Last Updated Oct 21, 2011 11:53 AM EDT
Employees focus on the boss because it's so much easier to complain about someone else ruining their lives than it is to take responsibility for their own careers, actions, issues, and decisions, not to mention the occasional self-destructive behavior.
While a shrink may find all that childish behavior fascinating and more than a little lucrative, I guarantee that your boss won't find it amusing. Not one bit. What's that? You don't think your boss is aware of that stuff? Come on, he may be a micromanaging control freak, but he's not an idiot.
Think your boss doesn't notice that you smirk or sneer when he walks into the room? Think he can't read your body language? Or that he doesn't have people telling him what goes on behind the scenes?
Look, I was a manager and executive for over 20 years, and I can tell you with absolute certainty that, unless your boss is completely clueless, he knows all he needs to know about you. No, there's no such thing as Santa Claus, but there is a Santa Boss, and he knows when you've been bad or good, that's for sure.
The point of all this is that you have a choice and it's the single most important choice every employee makes:
Are you going to be a good employee or a bad employee? Are you going to believe in yourself, become the best you can be, and trust that that will pay off for you in the end? Or are you going to turn to the dark side and spend your life jealous, angry, and bitter?
If your answer is the former, then you need to pay attention to these ...
7 Traits Managers Find Irresistible
You do what it takes to get the job done. This is, or should be, number one on every manager's list of things they value most in employees. This was one of the first lessons I learned early on and it made a huge difference in my career.
You meet your commitments. When you say you're going to do something by a certain date, you'll find a way. When you say it'll cost $x, your boss can take that to the bank. You hold yourself accountable so your boss doesn't have to. Just knowing you're there reduces your boss's stress.
You're brave. You realize that business is a full-contact sport and you're going to take some body blows. You can take some punishment. Competition doesn't freak you out. Confrontation doesn't scare you. You don't shy away from visibility. Rather, you get a charge out of it.
You challenge the status quo. You're genuine, direct, confident, and comfortable in your own skin. You tell it like it is and say what's on your mind. You don't drink the Kool-Aid or sugarcoat the truth. You don't BS; when you don't know, you say so. Authority doesn't scare you so you don't treat your boss or the CEO like some demon from the underworld.
You're an innovative problem solver. You look at things from different angles and turn problems on their side to come up with unique solutions. The harder the problem, the greater the challenge, the more you dig in to find the answer. You live to solve problems.
Your razor-like focus. You don't lose it at the first sign of trouble or complexity. Instead, you're calm and steady. You stay focused when everyone else is running around like chickens with their heads cut off. You're an island of order in an ocean of chaos.
You're low maintenance. You don't whine and complain. You don't need to have your hand held for every little thing. You don't take things personally. You've got reasonably thick skin. Folks don't have to walk on eggshells around you and worry about offending you.
Granted, this post assumes your boss is confident and competent enough to handle and benefit from an employee with all these great attributes. They're certainly not all worthy of the effort. But the point is you can't control your boss. You can only control you.
And when that happens, this advice will come in handy. And you know what? If you can master these traits - at least most of them - then someday, you're going to be the boss. And you'll be a damn good one who inspires her employees to be the best they can be. No kidding.
Also check out:
Steve Tobak on Twitter or Facebook
Image courtesy Daphnie the puppy