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Thanks, Sincerely, For Your Leadership

July 30, 2010
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Thanks, Sincerely, For Your Leadership

How often do we stop and thank our bosses?

This is one of those style and leadership questions that doesn’t get much coverage in our training programs, mentoring and business readings. I generally do thank mine in response to an event of some sort, probably two or three times a year. Here are a few categories of behaviors and talents that I am sincerely thankful for:

1. Caring
In a recent blog comment , a reader pointed out that caring and competency can be independent. The presence of both leads to trust (leadership). Competency without caring can lead to respect at best. True caring is easy to detect, and usually represents effort and risk taking on the part of the boss. I am thankful for caring.

2. Competency
Being a competent boss means assuring that information flows on a timely basis. Whether that translates into weekly one-on-ones, directed emails, phone conversations or voice mails, etc. It also means continually thinking through decision rights issues. Is the right person making the specific, critical decisions? Are the right people being truly consulted on those decisions prior to commitment? Are the right people being informed, in a timely, "no surprises" manner? This is real, draining work. Although it's hard to get this right all the time, I truly appreciate when my boss invests in getting this done well.

3. Coaching and feedback
Anybody have a boss walk through your strengths and areas for growth? I am thankful when I have a boss who is sufficiently educated, self-aware and secure to have these discussions. In my experience, bosses are either delightfully qualified and interested, or they're hopelessly incapable. The later simply don't have the necessary talent and truly shouldn't try. (They often have other talents) I am thankful and indebted to many past bosses for coaching that continues to serve me, many years after we parted ways.

4. Committing (being responsive)
A real relationship builder is " Is the boss available when needed?" I am grateful when my requests for help receive a prompt response, say within hours or a day. I know that I am committed to a lot of important people; when I am fully booked and possibly a bit tired, I still make the extra effort to ensure I am responsive. And I appreciate when that commitment is reciprocated to me, especially from my boss.

So, should we thank our bosses for the leadership they show us? Of course. And how often? That depends upon their ability to lead . . . and our ability to recognize true leadership.

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