Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Top 10 Traits of a Great Boss

A while ago I posted Top 10 Traits of a Bad Boss.  This is the second installment, covering the 10 Traits of a Great Boss.  This list is complied from all the things that make a great boss based on my nearly 20 years of working in Corporate America.

1.) Being clear about expectations.  Let people know what you expect of them and when.  Leave nothing open to interpretation or to the imagination.  

2.) Being honest.  Being honest in performance reviews and at all coaching opportunities is very important, even when the discussion is hard.  Talk to your staff they way you would want someone to talk to you in those situations.  Think back to times when you wished someone would have been honest with you. 

3.) Providing clear and relevant communication.  When you ask someone on your team to do something, explain the context.  When an employee feels like the work they do is contributing to a bigger effort, they feel more vested in the outcome.  

4.) Rewarding a job well done.  Even if it's a simple thank you, reward people for a job well done.  If your company permits, take your team to lunch or let them leave early on a Friday, especially if you've just worked them to the bone to meet a deadline.  

5.) Understanding what motivates people.  For some people it's money or title, for some people it's recognition for a job well done.  Play to what motivates your employees.  

6.) Listening to your employees.  I am sometimes quick to jump to conclusions on how things should be done, but I always listen if my team thinks there is a better way.  Be open to changing course and accepting feedback from your employees.

7.) Allowing your employees flexibility when needed.  This cannot apply to all jobs, but when family emergencies or other situations arise, give your employees the flexibility to deal with it.  I've worked for people who cut me some slack to deal with issues outside of work and in return I was actually a better employee in the long run for it.

8.) Be willing to pitch in.  On occasion the work load for your team may be overwhelming.  Roll up your sleeves and offer to help with some of the things you'd rather not have to do.  It shows them it's a team effort and everyone is there to help.

9.) Give feedback more frequently than an annual review.  There are opportunities on a regular basis where you can give feedback.  Give honest feedback in a very respectful manner.  Performance discussions should never be a surprise to an employee.

10.) Operate with integrity.  Play by the rules, drink the company kool-aid, stand up for your people and do the right thing.  Lead by example and not empty words, adhere to company policies and guidelines.  Be the type of boss people want to work for.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Great Fall Dessert Recipe - Caramel White Chocolate Apple Bars

I work full time so it's difficult to volunteer as much as I would in my daughter's classroom.  At the beginning of the school year I signed up for a couple of the volunteer efforts that play to my strengths.  I get to help the school in some way, a way that is fun for me.

A few weeks ago it was teacher appreciation.  My awesome neighbor and another mom head up that effort. This time around I made a fall inspired dessert that the teachers/staff could eat easily.  I scoured for a recipe that I thought would be good and then I doctored it up.

I decided to make Betty Crocker's Caramel Apple Bars.  I wanted something without nuts and something seasonal.  Rumor has it, they were liked.

(picture from Betty Crocker)

Here are the changes I made, easy ones:

1.) Added 1/2 - 3/4 cup of Ghirardelli white chocolate chips to the 2 cups of reserved oat mixture before adding that as the top layer of the bars before cooking.

2.) Increased the amount of caramels from 1 14 oz bag to 1-1/2 bags, 21 oz total.  You can never have too much caramel.

It's an easy recipe with the most difficult part being peeling and chopping the apples.  If you try the recipe, let me know what you think.