Good news: This post is not about bad boss behavior. This is about brilliant boss behavior in my estimation. This is the good stuff and it’s from bosses who were the boss of me very early on in my work life and I’m thankful for that.
So Steal Shamelessly.
“I found 10 dollars!” As a 16 year old, one of my early jobs was as a busboy at a restaurant called The Ground Round. My first night shift included vacuuming up peanut shells and popcorn strewn about the floor after closing. As I pulled a heavy table away from the booth, (as I had been instructed), I found a crisp $10 bill! That was a lot of milk money back then. Never found any more bills in my 18 months – but every night thereafter I pulled out those tables, vacuumed and hunted hard for more. Years later I learned it was planted by the boss and he did that for many new employees. Incent the behaviors you want and you’ll get it every time. Brilliant!
“You have an attitude problem!” I was 15 and working at Stahhh Mahhket. (Clarification; – it’s “Star Market” for you non-New Englanders). This grocery chain had a lot of shopping carts and a big lot. I would collect dozens of carts in the sleet, snow and rain, slam them through the auto doors, drift the whole heavy train across the wet floors and crash them into the well because golly, this job sucked. One night the Store manager came storming out of his office after watching me do this and said, “You have an attitude problem and you can’t have that here! Look at your vest – that has my store’s name on it and everyone is watching you whether you think so or not! I will not have that attitude in my store. This ends now! Act professional!” I did immediately. There was no conversation prep on his part or any concern for my feelings or point of view. Good. Sometimes it’s OK to be the boss. Brilliant!
“It means a lot less to me than it does to you.” I was a 17 year old newish driver insisting on driving the truck from the warehouse to the retail store. With my boss in the passenger seat, I was getting a kick how fast this box truck was compared to my mother’s 75’ Plymouth Valiant. The state trooper got a kick out of it too and pulled me over. A $50 ticket. As we drove away my boss pulled a $50 dollar bill out of his pocket and tried to give it to me – I said “no way” it was my fault. He said “Buddy, $50 bucks means a lot less to me than it does to you, take it.” I did and used it to pay the fine. That always stuck with me what he said. Not everyone has to do everything equally; If it’s easier for me to write the report, or pay the bill, or make the phone call and it’s really really hard for you; let me do it – it’s not the same burden. Conversely, the things we struggle with, there’s a darn good chance someone you work with or work for doesn’t bat an eyelash helping you with it no matter whose turn it is. Brilliant!
Till next time,
Grow The Business.