Are you a fabulous boss?

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A few weeks ago we highlighted some qualities of the extraordinary employee. This week, the tables have turned.  Filling a tough role, indeed, bosses encounter unique scrutiny. Think about the typical “boss” character in pop culture. More than likely, most are portrayed in a negative light — insincere, disrespectful, self-centered, absurdly demanding (to name a few traits).

Instead of harping on the negative, we’re focusing on the characters of a winning manager. The following, my friends, are qualities of a positively fabulous, wholly awesome, truly wonderful boss:

1. Encourages an approachable, respectful work environment.

Joe Vass, a videographer, says in an interview: “The best boss I ever had made me feel like a valued and important member of the team — not through his words, but through his actions,” Vass said. “He encouraged hard work, ingenuity and creativeness and valued everyone for who they were, and so we were inspired to work hard for ourselves and for him. He was always available for consultation and skilled at good, constructive criticism [and] suggestions.”

Awesome bosses also are inclusive, making everyone feel equal and a part of a team. It’s always good to encourage feedback, innovation, and creativity, helping your employees to feel genuinely engaged at work.

2. Thinks mission, not just money.

An effective boss builds and sustains a true business mission. A clear mission can motivate employees and help them focus, while also allowing them to feel a sense of importance and drive. Consistently steering towards a goal — while keeping money matters in mind — can help employees feel like they are a part of something and not just participating in a shallow 9-to-5 grind.

3. Communicates clearly.

It cannot be stressed enough. Being able to communicate with your employees clearly and directly is the foundation that awesome bosses rest upon. For instance, instead of “Please have [this task] done soon,” try “Please have [this task] done by end of business on Wednesday.”

4. Welcomes frankness.

Machiavelli? A terrible role model for a wannabe awesome boss. Mistakes happen, as we all know (a little too well, perhaps?). Instead, encourage your employees to approach you with difficulties. “This requires a mentality that encourages learning rather than a fear of making a mistake. Try something new and different, but know we’re not going to kill each other if things don’t work out,” says Rob Sheehan, director of executive education at the James MacGregor Burns Academy of Leadership at the University of Maryland. “I was a swimmer in college and I swam fast when I imagined a shark was after me. I swam just as fast when I imagined I was in the Olympics. It’s a question of what you want to focus on—fear or opportunity.”

5. Individually motivates.

This doesn’t mean pep talks. It doesn’t mean e-mailing an inspirational quote every Monday. It means understanding people’s motivations, and responding appropriately. The role of a boss isn’t simply to tell people what to do, but it’s to identify each employee for the specific qualities that he or she possesses, and enabling those strengths to be applied to the specific place that will best motivate the employee to continue producing good work.

6. Connects with employees

Although businesses are about results, humans are a bit messier than that. A good manager or boss builds rapport and trust with his or her employees. You can’t fake it. Openness, authenticity, and friendliness are all necessities to truly bonding and growing with your employees. People will find it more enjoyable to work with others that are relaxed and informal.

What do you think are some other traits of a fabulous boss?

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Six virtues of the mover & shaker — the extraordinary employee.

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What makes an employee extraordinary? The textbook answer: A good employee abides by company ethics, arrives on time, balances leadership and compliance, blah. blah. blah. We’re not talking about just a ‘good’ employee, but an extraordinary one. The mover and shaker. The agent of change. The one who keeps key industry players on their toes. We’ve listed six traits of the extraordinary employee.

1. They color outside the lines. Even though a job description lists specific duties unique to a certain position, an extraordinary employee senses problems that may threaten a company and jumps in to help, even if it’s not their job.

2. They’re a bit… odd. Not for the sake of being different, but simply because their ideas and ways of approaching the job are unique by nature, perhaps even a little weird — but in a good way. Quirky, sometimes unorthodox employees shake things up. They rescue a group or organization from a humdrum existence.

3. They know when to be serious. When it’s crunch time, the extraordinary employee fits into the company equation flawlessly. They take others into consideration and put their humor or individuality on the back burner for the sake of the team.

4. They uplift others. Instead of seeing through envious eyes, they compliment peers on a job well done (when appropriate — NOT the same as brown nosing) instead of being self-centered and constantly critical.

5. They privately complain. There are times when it’s effective to bring up an issue during a staff meeting or other group setting, but the extraordinary employee can detect a touchy issue, and instead, mention it to the involved party in private, when appropriate.

6. They like to prove the naysayers wrong. There’s a certain quality that no degree or resume item can express, and that’s drive. Self-motivated employees thrive, not shrivel up and hide, when others doubt.

“Great employees follow processes. Remarkable employees find ways to make those processes even better, not only because they are expected to… but because they just can’t help it.”

Read the whole article by Jeff Haden on Inc.com.

The Craziest Job Interview Questions (And The Answers to Them!)

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You’ll get a kick out of these.

Here are, by way of Glassdoor.com, some of the wackiest job interview questions on record, asked by companies like Google, Trader Joe’s, and Disney. Readers voted on the best answers to them. How would you go about tackling these?

1.  “If you could be #1 employee but have all your coworkers dislike you or you could be #15 employee and have all your coworkers like you, which would you choose?” – Asked by ADP

Best Answer: “There are 53,000 employees at ADP. To have 14 people ranked higher than you within that organisation is still a sign that you are one of the most valuable employees. Better to have 14 people ranked higher than you and have a productive and courteous relationship with your coworkers than to be #1 and have a dysfunctional relationship with your coworkers.”

2. “Does life fascinate you?” – Asked by Ernst & Young

Best Answer: “It sure does. The more I know about it the more curious I am.”

3. “How do you feel about those jokers in Congress?” – Asked by Consolidated Electrical

Best Answers:

“I think it is very unfortunate that even though they have good intentions, they’ve been put in a position where it is extremely difficult to achieve results efficiently.”

“It’s my personal policy to never discuss politics or religion in the workplace.”

4. “Would Mahatma Gandhi have made a good software engineer?” – Asked by Deloitte

Best Answer: “No. He was an incredibly dedicated and hardworking individual so he could have been capable of doing the functions required if he so desired. However to be good at something I believe you need to want to be good at it. Based on what I know of Ghandi, I don’t believe he would sacrifice his dream of a self-ruled India to write code any more than sacrificing it to have a successful law practice.”

See all 25 oddball questions, as well as all of their possible answers, over at Glassdoor.