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11.3.14 The One Sign Your Boss Loves You

Stories about angry, impossible-to-please bosses abound. You probably even have a tale to tell yourself. But, lots of people are satisfied at work. For almost all of them, that satisfaction is because their boss treats them well, challenges them, and recognizes them for hard work.

But do you know what the one sign is that your boss loves you?

I have had a few great bosses and some real downers. I think that is common if you have been working for more than a decade or so. You definitely come to appreciate the bosses who are on your side and they become easy to spot if you have had a manager driven by fear, greed, or incompetence.

After talking with thousands of folks while rapidly growing Aha! and thinking about how to scale our own team, one thing jumped out at me: the happiest employees have something in common. They are challenged by a great boss who recognizes their effort.

Celebrating employees’ success drives them to feel good about who they are and for whom they work. And it drives them to work harder.

Recognizing good work is not just good for employees; it’s good for their companies. A 2013 Glass Door survey showed that more than half of employees would stay at their company longer if their bosses showed more appreciation.

A survey of workers in Massachusetts also showed that workers value appreciation more than money. Positive psychology expert Shawn Achor, cited in the linked article, has studied workplace satisfaction for over a decade and has shown how happiness pays off: workers are 30% more productive when given one piece of praise per day.

So, here’s the the simple secret to listen for. When your boss tells you “You did a good job,” that is the one sign that your boss loves you.

If you are not yet convinced, here is why those five words are the most important in workplace satisfaction. When you hear them, you feel:

Special In sharing praise, your boss is telling you that your work and happiness matter. Praise builds self-confidence and we feel good about ourselves when our work is recognized. And we feel even better when our specific accomplishments are celebrated. If we are told “You did a good job” and then our boss names the specific goal that was reached (e.g. completing the consulting project on time and budget) we are reminded that we are working for more than ourselves.

Part of a team If you work at a company with two or more people — you are part of a team. When your boss shares praise, you remember the team. In turn, you accomplish more! It’s a virtuous cycle that can repeat over and over again. Great teams are defined by what their individuals accomplish and how motivated the group is to work together.

Protected A loving boss is not someone who coddles you, but she is someone who looks out for your best interests. “You did a good job” should be used when you actually achieved something of value. A loving boss should also be demanding and challenging, helping you to reach for more than what you thought was possible. But she makes you feel safe — like you have the space to reach and grow.

All bosses should pull for their employees and celebrate them when they are great. Using those five magic words “You did a good job” creates happy employees — and happy employees are committed employees who do their best work.

What signs do you look for in a truly supportive boss?


by Brian de Haaff

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