Bosses create the culture of the workplace. Their behavior influences the behavior of others positively or negatively.
It’s human nature for employees to draw conclusions about who they think their bosses really are by assessing their quirks, idiosyncrasies, and behavior patterns— the windows into the person behind the title.
The hashtag game
Comedian Jimmy Fallon, former Saturday Night Live writer and performer, is the host of the talk show, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Each week he invites his viewers to play the hashtag game. This week he announced it on his show and then tweeted:
@jimmyfallon Let’s play the hashtag game! Tweet out something weird about your current or former boss & tag with #mybossisweird. Could be on our show!
Not every boss is weird but each of them (us) is likely to have behaviors that might annoy, shock, or disturb employees. Prevailing peculiarities start to become part of our brands until they become perceptions we can’t shake. When that happens, our career trajectory can be affected.
Here are a few of the #mybossisweird tweets from Jimmy Fallon’s game. Each reveals deeper career implications, as I see them. Please add yours.
@potatobi #mybossisweird my boss has no idea what twitter is but he found out his competitors had it so I had to make a fake account and follow them
This boss looks to be out-of-touch, disinterested in new technology, prone to shortcuts, and more interested in appearance than substance. If this is his/her approach to every new innovation in the marketplace, s/he’s in trouble.
@loolyloo77 #mybossisweird calling me on my annual leave because she wants some info for the urgent report she forgot to submit weeks ago!
@JessicaJourney A former boss once sought me out in the restroom to ask me about progress on a work project. #mybossisweird
Both of these bosses seem to suffer from panic, that feeling that s/he has to have access to information immediately, a sign of poor planning or no backup when employees are unavailable. Worse though is the lack of regard for each employee’s personal and private time. These are “the world revolves around me and my needs” bosses. In short order that gets old, employees get the word out, and in time the boss’s effectiveness erodes.
@MeetingBoy: #mybossisweird When he gets nervous, he insists on DAILY STATUS MEETINGS, then complains: not much gets done between meetings
Over-controlling, unable to delegate, micro-managing, and ineffective describe this boss. S/he is likely insecure as a boss and the employees know it. That will get around along with the indicators of stalled productivity.
@NicLuna When my boss is asked a question he stays quiet and stares at the person blankly until they repeat the question #mybossisweird
This boss comes across as playing some kind of “gotcha” game that will ultimately alienate employees and seriously limit two-way communication with him/her. Eventually, this “tick” will become fuel for the “comics” in the company who will imbed it into the boss’s brand.
@TheREALMsWright #mybossisweird b/c when people approach her desk, she says: “What’s the deal?” instead of “How can I help you?” It’s a professional office.
Professional behavior by the boss is important to employees. It verifies company standards and contributes to a sense of pride in their work. When the boss uses language that is incorrect, inappropriate, or inconsistent with expectations, it reflects on the boss’s values and attitudes.
One person’s weird is another’s unprofessional. The challenge to every boss is to understand how their behavior comes across to employees.
Our job is to create a positive climate that enables each employee to perform his/her work with minimal distraction and maximum confidence.
What our employees think and say about us have a powerful cumulative effect on our careers and our brands. Although it probably won’t be funny, we should try to stand out in a #mybossiswonderful hashtag game.
Photo from The_WB via Flickr