Teamwork

Bad Bosses: Have You Worked for One?

Most of us have had a bad boss – or two – in our work history. From the irrational to the absolutely, even clinically, insane, bad bosses and their impressions leave catastrophes in their wake. But, if you think that the icy, fear-inducing Miranda Priestly or the awkwardly dense Michael Scott couldn’t hold a candle to a chart-topping bad boss you’ve had, now’s your chance to share your story.


Express Employment Professionals is working with best-selling author Jim Stovall to gather stories for his next book, titled 100 Worst Bosses – Learning from the Very Worst How to Be Your Very Best. To share your story, visit www.worstbosses.com. Your identity, the employer’s identity, and the company’s name will be altered to maintain your confidentiality. If your story is selected to be among the 100 Worst Bosses stories featured, you will receive an autographed, pre-release copy of the book.


Need some bad boss inspiration to help jog your buried memories of an awful boss? Visit the Movin’ on Up blog every Friday in June and July for our highlighted Hollywood bad boss of the week. Check out this week’s bad boss highlight: The ever ridiculous Michael Scott character, on NBC’s The Office, unnecessarily worries his employees when he prematurely spills the beans about their branch office closing before corporate makes a final decision.

5 Simple Ways to Appreciate Your Boss (Without Kissing Butt)

Anonymity – the feeling that you are not known or appreciated for your job role – is one of the three signs of a miserable job. Everyone craves to be known and appreciated for the work they do. In fact, it’s the role of the boss or manager to provide this for every employee.

Do you ever think about who is appreciating your boss for the work they do? Chances are, they don’t get as much thanks as you would think.

Many people are hesitant to demonstrate their appreciation for a great boss. That’s because, there’s often a sticky side to employer appreciation. No one wants to be known as the office brown-noser. Especially at the price of co-worker relationships.

But, the fact is, a great boss deserves to be appreciated – and more than just with a card on National Boss Day. So, here are five simple ways you can show your boss your genuine appreciation – without kissing butt.

1. Strike up a conversation. Depending on your work situation – and your boss – this may be the easiest thing in the world or it may be difficult. Either way, having an informal conversation with your boss is a great way to build rapport. Don’t forget, conversation can happen in many ways – it doesn’t have to be in person. Write an e-mail, or make a phone call, just to say thanks or catch up. Then, make sure your thankful, positive attitude shines through in the way you communicate – verbally and non-verbally.

2. Help them meet a deadline. When you’re on top of your game and have time to spare once your tasks are completed, invest your time in helping your boss meet – or beat – an important deadline. Adding time into your boss’ workweek by offering to lighten the load when you can is one of the best ways to show your appreciation.

3. Share important news. If you have a pulse on a niche or are well-read in your industry, consider e-mailing interesting articles or resources to your boss to keep them well-informed. This practical idea not only saves them time, it also demonstrates your value and just may spark an innovative idea.

4. Send them a note. Consider writing a short note of appreciation or encouragement to your boss and leaving it on their desk. For an even bigger impact, mail the note – to their work or home address. The cost of the stamp will be worth it. Personal mail is so rare these days, your gesture is sure to stand out and make a positive impact.

5. Use the golden rule. Most bosses aren’t perfect. But who are we kidding? Most employees aren’t perfect either. So, choose to focus on the positive aspects of your boss, and show your appreciation for those factors. (Even if you don’t feel fully appreciated by them.) A simple act of gratitude may speak multitudes into the heart of even the most callous boss.

You may be surprised how far a little thanks can go. After all, a positive attitude is contagious. So, no matter how good or bad your relationship with your boss stands right now, realize you have the power to make it better than it is today.

Taking the time to show your thanks – whoever your boss may be – just may spark the positive energy they need to better motivate your entire team.

4 Things You Can Do to Help Your Company Save Money

When you turn on the news these days, you hear about companies cutting jobs to save money. In fact, the government just reported that the unemployment rate hit 7.6% last month. For once, I would like to hear about companies cutting costs to save jobs.

Not all companies can cut enough costs to save a lot of jobs, but it doesn’t hurt to suggest it. Talk with your boss or schedule a meeting with management to see what you and your fellow co-workers can do to help your company cut back on spending to save jobs. To help you get started, here are four ways to help your company save some extra cash.

Cut back on electricity. Whether you work in an office or in a factory, turning off lights and computers when not in use can save companies money on their electricity bills.

Clean up your own space. Instead of having cleaning crews come in to clean up around the office, offer to do it yourself. If everyone pitches in, you can save the company from having to hire an outside cleaning crew to clean up after you.

Take a cut in benefits. This is a hard one to swallow, but if you aren’t employed, then having benefits is the last thing on your mind. Offer to suspend some of your benefits for a predetermined amount of time until the company starts increasing their profit margin. Prioritize to keep the benefits that really matter – like insurance – and realize the rest may be optional for a time.

Reduce waste. Ordering office supplies can cost companies thousands of dollars every quarter, so to help your employer save money by reducing the amount of supplies you need, or combine departments and order in bulk. If applicable, bring items from home such as pens, paper, or other materials.

Finding ways to save your company money could possibly help save jobs. And even though it doesn’t seem like a lot, it all adds up. So, find out from your supervisor what ways you can contribute to help your company get through this recession without job loss.

Have other ideas that can save companies money? List them in the comment section below.

What You Can Learn from Children About Teamwork

 

 

ChildrenPlay Have you ever watched a group of children in a classroom or group environment? It’s fascinating to see how they work together, how they learn, and how they get along. Observe a group of kids for a few hours, and chances are, you’ll learn a lot.

 

 

 

My mom is a pre-school teacher, and I admire her patience and enthusiasm. I don’t know how she does it sometimes. But then I think about what work is to her and what it is to me, and though I know what she does is a lot of hard work, there are parts of it that sound like a blast. Coloring. Recess. Circle time. What’s not to love?

 

Really, there are a lot of things we can learn from children that can help us in our jobs. After all, why shouldn’t we all get to have a little more fun on the clock?

 


Play together.


 

 

 

 

One of the best parts of being a kid is play time. But there’s no reason we should leave play behind when we enter the workforce. In fact, many psychologists say that play is an integral part of learning and personal development – throughout a lifetime. Americans have a hard enough time leaving work out of leisure time, and experts say we’re overworked and don’t take enough vacation anyway.

 

Why shouldn’t we play more at work? The other day, our department got together to play. We made what could have been a boring brainstorming meeting into a fun, interactive game. Sure, it was work. But it was fun, too. Plus, we got great ideas and grew as a team. What could be better than that? But play at work doesn’t always have to be productive. Sometimes it’s important to play purely for the sake of having fun. The rejuvenating power of play is tremendous. So, figure out productive (or just plain fun) ways your team can play while you work.

 


Make the box work for you.

 

Have you ever seen children play together with a cardboard box? The possibilities they see in such a mundane object are endless. It’s a shame it becomes so much more difficult to harness this creativity as we grow up and go to work. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We should do what kids do when they play with a box. They don’t see it for what it is: a large piece of cardboard folded into the shape of – a box. They see what it could be. A space ship. A tunnel. A house.

 

 

 

They could see a box a hundred times and it might be something new every time. What would happen if your work team really got in touch with this idea? Would they see problems in a new light? Would they seek opportunities instead of distractions? What could your projects be, if your team used this kind of creativity, if they were willing to make old things new?

 


Tell stories.

 

Kids tell stories. All the time. Some are true, most are at least partly fiction, but all are a lesson in creativity and the possibility of the mind.

 

 

 

 

Once upon a time… on Vimeo.

 

One thing that intrigues me about the stories children tell is the connections they make and the questions they ask. Especially when they tell stories in a group. They don’t limit their world to the constraints we adults have a hard time getting past (especially at work).

 

Animals can talk. People can fly. But their stories are still rooted in the world they know. This is a powerful lesson adults need to bring with us to work: Reality can meet possibility. Stories we think we already know can be reshaped. But we have to let our minds go there first. If your team tried to tell a story about their tasks, their projects, their goals, what would they say? What if the story came first? What if you created a vision together?

 

Would your work improve, would your team grow stronger, would your company grow?

 


What else can we learn from children about teamwork?

 

 

 

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