portion of those students were given a map to a medical clinic where the vaccine was being administered. They were asked to review their schedules and find a convenient time to get the vaccination.

When the researchers tracked the number of students who actually got the vaccine, only 3% of those who saw the pictures and said “yes, it was important to get the vaccine” actually went to the clinic to do so. But 28% of the students who received the map to the clinic got the vaccination.

The researchers concluded that giving people hope was not enough. They had to do more than indicate there was a vaccine out there that would prevent tetanus. They had to outline the step-by-step actions that had to be followed before there was much in the way of desired behavior change.

So as a leader, you need to give your people hope, but you also need to show them what they have to do to make that hope become a reality.

And finally, of the 4 secrets that good bosses know and use …

► 4. Results

People want their boss to bring about results. After all, as executive coach Dan Coughlin puts it, “You’re not paid to do activities; you’re paid to improve results.”

That’s right. It’s the boss’ job to improve results by bringing out the best in their people. “Your job as a team leader,” says leadership consultant Adele B. Lynn, “is to help people live up to their best intentions.”

And that invariably leads to more training. You can’t expect your people to do better if they’re not trained and equipped to do any better.

Unfortunately, there are some bosses who think they don’t have the time or can’t spare the money to give their people any more training. They may even wonder if the training is necessary.

I can help you answer that question by asking you two more questions. Do the majority of your people have talents that are not being tapped in their present jobs? And are you under pressure to produce more results without hiring more workers?

If you answered “yes” to both questions, you automatically know two things. First your people have unused capacity … which you desperately need to get the results you want. Second, it’s time to start developing that talent.

In summary, employees want four things from their bosses: Direction, Trust, Hope, and Results. When you provide those four things, your people stick with you and perform exceedingly well. You’re creating an environment where excellence is the norm and not the exception.

As one of my clients, John Friel, the president and CEO of Medrad, told me: “I don’t do anything. I don’t make anything. I don’t design anything. I don’t sell anything, so the real work of this company is all done by other people. My job is to create the environment for those people to be successful, and I believe if I’m out and get a feel for what the real workers are doing, then I think it enables me to do a better job of creating the environment for them. Employees will know whether you’re living this stuff (Dr. Z’s 4 secrets) or not. They’re very smart.”

Dr. Zimmerman’s Tuesday Tip, Issue 975 – 4 Secrets That Only Good Bosses Know and Use